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NY in February half term with kids?

37 replies

HighRopes · 11/01/2020 11:08

Anyone done this? Kids are 8 and 11 and so we were thinking a mix of museums and food and sightseeing - but hadn’t got that much further than that. Anything not to miss? And is the weather going to be a problem or no worse than a British winter?

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Pipandmum · 11/01/2020 11:13

January and February are the snowiest months there and it will be very cold.
Broadway show? Skating at Rocketfeller Centre? Rockettes? I took a tuk tuk ride with my kids at night 20 blocks and asked to go through Times Sq - scary but a highlight.

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HighRopes · 11/01/2020 11:19

Thanks, I hadn’t thought of skating and they love it! I’m fine with snow and cold, as long as it’s not so cold that things shut down and stop working.

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jay55 · 11/01/2020 12:29

I went in my early 20s in feb once and it was insanely cold, snowy and icy. We had to stop for coffee all the time to warm ourselves up. It was so, so, cold, only time I've had colder was Chicago one december.

But we had fun and it wasn't as crowded as it can be so there were loads of broadway deals.

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repsullden · 11/01/2020 12:35

We went during Feb half term last year. Was very cold: clear blue skies etc. We had lots of thermals and woolly hats/gloves so go prepared or check the forecast. Ice rink was still open in Central Park which was really nice.

If you want to see a show, book it in advance as there were no tickets available for any of them at any time on standby.

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Paperdove87 · 11/01/2020 12:43

Oh my god I love NYC! Jealous!

I think top of the Rock is better than the Empire State (the queue there can be horrendous and feel like cattle being herded). Love the Native American section in the Met.

I also like the Museum of the City of New York. It's got a really good film with photos and video through history.

There are two other TKTS booths away from Times Square which have much shorter queues for broadway. You can also see the availability of shows at them if you get the app which may save you a trip.

Have fun.

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HighRopes · 11/01/2020 13:27

Thanks, those are all good tips. And we do all have thermals etc.

Is there anywhere you’d particularly recommend for kids? Older one likes dance / music, younger one is more about the food and something active to do (eg ice skating). They both enjoy a well designed museum kids trail or activities.

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willowsmumsy · 11/01/2020 13:31

Get a New York City pass. It covers all the top attractions including a bus tour. We used the bus to get from midtown to downtown and it was really good. Loved the Empire State Building. We went in the morning and didn't queue. And it was the weekend before Christmas.
If you're shopping, ask in the department stores about money off for tourists. We had a good bit off in several. If you don't ask you don't get!!

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BubblesBuddy · 11/01/2020 23:25

If you can stand the icy blasts, do the High Line. It’s got great views. I like the Metroploitan Museum. There is a highlights tour. Something for everyone. Not sure if they do anything special for DC but their web site will say if they do.

I loved the Radio City Music Hall. It’s wonderful.

I would also consider MoMa on a cold day. Try the Staten Island ferry if you can stay warm.

We like the Soho area and there are great neighbourhood restaurants around there. It’s more of a village feel.

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Mustbetimeforachange · 11/01/2020 23:27

Get ear muffs. I truly thought my ears would fall off with the bitter wind! Fab city though, enjoy.

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Youneverknowwhatyourgonnaget · 11/01/2020 23:47

We went when ours was 9 and 12.loads for them to do! We did Empire State at night and top of the rock In the day, went to see wicked the musical which was amazing! Did the 9/11 memorial which I didn’t think the kids would get because they wasn’t born then but they was really respectful and interested. Went for pasta in little italy, lunch in Katz deli from when Harry met sally, shake shack(amazing!). Kids loved Times Square and going in the Hershey and m&m shops. We went in August and the heat was unbearable.iv been November and it was freezing but I prefer the cold! We really wanted to do a horse carriage ride round Central Park but it was too hot for the horses. Your children will love it I’m sure! Even just walking around looking up is amazing!

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B1bbleBabble · 12/01/2020 06:24

Def Katz Deli and Dylan’s Candy Store.American Museum of Natural History is good for younger kids- finding Dum Dum from Night at the Museum, dinosaurs, meteorites good. Free or as much as you want to pay.New Museum on Liberty Island good( you’ll need to book if you want to go up to SofL crown or pedestal. Tenement Building does a tour led by an Italian girl immigrant for kids( will need to book I think they release tickets a couple of months ahead). Met great but expensive- roof terrace and Temple of Dendur highlights.Get a good guidebook. DK Family Guide is fab. Set in areas with everything aimed at kids and families. Good info on famous attractions too.

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Womenwotlunch · 12/01/2020 06:30

You have been given good advice.
Just get ready to pay tips in NY ( take many one dollar and five dollar bills)and NY tax
Love NY, it’s one of my favourite places .

