I took my oldest daughter to New York City for her 10th birthday. It was a bit more costly than throwing her a party, but was totally worth as she constantly thanked me because she was having such a great time. She had a checklist of things she wanted to do and I was happy to oblige. Of course I had a small check list myself. Here is a recap of our weekend along with a few suggestions if you’re planning on visiting anytime soon.

 cool art in our room at The Ace Hotel

New York hotels can be pretty expensive, especially in the summer. Since we were traveling in the winter we stayed inexpensively at The Ace Hotel. For about $155 a night you can get a very small, but clean room outfitted with bunk beds and a private bathroom, which was perfect for just the two of us. If you travelling with your whole family I would rent an apartment from You can feel like a real New Yorker in your favorite neighborhood for much less than a hotel room. Plus you have your own kitchen so you can save money by having one meal a day in your temporary digs. I recommend Greenwich Village, East Village, Chelsea or anything on the Upper East or Upper West Side. Skip the more touristy Midtown and Rockefeller Center area.  Other great options are Sohotel in Soho and East Houston Hotel on the Lower East Side.

Pizza ovens at Stella 34 Trattoria

 Coffee at Velselka

New York is my opportunity to get my Italian food and pizza fix. Our First stop was the very first pizza joint in the city, Lombardi’s on Spring St. in Nolita. It’s the best pizza in NYC in my opinion, although this is a citywide heated debate. Our second stop is Velselka, in the East Village for perogies and latkes. Since my daughter loves Macy’s I took her to the original and ate at Stella 34 Trattoria - don’t leave without ordering the Vivoli gelato from Florence, Italy. For a little fancy dinner and more amazing Italian there is Otto Onoteca. It’s a perfect ending to a museum packed day and it’s loud enough to drown out hyper, overtired children. For breakfast we headed to Waverly Restaurant for an old school diner experience. Another great option kids love is Bubby’s for brunch at their new location by the High Line. Since we stayed at the Ace we were lucky to have Stumptown Coffee attached to our lobby for our morning coffee and hot chocolate but I would surely make the trek there even if it weren’t so convenient. There are a ton of choices when it comes to food in NYC. The best plan is to not have one at all - explore and find your own favorite haunts. It's rare to find bad food here.

 Exploring The Met

 Caribou at the American Museum of Natural History


We saw Matilda on Broadway and it was fabulous! The American Museumof Natural History was a must for my daughter so we didn’t skimp and hit every current exhibit and made sure to see Hayden Planetarium.  TheFrick Collection was on my list and is the most beautiful museum in the city. It’s free on Sunday’s at 11am but plan to wait in line. Also they do not allow children under 10 years old in but if your kids are well behaved and quiet in museums I would fudge their age a bit and go anyway. Another must on her list was The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We picked up the kid-friendly guide at the front so it wasn’t so overwhelming.  If it's warm (it was not for us, hello 7 degrees) walk along the High Line in Chelsea with the art map you can download from their website. We always visit Dinosaur Hill a cool toy shop (it’s next door to Velselka), Books of Wonder, an incredible children’s book store and ABC Carpet and Home, a very unique place. 

28th street subway

Packing List:
In Winter a very warm coat, and in the summer comfortable shoes. Otherwise, it's NYC - anything goes!

Another thought:
Take some time to learn the subway system. It is the best way to get around in the daytime and much cheaper than a taxi, but if it’s late at night I would skip the subway and hail a cab.

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