Elaine and Princess One in New York with Elmo

New York City has always meant shows and/or work for me. That was until this summer when we took Princess One into the city before heading into New Jersey for a family reunion. I now had somewhat of an adventure on hand; how to do New York City with a three-year-old…Here are a few things I learned for things to do with kids in New York City.

FAO Schwartz
Paper airplanes zoomed overhead as we walked in. Employees and kids were playing catch with a new Nerf toy. Dolls, stuffed animals and even toy soldiers were stacked floor to ceiling. It was like I walked into Santa’s workshop. I was in heaven. FAO Schwartz is seriously a place for kids of all ages!

I think Princess One and I could have spent a few hours in the Barbie area located on the second floor, but The Husband didn’t find it nearly as exciting as we did. I must admit, I was totally impressed with the Barbie Foosball table. Although, it’s price point of $18K almost made me gag.

While the Barbie tour was cut short, we were able to check out all of the nooks and crannies FAO has tucked away. There is a fabulous section of the lower level where you can make your own Muppet. Yes, really! Similar to Build a Bear you select the puppet/Muppet and then personalize it. Oh, how I wanted to make one but Princess One has yet to adopt the Muppets into her carton spectrum. Perhaps if there was a build a Dora area we would have been better off.

We were also able to make it into the infamous piano area to reenact Tom Hanks in BIG. Princess One wasn’t quit as excited about it as I was, nor was my husband for that matter. It was loads of fun and you must do it if you’re there. Please know that you will have to wait in line and you don’t get to go alone. They allow 5-10 people in at a time so you can’t really play a song on your own. That was a bit of a bummer but I understand needing to do it the way they do. You can purchase your own piano to play with at home too for about $80. I know what’s on my Christmas list this year…

The Plaza Hotel and The Oak Room
You wouldn’t normally think of taking kids to the Plaza Hotel or The Oak Room and Oak Bar, that is unless your kids are into the legendary Eloise stories. If they’re older then it may also be familiar to viewers of the move Home Alone 2. The Husband loves the movie Scent of a Woman, which had many scenes in The Oak Bar, thus insisted we go and subject our daughter to sitting still. We were able to have lunch in the bar and it was out of this world delicious. Note, the Plaza is right across the street from FAQ Schwartz. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking young kids here. While the staff was excellent in catering to my daughter and my six-month-old cousin (who met us there with her mom), it’s not really that kid friendly. However, if you can get a table by the window your kids are sure to be entertained since it looks out to Central Park. If you do want to check out the hotel and grab a bite with the kidos try The Plaza Food Hall instead. The menu looked awesome and you can grab something to go and have a picnic across the street in Central Park.

Toys R’ Us
This is what every Toys ‘R’ Us should be. There is a ferris wheel inside the store and a life-size Barbie dream house. I know that Time Square is lined with chain stores but this location is not like any other Toys ‘R’ Us. This is a must see even for adults with no children.

The Theater
Duh. Take your kids to a show, if they are old enough. We were not able to take our daughter to one this time around. Mary Poppins is/was playing as well as the Lion King. If she had stayed awake or found the Mary Poppins movie at all entertaining we would have attempted it. And if she wasn’t terrified of lions, well you understand. We missed the Bernstein Bears coming by a few days. That would have been perfect. Next time. I have already informed my husband we will be doing a week in New York City sometime where we do shows and “fancy” restaurants every night. A girl can dream… In the meantime Time Out New York Kids is a great resource to use to find what shows are playing and when.

Times Square

Princess One enjoying coffee with mom in Time Square We actually stayed in Time Square this trip that alone was very exciting and very busy. When I say busy, I mean the area NEVER stops. We arrived later in the day, coming from Colorado the two-hour time difference allowed us to get out and do a few things.

There are several great restaurants and bars we would have loved to try but we felt we needed to stick more to “kid friendly” ones. Since our stay was short we only hit two – PIZZA PLACE and Ellen’s. We made our daughter endure a “fancy restaurant” one evening. Patsy’s is actually my favorite restaurants of all times so it was a MUST. And in all honesty, Patsy’s was very kid friendly. It did help that she was on perfect behavior. We bribed her with desert, a chocolate mouse cake to be exact. What she didn’t devour, ended up on the booth, which then ended up on the back of my white pants. That made it a lot fun walking back to the hotel…that’s when I missed the kid-free trips…John’s Pizzeria

We were also able to make it to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for brunch. This place is a 1950’s style diner with trains and a singing wait staff. They don’t sing to take your order, but rather every 15 minutes or so different members of the wait staff take their turn to sing to the entire restaurant. Here is a short video I to give you a taste of Ellen’s Stardust Diner. (I tried to use the one I filmed but alas, my husband was singing in the background…)

Since we were only able to check out two kid friendly restaurants in Time Square, I wanted to share a more in-depth list. (Our hotel had suggested Mars2112 for older kids and Tony Di Napoli.) Hope this helps. 

Stay tuned, a few more things to do with kids in New York City in the next post…