Our Guide To The Best Mother Daughter Trip to NYC Ever!

Plan a trip she'll never forget! We share our itinerary for a Mother Daughter Trip To NYC with all the best thing to do and see in New York City!

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{This Mother Daughter Trip To NYC is full of details & pics so I’ll be breaking it up into 2 parts. I’ll link everything I can so you can recreate the same adventure and share this PDF of our full itinerary. If you’re thinking of taking a Big Girls Getaway to NYC check out this post}

BIRTHDAY TRADITION

Our family has an amazing tradition that when you turn 10, you get snatched away on a Super Secret Surprise Birthday Adventure with just one parent. The kid’s bags are pre-packed, he or she doesn’t know when its coming and they only get to open the “Destination Box” once they arrive at the airport (since security is gonna let the cat out of the bag anyway).

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New York City

Our oldest son hiked Mount Ranier and went whale watching with my husband in Seattle.  When you’re the middle child, however, you know the trip is coming so the surprise of when & where is the best part! Our sweet daughter’s trip was even more of a surprise since it was delayed a year after a big renovation and move into a new house.  Patient soul. Love this girl.

Where to take her? So many amazing places to choose from, but only 1 city will do for this fabulous fashionista who loves art and theater and can go with the flow anywhere. NEW YORK CITY! The Best Mother Daughter trip to NYC is what I’m after. I was so excited to wake her in the wee hours to head to the airport for 5 days in The Big Apple. I’m giddy…

As she gets in the car she spies a wicker box tied with a huge white satin ribbon. “THE DESTINATION BOX”. When we get to the airport, she pulls the bow and discovers a bedazzled notebook and a few fun travel books. “KGL to NYC was the notebook’s monogram. She was so excited! Nervous, sleepy, and ready to go! She all the sudden looked older. How did this happen?


Mother-Daughter NYC Day 1

NYC HOTEL

Hampton Inn Times Square North

  • Conveniently located at 8th Ave & 51st Street
  • North of Times Square by a few blocks, just outside of the chaos
  • The hotel was great for easy access around Manhattan.
  • Wonderfully welcoming! The hotel knew our story & while we were out left a HUGE surprise was waiting for the birthday girl! A wonderful balloon bouquet, box of gourmet cupcakes, and lovely chocolates. How amazing!

hotel mother daughter trip to nyc

MOTHER/DAUGHTER TIP: Call your hotel & tell them about your trip and something fantastically special about your daughter. Put notes in all your dinner reservations. This city will surprise you with how generous they are!

QUICK NYC SITES TO SEE

Perfect first night in NYC. I made reservations at a wonderful French bistro in Hell’s Kitchen called Marseilles. It was lovely and so very delicious (especially my martini!). We shared all our food during the trip. Keeps costs down and let us try more yummy food, plus portions these days are big enough to share. A quick & kind birthday note via our Open Table reservation led to the most gracious celebratory surprise for dessert.

MOTHER/DAUGHTER TIP: Share all your meals!

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My stunning dinner date

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Times Square

After dinner we head to see a Broadway Show. Get great seats at a huge discount from BroadwayBox. We had dressed up for the evening but we were far overdressed. Most of the audience was in very casual attire and the theaters are so small that pretty much any seat is a good seat.

The night was still young so we head to Times Square. No matter what time of night, you feel like it’s 5:00 because of the energy and the lights. It felt ALIVE! It was crazy! All the stores, including Forever 21 and The Disney Store are over 3 stories tall and stay open till 2 am! The lines are continuously long but who cares cuz we’re shopping at Midnight!


Mother-Daughter NYC Day 2

After breakfast (provided at the hotel), we take the subway to SoHo for some shopping. On the way (as Little Italy touches the edge of SoHo) we come upon The San Gennaro Festival, full of stalls with jewelry, clothing, and really yummy nibbles. If you time it right, there’s parades and concerts. We share a cannoli and a perfect almond croissant from Ceci-Cela’s tiny little French Patisserie as we stroll the streets and window shop. 

