5 Tips for Bringing a Baby to the Big Apple

Thinking about taking your little one on your vacation to New York? New York is surprisingly baby friendly.  My husband, Will, and I just took our 10 month old son to New York for a long weekend.  I’m currently 15 weeks pregnant with baby Emily, so she was also there in spirit. The 2 days leading up to our trip, my anxiety levels were going through the roof about “a baby… in New York!?!?!?”  Will and I had already been to New York several times, so I was imagining throwing a baby into all of our past trips to the Big Apple. It seemed, well, impossible.  Late nights with bright lights.  Metro rides, taxis (either riding in them or getting run over by them), and walking…alot of walking.  And, of course, Cosmopolitans, lots and lots of Cosmopolitans!!

Oh how our lives have changed.  I couldn’t imagine baby James fitting into the old New York scene.  So, like all my trips I have planned since he’s entered the picture, I re-adjusted my expectations and planned accordingly. Here’s 5 tips I learned from this past weekend with a baby in New York:

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1. Don’t bring your heavy jogging stroller and/or car seat.

Whether you trust it or not, taxi’s these days still don’t require a child to be in a car seat.  Uber now offers “uber/carseat.” So with that and the plethora of public transportation options in New York, you won’t need that car seat that clicks into your heavy jogging stroller.  More importantly, I can promise you, you won’t want to carry that shit around!  The best tip I can give you is to go with a lightweight yet durable umbrella stroller.  We used this one I found on Amazon:

The stroller was 13 lbs and came with a strap for carrying over your shoulder when folded up. It easily carried through metros/subways and was compact enough to be thrown in the trunk of a cab or Uber of any size.  It had a large basket underneath the seat for the diaper bag and the seat adjusted to almost laying down position….perfect for on-the-go naps and diaper changes.  If not this exact stroller, you will want something very similar with all these qualities.  James was still napping twice a day and each time he fell asleep on-the-go in the stroller in the lay-flat seat position. Worked like a charm!

2. Have a bottle ready for the Elevators to the Top.

You’d be remissed to go to New York without checking out one of the bird’s eye views of the city.  There are so many buildings in New York that have elevators taking you to what feels like the top of the world, including Top of the Rock (in Rockefeller Center), the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, etc.  On this weekend trip, we took James to the top of the One World Trade Center.  It’s the tallest building in North America and the 6th tallest building in the world. The elevator travels 23 miles per hour taking you up 104 floors to the top in 47 seconds! Worth the $$!  Similar to being in an airplane, you will want to have a bottle ready for the baby during the elevator ride to help with ears popping.

3. Check out the Costumed Characters and Street artists in Times Square.

You will probably feel the need to hit up Times Square while you are in NY anyways, because well it’s just so NEW YORK.  Yes, it is kind of a tourist trap but if you have a tiny traveler in tow, go check it out during the day. Not only are there fun costumed characters, but there’s also plenty of street artists doing their tricks for their dollar in the hat.  Cheap entertainment and James loved it.

4. Stroll through Central Park

This should probably go without saying, but when in New York (and especially if you have a baby with you)….take a stroll through Central Park.  The fresh air, the birds, the trees, the skyscrapers in the background, and miles and miles of perfectly paved stroller-friendly trails all set the perfect scene for a lovely afternoon.  Plus you also have the Central Park Zoo and the Victorian Garden’s Amusement Park that takes place of the ice skating rink in the summer.

5.  Go to the good restaurants during the DAY.  Maybe try the Greenwich Village Food Tour!

I have to say the nighttime dinner-out attempts with a baby in NY were a joke! James was always cranky by 7:30/8pm. And we weren’t able to actually sit through and enjoy an evening meal without one of us, (Me), having to go walk him around the block to try and get him to fall asleep.  New York has some AMAZING food though and if you consider yourself any type of “foodie” this is an awesome place to dig in.  So my advice to those still wanting to partake in the culinary experience: eat at the quality places during the daytime and get quicker to-go meals at night.  New York has some decent stop-in-pizza-slice-to-go type joints on many corners….perfect for the evening.

We met some friends one Saturday and did the 3 hour Food Tour in Greenwich Village that started at noon.  I highly recommend this with or without a baby!  You stroll through the beautiful tree-lined streets of NYC’s historic West Village, stopping in and getting vip access to some of the most popular restaurants in the area.  Plus the guide shares history, culture, & architectural tid-bits about Greenwich Village and what makes it so unique from the rest of NYC. You even walk by the iconic apartment building from the opening shot of FRIENDS on Bedford Street.

New York with a baby will definitely be a different experience. It’s certainly no romantic NYC Christmas vacation (which I highly recommend!)  However, don’t let it stop you from taking that vacation with your tiny traveler. James had a blast!!  And while we didn’t have the late night outs to explore the city that doesn’t sleep, we really weren’t up for it since we were up so early in the morning with the baby anyways.  This also gave us the 7 and 8am city perspective which was brand new to me! haha.

Have you taken your little one to New York?  What did I miss? Fill free to leave a comment below.

Safe travels!