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Planning the ultimate skip-gen adventure to New York and Washington DC

Last updated 7th May 2024

Embracing skip-gen travel in just about the biggest possible way, Graham McKenzie of Silver Travel Advisor and his 12 year old grandson, Mason, take on New York and Washington DC.

Embarking on a journey to New York and Washington DC with my twelve-year-old grandson, Mason, was both exciting and nerve-wracking. We had known each other all his life, shared a mutual interest in history, but had never shared a room or ventured into the big wide world for more than twenty-four hours without his Mum or Dad being there. The prospect of encountering America together was both exhilarating and uncertain.


Kixby Hotel, Manhattan, New York

We landed in New York on time, thanks to the diligent efforts of our Virgin Atlantic team. Opting for a traditional New York Cab – a Big Yellow Taxi – we ventured through the mid-town tunnel into the heart of Manhattan. Our home for the next three days was the oasis of the Kixby Hotel, where deep slumbers awaited us.


Circle Line Cruise, New York

Plan to see New York from the Hudson

The morning after our East to West long-haul flight found us both awake before 5 am. This early start allowed me to refine our Big Apple itinerary while Mason polished his online gaming skills. Equipped with our New York City PASS, essential for a trip of this nature, we set off. Clad in comfy walking shoes (essential for navigating the streets of NYC), we embarked on the reliable Circle Line Cruise from Pier 83. Over two and a half hours, we travelled up and down the Hudson River, absorbing the city’s history and geography.

Adjacent to Pier 83, the Intrepid Sea and Air Museum awaited us – a fascinating journey from a World War II submarine to cutting-edge space shuttle technology. On our way back, we walked through the emotive Ground Zero, paying tribute to the victims of the 9/11 atrocity.

After a long day, hunger pains struck at odd times. Adjacent to our hotel, the Black Tap seemed like an ideal spot for an early dinner – a standard American diner serving burgers, fries, and more. However, our experience exceeded expectations. Solid American fare, welcoming service, a vibrant atmosphere, and towering milkshakes left us satisfied and just steps away from our beds.

Pack in icons with a New York City PASS

The following day was icon day – a visit to the Empire State Building and Ellis Island, both included in our pass. The thrill of experiencing things previously seen only on television was unforgettable. Post-Covid, timed visits and technology eliminated the need for hours-long queues. Breakfast at an NYC diner, surrounded by locals, added to the authentic experience.

As evening fell, we continued our “live like a local” theme by queuing up for pizza at Joe’s on Broadway. Standing up to eat, we savoured our slices, watching the city come alive with lights.


SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, New York

The last day in New York was a whirlwind of exploration. We strolled up 5th Avenue, through Central Park, and past Trump Tower. After savouring a square burger at Wendy’s, we headed to our final stop: the new SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. This NYC must-see attraction offers stunning views of Manhattan Island and iconic buildings like the Chrysler Building. It’s an immersive experience that blends art, technology, and architecture to redefine the concept of a New York City observation deck.


Union Station, Washington DC

Remember when we saw the POTUS in Washington DC?

Our adventure continued in Washington DC. The train journey from the new Moynihan Terminal to Union Station was quick, clean, and safe. Union Station’s magnificent architecture welcomed us, and we stayed at the conveniently located Washington Marriott Capitol Hill. Iconic landmarks like the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Smithsonian museums provided a rich educational experience. And for fun, DC had much more to offer, especially during half term.


Graham and Mason, Museum of Illusion, Washington DC

The recently reopened Washington Monument allowed us to ascend inside, with spectacular views on clear autumn days. We also visited Artechouse, an immersive art experience, and explored the Spy Museum and the Museum of Illusions. Our eyes played tricks on our brains, leaving us in awe.

While viewing the White House, we sensed something was about to happen. Soon enough, the President’s cavalcade drove past, thrilling my grandson and impressing me. All in a day’s adventure in the nation’s Capital.

Our trip was at an end, but it was more than a holiday; it was an investment in relationships and personal growth. Fantastic fun created lasting memories.

How to plan New York and Washington DC

How to get there

UK direct flights to New York year round, from 8 hours, 13 minutes

Where to stay

Kixby Hotel, Deluxe Room (based on 2 sharing) from £448 per night

Find out more and book the Kixby Hotel

Washington Marriott Capitol Hill, Queen Room (based on 2 sharing) from £150 per night

Find out more and book Washington Marriott Capitol Hill

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