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katzenellenbogen · 12/01/2020 08:50

Warm up with some hot chocolate a chocolate martini here.
maxbrenner.com/

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Mustbetimeforachange · 12/01/2020 09:01

Oh yes, watch Night at the Museum before you go & go to the Museum of Natural History. My kids loved that aged 10 (& still would now!)

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Applejack87 · 12/01/2020 10:56

Sorry to gate crash but has anyone been to NY in April is the weather ok

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Mustbetimeforachange · 12/01/2020 16:48

I went in April 3 times & it was lovely. I don't imagine there are any guarantees though.

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repsullden · 12/01/2020 18:18

Sorry to gate crash but has anyone been to NY in April is the weather ok been a lot in April: starting to get pretty nice, usually.

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Zoflorabore · 12/01/2020 18:24

Ds (16) is going in early February with his sixth form college as he’s doing A level drama.

Off the top of my head they are doing the following activities-

Ice skating at Central Park
Trip to 9/11 memorial
Empire State at night
Trip to the Bronx Zoo
Broadway show
River cruise
Rockerfeller centre

He has no clue how cold it will be, despite me telling him and thinks it’s some sort of fashion parade!

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pollyannaperspective · 13/01/2020 21:35

It was 18C yesterday in NYC!

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Lunar567 · 19/01/2020 20:39

We went there for February half term 4 years ago for DD's 16th birthday.
The weather was so changeable! One day it snowed all day, then it was -3, then it got warmer and rained all day, 10 degrees.
Had really bad service at Katz deli - very very slow and they tried to overcharge us.
Really enjoyed the helicopter ride over Manhattan, 9/11 memorial, Central park and free ferry to Staten island.

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SJaneS48 · 21/01/2020 08:24

We went in October with our 11 year old but I’ve been previously in a December and January & it snowed both times. It’s bloody cold obviously but looks very pretty in the snow - just layer up!

In terms of what my DD liked (or didn’t!), if you are very familiar with the Natural History Museum in London, the NY one will be a bit of a let down (though it’s a nice building). She’s also into singing & dancing - we booked a Broadway show through TodayTix (download the app, they offer discounted theatre tickets bookable in advance. Switch the location to NY. Their rep meets you outside the theatre with the tickets). If you do a show, beware of the incredibly silly bar prices! She/we also liked Times Square at night - previously it’s somewhere I’d walked through as quickly as possible but at night there’s something Blade Runner about it!

Other than that, we all liked the High Line & walking Brooklyn Bridge. We did go to the Friends building at DDs request but I really wouldn’t bother!

We didn’t go in the 9/11 museum but did visit the site which is worth visiting and is moving. It’s not far from the ferry terminal to Staten Island which is a free and easy way to see the Liberty Statue.

Plan your trip in zones and as you’ll be queuing for things, dress for that. We did Top of the Rock as it was marginally cheaper than the Empire State but be aware even if you buy an advance ticket, unless it’s a VIP one you’ll get a time slot when you get there and have a couple of hours wait time. The Empire State seemed to have less of a queue when we passed it.

Other than that, DD got v excited by all the crappy doughnut and fast food options and Sears department store - she’s only 11 so got time to develop some taste!

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SJaneS48 · 21/01/2020 08:33

On the singing/dancing bit there’s also Ellen’s Diner just off Times Square. It’s very very popular with tourists into musical theatre as the waiting staff perform numbers. It’s supposed to be very overpriced as well. We walked past it with a view to going in for DD but the queue was quite long and everyone inside seemed to be waving their arms around which was a complete no-no for DH! Parents I know who have taken their kids there have said how much the kids enjoyed it though & I think the breakfast queue is shorter.

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BubblesBuddy · 22/01/2020 12:15

We have been several times with DDs and swerved Katz and Ellens. They just were not on their radar, thank God. They are really for tourists and we prefer nicer Amercian restaurants with New Yorkers in them. DD interned there a couple of years ago so that's why we stayed around the SoHo area. It has great neighbourhood restaurants and not the crazy junk restaurants in mid town. DD found us great cafes and restaurants while she was there and NY insiders really do not do Katz and Ellens. There is so much more to see and do.

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SJaneS48 · 22/01/2020 16:02

:-) Like Londoners, I’m sure New Yorkers would be completely appalled by crowds of tourists finding their nice neighbourhood restaurants Bubbles. As an adult, I do completely agree with you & would always prefer to go where the locals go and avoid obvious tourist traps & rubbish restaurants. However, children do like a bit of complete touristy cheese, whether that’s the likes of Ellen’s dinner, Katz’s, Planet Hollywood’s, hop on buses, M&M megastores etc which I think is ok - it’s their holiday too!

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