Our third day in The Big Apple started out late as we all slept in after having so many adventures the day before. The weather was supposed to be rainy all day, so we had to plan accordingly. (Luckily we checked the weather before we packed our bags, so we were prepared with umbrellas, raincoats and rain boots for Adalyn.)
We packed up the girls and headed out for the day. When we were at The Oculus the day before, we met Cricket Azima, founder of The Creative Kitchen, who invited us to the Kids Food Festival there the next day. We decided since it was going to be raining, that we would go back and check it out. That meant more fun on the subway!
I want to stop and take some time to discuss one big decision to make when traveling to New York City with little kids (or just traveling in general)…what kind of stroller will you bring with you? There is SO much walking and little legs can get tired. When we visited back in 2015, Adalyn was 2 years old & we traveled with the Summer Infant 3D Lite Stroller. It worked for our trip, was light and it had a compact, umbrella-stroller style fold, but the push is just ok (I’ve been spoiled with my Bugaboo Cameleon 3, so this was much more noticeable now) and it has two handles instead of a single handlebar. The long, umbrella-style fold was also challenging when going through the turnstyles of the subway and being on crowded subway cars. It is reasonably priced at $79.99 and is what we used when we took Adalyn to Walt Disney World, so it’s not a bad stroller. I just wanted to look at other options.
My ideal choice for our trip would have been the Babyzen Yoyo, but at $499.00, it wasn’t in the budget for this trip. I will say that I saw a ton of these being used by parents who live in the city, so it’s definitely a great stroller, but I just couldn’t justify the cost for a travel stroller.
I decided to purchase a Baby Jogger City Mini Zip for our trip and couldn’t be happier with that choice. It retails for $249.99, but I found one at Marshall’s for $99 (you can find it discounted online as well, so just search around)! I also bought the carrying bag from Amazon for around $50, so it would be protected when we gate checked it on the plane. The City Mini Zip doesn’t just fold in half from top to bottom, but it also folds in half from the sides, which means it folds to 1/8th the volume of it when its open. The stroller has a great recline, a deep seat (which means Adalyn could fit in it too if needed), a spacious basket and a large canopy. It has a single handlebar and a great push. It was so easy to navigate the city sidewalks, curbs and subways with it. Charlotte was really comfortable and took a lot of stroller naps in it while we were in the city. I would definitely recommend it for not only a great travel stroller, but a great every day stroller.
Now onto more adventures in the city!
We took the subway back to The Oculus to check out the Kids Food Fest. They had a lot of different companies there offering food samples, coupons, games and more! Adalyn even got to make her own pizza dough, which she loved. We are so glad we went and Adalyn got to do something that was just for her.
After the Kids Food Fest, we walked around the National September 11 Memorial site again since it is right next to it. Adalyn liked the fire truck they had next to it and asked more questions, especially about the names carved into the memorial. It was another opportunity to explain to her the horrific thing that happened in this place, but be sensitive due to her young age. It was pretty crowded, since it was the weekend, so we didn’t stay around here long.
We didn’t really have any plans for the day, so we just decided to walk around and explore this part of the city. Our next stop was Trinity Church, one of the oldest and most historical churches in NYC. Unfortunately during this visit, the building is being renovated and you aren’t able to go inside. If you happen to visit after it is finished, I definitely recommend going inside. It is really beautiful. The Churchyard surrounding the building was an active burial ground from the 1660s to the 1820s and is rich in history. Alexander Hamilton is probably the most well-known person who calls this their final resting place. After the Broadway hit, “Hamilton“, his grave site has become a popular tourist attraction. I haven’t seen “Hamilton” the musical yet, but it’s on my must see list for sure! The soundtrack is amazing!
We decided to wander further downtown and ended up near the Charging Bull statue. We have seen that on a previous visit years ago and boy has the foot traffic grown. You could barely even see the statue! I was not interested in seeing that again, but what I was excited to see was the Fearless Girl statue that now faces the Charging Bull. I love that she is strong and can take on the world. This is just the message I want my girls to hear!
When researching places to visit on our trip I came across Stone Street several times. It is a small, hidden gem and is one of the oldest streets in New York City. It is lined by restaurants and pubs and offers covered outdoor seating, which was really great. It felt like we had stepped back in time with the beautiful old buildings on either side of us and the cobblestone street. We grabbed a late lunch/early dinner & beers at Ulysses. I will say that even though the food was really good (we ordered the fish & chips), the portions were small and it was over-priced. The drinks, however were reasonable. When we arrived there were hardly any people around, but it did start to fill up. It definitely seemed like more of a local hangout as we didn’t see any tourists while we were there. It was a great spot to eat as a family and would be even better if the weather wasn’t so drizzly and rainy.
One of our favorite FREE, yes FREE things to do in NYC is take the Staten Island Ferry across to Staten Island, then back to Manhattan. You get a beautiful view (well, when it’s not raining) of lower Manhattan as well as The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It is a commuter ferry, so you can easily find an unobstructed view of all of the sights without having to fight tons of tourists (and most importantly, without having to pay anything!). I recommend just wandering around the different decks to find the views you’re looking for. There are restrooms on the ferry as well as a food concession stand. The ferry usually runs every 30 minutes, so you board one, ride it across to Staten Island, get off, then quickly get on the next ferry (that should be waiting when you arrive) and take it back to Manhattan. The entire round-trip takes only an hour! I do recommend you do not try this during the morning or evening rush hours. Consult their website for more details. On a personal note, standing on the deck of the ferry with my husband and daughters as we pass Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty leaves me in awe every time. My great great grandparents and my great grandfather on my dad’s side all came to the United States through Ellis Island. I can even go to the Ellis Island website and see all of their information including the handwritten ship’s manifests. This is so cool!
We were ready to head back to the hotel after our journey on the ferry so we headed to catch the subway in Battery Park. When we got over there we discovered the Seaglass Carousel. It is an absolute work of art and I would add it to your MUST SEE list! It is “a mystical underwater experience. The rider sits within iridescent fish that glide through the sights and sounds of a 360° aquatic adventure.” Tickets are only $5 each (under a year old is free). It was such a beautiful experience and both girls LOVED it! (We did too!)
So we finally got on the subway and headed uptown, back to our hotel. The building for the subway station in Battery Park is SO CUTE and unexpected! You never know what you’re going to find when you’re adventuring through the city!
We took the subway back to Grand Central Terminal, then walked back past the New York Public Library, Bryant Park (which was completely empty and so surreal and quiet) then to Times Square. Charlotte passed out on the way back, but we were able to get some family pics in Times Square thanks to some sweet people. We also made a quick stop inside The Disney Store (not the best decision on a Saturday night) to buy the girls matching Minnie Mouse Statue of Liberty stuffed animals as souvenirs. This store is multiple levels, but we got what we wanted and got the heck out since we were pushing a stroller.
We finally collapsed into our beds, exhausted from another wonderful day making memories and exploring the city with each other. Now to get some sleep to do it all again tomorrow!
Check out more of our adventures to The Big Apple: