The whole world was abuzz when President Obama spent a leisurely father-daughters weekend in NYC with Sasha and Malia in 2015. Make your family feel like the First Family with this very presidential itinerary for 48 hours in the big city. We threw in some extra tips to help you get even more out of your time in the Big Apple. (* indicates that the First Family didn’t do this but you might want to)
6 pm: Walk around the West Village*
Take a stroll through one of New York City’s prettiest neighborhoods, the West Village. You won’t find any skyscrapers here, just rows and rows of charming brownstones and cute boutiques. TV buffs will want to take a selfie in front of Perry Street aka “the Sex in the City house.”
7 pm: Dinner at Carbone
Make sure to book a reservation to hold your table at this trendy Michelin-starred Rat Pack-era Italian eatery that played host to the Obamas’ family dinner. Yelpers herald the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka as the best pasta dish in the city.
Overnight at One UN Hotel OR stay at a downtown hotel
Get the Presidential treatment and a view of the East River at Millennium’s One UN Hotel, which served as home base for the First Family’s visit to NYC. You’ll be a 10-15 minute walk from Grand Central terminal and a short subway ride from all the sights. Or stay at a downtown hotel in the proximity of the Greenwich Village -- you’ll be within walking distance of most of the places featured in this blog.
9:30 am: Grab breakfast at Chelsea Market*
Get to Chelsea Market before the mad rush of tour groups and you’ll be sure to score a morning treat and some peace and quiet. Formerly a Nabisco factory, the cavernous market was transformed into an impressive food hall boasting every delicacy you could possibly think of. Fun fact: the Food Network, Google, and the MLB all have offices/studios upstairs.
10:30 am: Tour the Whitney Museum of American Art
The opening of the new Whitney Museum has been the city’s biggest art event of the year so far. You have to be the POTUS to get an after-hours private tour, but you can feel every bit the VIP by beating the crowds and getting here early. The museum’s collection of 18,000 plus works of 20th- and 21st-century art is as impressive in quality as it is quantity. Grab lunch at the museum’s eighth-floor cafe and enjoy Instagram-worthy views of the Hudson River, High Line, and Meatpacking District.
2 pm: Catch a Matinee on Broadway
If you’re planning ahead, get the hottest ticket in town and get your history on at hip-hop musical Hamilton. If the show is sold out, you can always try your luck in the ticket lottery that takes place at the theater two-and-a-half hours before every performance or catch one of the other fantastic shows playing in the Theater District—you’ll be sure to find something you love. A visit to the TKTS booth in Times Square can get you up to 50% off last minute tickets.
6 pm: Take a stroll through Central Park
Even presidents need to unwind, and what better place than New York City’s favorite oasis? With its 843 acres of beautifully landscaped greenery, ponds, and lakes, Central Park is where New Yorkers go to get away from it all for just a few minutes or a whole day. The park is also home to a zoo, an outdoor theater that presents free performances of Shakespeare’s works all summer long, and several restaurants and eateries including the famed Tavern on the Green.
8 pm: Dinner at ABC Kitchen*
Even though the First Family hasn't been to this Union Square hot spot recently (Michelle Obama has been spotted here in the past with Gayle King, among others), the kitchen is still getting rave reviews from diners. Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up New American fare in a chic setting using local, organic ingredients. Yelpers love that the menu caters to meat lovers and vegetarians alike. The menu changes daily but the universally loved crab toast seems to be a staple. You'll want to have a reservation here too.
9:30 am: Bagel Breakfast*
There are two things that are indisputably better in New York City than in any other place on Earth and that’s bagels and pizza. Ask your concierge to guide you to a local bagel shop, get your shmear on, grab a coffee to-go, and take to the nearest counter or bench to indulge.
10:30 am: Tour the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island*
Head down to Battery Park and board the Statue Cruises ferry to the Statue of Liberty. After you get in that much-anticipated photo op, hop back on the ferry to visit Ellis Island. This stop on New York’s Path Through History takes you back in time and through the immigration experience. Grab a quick lunch al fresco at the cafe on Ellis Island and enjoy the view from the large outdoor patio.
2 pm: Visit One World Trade Center Observatory & National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Board the Sky Pod elevator to the One World Trade Center Observatory for unforgettable views of the city, and enjoy a virtual time-lapse of the development of the New York City skyline on the 60-second ride up to the 102nd floor. Then go to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, a solemn tribute to those whose lives were cut short in the tragic events of that day and to the resilience of the city that never sleeps.
6 pm: Grab a slice at Joe's Pizza*
You can't leave NYC without experiencing one of the best slices in town, so head on over to Bleecker and Carmine Streets in the Greenwich Village where Joe Pozzuoli, a New Yorker by way of Naples, still oversees operations. If the shop looks familiar, there's a good reason—it's where Peter Parker worked as a delivery man in the Spider-Man movie. Pro tip: to feel like a real New Yorker, fold your slice.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, NY 11430
- LaGuardia Airport, New York, NY 11371
- Newark Liberty International Airport, 3 Brewster Rd, Newark, NJ 07114
From Philly: 2 hours
From Boston: 4 hours
From DC: 4 hours