7 Important Tips For New York City Travel With Strollers
Are you planning a trip to New York City with kids and have no idea what stroller to take with you? Do you have a lot of different strollers to choose from but you are just not sure if it is the most feasible for traveling the streets of NY and the metro? Or maybe you are looking to buy a new stroller specifically for this visit to the Big Apple and you are overwhelmed with all the choices.
In this post you will learn from my experiences from traveling to NY City during the Thanksgiving Holiday Season. I will also sum up my best options for you and give you my recommendations on what strollers are best suitable for walking the streets and traveling the subway in New York City. I will also share with you how I was able to travel around town with 4 little kids under the age of 6 during the cold winter season.
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Have Fun Traveling To New York
Traveling to the big city of New York is such an amazing trip to take in your lifetime. But traveling with little kids to NYC is a whole other ball game. Packing can be complex, especially determining what stroller to take in order to make your trip a smooth ride for your little one(s).
Related: Tips for Packing for The Family
I have visited NYC probably about 5+ times in my lifetime. I have family near NY so I go up and visit pretty often. This trip that I recently took was my biggest adventure because I took along my 4 little girls with me. My husband and I never hesitate to travel with our children, no matter their ages. We feel it’s a great opportunity for our family to connect and experience new things together on a deeper level. And of course we LOVE the memories we make together.
Related: Family Adventure Vacations
But anyways, when we started to plan this trip to NY, I knew it would be challenging in some ways. First, we planned to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the girls, regardless of the weather. So we needed to pack in preparation for cold, snowy days.
We also wanted to do some sightseeing and seeing some of the main tourist attractions of NYC. The pace where we were staying was located on the corner of 77th and Central Park West, which is right at the starting point of the Macy’s Day Parade, so that was a BONUS!
However, that meant we had to travel via metro to get to the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and go to the newly opened FAO Schwarz toy store. These were the three main stops we wanted to go to on our short 3 day trip.
So of course that meant we had to take the metro to get to these places. This one thing, the METRO, lead my husband and I into a 30 minute discussion the night before we were leaving for the trip.
“What stroller(s) are we going to take in order for our 4 little kids to travel all over the city?”
This was not an easy thing to decide, I’ll have to say. Initially, throughout the whole planning and packing process (which I start two weeks in advance) I had planned on taking the double stroller. I had it all set in my mind.
The double stroller will be best for my 4 year old and my 2 year old. And if I need to put my baby car seat into the double stroller, I still can. I had options, and options are GOOD for a mom of 4!
My 5 year old can definitely walk without complaining and my husband and I would alternate wearing my 8 month old in the Bjorne carrier. Perfect Plan! …..So I thought.
That night when I asked my husband to put the double stroller in the trunk of the van, he stopped me and said….
“How are we going to carry that big double stroller up and down the steps of the metro?”
UMMMMMM….Good Question, Honey!
I had not thought of that. Oops! So he suggested bringing two umbrella strollers-one for my 2 year old and one for my 4 year old. The two umbrella strollers would be easiest to collapse and carry up and down the stairs to the metro.
He had a good point. 🙂
But, I said that wouldn’t work if we needed to push the baby in the car seat when it’s really cold during the Parade. I knew I wanted the baby bundled up in the car seat for the parade. I have a fleece lined blanket insert for the Chicco car seat that would be the best option to keep my 8 month old warm for longer periods.
Bringing the 2 umbrella strollers limited my options. So, we made the decision to pack two umbrella strollers and one Chicco stroller that the car seat attaches into. Now we had three strollers! One for me to push, one for my husband to push and one for my father to push (I forgot to mention that he was traveling with us also). Three strollers meant 3 kids relaxing comfortably all bundled, happy and not complaining! That makes for a good vacation….
Well, not quite. We had some road blocks along the way during our travels around the city.
First, let me tell you that our experience with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was as amazing as it looks on TV, actually 100x better! We had the best time, and I highly recommend going with little kids! It was just as special as going to Disney World.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
We spent Thanksgiving morning outside at the corner of where the parade started. My 5 year old walked, as I expected her to, my 4 year old wanted the umbrella stroller and my 2 year old wanted her umbrella stroller.
The most important thing for me that day was that my 8 month old was bundled up in the Chicco car seat/stroller, so we could easily push her around, and I wouldn’t have to wear her standing for 3 hours in one spot (definitely not good for the back and shoulders, you know?) That day she took a nice long nap and stayed completely warm in the car seat while the rest of us got to enjoy the parade!
That morning we had 3 strollers and 3 adults to push. It worked out really well as well walked along up and down the parade route.
However, later that evening and the next day when we traveled are the city more, we were unable to push three strollers all at once because it was just my husband and I going around the city. Our plan for this was for one of us to wear the baby in the Bjorne and the 2 and 4 year old would be in their strollers.
I liked having the Chicco stroller for the extra storage below, the cup holders and for the added warmth from the side of the stroller and overhead visor. I also liked that it reclined if she fell asleep, unlike umbrella strollers. So we brought the Chicco stroller for my 2 year old and the 4 year old went in the umbrella stroller.
Strollers on the Metro
We had a very difficult time at the beginning getting used to all the stairs to go down and up out of the Metro. We made the mistake initially of my husband wearing the Bjorne with our baby in it. With him having a baby attached to him, he obviously had a much harder time carrying the strollers up and down the steps. The Chicco was filled with baby supplies under the stroller so we didn’t want to collapse it every time.
He just lifted the entire thing up and carried it, sometimes with our kid in it and sometimes with our kid out of it. (He’s rather strong I would have to say).
When it came to the umbrella stroller, I simply asked my child to get out, walk the steps with me and I carried the umbrella stroller myself. That was really easy!
