January is always an odd month- post holiday blues (or relief, depending on the moment!), it’s usually freezing out and you’re getting tired of bundling up in 917271 layers everyday; if you’re a parent, the kids not really being able to play outside is getting old REAL quick- but on the positive side, “it’s cold and grey outside” is a great excuse to indulge in fun indoor activities! A favorite weekend or day off plan for us is brunch, followed by some type of adventure or excursion. A few of our fave brunch + indoor activities/museum combos in the NYC/Long Island area include:
1) Queens- Dim sum at Asian Jewels restaurant + The New York Hall of Science- if you’re not Chinese or have never heard of dim sum, it’s basically an assortment of small plates or appetizer style dishes meant to be shared by a group- think Chinese dumplings in lots of varieties! After dim sum, head over to The New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. This place has two extensive indoor “science” based play/explore areas for babies, toddlers, and older kids- plus, it’s free for teachers!
2) Manhattan/ meatpacking- Brunch at Bubby’s or The Standard + a day at The Whitney Museum: both Bubby’s and The Standard Grill are family faves of ours- classic American brunches that are warm, comforting and delish (both are also kid friendly!). After brunch, walk literally a few feet over to the Whitney and spend a few hours taking in some of my fave modern art exhibits- right now there’s a special Andy Warhol exhibit going on until the end of March!
3) Manhattan/ SoHo-Lunch at Barbuto + Children’s Museum of the Arts: first off, are you even a real New Yorker if you’ve never had the roast chicken at Barbuto?! The perfect winter lunch order: The Chicken (thank me later), a pizza to share (white truffle is our fave) and the kale salad- Barbuto is kid friendly, but also one of our fave date spots. Then, head downtown a few blocks to The Children’s Museum of the Arts to create some artwork with your kiddos! It’s under $20 to get in, and free after 4pm- there are lots is different “centers” around the museum (more like a place to create art, than an actual museum)- clay sculpting, dot painting, watercolors, acrylic painting, you name it, you can make it- we love this place bc it’s super relaxed and easy (I even spilled an iced coffee all over the floor there and the people who worked there couldn’t have been nicer and more chill!)
4) Manhattan/ Upper West Side – Brunch at Sarabeth’s + the Children’s Museum of Manhattan: take the 1 train uptown to 79th street and head to Sarabeth’s for a classic and home style brunch, then head either a few blocks north to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for a few hours of play and exploration at this multi- floor facility. Each floor has a different theme for kiddos- there’s a dance studio (kind of like a dance club for toddlers!), a Dora and Diego themed floor, “science” floor, and art floor.
5) Manhattan/ Upper West Side- Brunch at Bluestone Lane + Museum of Natural History (or as Nolan calls it, the “Dinosaur Museum”: light, bright, airy and (somewhat) healthy, Bluestone Lane is a New York standard for a casual brunch. Head to the new Amsterdam Ave location and then to the Museum of Natural History (yes, the one with the big whale that you probably haven’t been to since your 4th grade class trip!). It’s one of our faves because there’s just so much to see- Nolan’s faves include the solar system and dinosaur exhibits, plus the 10 minute solar system “show” (short, interesting, kid friendly).
6) Manhattan/ Soho-Brunch at Jane + The Color Factory: one of my fave cozy brunch spots in Soho, Jane’s menu is pretty much perfect in that you want every single thing on it! Before you plan on heading to The Color Factory after, make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time and arrive on time for your “slot”- the exhibit is a photo-op lovers dream with lots of little surprises along the way- good for both kiddos and adult dates!
7) Brooklyn/ Cobble Hill- Bar Tabac + the New York Transit Museum: we’ve been going to Bar Tabac for brunch and lunch for years- it’s in the cobble hill/Boerum hill area of Brooklyn, but feels like you’re stepping into a Parisian Cafe (Nolan’s a big fan if the French toast). We haven’t been yet, but the New York Transit Museum is on our list of places to visit soon- buses, trucks and trains galore that your little one will love exploring- right down the block from Bar Tabac. After the museum, grab ice cream at Van Leeuwen bc even though it’s freezing outside, their mint ice cream is too good to pass up!
8) Brooklyn/ Williamsburg- Sweet Chick + Brooklyn Bowl+ Brooklyn Brewery: Get to Sweet Chick early because there’s usually a wait for their incredible chicken and waffles (although the shrimp and grits is my personal fave!). Head to Brooklyn bowl next (family bowling from 11am-5pm on weekends!) and/or end hour day at the Brooklyn Brewery; we bring a card game for us and coloring/stickers for Nolan (although I think he’s about ready to learn Uno or something easy to play together!)
Hope these ideas give you guys some inspo for fun weekend/ day off adventures! Let me know in the comments if you have anything you’d like me to add to the list!