Heading to Hoboken doesn’t seem like a big excursion, but, through the eyes of little ones, anything can feel like an exciting, giant adventure. Before the weather gets too chilly, I want to take you through the day trip to Hoboken that my toddler still talks about!
The main purpose behind this day trip was to take my daughter on a ferry. She is extremely into methods of transportation at this age—constantly pointing out helicopters, airplanes, motorcycles (but sometimes scooters depending on the engine size which my husband is teaching her all about), ambulances, garbage trucks, bicycles, you name it. So, to get to go on a ferry was a HUGE treat for her.
Since we live on the west side of Manhattan, we didn’t even need to fuss with a car or the subway. We just walked ourselves down to the Midtown Ferry Terminal for the NY Waterway on 39th Street. With ferries departing from this location to Hoboken 14th Street every 20 minutes, we didn’t rush. We grabbed a coffee and snacks and enjoyed a long walk before grabbing two tickets at a terminal kiosk and boarding the 10:30 ferry.
The ferry is fast and pretty reasonable. Kids under 6 are free, so my husband and I only had to pay $9.00 each way, per person. It would be pretty expensive to commute every day at those rates, but for a special day trip, it’s not too bad. They have monthly rates which are at a discount, but I think I would prefer the train during inclement weather. Anyway, we were able to wheel the stroller right on board, and once the gates were shut and the ferry departed, my daughter and husband were free to roam through the vessel and outside to feel the wind, wave goodbye to the city, and get the full ferry experience. I hung back feeding the baby and took in the amazing city skyline views, which would become the backdrop for our entire day.
The ferry takes within 8-19 minutes, depending on if you take a direct ferry, or not. Either way, it’s quick. We had a beautiful, breezy ride, and were dropped off on a quiet dock, and turned around to see our beautiful city behind us, just out of arms reach. The view of New York from Hoboken is breathtaking. Before taking advantage of the waterfront, we decided to go a little deeper into Hoboken, finding the main street, Washington Street, and grab some lunch. We wanted to make sure we got a true sense of Hoboken, and really enjoyed the first area of Washington Street, from 14th St. down to about 8th. After that, the area started to pick up and get very busy, almost touristy. Still great shopping and nice to check out a new area!
On the quieter portion of our stroll, we started to look for a lunch place. We walked past a few interesting options, but ultimately ended up at the Elysian Cafe. It was just a perfect day outside that their quaint outdoor space was too tempting to pass up. There was a short wait (which we took as a good sign) and then we were seated at a comfortable table under a beautiful tree. We were able to keep the stroller next to us and still had enough space for a roomy meal. My daughter had fruit and a grilled cheese off the kids’ menu, my husband and I enjoyed egg dishes and lattes, and the baby looked on. It was really lovely. And, the best part, the entire meal with tip was less expensive than our NYC takeout for two the night before. New York is a beast.
After our bellies were full and we made sure everyone used the restroom (#toddlermom), we walked the rest of Washington Street almost reaching the PATH Train, until we got too overwhelmed by all of the people. At around 4th Street, we took a hard left to bring us back to the waterfront.
Oh, the waterfront. Could anything be more beautiful?! Sorry Hoboken for turning our backs to you for the rest of the day, but that New York City skyline is magical. We spent the next couple hours slowly walking the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. This strip offers multiple playgrounds, greenery, coffee shops and restaurants, areas to get right up to the water—the best of everything. Our first stop was at the Pier C Park. Definitely for older kids, but it’s a pretty cool site. My husband accompanied our daughter up the wooden playhouse, over the rope bridge, and towards the slide. She was a little too timid for that one, but she did like watching older kids zip down and exploring all that this floating park island had to offer. We had to physically remove her from this play area, she was so into it, and just kept promising her that a toddler-friendly play area was in her future as we walked on.
Down a bit further, just past a beautiful boathouse, was the Maxwell Place Park. This was a very appropriate playground for a two-year old. It had a variety of playground features, offered the same amazing New York City views, and provided some shade for the baby and me. We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in this area and meeting so many friendly parents and kids! Hoboken had a much more laid-back, warm vibe than the Upper West Side, I have to say. But, it’s hard to beat that New York City life, so back to Manhattan we went.
We had just a short stroll back to the 14th Street dock we arrived into, at this point. We had successfully completed a full circle around a part of Hoboken, for a relaxing, sunny, tasty, adventurous, outdoor day trip. The ferry ride back was just as quick and easy as the way there, and we were back home in time for our toddler’s early dinner.
Now, nothing sounds that earth-shattering and exciting about this trip, I know. But, if you’re longing for a little bit of water, wind in your hair, fresh air, and stunning sights—trust me—this quick excursion isn’t one to miss. You can go toddler speed the whole way and still see a whole new world!
Now, go, and mosey around Hoboken! Do let me know if you have any questions!