Let’s be real, if you wanted to wait in lines of perspiring strangers and be accosted by costumed characters, you would have gone to Disney. You didn’t come to New York to watch your husband gorge on hotdogs from the vendor or to wait thirty-five minutes for your little darlings to battle their way onto the Toys R Us ferris wheel. If you want to avoid spending your family trip to NYC wishing you were on a cruise, head to the Upper West Side for an experience worthy of your vacation time.
Where To Stay:
NYLO New York City
2178 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
Don’t be surprised if walking into the NYLO lobby reminds you of stepping onto the set of Mad Men. The strategically placed sofas, pianos, bookshelves, and intimate lighting are reminiscent of another era. The hotel attracts a mix of businesspeople, families, and older couples, and, as is typical of the Upper West Side, it is dog-friendly. You will be surrounded by likeminded others who seek to enjoy the quieter, more authentic side of Manhattan. The hotel is minutes from the 123 trains and the ABCD trains, as well as Central Park, Riverside Park, and the Museum of Natural History.
Where To Play:
Parents: Soul Cycle/ Pure West Yoga
204 W 77th St, New York, NY 10024
The building next to NYLO just happens to be one of the most sought out yoga studios in the city, Pure West. Take the opportunity to experience an early morning hot slow flow class and you will emerge filled with gratitude and ready to tackle your day. Guest passes are available, and the lobby and locker rooms are designed to resemble an upscale spa. If you want to get your sweat on but are not a fan of the downward dog, walk next door to Soul Cycle. This urban chain takes spinning to a new level and the upbeat playlists make you enjoy every second despite your burning legs.
Little Kids: Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
CMOM offers five floors of interactive fun and is the perfect place for any kid who has been referred to as a bull in a China shop. Your little explorer will have the opportunity to climb through a digestive system, journey through a rainforest, and, weather permitting, spend some time at City Splash!
Big Kids: Museum of Natural History
Central Park W & 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Famous long before Night at the Museum, the American Museum of Natural History provides an enjoyable learning experience for all ages. Admission is pay what you wish, so this is a budget friendly choice. There are rooms for each continent and it is wise to look at a map beforehand so you can plot your best route and see everyone’s favorite animals.
Where to Eat:
2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Absolute Bagels matches the Upper West Side’s tendency for excellent quality without pretentiousness. The establishment that won the honor of best bagels in the city several different times is tiny and seating is limited, so this breakfast is best enjoyed on a picnic blanket overlooking the Hudson at nearby Riverside Park.
2130 Broadway #1, New York, NY 10023
Viand is a hidden gem: a relaxing, family-friendly cafe that seems to be immune to the notorious hourlong brunch lines typical of the Upper West Side. The prices are more akin to upstate New York than Manhattan, and the service is impeccable. The Cowboy Wrap and Chocolate Chip Pancakes are highly recommended.
If you choose to follow the tips above, your family trip to NYC will be a walk in the park (just make it Riverside, not Central).