NYC Birthday Trip with My Preteen

One of the awesome things about Jack’s birthday each year, is that it’s typically followed by a three-day weekend off work and school for President’s Day. Who doesn’t want a long birthday weekend?! This year, I asked him if he wanted to go anywhere fun and he immediately said he wanted to go back to New York City. We visited NYC for Jack’s first time in November 2022 and he really, really, really wanted to go back. Even though I warned him that February in New York is cold. So, to NYC we went…

We decided to do it as a mom and kiddo weekend (since my husband isn’t a big fan of the city) and it worked out great that Jack still qualifies for half-price Amtrak train tickets. I decided to switch it up a bit by staying in Chelsea, so here is where we stayed, what we did and what we ate:

Where We Stayed: Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea

It was our first time staying at the Motto in Chelsea and I would absolutely stay there again. The check-in was easy, the rooms were very clean and well designed, and the price was good by NYC standards. We took the train to Penn Station and then walked the few blocks over to the hotel (about a 10-minute walk).

Check-in was at 3pm and we arrived right around then and were checked right into our room. We did the king bed studio room and it was plenty of room for the two of us. A nice perk: We received 2 bottles of water a day and a daily $10 food and beverage credit for the downstairs coffee bar and restaurant.

Day 1: Chelsea Market, Crumbl Cookies, Lulla

After we settled into our hotel room, we bundled up and walked over to Chelsea Market. We ended up having a late lunch/early dinner by enjoying food from all the different food stands. Our favorites were tacos and horchata from Los Lacos No. 1 and the banana and Nutella crepes from Bar Suzette.

On our walk back, we stopped by Crumbl cookies and picked up a 4-pack to nibble on in our room while watching tv/playing video games/reading a book/watching the amazing sunset. And yes, we totally got crumbs in the bed.

A bit later, we got hungry again, so we went downstairs to Lulla and ordered an Aperitivo Bites box for two… which honestly wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be.

The sunset was magical though:

Day 2: The Chelsea Flea, The Lego Store, The Harry Potter Store, The Nintendo Store, Eataly

We had a slow and lazy start to Saturday morning and basically hung out in the room relaxing until almost check-out time (noon). We repacked our backpacks and checked them at the front desk, before heading on our way for the day’s adventures.

After hitting up a nearby Starbucks for coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we did a bunch of walking around and exploring. The main spots were The Chelsea Flea (meh), The Lego Store (huge win for Jack!), the Harry Potter Store (super awesome and we loved the butterbeer bar) and the Nintendo Store (way more crowded than we’ve ever seen it!).

We had lunch at Eataly which was absolutely delicious – we both highly recommend the pizza, gnocchi and dark chocolate chip cannoli! It’s almost worth the train ride just for the homemade gnocchi… yum.

After all our exploring, we were cold and in need of some downtime, so decided to return to the hotel and hang out in the secluded second-floor lobby. Jack started building his super awesome Lego project and I got in a little reading. After a bit of a rest, we grabbed a Uber to the train station and thankfully our train was on time to head home! (I’ve had bad luck before with leaving NYC and getting delayed!)

It was a super fun overnight trip and a really great birthday for my newly 12-year old preteen!

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