When I lived in NYC, I would pass by mothers in the streets or the subway juggling strollers, backpacks, purses, and groceries and wonder how it was they were managing life so well. They were all supermamas to me and could navigate this overwhelming and overpopulated city better than anyone. They know all the best places to eat, shop, and play and even better, have tips for each. In hopes of picking up a few of their secrets and to prepare for our trip to the big apple with Bowie in November, we enlisted the help of one of those NYC supermamas, Karina Drake, to put together a guide for visiting NYC with children.

*Featured Image by one of my favorite NYC mamas, Naomi Davis of Love Taza. I love following along on all of her city adventures while raising her three babes in the city! For more follow Naomi on Instagram at @taza

EAT

Sarabeths Tribeca  is big enough to accommodate larger parties and always has families and kids of all ages dinning. The food is great, the atmosphere is full of energy. It’s a nice restaurant that is super forgiving of children and the messes they make. We have brunch here almost every weekend bc it’s just so easy. It does get packed, but reservations are easy to make (I would recommend making one if dining on weekends).

City Vineyard offers a lovely view of the Hudson and has plenty of outdoor space for strollers. We often do mama Happy Hours here, but if you plan on doing that, get there early. An added Bonus is that it sits on Pier 26, which has a nice sized playground with swings, splash pads, slides, etc just one block south.

Westville (Hudson Location) I love this place. It’s healthy(ish), has great happy hours, delicious and super kid friendly. It sits between Soho and Tribeca, so great shopping available, and is super close to the Children’s Museum of Art which is great! Just a note, there a couple of different Westville locations, and while the food is consistent, the spaces are not. Some are tiny (like the West Village) and I would not recommend those for kids given the space constraints.

Bubby’s Tribeca or Highline Bubby’s is great comfort food with awesome brunch drinks, always packed with families and offers a ton of shopping while still being close to the parks on the west side. You can also do the Bubby’s on the Highline. It’s in the meatpacking district so offers gorgeous high end shops, the highline park, cafes. Bonus, the Bubby’s Highline is connected to Ample Hills Creamery one of the best ice creams in NYC!

DO/PLAY

The Children’s Museum of Art This little museum is on the outskirts of Tribeca and Soho so I think of it as a mama/mini compromise. I’ll shop around a bit, maybe grab a bite at Westville (see above) and then I’ll tuck into the museum so she can play in the Clay Bar or drop into any of their daily studio activities

Just good old fashion walking – This is one of the best things about having a little one in NY, you can walk out the door with your tot in a stroller and find endless things to do. Some favorite routes:

The West Side HWY Hudson River Park walk In the summer it’s full of splash pads for the kiddies and has tons of parks along the walk. The path is between the Hudson and the West Side HWY (as the name would suggest) so it’s uninterrupted by cars. If you’re walking south you get views of the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower, if you’re walking North you can see the city scape while still walking along tree lined paths and gorgeous blooms (in the Spring and Fall).

The Highline This above ground rail station was converted in a beautiful green walking path. The only warning is it can get pretty congested so could be difficult to maneuver with a stroller. However little walkers will love this path.

Central Park This needs no introduction, but is just so awesome for family fun. Make a day of it by having brunch at the Boat House and then walking over to the CP Zoo. There are endless lawns for picnics, running, crawling & playing.

Madison Square Park/Flatiron: I love this area because you have Madison Sq Park, which is a fun park for kids, it has a playground and good amount of green space. If you get hungry and don’t feel like straying you have a Shake Shack in the park. Eataly is right across the street and is full of delicious authentic Italian food, plus it’s gorgeous to shop the products. Just south you have Broadway and 5th ave full of shops that lead you down to Union Square.

Brookfield Place This is my catch all. As a Texan, this place reminds me of a big (albeit fancy) mall, food court in tow, except the food court at Brookfield is filled with high end sushi, amazing burgers, sandwiches, you name it. It has one of my favorite kids stores inside (Babesta), sits on Hudson River Park next to the marina. I can come here shop, eat and let my daughter run around outside chasing the ducks by the marina. Bonus, the movie theatre is right across the street. In the Winter this place is full of strollers as it offers a nice escape from the cold.

South Street Seaport The SSS district is great, lots of shopping, tons of great restaurants. During the summer they do street food fairs, music, and events that remind me a bit of Austin.

Lastly – I just absolutely love strolling the west village. It’s the most charming of neighborhoods. It’s very quaint and European. Everything there is smaller… smaller parks, smaller restaurants, so a bit more difficult to navigate with a stroller, but just so charming to cruise the tree lined brownstone filled streets, and maybe even stop for a Magnolia Cupcake.

SHOP

Livly Probably the store I shop the most. It’s not as outrageous in pricing as some of the others and has really beautiful, soft pjs. Everything is 100% Pima Cotton and they offer adorable bows, socks and such for gifts. Shop here if you’re predominately looking for clothing, as they offer no gear.

Babesta (multiple locations) Babesta has more of an edgy, cool kid vibe and sells everything from bathing suits, to sheets, toys, strollers, etc. They have a couple of locations, some are tiny and only carry clothing. The one in Brookfield Place has a little bit of everything.

EverAfter  Definitely a cool kids store. Carries brands like PilyQ bathing suits, Stella McCartney dresses, DL1961 denim. You can always count on finding adorable on trend items like furry shoes and backups. It does skew older. I have 16 month old and don’t always find things in her size, but from an accessories standpoint you can’t go wrong.

My Little Sunshine Cute and kind of quirky. They sell funky clothes, toys, books and also offer kid’s haircuts.

Giggle Similar to Babesta in that it sells everything from PJs, sheets, bathtubs, gear, etc, however not very big in the clothing department. Great place to go to talk to a pro when trying to choose the right stroller or carseat for your needs.

Bonpoint If I shop here it has to be for a pretty special occasion as it can be pricey, but you cant deny how beautiful the clothes are. Super Parisian and chic.

After 15 years in Austin, Karina Drake and her husband moved to NYC so she could attend a merchandising program at Parsons. Two months before classes started they found out they were expecting a little girl. Now mom to a 16 month old, and slowly working her way through school, she has taken a break from her career in advertising to focus on her daughter and more creative passion projects.  For more on Karina, follow her on Instagram at @karinifin