Our priority is the experience and not necessarily shopping, but then we stumble upon Tierra. A tiny little shop in New York City’s SoHo at the corner of Prince and Spring Street, swimming in stunning and colorful handmade Spanish jewelry. I’ve since lost one of my coveted earrings and am heading straight there for a new pair when we go back this fall.

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Jewelry Shopping in SoHo

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Handmade Spanish Jewelry at Tierra in SoHo

After strolling around and soaking in the neighborhood, we make our way to the East Village and put our name in for a couple of seats at the highly recommended Prune restaurant. It’s a hip and approachable little bistro with very little seating. There will be a wait but it is so worth it! Absolutely delicious! We sit at the bar, chat up the bartendress and enjoy another shared plate. Until, they surprise sweet girl with a birthday dessert. That, was JUST for her. Love this town and how gracious people are.

Let go of any pre-determined notions you may have of NYC. There are kind, helpful, welcoming people everywhere here!

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Prune Restaurant in East Village

Next we head to grab the ultimate NYC dessert. Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 2! A huge goblet of a chocolate milkshake that tastes just like hot cocoa. It’s a mind bender! There is of course a wait, so we put our name in, grab a beeper, and walk around the corner to the famed Dylan’s Candy Bar. We have our hearts set on visiting another candy bar we heard about later but when in Rome… Dylan’s is HUGE. Crazy Huge! Three floors of nothing but every kind of candy you have ever imagined. This massive candy shop is on pretty much every tourist’s list. The air is thick with sugar and there are a ton of people. I’ll share a more intimate and unique candy shop in a moment.

Candy is not really my thing and even it’s too sweet smelling for sweet Gracie, so after enough of a walk to say “Been there, Done that” we head back to Serendipity 2. (No clue why it’s 2, I’m sure google has an answer for that.)   Back at Serendipity, we shared our frozen hot chocolate and enjoyed a little break (though the service is fairly slow due to how busy they are, be prepared to wait for menus, the food, and the check).

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Frozen Hot Chocolate (like a hot chocolate flavored milkshake) at Serendipity

After our treat, we then roamed the streets of the Upper East Side on our way to the Met Museum. The architecture is stunning. No matter what street you meander down, there are beautiful buildings and homes. We followed the yellow brick road in a sense to The Curious Candy Shop. A secret garden like arch welcomed you to Cynthia Rowley’s candy store above her clothing boutique. You have to be buzzed in and it is exquisitely private and well stocked with an array of unique treats. We got some Lego candy for my 7 year old and thanked the very sweet shop girl.

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Secret Garden Path to Curious Candy Shop and My FAVE pic of the trip!

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Now this is a candy shop done right!

A short walk later, we were at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Like the Louvre of Manhattan, it is huge and an absolute must if you’ve never been. They have a $22/person “suggested” admission price, so you can pay what you deem appropriate without any issue. (I paid $15 for the both of us).  The Met is open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Being there at dusk and into the night was kind of magical. There was live music, a bar, and full restaurant. We roamed the halls, briskly walking through some subjects that weren’t our favorite and lingering longer in ones that we loved. The African History wing was amazing.

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The modern art wing was too. Gracie and I both share a passion for art we inherited from my grandmother and my heart swooned every time I saw her stop and lean closer to absorb a painting. Confess, I may had had one of those teary mom moments where I felt my own grandmother (Mammaw) with me and in her. Starting to cry now… moving on.

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A few hours later we caught the bus up 5th avenue to Koreatown for a true late night NYC dinner. After exploring the area a bit we decided on Korean BBQ at Miss Korea. We were seated in about 15 minutes (don’t mind the waits at restaurants, it gives you a moment to rest after walking so much). They sit you at a table with a pit in the center that holds a hot grill along with condiments galore. It was delicious and Gracie loved the activity of it. We finished dinner at 10:30 or so and strolled back to the hotel, taking in the fabulous view of the Empire State Building on the way.

Want to read all about our next few days? Click here for part 2! Or plan a trip with girlfriends to NYC (Check out our Girls Getaway to NYC).  And get the PDF of our “Mother Daughter Trip To NYC” Itinerary: Click here for our Mom-Daughter NYC Trip Itinerary