When I think of Christmas, I think of Christmas songs. One of my favorites is Silver Bells. The line “it’s Christmastime in the City”. This book tells the story of separated birds from the country, who make their way to New York. And while we follow their story, we get to experience Christmastime in the City. Here’s my tips for Visiting Red & Lulu’s NYC.
Please note: The items mentioned below aren’t sponsored, they were purchased on my own. Opinions are my own. But the links are affiliates.
Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares, Reviewed
While it’s been a while since I’ve written a book review on my site, I wanted to make sure to remind readers that my reviews are more about the sense of place the book gives the reader above all else.
In this case, Red & Lulu does a fantastic job of using gorgeous illustrations to bring the reader straight to New York City. We purchased this book a year ago to prepare our own family for our Christmastime NYC trek. Like the birds, we were on the highway headed north. We were able to stop and see Times Square, the New York Public Library, and of course Rockefeller Center and the tree!
The image-heavy book lends itself to many conversations with kids to discuss what’s going on. I’m also excited to read it again this holiday season to reinforce our memories from last year’s trip.
The end of the book includes information about the history of the Rockefeller Tree.
This is a great book for families headed to New York City in December.
Visiting Red & Lulu’s NYC
What to do
We spent two consecutive days in NYC. Over the course of the two days, we experienced one ridiculously rainy day. We were absolutely soaked a few hours into our day, but there were no crowds. The next day we had absolutely no rain, but blue skies and heavy crowds.
The NYC sites seen from above in Red & Lulu can easily be seen on foot. If it weren’t for the rain, we would’ve seen it all in one day.
If you don’t want to walk, or want to escape the cold, then I suggest what we did for our second day. The Ride! The Ride is a unique bus tour. The side of the bus is a huge window, the passengers sit facing the window (ie. looking out onto the streets of New York). Inside we have two comedian tour guides, outside there are actors interacting with the people on the streets of NY. It’s a tour that, I felt, couldn’t be done anywhere else.
If you’re there during the holidays, you can book The Ride: Holiday Edition. That’s what we did. The holiday-themed story still fit perfectly with the city as a backdrop. And, side note, we saw all of the Red & Lulu sights as we drove around.
Here’s a very short video, no spoilers:
The tour should be booked in advance. You can do so here.
Where to Stay
Finding family-friendly accommodation in NYC can be difficult. My preference in larger cities is to be close to a good public transportation line. This trip, it meant staying near the Oculus, which is the transportation hub and mall near the World Trade Center. We opted to stay at the W Downtown.
The best part of the W Downtown, other than the location for our needs, are the views. The one thing I didn’t like was the frosted glass showers. Maybe not the best choice for more modest families, but my kids thought it was hilarious.
On a pre-kids trip, I stayed at the W Times Square. This area isn’t my favorite to stay at, but if you know that your adventures will keep you in that general area, it’s not so bad. I only mention it because it’s a closer hotel to the Red & Lulu sights and it’s a place I’ve stayed at before.
Where to eat
Much of Red & Lulu’s NYC sites are in either the Times Square or Rockefeller Center area. This happens to also be the home of two of my favorite places to eat in the city.
We went to Toloache in the Times Square area. I was hesitant to try any restaurant in the tourist mecca, but it’s good. I went there first on a girl’s trip and then again with my family and a friend’s family. Make reservations in advance.
The Magnolia Bakery is near Rockefeller Center. While I’d heard of it before, none of the people in either trip to NYC we went on had. I found it that they’re known for their banana pudding. Yes, it’s good. It can also run out, so be prepared with an alternative if you go there. Spoiler: everything’s good. Lines are long and it’s a bit crazy, but it’s the good kind of quick crazy.
Spending more time in New York City?
Hop over to Brooklyn to check out my favorite bookstore, Books are Magic. Stay in the city and experience the children’s book Eloise come-to-life at the Plaza Hotel. Or prepare for your trip with books set in NYC for kids.