New York City is one of our favorite places to visit, especially Manhattan during the holidays! NYC is huge, and with so many hotels to choose from plus an endless list of things to do and places to eat, it can be hard to pick out exactly where you want to stay and what you want to do while you’re there. Below you’ll find some travel tips, hotels that we have stayed in and would recommend, as well as some of our favorite restaurants we visit frequently in Manhattan!
Stay tuned next week for a full blog post on Christmas activities in NYC!
How to get there:
There are 3 airports that you can choose from when booking your flight:
- JFK – about 45 minutes southeast of Manhattan.
- EWR (Newark) – about 45 minutes southwest of Manhattan. Can take the Airtrain in about 40 minutes to Penn Station.
- LGA (LaGuardia) – about 20 minutes west of Manhattan.
If you are staying in Manhattan, LGA is your best bet in our opinion. The airport has been completely renovated and it’s the closest to where you’re going (about 7 miles from the airport to Central Park versus about 17 miles from JFK or EWR. When Bryan and I just visited for my birthday, we flew into LGA and got a cab to and from the airport. All taxis in NYC have “flat rate” airport fares. Make sure you confirm this before you get settled in for the ride.
*All of these travel times are estimates and full disclosure, these are close to “best case scenario” travel times. If possible, we try to avoid flying in or out of any NYC airport where it would force us to travel to/from the airport during rush hour.
**Travel tip: Before you get into an uber or a taxi, pull up your map on your phone and plug in where you’re going. If you’re seeing a ton of red roads and traffic, the train or subway might be a better idea. No matter what, leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport! This advice also applies within the city. A taxi will more than happily get stuck on a very busy street while people are literally walking by you as your fare goes through the roof. Walk or subway if you can help it!
Hotels We’d Recommend:
The Conrad – NYC Midtown (Hilton)
One of our favorite things to do in the city (especially with Henry and Eloise) is to walk around Central Park. The Conrad is minutes from the southside of the park, so the location is outstanding. The rooms are incredibly spacious for NYC, great for families, super clean, and the staff was great. We’d 100% stay here again and it’s one of the first places we look when booking a new trip to the city.
I just recently stayed in this hotel in November for a work trip and absolutely loved it! It’s on Park Avenue and walking distance to Central Park as well. Great sized rooms and very clean. Another great option if you are looking for a beautiful hotel!
Also in an amazing location, this is literally across the street from Central Park! The hotel is what you’d expect of a JW, very clean and luxurious. The rooms are cozy, but come with very nice amenities. You can get rooms that have a view of the park which was incredible to wake up to every morning! Below is a picture of the view from our room when Eloise & I stayed there in June! Absolutely STUNNING view of Central Park.
Restaurants We Love:
*I’d highly recommend reservations at just about any NYC eatery. Space is limited, and we have made the mistake before of not having a reservation and getting turned away with a stroller, or having trouble just finding a decent place to eat that has room.
**We use Open Table even if we’re going somewhere last minute, sometimes they’ll reserve tables for the app that aren’t available to the walk ups/wait list. It’s worth a shot to check it out. It’s also a great way to ask the restaurant for ‘extra stroller space’ if you’re with kids.
This is a beautiful Italian restaurant located on the rooftop of Eataly in the flatiron. The very instagrammable decor changes seasonally and the food and cocktails are all delicious! It’s loud enough for kids, but just a heads up, there is a small staircase at the top that you must carry a stroller up.
Located on the West side of Central Park, this is a must do for us during the holidays. If you happen to catch the right snowy day, sitting in their atrium watching the snow fall on their Christmas tree and decorations is instant holiday spirit. We love their wine list and all of the food is very good. We prefer brunch here if possible. A little pricey, but a lot of fun!
This was a major follower recommendation the last time Bryan and I were in NYC for my birthday and you all did not disappoint. It was one of the best meals we’ve ever had in the city. It’s on the lower east side and as soon as you walk in the door you know you’re in a special restaurant! The atmosphere is only outdone by the tapas style food. We just kept ordering it was all so good! Don’t miss the dumplings!
There are 4 locations in Manhattan, we’ve eaten at two of them, and had great experiences both times! They have a little bit of everything on their menu (soups, sandwiches, salads for lunch, tons of great breakfast options, and everywhere from pasta to fish and steak for dinner), so it’d be a great spot to go with friends or take your kids. We have even gone for apps and a bottle of sparkling and had a great time!
Also a few locations spread out over the city, we’ve always ate at the one at Central Park South. We have only ever gone for breakfast, but they do have lunch and dinner menus. For us, this is all about the pancakes. They are out of this world! Either the lemon ricotta or the buttermilk. They have french toast, waffles, Bryan loves their omelettes, and they have some other lighter options as well. Pancakes and sparkling wine? Yes please!
We just recently went here for my birthday in October and had an amazing rooftop brunch with friends! Everything was delicious, there were some fun drinks of the menu and it was definitely a hopping place to have brunch in NYC.
Located in West Village, this is worth a stop if you’ve got a beer drinker in your group! It is a massive, open warehouse that has been transformed into a Beer Hall. It’s Munich in Manhattan, and it’s a ton of fun! Check the site before you go, they do a lot of private events, so they aren’t open to the public everyday.
Chic, fun, delicious mediterranean inspired food and a place that we’re really hoping to get back to soon. We’ve only been for breakfast, but it was amazingly good.
Frozen hot chocolate, and that’s just the beginning. This place is a sweet tooth’s dream come true. Apparently there is a regular ‘food’ menu, but I’ve only ever been for dessert, and the dessert is incredible.
There are two locations in NYC and they are both worth a trip. The coffee and pastries are delicious and the decorations are definitely in line with Ralph Lauren! There will probably be a line out the door, but it moves quickly, and is worth the wait!