Bright Lights, Big City....little kids?

Take the kids to New York City?  What?! vacations are supposed to be relaxing and stress-free, right? Impossible.  But, after mulling it over a bit,  I'm thinking it can be done...all you need is a master plan.

Some important things need to be taken into consideration to maintain your sanity as a parent: Sleeping & eating.  First, kids need to sleep in a separate room. Having the whole family forced to go to bed at the same time is just not good. Secondly, buying meals at restaurants three times a day can cost an arm and a leg and the shirt off your back.  You need some options.

New York's Upper West Side is a great place to vacation with kids.  It's not teaming with tourists and noise like Times Square, instead it has quiet, brown-stoned lined streets, hole-in-the wall diners, shops, restaurants, art fairs - you'll feel like real New Yorkers.  
The fam can walk everywhere; Central Park, museums, the zoo, it's perfect.  And I think I've found the ideal place to stay:  The Hotel Beacon.

The Beacon has BIG rooms with 1 or 2 bedrooms and.....kitchens!  Unheard of in New York.  Starting at under $300, the rates are very reasonable and the reviews are great.  lists the Beacon in their "best New York hotels you've never heard of" category.  But it gets even better....right across the street is the Fairway Market - one of the biggest & best grocery stores in New York.

 YAYNow, the meal portion of our program is taken care of leaving plenty of money to grab a slice of pizza at every corner shop we see (we're pizza lovers) and cash for cab rides to Little Italy for dinner if we wish.  Now for entertainment: There's so much history to see - Ellis Island, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, M&M World (ok, my youngest really wants to see it - I don't know why, she doesn't even eat M&M's).  

As with pretty much everything in New York, you don't have to go far to find something does right next door sound?  The Beacon Theater is literally 20 feet away. Sarah McLachlan, Lyle Lovett, Bryan Adams and Robert Plant are all scheduled to perform there in January.  For the kids?  Miranda Cosgrove (iCarley) is booked February 5th.

I've made our spring break reservations already, just in case.  I also made the mistake of mentioning it to the kids - they're already jazzed.  Here we go.....


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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?