Jordan and I love New York City. When we decided to take a family vacation during Phoenix’s fall break, NYC was our first choice. We come alive in big cities. Toddlers never stop moving, so we never considered going to the mountains or the beach. Honestly, bringing Phoenix to the ocean seems like a lot of work!
We broke our trip up into three sections: two nights in Brooklyn, three nights visiting family, and another three nights in Harlem. Let’s dive into our first day in New York City with a toddler, including choosing where to stay, flying with a toddler, and the pros and cons of using Airbnb.
The three of us took an early morning two-hour direct flight to New York City. I woke Phoenix up at 4am to feed and change him. He goes to bed at 6pm and while he usually sleeps until 7am, Phoenix was in good spirits all morning. After about an hour he fell asleep nursing on the plane and slept the rest of the flight.
Practical flight tips:
-check your stroller at the gate. this way if your flight is delayed you are able to stroll around the airport.
-wear your baby in a carrier because as you go through security they allow you to wear your baby.
-snacks, snacks, and more snacks. I kept a couple of bars and fruit pouches with me at all times.
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I knew I wanted to stay a few days in Brooklyn and a few days in Manhattan. This way we weren’t traveling back and forth each day. I chose for us to stay in Airbnbs. This way we still could go about our evening even after Phoenix was in bed.
The main downside to Airbnbs is the check-in/check-out process. When you stay at hotels you can store your luggage even when your room isn’t ready. The couple of hours in between landing in NYC and checking into our place in Brooklyn left us all frazzled.
In hindsight we should have had our Lyft driver drop us off at a luggage locker. Instead, we walked to a coffee shop and afterwards found a park all while dragging our luggage. We learned our lesson and stored our luggage in Manhattan (after visiting family) a few days later. Now, this might not be an issue if you travel light, but between Phoenix’s pack n’ play and Jordan’s camera/computer (i.e. work gear) we don’t travel light.
Phoenix won’t co-sleep and renting a pack n’play wouldn’t have helped us much since we stayed in three different places. Thankfully, our BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light is designed for travel.
Like I said, we had a few hours in-between landing and checking-in. We walked to a nearby coffee shop to eat lunch. Afterwards, we spent about an hour at a local park to give Phoenix a chance to run around. We visited parks often! There are many awesome ones sprinkled all throughout the city.
At 2:30 we finally checked-in! We stayed in a one bedroom apartment in the Bushwick/Bedstuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. I quickly put Phoenix down for a nap. I wanted to give him a reset for the rest of the evening. Once he woke up we hopped in a Lyft to grab dinner and visit a couple of shops. Particularly, Books Are Magic.
Jordan and I loved our tacos at Jolie Cantina. Bonus on early dinners? You might catch happy hour. 😉 Phoenix was less interested in eating bites from our plate. He was so tired.
My friend Sammi suggested we visit Books Are Magic, a beautiful local bookstore. They were in the middle of preparing for a book signing, so we couldn’t stay too long. We left with a couple of books for Phoenix — including a NYC themed board book. At this point Phoenix was fussy, so we made our way back “home”. While I put Phoenix to bed Jordan walked to a local market to grab dessert and breakfast supplies. The day was long, but we ended our evening drinking wine on the patio.
Practical Airbnb tips:
– if possible find one that has extras such as: a bathtub, two bedrooms and possibly even a washer/dryer.
– take stock of what is around and put away breakables.
– let the host know you have a kid.