New York, New York

Food Like a Local: The baking class at Butter Lane is fun for the entire family. Bakers are split up among three large tables. Each table makes one type of cupcake (vanilla, chocolate, or banana) and one type of frosting (vanilla, chocolate, or peanut butter). After the cupcakes and frosting are made, the real fun begins. Each person frosts one dozen cupcakes, making any combination of cupcake and frosting. My favorite was vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. Be warned, more frosting may end up on you than on your cupcake.

Food Like a Local: My kids and I have spent days eating our way through Chelsea Market. So far, their favorite eats include obscenely large slices of cake at Amy’s Bread, burgers and milkshakes at Creamline Farm to Tray, and sugary doughnut holes at Doughnuttery. We roam The Lobster Place, a wholesale and retail fish market with overwhelming choices of fresh seafood. The kids choose their own dinner from the bounty of offerings.

Food Like a Local: Sit literally at ChicaLicious Dessert Bar and watch as your dessert chef and sommelier prep a Prix Fixe menu of three dessert courses. The items are paired with coffee, tea, or champagne, and served on eclectic mash up of china. The whole experience is both visually stimulating and pleasing to your palate.

Landmarks Like a Local: Most tourists flock to the Empire State Building for the views from its observation decks. While it’s an iconic member of the New York City skyline, my kids are much more interested in the nightly light show. The computer system is capable of displaying 16 million colors all in LED. “What color is it tonight?” is the question we most frequently ask when we are out and about in the evening.

Museums Like a Local: The Tenement Museum is a time capsule of immigrant life and experiences in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century. In the fourth grade, my daughter’s class studied the immigrant experience and its role in America’s national identity. They ended their studies with a visit to the Tenement Museum where they saw actual spaces where families of ten lived in tiny apartments.

American Museum of Natural History, New York Historical Society Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Mathematics, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Scandinavia House

Parks Like a Local:  Yes, Central Park boasts playgrounds, ice skating rinks, and even a zoo. However, where will you find my kids? Climbing boulders. If you make your way to Heckscher Playground from the south at 59th Street and 7th Avenue, the paths are lined with giant boulders. My kids have just as much, if not more, fun climbing these boulders as they do in the playground. And the bonus is fewer crowds.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Tompkins Square Park

Performances Like a Local: Thanks to Hamilton An American Musical, the facts my children now know about American revolutionary history and America’s founding fathers impresses and surpasses me. Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired by rap and hip hop music from his formative years in the 1990s which he marries with Broadway music to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton. It is also a fascinating commentary on how America was founded versus where America is today as the story is told by a predominantly non-white cast.

Shopping Like a Local: Westfield World Trade Center & Oculus Mall


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