After spending an awesome weekend in New York City with my 13 year old daughter, I left with some lessons learned.
Make Sure the Hotel Offers Free Wifi
When booking a hotel, make sure you confirm that wifi is included in the room rate (if wifi is important to you). I was with my 13 year old, so yeah, wifi was kind of important. We stayed at The Muse Hotel, and although it was a cute and convenient hotel, the wifi charge was less than attractive. The deal I thought I got on the room rate wasn’t really a deal after all. Honestly, I thought hotels had moved beyond charging for wifi.
Do Some Planning in Advance
Make some plans ahead of time for what you want to see and do in a city you’re visiting, and schedule the rest of your time around those events. I wish I had booked a Broadway show online from home (or had known that same-day tickets could be purchased TKTS in Times Square!). And I wish we had gone to the Rockefeller Center to purchase tickets to see the Observation Deck prior to when I actually wanted to go. Tickets were sold out when we arrived on the Saturday night and we were pretty disappointed. (It was such a clear night too.) At the same time, this was my first trip to New York City in more than ten years, and the first time with my daughter, and I think I put too much pressure on myself to see more than what was possible for a first trip (and short trip at that), when half the time it seemed we spent trying to find our way around. This was a lesson I will take with me in planning our upcoming trip to Europe.
Don’t Write Off Visiting a Place Again Just Because You Didn’t Enjoy it Previously
To be honest, I had visited New York about ten or so years ago… several times. And I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. But because my daughter had it in her head she wanted to see New York, I booked the weekend. She loved it, and I actually liked it more this time than I ever have. Maybe the city just needed to grow on me, or maybe it had to do with my current state of mind or the company (I’ve got a pretty awesome kid, after all). So don’t write off a city you’ve been to before just because you didn’t like it the last time. The next time could be better.
If Possible… Stay A Little Longer
We really only had an evening and a full day in New York City. Way too short. Next time I will plan our time better, even if two nights is all that’s possible. Fly in early in the morning and fly out later on the last day.
In spite of this, we really did enjoy our stay. We visited Madame Toussauds’ Wax Museum, the Sam Ash music store (where my daughter bought a Beatles-inspired guitar strap) and we walked and walked for hours around Times Square and along Fifth Avenue, taking in the vibe of the city. We purchased a couple of sweatshirts and a New York City Christmas ornament at a tourist shop. I ate the best veggie burger I have ever had at The Counter in Times Square and we tried a few chocolate bars and snacks we don’t have here in Canada (guacamole-flavoured tortilla chips, anyone?). We saw naked women walking around Times Square, along with cartoon and superhero mascots. You know, just another day. Next trip we’ve already discussed taking in a Broadway show, taking photos of the city from the Observation Deck of Rockefeller Center and visiting the Museum of Modern Art.
New York City, bye for now. We had fun and will be back!