Memorable New York Getaway – For many, travelling to a big, busy city like New York with kids may seem like a daunting task.
Below are a few tips that will help you minimize the anxiety and maximize the fun along the way.
Hacks for a Memorable New York Getaway ~ Exploring the City with Kids
Keep the Arrival Day Simple
Start your Big Apple vacation by visiting a park. You could possibly take your children to Flushing Meadows the same day you arrive at NYC.
Here, they will have an opportunity to relax as they explore the Queens Zoo, Citi Field, the Queens Botanical Garden and six playgrounds.
Apart from your children having time to relax, you also get an opportunity to interact with the locals and get some important advice on what to see and do in New York.
Talking with locals will also give you an idea of where to find valuable treasures that are less known in the tourist circuit.
Stay Like a Local
When traveling to a big city like New York with kids, it is preferably better to rent a home via Airbnb. The main goal being to fine a family-friendly flat in a great neighborhood.
While staying at a hotel is nice, the luxury will definitely get lost on your kids who find the greatest joy in the simplest of things.
Staying at an Airbnb flat makes it much easier for kids to sleep in their own bedroom, giving mom and dad time to relax.
One of the best things to do with your kids in the city is to visit the local farmers’ markets for vegetables and fruit, yogurt and cheese, pastries and bread.
Head home to make a simple home meal.
This not only gives your kids the chance to gain that real New York experience, it is also less expensive, more relaxing and healthier than dining out every night.
Ditch the Car
The last thing you want to do is to waste time in a city where you will be for only a couple of days.
One of the best ways to experience NYC is by taking long walks.
You can also schedule a hop on hop off tour bus that makes it easy to plan your city adventure.
If you are looking for a more relaxing environment, you can explore the various parks in the city by renting bikes.
However, remember that kids tend to get hungry after an entire day of walking.
It is a good idea that you bring along a few snacks, as well as sunscreen, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
Have a Rainy Day Plan B
Kids love the outdoors, but it may not be so much fun when it is all wet and cold.
In addition, summer is a great opportunity to do something indoors while taking a break from the sun.
In New York, you will find a great assortment of incredible natural history and art museums that your children will enjoy visiting.
However, let your children take the lead and go at their pace.
Look for exhibits that have a hands-on approach and ask your kids what they want to see next and skip the rest.
Before stepping going, find out how much it is going to cost, if it’s appropriate for kids, and whether you can bring along a backpack or stroller.
Help Your Kids Preserve the Trip Memories
Once you get back home, talk about the trip. You can even help your kids choose pictures to hang or create a scrapbook with pictures of monuments and museums from tourist pamphlets you collected during your stay in New York. The scrapbook will act as a summary of each day of your trip, including the food you ate, places you visited and friends you made along the way – a great way to remember a vacation!
New York’s Folk Music Revival
Folk, roots, old-time revival – whatever you want to call it, there is something stirring in the music dens of New York.
Encompassing bluegrass, old time, blues and more, the music and melodies are woven into the fabric of a rich American culture.
But don’t think of it as static, stuck in the past, or confined to the hinterland.
The Coen brothers are tapping the scene for their anticipated film ‘Inside Llewn Davis’ due out next year, whilst bustling New York has plenty of places to run the hoedown, tap the washboard, and find a bit of country in the city.
New York flights are also cheap and widely available, so if music’s your thing why not plan a visit to the Big Apple?
New York’s Folk Music Revival
Squeeze In & Listen
If it’s big venue entertainment you’re after and you want to explore the US’s rich blues heritage, check out the free live music every night at Lucille’s Grill at BB King Blues Club and Grill on West 42nd.
You’ll find local talent performing soulful blues, and there’s great food on offer too.
Plus it’s on Manhattan Island itself, so it’s a great way to wind up a day out downtown.
But to get under the skin of traditional music in New York, it’s worth heading further afield to find those lesser known gems:
Small venues which are not only intimate, but where you’ll find communities of artists and musicians happy to share their knowledge and passion with you, particularly if you’re doing more than just passing through.
Expect a variety of up and coming acts, genuine undiscovered talent and a feeling of being right at home in the vast metropolis.
Here are three to get your feet tapping:
Small’s Jazz Club, 183 W 10th St, Greenwich Village
The name describes the venue, but not the history, or the music: Small’s Jazz Club is archetypal:
brick and cobblestone in a basement, and lots of surprise performances.
The club used to charge $10 for entrance and folk would bring their own drinks to stay and play until dawn or until they fell asleep.
Now you can pick up a drink there too, but the cover charge still lasts until closing so you can enjoy their jam sessions from just after midday until 3am.
Jalopy’s Theatre and School of Music, 315 Columbia Street, Brooklyn
The endearingly named Jalopy’s Theatre, as well as running all kinds of classes with the most friendly, skilled and talented teachers you might find anywhere, is literally a prayer hall for talented fiddlers, pianists, and more, with wooden pews facing its theatrical stage.
Roots ‘n Ruckus nights every Wednesday give you a free taste of the most authentic folk in New York City, with tub-basses, kazoos and harmonicas galore, but they also have ticketed events hosting talents such as Cynthia Sayer and Paul Geremia.
There’s also a café, and an instrument store in case you get really inspired.
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, 513 Henry Street, Brooklyn
Whether or not you want to watch or join in, the acoustic Old-time Jam with Alan Friend every Tuesday at Brooklyn Farmacy Soda Fountain is a friendly place to enjoy music.
The place’s motto, “fresh, friendly, local” could be said to apply to its music just as much as to its artisanal foods and selection of sodas.
They also offer some great desserts in this charming historical venue.
In fact, it’s a great place for a sweet treat for the whole family during the day.
They also have other family-friendly events from time-to-time, such as morning jams and sing-a-longs.
Learn To Play
If you’re inspired and want to get involved, you can try learning an instrument.
The classes at Jalopy’s cover everything including klezmer fiddle, off-beat banjo tunings, Kentucky fiddle bowing techniques, country harmony singing, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo stylings.
You learn in songs, in groups, and can rent an instrument too, which is particularly handy if you’re just trying out.
Alan Friend who organizes the jams at the Farmacy, teaches banjo, guitar, concertina and fiddle.
Also at Jalopy’s is the New York City Barn Dance.
They teach and walk-through all the dances, so you don’t need to know before you go – but it’s not a class.
Everybody’s keen to get on with the dancing and they welcome participation regardless of experience.
Probably the most fun way to learn a staple of American culture, and listen to the calls of the traditional square dance.