The Big Apple without kids…let’s play!
Since we’ve already covered the stay, move, and eat portion of New York City for couples, let’s get to all the fun things to do.
Sleeping a little later, visiting the hotel gym, and maybe the spa are the easy no brainer ideas for couples to do on any trip without the kids. But New York City has so many amazing things to offer, so let me give you a few of my favorites from a trip last November.
Cityrunningtours.com – If you are a runner and would like a tour of the city, this is a great way to do both. They offer group and private tours of different parts of New York City starting between 7 and 10am, that last about an hour. This time Hubby and I chose a private run through Harlem. It was fantastic getting all the information of a great part of the city and getting exercise at the same time. This time we ran through Columbia University, and right past the Apollo, The Cotton Club, Grant’s Tomb, Barnard College, and the Seinfeld restaurant. All of the guides I’ve ever had, have been fun and informative. Don’t worry, it is not a race, it’s a tour at a comfortable running pace. I participated in a group tour through Soho and Chinatown last summer, so it is nice to have so many to choose from.
Get yourself to the Theatre – We typically pick one show that we want to see and book those tickets online before we leave home. Be sure to check out your benefits if you have an American Express as they have access to tickets that the general public does not. This time, we happened to see Book of Mormon, which was excellent. Although I enjoy shows like Mary Poppins and Spiderman when visiting NYC with kids, it was nice to see something more adult this time. Discounted tickets to a lot of shows can be found in Times Square at the TKTS booth. The booth opens at 2pm, and be prepared to stand in line. They will post the shows they have available, so be sure to have several options in case the one you want is sold out by the time you get to the front of the line.
Get Lost – Things tend to be so scheduled when you are traveling with children, that it’s nice to get lost for a little while. Although in New York City you might focus on one area. Central Park, shopping on 5th Avenue, Times Square, wander through China Town or Little Italy, walking through Battery Park are all great ideas. I’ve accidentally found impromptu concerts in Central Park, a giant golden Buddha in Chinatown, and a great view of the Statue of Liberty at sunset from Battery Park.
9/11 Memorial – While children can certainly visit this powerful memorial, I think a thorough visit is easier without them. We were more free to linger and reflect without little ones in tow. Reserve a timed ticket on the internet several weeks before you head to NYC. A friend of mine died in the twin towers, and I was able to locate his name, thanks to the helpful employees. I was unaware that there is a shallow trough of water underneath the bronze that you can reach. Visitors can wet their hand and place a handprint on the bronze next to the name of their loved one. The handprint dries and evaporates quickly, but it makes you feel like you’ve somehow signed a guestbook. The museum was not open yet, however we could peek through the windows at the girders from the towers. I’ll be sure to visit the museum the next time I’m in town.
Take in a view – With all of the sky scrapers, there are several of them that you can head to the top of, to get a good view. Take your pick between the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and The Top of the Rock. I have done the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock. It’s a tough choice. The Empire State Building is so iconic with a great view. The audio tour is given by a NYC cab driver, and is a great introduction to all of the boroughs and bridges for those new to Manhattan. The Top of the Rock has a great intro movie while you are waiting that is included in your admission. This more unobstructed view is spectacular, especially the side that looks out on Central Park. My boys demand to go to the Empire State Building to look for King Kong when in NYC, so we chose the Top of the Rock when they weren’t along for the trip.
As with all of these fun things, the sooner you book them, the more choices you have. So we’d book one or two things a day, and explore from there. For example, The Top of the Rock is close to 5th avenue shopping and Central Park, so we would group those activities together. Or the 9/11 Memorial is downtown, so we wandered through Battery Park afterwards. Sometimes the fun of traveling without the kids, means that your day can evolve a little more organically. You never know what fun you can find, just go with it.