Two Day NYC itinerary with kids at Christmas

My big kids have been wanting to go to the Big Apple for years. And although I love New York City, it’s always been a bit overwhelming for me to think about taking the kids.

Which sights should we visit? Where do we stay as a family of seven? Will it be too much walking for the little guys? Can we enjoy it without spending a small fortune?

Despite my concerns, I’ve decided to forge ahead, book our stay, create our 2 day NYC itinerary and enjoy the adventure.


The biggest challenge in taking a successful NYC trip (especially for a big family) is finding a place to stay. It will be our crew of 7 plus my mom and mom-in-law, for a total of 9.

A group this size is not hotel material.

Instead we booked a spacious 5BR, 2BA home in Jersey City, NJ through Airbnb .

Half the price of a Manhattan hotel and triple the space?  We’ll take it!

Jersey City is across the Hudson from Manhattan and has easy train access to the city. Check out our rental here!

We plan to park our vehicles in Jersey City and take the PATH train into Manhattan.

Side Note: You can purchase a Metro card at any PATH station and choose the amount of rides you want to load onto your card. Read more about how it works here!


Arrival Day

We plan on arriving Thursday afternoon around 4pm and taking the train into the Meatpacking District to visit Chelsea Market.

Years ago I did a Chelsea Market food tour like this one , loved it and have been wanting to get back ever since!

There are 3 Chelsea Market vendors I remember loving that I don’t want to miss!

Doughnuttery ~ amazing homemade doughnuts made right in front of you with an amazing array of flavor options, think mulled apple cider, pumpkin pie brulee, speckled strawberry or my personal fave, cinnamon sugar (so boring, i know).

chelsea market, doughnuttery, new york city eats

Sarabeth’s Bakeryall I remember from this place is the heavenly smell and the delicious bread. And really what else do we need in life besides really delicious, warm, buttery bread?

Anthropologie not a store unique to NYC obviously, but still a must see on my list whenever I happen to be close to one.

Honestly, just walking around Chelsea Market and exploring all the unique vendors and doing some people watching is my idea of a perfect way to spend a night in the city.

Day One

After a good night’s sleep we plan to leave in the morning by train to head to the World Trade Center.

We have tickets to the One World Observatory at 10am.  You can find a discount coupon for this attraction here.

one world observatory, world trade center, nyc, visit nyc

One World Observatory (also called Freedom Tower), made my list of NYC must sees because of the interactive exhibits it offers.

Yes, it’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and we will see an amazing view from the top, but it’s also part thrill ride.

You enter your sky pod and climb 102 stories in 47 seconds. Sounds fun!

The coolest part is that as your sky pod heads towards the heavens you see NYC turn from open fields into today’s concrete jungle.

There are other cool features like seeing the bedrock that NYC was built on, hearing from the individuals who took part in the construction process, and an interactive Global Map.

I am hoping this attraction lives up to my expectations!

Next up we are going to be true NYC tourists and take the CitySightseeing Double decker bus tour.

city sightseeing bus, nyc tour bus, double decker bus tour

I chose the double decker bus tour thinking it will be the easiest and most entertaining way to see the city with kids.

Fingers crossed we get good weather and can sit in the open air at the top of the bus for the best views!

The big selling feature of this bus tour is that you can hop on and hop off and explore areas at your leisure.

We will definitely spend some time in Times Square!

times square, nyc trip, nyc trip with kids

And probably grab some lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe, which the kids will love.

hard rock cafe times square, nyc times square, nyc with kids

After enjoying lunch and exploring Times Square we will head to Pier 78 for our CitySightseeing Ferry tour. This water based tour is included in the price of our bus tour. We purchased the All Around Town 48 hour tour  so we could see NYC by land and water!

Of specific interest to us is boating right by the Statue of Liberty.

nyc trip, statue of liberty, nyc boat tour

Hoping to time our ferry tour as sunset approaches so we can see the lights from the water at night.

After grabbing some dinner we plan to head to Rockefeller Center to see the infamous Christmas tree and maybe watching some of the ice skaters do their thing.

rocekefeller center, rockefeller christmas tree, nyc at christmas

We also plan to take a leisurely stroll down 5th Avenue to see the incredible Christmas window box displays NYC is famous for.

New York City at Christmas time is magical and I am excited to share the magic with my kids!

Day Two

We plan to keep this day a little less busy as I am sure kids will be exhausted from our previous day’s adventures.

The main priority for our last day in the city is visiting the Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue.

I have a couple of little guys who LOVE trains and will be thrilled to see model trains zipping through a miniature NYC winter wonderland.

Grand Central Terminal, NYC train show, christmas train show nyc

We also plan to visit Macy’s Santaland which I’ve heard is pretty special.

nyc christmas, macys, macy santaland

Best of all both these events are free!

Although there are a ton of other fun events and attractions that NYC has to offer,especially at Christmas, these events and attractions stood out to me as the highlights.

Excited to share our trip reviews and recommendations with you once we return!


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