Here are two of my ultimate favorite dining places to take the kids when in Manhattan, along with my favorite place to stay.
(Note that Manhattan, like many other big cities, has endless hidden gems. Part of the fun of traveling with family can be setting up a few dining spots and activities, and then leaving a bit of open time to explore and find new places on your own…even let the older kids pick a dining spot or two!)
What to Eat:
1. Alice’s Tea Cup
My favorite place in NYC, a visit to this city would not be complete for me without a full afternoon tea at Alice’s Tea Cup (156 East 64th Street (at Lexington Avenue)).
This tea shop has three magical locations (or Chapters as they refer to them): Central Park West, Upper East Side and its latest, Brooklyn Heights. I LOVE the scones and clotted cream with a pot of tea. The kids love all the fun sandwiches and sweet treats, along with the Alice in Wonderland decor that makes you feel like you’ve slipped down the rabbit hole. Try spending the day in Central Park (see numbers 2, 3 and 4), and make a reservation at Alice’s Tea Cup East of the park, for an afternoon break.
2. Marriott Times Square Revolving Restaurant
I always make sure to secure an early dinner reservation at the New York Marriott Marquis restaurant, The View (1535 Broadway) when traveling to Manhattan. This restaurant is so cool for kids as it is a revolving restaurant that gives diners a 360-degree view throughout their dining experience. Dinner is a buffet-style, which is great for either picky eaters or kids that like to try everything! There is also an entire table of desserts for after they’ve finished their vegetables.
The restaurant is on the nicer side of dining options, and includes many couples celebrating special occasions, along with business diners and groups, so you may decide this is a destination to save until your kids are at least elementary school age. I always pack a few notebooks and a few crayons or pencils to keep the kids occupied after they’ve had enough of the view and it works well for us!
Where to Stay:
Since I often get asked where to stay, I will say that I tend to gravitate toward staying at a hotel in Times Square. While a host of other neighborhoods work just fine and can be quieter, especially when traveling with kids, I like the central location of Times Square and the ability to walk to most of the sights we like to see.
Of course, the subway is easily accessible just as it is in other parts of the city, and that’s always a highlight for the kids. Traveling the subway or trains is, in itself, part of the fun for kids when traveling to a new city.
Traveling the subway or trains is, in itself, part of the fun for kids when traveling to a new city.
That being said, my favorite hotel to stay in with children is the Chatwal (130 West 44th St.), though it is a splurge hotel. I love the location on 44th, putting you within walking distance (or a short cab or subway ride) of Central Park and the playgrounds, as well as Alice’s Tea Cup, Chapter 2, Rockefeller Center, etc.
Once while staying here and traveling with an infant, our room wasn’t ready to check in yet. The staff arranged for us to use one of the hotel’s beautiful meeting rooms (The Stanford White Studio, which didn’t happen to be in use that day) for a few hours as a place to nurse and nap.
Aside from the amazing customer service, the rooms are everything you could imagine and though Manhattan has endless dining choices, the Chatwal’s two dining options hold their own as great destinations.