Image via Barefoot Blonde
There’s no place quite like New York City during the holidays, and it’s even more magical if you’re able to share the experience with children. I spent nearly 5 years calling this city home and it’s still one of my favorite places in the world, I can’t wait to make a tradition of taking an annual Christmas trip with Piper! Maybe we’ll start next year when she’s a little older… Today Katherine, who spent 7 years living in NYC and working in the fashion PR world before relocating to Westchester recently (after having her adorable baby Georgie) is sharing the very best activities to do with kids in tow if you’re lucky enough to plan a trip this holiday season! For more of Katherine’s adventures and travel tips check out her blog, The Sugar Cain .
Macy’s Santaland // Visiting Santa at the North Pole (better known as Macy’s on 34th Street) is such a Christmas rite of passage. The iconic department store really and truly goes all out, decking the halls and creating a huge, twinkling North Pole with so much to see, and of course, an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and take home a few professional pictures. Pro tip: Avoid the (huge) line by getting a free Express Pass. You sign up for the exact date and time you want to visit as well as how many people are in your group, and you will be whisked right in.
Serendipity 3 // Sipping on a Frozen Hot Chocolate (which yes, is as good as it sounds) while hundreds of holiday lights twinkle above you is such a great New York moment. I always like to stroll around and check out the beautiful holiday windows at some of the city’s best stores first, like Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Rolf’s // Rolf’s in Gramercy is one of the city’s best decorated spots once the holiday season rolls around. Stop in to check out the incredible lights and decor that cover the cozy space while you sip on some mulled wine. While not a kid-friendly spot per se, if your little one is anything like mine, they will be mesmerized by all of the holiday decor!
Ice Skating at Bryant Park // Every New Yorker has their personal favorite wintertime ice skating spot, and mine is Bryant Park. I love that it’s a slightly less crowded choice than Central Park or Rockefeller Center, plus they have an amazing holiday bazaar full of boutique-style shops and a pop-up Danny Meyer eatery with sandwiches, pastries and hot chocolate.
Winter Family Fair at The Morgan Museum // The Morgan Library & Museum (which was once the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan) is such an impressive place. Unassuming from the exterior, the inside is magnificent – full of rare Americana treasures and one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen. The museum’s Winter Family Fair is a must-visit, with craft workshops and super kid-friendly live celebrations of A Christmas Carol.
Afternoon Tea at The Plaza // The holiday season is the perfect time to get all dressed up and indulge in some afternoon tea, and The Plaza is as good as it gets. The stunning backdrop of their Palm Court is the best place to tuck into mini sandwiches, scones and the most Christmas-y dessert of all time, mince pies!
Scandinavia House // One of the city’s best hidden gems for kids is the Playing & Learning Center at Scandinavia House. It’s an entire floor and cute as can be, with a jaw-dropping play kitchen and grocery store full of wooden play food and toys (no plastic here), slides that drop you onto pillow piles, dress-up costumes, train sets and cozy little reading nooks. While generally open to members only, anyone can visit on Saturdays for $15 per child, and they have some adorable kiddo-friendly holiday activities and parties coming up.
Madison Square Park Gingerbread House // Madison Square Park is known for their art installations which pop up throughout the year, and starting December 6th you will be able to walk through a life size gingerbread house. You can go inside the house to check out interactive elements like a marshmallow snowman and Christmas tree that you can help decorate, and there are stations set up around the park to do holiday-themed arts & crafts. If you’re anything like me, no trip to Madison Square Park is complete without a stop at Shake Shack. (If you’re a newbie, get the Chick’n Shack, fries and a Concrete, which is frozen custard blended with custom mix-ins. You will not regret it!).
Written by Katherine Cain of The Sugar Cain