Fun New York City List with Small Toddlers



When my dear friend Joanne retired, I distinctly remember her telling me how she fills her NYC calendar with things to do as to not get into a retirement rut.  Well, Joanne, I have to say–you have inspired me to do the same with my journey into motherhood!

From the second I announced we were expecting, I’ve heard how becoming a parent drastically changes your life…and while this has certainly rang true on some points (i.e. I don’t think I’ve survived off so little sleep since my college days, and making plans with friends now requires a lot more advanced scheduling), I was determined to keep our weeks filled with little adventures to share the city I’ve come to love so much with my little man.  Call it my #MothersPromise to my sweet sir.

So, following Joanne’s lead, I created a list of baby-friendly activities to do around the city, that are sure to help me share my passions with Augusten, while simultaneously allowing him to soak in this great metropolis he lives in…(along with special time with mommy;-)

Here’s 7 things I can’t wait to try, little one in tow!

1. Cry Baby Matinees

Going to the movies has long been one of my favorite things to do.  In fact, working at a movie theater was my very first real job in high school!  So imagine my excitement when I read that in certain theaters around the city you can actually bring your baby as your date, for a special “Cry Baby Matinee!”  The theater quiets the sound system a bit, raises the lights, and is filled with other new parents, making it totally ok if baby starts tearing up.

2. Brunch With Baby

I’ve always been one of those people who shudders at the sound of crying babies at restaurants and on planes, so I would obviously hate to expose others to this.  But, upon chatting with other Manhattan mamas, there seems to be a few tricks for brunching with baby.  1. go during the weekday, and go early, early and secondly, check out a list of “baby friendly” spots and pick one of those 3. coordinate the meal with your little one’s nap time, and 4. order quickly, and when the food arrives, ask for the check.  That way, if you need to make a quick exit, it’s no biggie!

3. Mommy-and-Me Yoga

I treasure my time at yoga class, and while I won’t pretend that taking baby along will prove to be a fantastic workout (well, except hauling a stroller up and down stairs, maybe?!), there’s something really adorable about watching a tiny downward dog that has me all kinds of ready to sign up!  Classes start as young as 4 weeks, and also incorporate infant massage techniques, which are supposed to be pretty amazing for calming your little one!

4. Story Time Around NYC

Passing on my love of reading is something I hope to instill early on, so making frequent trips to the NYPL and bookstores around the city is high on my list.  There’s practically a story time going on every single day, so I’m definitely excited to check them out.

5. Museum Stroller Tours

Offered at many of the big museums, these are great in that: 1. you can do them in even the crappiest of weather, 2. mommy learns something new, 3. you’re exposing your little to art (even if they have no idea what’s going on, that’s a-ok!), and 4. you’re with other parents with strollers, so crying is totally not frowned on.

6. Exposing My Baby To Broadway

As a former theater teacher and huge patron of the arts, I really can’t wait to enroll the little one in a Broadway Babies class.  Starting at 4 months, each week babies are introduced to a new Broadway show where both they and their caregivers can sing (babble?) along.  And of course, crazy costumes and props are part of the fun!

7. Music + Movement Classes

Due to Augusten’s activity in the womb whenever music was playing, I was convinced early on that our little one is going to be a big music lover.  Pretty excited to expose him to music/movement classes from an early age–covering sounds ranging from classical to country to pop to jazz!

Would love to know…what were some of your favorite activities while your little one was still really tiny?

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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