Take your mom on a trip for Mother’s Day – or any other day! Instead of getting your mom flowers, a card or useless nick-knacks, take her sightseeing or out for lunch. Or even better travelling. Or why not do all 3 things!
The tradition of Mother’s Day began in USA, so this is obviously the place to go. If she always wanted to go to New York, it’s an easy way to tick off something from her bucket list, and at the same time, it’s a city with something for everyone. Plus, it’s big enough to spend some time on apart, if you need to. NYC was on my mom’s list, so my sister and I said: let’s go to the big apple!
Here are 9 thoroughly tested fun activities you can do on Mother’s Day in NYC:
FOR MOTHER'S DAY
TAKE YOUR MOM...
...walking the High Line
Time to get out and walk in the lovely spring weather. The High Line is a delightful example of reusing old industrial areas for something new and creative. The line was built in 1933 as an elevated freight line to stop the many deadly accidents by the street-level freight trains. Heading for demolition in the 80’s, it’s now a green pathway boosting art and creativity. A great open space high above the traffic for a sunny day. They even have special Mother’s Day discounts.
...to a museum
Take your mom to her new favourite museum. We recommend the International Center of Photography or the Tenements Museum for a more relaxed and experiences compared to the popular and packed Met and MoMA. The guided-tours only immigration museum is one of the best museums, I’ve ever been to. Perfect if you need to be reminded of how important family is, and what a great life your parents (hopefully) have given you.
...to one of the best restaurants in the world!
Lunch at Eleven Madison Park in an impressive Art Deco building. The restaurant is currently #4 on the list of 50 Best Restaurants, and has 3 Michelin stars. We had the a really nice time, although it’s a little formal with the high ceilings and the price also take som of the joy out of it. But not all. We really enjoyed the carrot tartar and the asparagus in pig bladder. But the green peas were the best dish. Make sure to order local sparkling wine.
Other good eating will probably be fine too. Dumplings in Chinatown is also highly recommendable or more casual The Butcher’s Daughter.
Head for Brooklyn, so your mom really can see New York and get that skyline view us foreigners see in all the movies. From the park there’s an unrivaled view of the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
Mother’s Day is a big thing in New York and USA and much more hyped than in Denmark. Many families bring huge coolers and entire BBQ sets. We met another family celebrating Mothers’ Day and started talking, and it turned out they had visited Copenhagen, where we live.
We bought Lebanese street food from the delicious Smorgasburg food market by Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5. (Funny: the name smorgasburg originates from Swedish Smörgåsbord, but it should be the real Danish word for it: Smörrebrödsbord, since we invented it).
...for a picinc in the park
If you’re lucky, the weather is warm and spring has arrived with flowers and green leaves. Get some delicious food and cold drinks, bring a book and a blanket and you’re good to go!
Central Park is the New York’s breathing space. It was designated as America’s first major landscaped public park in 1853. But a park is of course not just a park, but says something of society at the time. The argument behind keeping this very expensive piece of land open was the idea that the a great public park improves public health and the formation of a civil society. I agree.
...for some pampering
Besides sitting in the park, make sure you have time to just relax and not just run around like we have a tendency to do. Get a mani-pedi, which is way cheaper than in Denmark – although way more expensive than in Istanbul. So the Turkish city might be a good destination for Mother’s Day as well.
Whatever your mom is into. My mother is a librarian, so….
Every where near parks you find these stalls selling used books like along the Seine in Paris. I recommend 2 bookstores: Strand Book Store, where I bought this cool literary superheroes wallet (nerdy?). Also the large Barnes & Noble had me and my mom spending all our money. I bought the Beat Generation (Burroughs & Kerouac) and read them in Washington Square garden, where they use to hang out themselves in the 60’s.
... to NYC by night
Actually, my mom went alone on this one. She is unstoppable, and even after 10 hours of sightseeing, she still wants to walk home – even if it’s across town.
But one of my hard earned lessons from travelling with my mom is that you need to give each other space. It’s okay to split up and meet again later, since there’s plenty of time, when travelling and not just having lunch. But for Mother’s Day – go with her.
Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 2. Sunday in May. Celebrating mothers is an ancient tradition, and a Mothering Sunday was held by the early Christians although with a slightly different aim.
The modern tradition is a blend of different agendas. One was the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe, whom in 1870 wrote a proclamation asking mothers to unite in promoting world peace. Earlier, Ann Reeves Jarvis helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” in effort to help women with child care. It was her daughter Anna Jarvis, who finally got Mother’s Day as a national (and later international) day to honour all mothers. In 1908 she 500 white carnations to a church in honor of her late mother Ann and this is considered to be America’s first Mother’s Day. The day became celebrated by wearing a white carnation and going to visit your mother.
Anna Jarvis has later clearly spoken out against the commercial turn (even though it looks like she started the flower thing herself) and I agree. So let’s go back to celebrating peace.
(And don’t forget about your dad.)
If your mom (or dad) is a bit more adventurous, try take her dog sledding through the dark Arctic landscape in Svalbard! Also a bucket list trip for my mom, that we ticked off this January. Last year, we fulfilled another one on her list by travelling for The best Egyptian temples & tombs in ancient Thebes.
Hope this made you want to take your mom or dad out on the road. Do you travel with your parents?