Central Park Perks…Saving in the City

I’m someone who is stuck between, “You only live once” and “I need to save.” Anyone else feel this way?

As I mentioned in the last blog, we are beginning our fall family getaway to New York City. Growing up in Long Island, you’d think I’d have a lot more time in the city under my belt. But it has been years since I last went through Central Park…way before I was married and had kids. I’ve brought the family to the city quite a few times, but never before to Central Park. I couldn’t wait to show them all of the beautiful nature found within this magnificent concrete jungle.

I already told you about my discovery of AAA’s partnership with Ticket Monster and how we saved big on Broadway tickets that way. Upon checking Ticket Monster out further, I found everything needed to make this trip a fun and memorable one..without spending too much money. My kids were very excited about biking through Central Park. I was excited because I scored tickets for $15 per person for an all-day experience, which is unheard of pricing for New York! Before I booked with Ticket Monster, I had looked up other rental spots (due diligence and all), and found them also to be $15…but for the FIRST HOUR!

It’s so easy to overpay when you don’t have a plan, but I’m doing the work for you! Enjoy these savings!!

Not only was biking in Central Park fun, but the kids loved the feeling of independence, something they don’t normally have while traipsing through the overcrowded streets of New York City. It was a beautifully sunny day and it was delightful to feel the cool breeze blowing through our hair. I definitely recommend renting bikes for children around age 10 and up, as the roads through Central Park, although closed to general public cars, can be crowded and you need to navigate around all the joggers, horse-drawn carriages and bicycle taxis sharing the same space.

We picked-up the bikes at W. 56th street and walked them three blocks over to Columbus Circle, where we began our ride. For $15 per person, we received a bicycle, helmet, and lock. My bike, the mothers bike clearly, came with a basket to tote everyone’s “stuff”- Yay. Each bicycle had an area for a water bottle, which I wish I would have thought about beforehand because water was $3 a bottle in the park, and we stopped a few times for a drink. Regardless, the activity was a ton of fun and we will definitely do it again!

My parents came into the city to meet us early that afternoon, so we returned our bikes and decided to walk through the park with them. There are maps for sale within the park, but it’s just as easy to pull up the map on your phone, or download the Central Park app. The bridges and scenery were so beautiful to look at. People playing baseball, rowing canoes, street performers, beautifully decorated horses…it was a captivating day. There was something for everyone. It was fun walking through the park, but the kids definitely preferred riding bikes. #whinetime or #winetime

Once we were with my parents, we made our way to Tavern on the Green for some appetizers and refreshments. Wow! I don’t remember the restaurant being so expensive, but, then again, last time I went, I was the kid, and my parents were footing the bill. #kidenvy

The food was good and the drinks were cold, so we enjoyed ourselves for about an hour before getting up to walk to Times Square. Talk about a change of scenery! It’s always bustling with lots going on in Times Square. We took pictures in the center of everything and popped into a few stores before heading over to eat (yes, again) at the Hard Rock Cafe.

I had used Open Table to reserve our table and in true form, they had it waiting for us. It probably also helped that we had a 4 pm reservation. Talk about Early Bird Dinners! We had a pleasant waiter named JT, and he took our order and told us to check out the restaurant while we waited. The Hard Rock is filled with fun items from various bands and musicians. I have been to many Hard Rock restaurants all over the world, but this was the first time in NYC!

The food was delicious, all of the kids approved and for the five of us, we saved over $20 using our AAA card! Did you know that some restaurants take money off the bill if you show them your AAA card? Hard Rock is one of them, giving 10% off (excluding alcohol)! My parents, also AAA members, saved $8 on their bill for the two of them.

After the meal, we said goodbye to my parents, and headed over to Majestic Theater, where we had tickets for the 8 p.m. showing of the Phantom of the Opera. We were in line by 7:35 and I could already seeing the kids start to fade. Rookie mom move. I’m not sure what I was thinking- planning a full day of exercise and sun, followed by a big dinner and then an 8 p.m. showing of a musical in the dark. We got to our seats and I promptly purchased some sugary treats….nothing like Sour Patch kids and M&M’s to jolt your kids blood sugar. No amount of sugar could have kept the teenage son from sleeping. He was out within ten minutes. It’s a good thing we got a great savings on these tickets!!! Next time we’ll stick with our usual 2 p.m. showtimes!

Thankfully it seems the only empty seat in the house was next to my sleeping son. This was when the lights came on at intermission. #teens

The girls and I loved the show. My one daughter loves to sing, so she was mesmerized while blindly eating every last M&M. My husband has been singing the songs for the past two days, so I’m pretty sure he liked it too. Overall, it was a fantastic day. So many memories made, laughs had, and dollars saved. Those are the best kind of days in my book!!

Stay tuned for more on the hotel and our weekend wrap-up. I may have just saved the best for last!!



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