When it was time for us to enter into the metro and go through the swinging bars, we were clueless on how to get through with all the kids and strollers. The strollers just don’t fit. The strollers are too wide. So we asked the attendant and they explained to us that one person needs to go through the swinging bar (which is the normal way) and then that person has to open up the emergency exit door to let the rest of our family go through with the strollers.
It took a bit of time, especially with 4 little ones, but we eventually got the hang of it. My husband went through first, opened up the Emergency Exit Door and the rest of us were able to walk in without going through the swinging bar section.
All in all, we did it. There was a lot of maneuvering around with the kids getting in and out of strollers along with holding hands of the little ones as they walked up and down the steps and through the metro ticket area.
A lot of nice people asked if we needed help. Some people made suggestions like “the escalator is over there!” Ha, didn’t know there were escalators, all we knew was that their were no elevators. We are not locals so we definitely weren’t aware that there were escalators and never saw one in our general area.
We later found out that some of the metro stops were handicap accessible, so that is definitely a great option for multiple strollers; however, those specific locations were not anywhere where we needed to go.
7 Tips For Traveling The Metro in NYC with Multiple Strollers
1. Have a plan and think the process through ahead of time. Ask yourself these important questions:
How far do you have to travel in the city during your trip? Where are you going to visit and doing your sightseeing? How often are you going to be using the subway? How many strollers are you going to be pushing? Who is pushing which stroller? Are you going to carry the strollers up/down the metro stairs? Are you going to collapse the stroller or keep it opened when carrying it up/down the stairs?
What happens if you child falls asleep in the stroller when you have to walk the stairs? Are you comfortable asking others for help when it comes to carrying the stroller up/down the steps? Where are you going to store your extra belongings for the kids? Underneath the stroller or you don’t need the added storage? How heavy and bulky are your strollers?
2. Pack strollers that are easy to push around and are not cumbersome due to the crowds and the fast pace walking on the streets
3. Pack strollers that are easy to collapse and carry especially for moments when you are going up and down the stairs of the metro
4. Avoid packing double strollers that are side by side. They are too wide for the crowded streets of NY. They are difficult to enter into narrow doors of buildings within the city as well as and are also difficult to maneuver within the subway itself. A tandem double stroller is preferred due to it being more narrow however since they are rather long, they also are hard to maneuver within the subway and around the poles. Keep in mind the difficulty level of the stroller being collapsed to carry up/down the stairs of metro.
5. Consider using handicap accessible metro stops if you wish to not have to collapse strollers and carry strollers up/down the steps.
6. Consider using escalators if they are available. Are you comfortable putting your stroller on an escalator?
7. Think about which stroller is most comfortable for your child to enjoy long hours sightseeing.
What are most people using for Strollers in NYC?
As I traveled around the city pushing strollers and wearing a baby carrier, I was on radar. I watched the streets to find families similar to ours. What strollers were they using, how were they keeping their children warm, how are they pushing these strollers through the crowds and how are they going on the metro?
From my three days of being in the city during peak holiday season travel time, I concluded that most people used one specific type of stroller, and it was very rare for me to see one other specific type of stroller.
So what are the most popular strollers the locals of New York are using for their children and what is the easiest to transport in regards to the city streets, the metro and all other forms of transportation within the city?
Well, here’s my answer…
Most Popular Single Stroller in New York City
- Matching City Mini GT Stroller, City Go Infant Car Seat, and Adapters make it easy to travel with baby from day one. It has a Taxi-safe belt path for installation without the base; push button LATCH and integrated belt lock-off for install with the base
- Lift a strap with one hand and the City Mini GT folds itself: simply and compactly. Automatically locks for easy transport.
- Stroller Weight 36 lbs.
Most Common Double Stroller in New York City
- Most versatile tandem stroller on the market today, the City Select was designed to keep your family rolling as it grows from one child to two
- Over 16 different combinations from double tiered car seats to a bassinet and single seat combo
- 1-step fold for added convenience
- Stroller weight 35 lbs.
Fairly Common Stroller in New York City
- 2017 G-LITE model
- Hand-level folding triggers – no foot action required
- Extendable SPF 50+ sunshade
- Stands when folded – convenient carry strap
- removable cup holder included
- Stroller weighs 10 lbs.
Least Common Stroller in New York City
- LIGHTWEIGHT — Travel-friendly lightweight design (only 23 lbs) is perfect for traveling
- LARGE CANOPY — Three-tier, extended canopy for maximum UV protection.
- RECLINING SEAT — Reclining seat offers 5-point safety restraint system
- EXTRA STORAGE — Include one parent tray with two drink holders, removable child trays with dual cup and juice box holder. Two large storage baskets
- EASY STANDING FOLD — Convenient self-standing fold, perfect for car travel and vacations.
Most Popular Accessories for Strollers in New York City
- JPMA Certified Product designed to safely grow with your baby from newborn to 3 years – no infant insert needed
- Four ergonomic front and back carrying positions, with wide seat area for the child: newborn, baby facing-in, baby facing-out and back carrying
- Extra-padded shoulder straps for added carrying comfort and a sturdier waist belt for for added stability and pressure relief
In conclusion, I highly recommend an easy to collapse, lightweight, maneuverable and narrow stroller that has adequate storage and is comfortable for your child. If you need a stroller for multiple children, I recommend a light weight tandem stroller or two individual umbrella strollers. The goal is to have light weight strollers that can be easily picked up and carried up and down the stairs multiple times a day while traveling. If you have an infant, I recommend a baby carrier that you can wear and is comfortable for long duration wear time.
In this next post, Best Strollers For New York City, you will find more options for strollers suitable for NYC travel. I break down strollers into different categories and price ranges. If you happen to have a specific question regarding my trip to New York with 4 little kids or are looking for more tips in regards to strollers and the city, please leave a comment below. I would love to help you.
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT