Want to take a mommy daughter trip to New York City for the holidays, but don’t know where to start? I am sharing our fun, well-planned and doable itinerary for 30 hours in New York City. We were grateful to meet some dear school friends that flew up for this girls weekend too. We made memories that will last a lifetime!
Getting to New York City
Of course, we could take a flight, but we opted for the Amtrak leaving from Union Station. We left at 6:20 am on Saturday and took the 4:05 pm (189) train back to DC on Sunday. The total trip for two tickets was only $123 ($30 to get there and $93 to get back). What a deal! The actual train ride was smooth, enjoyable, clean, and had free wifi. There are restrooms and food carts on the train too.
Our First Day in New York City
We typically walked everywhere in New York. However, we did ride a cab, a cart driven by a biker, and the Subway. All were great, but different. Upon arrival, the Amtrak dropped us off at Moynihan Station and we walked to 34th and to the Macy’s for a quick look at the fun holiday window displays. Afterwards, we wanted a quick bite to eat, so we walked to the Whole Foods by Bryant Park to get some yogurt and eat inside at their seating area. This felt like a healthy, familiar welcome to New York. We took a breather, people watched, and got our bearings straight.
Afterwards, we perused Bryant Park, saw the ice skaters, and looked in all the little shops. We only packed our backpacks and they were getting heavy, so we walked to our hotel (the Crown Plaza) in Times Square to check our bags.
Next, we walked around Times Square to see all the lights, ads, people, etc. (see top pic!). Afterwards, we took an 11 minute walk to Central Park because it was gorgeous out. This park is huge and unfortunately we couldn’t see it all. We did see ice skating and horses with carriages. It was bustling and beautiful. We then started walking back to the hotel to meet our friends.
After meeting up, we popped into the lively FAO Schwarz Toy Store. Then we grabbed a quick bite at the Harrison. Then checked into our nearby hotel–The Crown Plaza. It was a great location, had bag checks, clean restrooms, and friendly staff. After getting checked in, we had a bit of time to get ready for our big event. We went to see the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular which was only an 11 minute walk from our hotel.
The Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular
The Radio City Rockette’s were truly spectacular, poised, controlled and totally in sync. I would highly recommend the experience! Our show began at 5 pm, but we got there around 4:30 pm to make sure we had plenty of time. The dancers were incredible, the singers and band were so talented, and the overall message was joyful, beautiful, and a quite the production!
I had seen the Rockette’s once before on a New York trip with my sister 13 years ago, but now the Rockette’s were even more extravagant! We used 3D glasses for the first part of the show, the stage adjusted levels, it was more interactive, and they had fantastic lights on the interior walls of Radio City Music Hall during the performance. We LOVED it! They even had two live camels and three live sheep on stage for the Nativity scene. This was our favorite part of our Mommy Daughter trip to New York City for the Holidays.
Our Carriage Ride to Dinner
After the performance, we were greeted with several men driving bikes with a carriage on behind it. We took a chance and rode it and were giddy the whole time. It was $64 for a 6 minute ride though. $8.99 per minute — we didn’t realize this until after we got on, but are still thankful for the “experience”. There was a “Merry Christmas” sign in the carriage, a blanket for our legs, he took our photo, and we listened to exciting, holiday music on our drive to our dinner reservation for 6:45 pm at Limone. Dinner was lovely and had a fun ambiance where we dined upstairs. We walked 11 minutes back to our hotel and were so glad to plop into bed!
Day Two of New York City
We planned for another full, fun day which started with a scrumptious and fun trip to the Museum of Ice Cream. We hopped in a 13 minute cab ride to head south to enjoy the Museum of Ice Cream and eat at Jack’s Wife Freda. Bruch at Jack’s Wife Freda was really delicious and healthy.
The Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream was SO cute! I am so glad my friend recommended this. We got tickets right at 10 am and were second in line when we got there at 9:30 am (the line grew too!). The exterior and interior were lively and a very fun place to take pictures and videos. With the ticket, you are offered ice cream four different times and cotton candy once. The Museum is made up of several rooms and you guide your way through it. Find a dessert room, mirror area, ball pit, swings, slide, large snow globe, “sprinkle” pit with a slide, and more! It seems like Willy Wonka’s factory, but for ice cream. We are so glad we went! This was another highlight of our Mommy Daughter Trip to New York City for the Holidays.
Next we walked four minutes to eat at Jack’s Wife Freda. It was such a fun atmosphere and we enjoyed our food! We got avocado toast, salad, and fries. Next we walked to the Adidas store and Sephora. There are lots more shops around there too. Then we decided to be brave and take the subway back to Times Square so we could head to Rockefeller Center to go ice skating. Taking the subway was a cinch with Apple Pay!
Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
We had Ice Skating tickets at Rockefeller Center for 1:30 pm for the four of us to ice skate. It was a memorable experience. Tickets were a little pricey, but we thought we’d do it anyway. Ice skating pricing varies based on age and time. Ice skate rental was $11 per person. We saw options to skate at Bryant Park and at Central Park as we walked around. Central Park’s rink was very large and not busy at all, unlike Rockefeller and Bryant Park. We enjoyed this activity, but there’s plenty of places to ice skate in the DC area too!
After ice skating, we headed back to the hotel to gather our belongings and head to our train at Moynihan Station which was a 30 minute walk. We got there about 30 minutes early, but we liked it so we weren’t stressed about time. Our friends went to get on their flight back at the JFK airport.
We had such a great time on our Mommy Daughter trip to New York City for the Holidays. Of course, there are SO many things to do in New York, but we really liked the handful of things we decided to do. New York can seem a little daunting and overwhelming, but once you decide to actually make the trip especially with buddies, it is so fun!
We hope this inspires you to take a Mommy Daughter trip. This could be a weekday trip when school is out. New York is so close to us and we really should take advantage of it more. Both of our daughters had fun and we did too!
A big thanks to my friend for planning lots of the details! I texted her to ask if she wanted to do this and I am so glad she said “yes!” We were so bummed they moved away during the pandemic, but it was a joy to be back together again!
Quick Recap: Mommy Daughter Trip to New York City for the Holidays
Day 1 in New York City
- 6:20 to 9:45 am Train ride from Union Station to Moynihan Station in NYC
- 10 am to 1:30 pm – Snack at Whole Foods, walk at Bryant Park, Times Square, and Central Park
- 1:30 to 5 pm – Late Lunch at the Harrison, check into the Crown Plaza, walk to Radio City Music Hall
- 6:45 to 10 pm – Carriage ride with a bike and dinner reservations at Limone and walked to hotel
Day 2 in New York City
- 9 am – Packed, bags checked at hotel, and cab ride to Museum of Ice Cream
- 10 – 11:10 pm – Museum of Ice Cream
- 11:15 am – Brunch reservations at Jack’s Wife Frida, light shopping, and subway ride to Times Square
- 1:30 pm – Ice Skating at Rockefeller Museum, walked back to hotel to get bags, then walked to Moynihan station to catch our train
- 4:05 – 7:30 pm – Train ride back to DC!