48 Hours of Christmas in New York City

When I was growing up, my mother and I make an annual trip to New York City from our home in rural upstate New York to check out the big city Christmas sights.  My grandparents lived in New York City when I was young and when I was older and they had moved to Albany, my grandmother would travel with us on the train.  I looked forward to this trip every year and my mother has been wanting to do the same thing with our kids for several years now. This is the first year that I felt it would be really worth the time because they are old enough to walk on their own for fairly long distances, no necessarily need naps, and eat well in restaurants.

Tree at The Roosevelt Hotel 
We reserved rooms at The Roosevelt Hotel for the first weekend in December last last summer.  Hotel rooms, particularly reasonably priced centrally located hotels, are hard to come by but fortunately I knew this going in.  The hotel was fine for our purposes. The lobby is amazing and beautiful and the rooms are clean and comfortable but not glamorous.  5 star lobby.  3 star rooms.

We arrived on Friday, November 30th at about 1 p.m. after a super quick 4 hour drive from Arlington.  My parents pulled in right behind us and we let the hotel valet park the cars.... so worth it in midtown!  After checking in, we walked straight to Macy's which is the mecca of Christmas department store shopping in NYC... for kids at least!  Macy's is home to Santaland and the world's best Santas and elves.   I'm told the wait can be 3 hours on a Saturday so we wanted to get this out of the way on Friday.  Were pleasantly surprised that the line seemed relatively short.

I think this elf's name was Twinkle.  We wound through the Santaland display for about 45 minutes before meeting the big guy.  My kids were enthralled by the trains and animated Christmas figures - singing snowmen, dancing bears, and trains were some of the highlights.

Until the kids met Santa... 

The kids spent 3 or 4 minutes talking and taking pictures with Santa. We did not feel at all rushed.  

When we stepped outside it was nearly 4 p.m.  We looked at the beautiful window displays (that's my mom with the kids).

Next we walked over to check out the Christmas market and skating rink at Bryant Park.  I wished I had had some more time to shop at the stores but the kids were tired and so was I.   We did enjoy watching the skaters though on this huge rink.  That's the tree in back of the New York Public Library in the background below.

We headed back to the hotel for a quick rest, before going to dinner at Tony DiNapoli's near Times Square.  We were so happy we had made a reservation and the food was tasty!  Restaurants in NYC, particularly in Midown, are tough with kids because most are geared towards adults or they are just fast food. It's hard to find something in between. I'll gladly take your recommendations!

We started Saturday morning with breakfast at our hotel before heading to Radio City Music Hotel for the Christmas Spectacular.  This was well worth the price of the tickets. I was glad I had opted for the Orchestra section and, in hindsight, would have sat even closer.  We were in the rear 3rd of the Orchestra in Row K in case you are looking at tickets!

When the show let out at 10:45 a.m., we went to Rockefeller Center to see the skaters and hit the Lego store.  It was PACKED but so festive and fun.

We should have walked by the tree at night but it was still great during the day.

We grabbed lunch at a pizza place before going to FAO Schwartz to see the capital of toydom.  The kids loved the Legos there too!!  I think I know what they are getting for Christmas!

We then stopped in at Dylan's Candy Bar just a few blocks east of FAO.  Holy cow!! Candy on 3 floors!!  We went to dinner at the Heartland Brewery which was fine but nothing special.  The upside was that they took reservations but the food was just okay.

Sunday morning we headed over to Times Square to ride the Ferris Wheel at Toys R Us.  Elizabeth was in NYC 3 years ago for my cousin's wedding but the only thing she remembers doing was riding the Ferris Wheel.  

And... guess what?  We rode in the Lego taxi car in the giant ferris wheel.  This just solidified their new found love of Legos!  Just to top off the weekend we hit up the M&M store where the kids filled bags of custom M&Ms that I have been munching on ever since.  UGH!

We saw soooo much in 48 hours and it was well worth the trip.  Next time though, I think the kids will share a room with Grandma and Grandpa!