The most insane milkshakes ever and other things to try in New York City with kids

New York City. You simply can’t beat it.

Last month, my 8-year-old, KoKo, and I spent a three-day mother-daughter weekend in the Big Apple with only one goal in mind: To have as much fun as possible.

If you’re making your way to New York soon and plan to take the kids, here are some ideas that are sure to please adults and children alike.

Eat a crazy dessert

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The creations at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer will make your jaw drop. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

In New York, there are oh-so many options, but without question my favorite place we visited was Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, which serves the most insane, over-the-top, sugar-coma-inducing milkshakes you’ve ever seen in your life. Options include the Cake Shake, which comes with topped with a hulking Funfetti cake slice, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry; the Bam Bam Shake, which features a Fruity Pebbles rice krispy treat, a strawberry Pop-Tart and a Nerds rope; and the Cotton Candy Shake, which stands nearly a foot tall and is served with a pink lollipop, rock candy and a heaping mound of cotton candy, naturally.

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Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is known for its crazy shakes. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Still craving sugar? If your kid loves cookie dough (and really, who doesn’t?) head to Cookie DO NYC, an entire shop filled with exciting cookie dough flavors such as cinnamon roll, cake batter and peanut butter snickerdoodle. You can even get it served in a cone with toppings. Magnolia Bakery (get the banana pudding), Serendipity 3 and Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain are all well worth a visit, too.

See a show

When we realized that Aladdin was currently on Broadway, we couldn’t resist the splurge (tickets range from about $60 to $200). The show lived up to every expectation, from the stunning costumes to the perfectly cast actors — we especially loved Major Attaway’s infectious portrayal of the Genie. “The Lion King,” “School of Rock” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are other excellent options. Look for discounts at the TKTS Booths at various locations around the city. I also love Hiptix, a low-price ticket program for theatregoers ages 18–35 offered by the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Hit the shops

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Heart-shaped pancakes are one of the options on the menu during brunch at the American Girl Cafe in New York. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

My daughter was in heaven when I surprised her and her doll, Isabelle, with brunch at the American Girl Cafe, which cost $20 per person and included three courses as well as take-home surprises for dolls and girls alike. Isabelle also enjoyed a spa treatment and hair-styling during our visit to New York’s American Girl Place. (Must be nice to be Isabelle…) After Isabelle’s makeover, we wandered through Times Square, where KoKo couldn’t help staring through the windows of stores like M&M’s World, Hershey’s Chocolate World and the Disney Store and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo with one of New York’s most famous street performers, the Naked Cowboy.

Park it

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Visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park can skate with a backdrop of the New York skyline. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

One of the best parts of our trip was joining my Brooklyn-based sister for an afternoon at Brooklyn Bridge Park that included taking a spin around a roller-skating rink, wiggling our toes in the sand of a pop-up beach and enjoying drinks and snacks in front of the New York City skyline. That afternoon, followed by order-in pizza from my sister’s favorite pie joint and a viewing of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” made for the perfect conclusion to our New York rendezvous. We also loved a morning spent wandering Central Park, where an engaging performer taught KoKo the art of blowing a bubble inside of another giant bubble.


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