As we continue our quest to find family friendly activities in New York, Day 2 brought us down to where Daniel used to live in a 500 sq ft apartment in a 5 floor walk up – the West Village.
Part 2: West Village / Downtown
[BREAKFAST] El Condor Coffee (95 Greenwich Avenue): Come for the coffee, stay for the food. Everything here is extremely high quality (we especially loved the housemade muesli and pastries). While we opted to take things to go, they also accept reservations online if you want to take advantage of the awesome decor + lighting!
Walking along the Hudson river to Little Island
[MORNING ACTIVITY] Little Island (Pier55 in Hudson River Park): When we heard that a $260 million artificial island park had been built in the Hudson River last May, we knew we had to check it out. And it did not disappoint. Upon entering the park, you immediately feel like you’re in an oasis that shouldn’t belong in New York. The meandering stairways (+ wheelchair/stroller accessible paths) tour you around 350 different species of shrubs, flowers and trees. Along the way, especially at some of the higher points of the park, you’ll witness some of the best views in New York, including One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, and the skyline in Hoboken, New Jersey across the river. Our toddler especially enjoyed playing with the instruments, dancing on the floor chimes, and exploring multiple paths up to the highest point of the island. NOTE: There isn’t a playground at this park, but we walked over to Pier 51 just 5 minutes south where there’s a great playground overlooking the river.
[LUNCH] Hao Noodle - Chelsea (343 W 14th St): While we’d normally opt for Chelsea Market (and we’d absolutely recommend a visit at some point during your visit in New York if you’ve never been!), we decided to avoid the crowds and sat down at Hao Noodle (note: reservations can be made online). Enjoy the spacious, serene interior while feasting on dumplings and noodles. We were especially delighted to see other fellow parents here with their little ones – great minds think alike!
[AFTERNOON ACTIVITY] Washington Square Park + Strand Book Store (828 Broadway): Washington Square Park has two fun play areas for kids – the Play Hills and Washington Square Playground. Both ended up being great for our toddler to get some free play in while our 8 month old napped. It was the first time I saw our toddler truly get comfortable being on ropes at the Play Hills – super fun and safe environment for kids to conquer new skills!
We then walked over to the Strand – an absolute destination for all types of book lovers. They’ve got the largest selection for basically anything and everything. We took turns perusing each section while our toddler plunked down in the kids section reading new train and truck books that we had never seen before. It was a good thing we had some extra space in our luggage for our flight back home…
[DINNER] Viva Cucina (85 2nd Ave): At the end of a long day, we know that carbs will be a big hit for the whole family – specifically, pasta. We stumbled upon this place in NoHo after the Strand, and we happily sat outside. They make all their pasta in-house, and the chef cooks it to perfection. We found the staff was super understanding and accommodating of our kids, including helping us with our strange request of multiple side orders of sliced tomatoes.
Part 3: Honorable Mentions & General Tips
- Subway. We found this to be the easiest way to get around the city. We were initially nervous about carrying strollers up and down, but we always found the elevators and our kids preferred being in the subway than buckled up in a cab.
- The High Line. Here you’ll find a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur. We opted for Little Island over The High Line this trip, but this was a regular favorite when we used to live in Manhattan.
- Times Square. It’s sensory overload, and it’s A LOT. But there’s also no other place quite like it in the world. Our kids will remember the bright lights and super heroes.
- The Lobby Bar at Ace Hotel New York. It’s a perfect casual lunch spot where the kids can roam around on the big comfy couches. And don’t forget to take some snaps in the photo booth before you leave! BONUS: The Milk Bar NYC Flagship is just around the corner for some sugary treats to keep you going.
If you missed Part 1, click here to read more. Do you have other favorites in New York? Please let us know in the comments!