Uptown

Best NYC Family Festivals and Street Fairs This May

There are street fairs and then there are street fairs. We don't mean those random ones selling irregular socks and fried Oreos; we're talking about true community festivals. Each one is unique, reflecting the character of its neighborhood, and many feature rides, performances, activities and food. The hard part, of course, is knowing which is which, but don't worry, we've taken the guesswork out of it for you.

We've gone through the city's list of festivals, street fairs and carnivals for the month of May and put together our roundup of top picks. Most of these fetes are FREE or cost just a couple of bucks, and in many cases your dollars go to support a local charity or school. Here are 25 awesome fests happening in NYC this May from the always popular tot-friendly Touch-a-Truck to a brand-new family fest at the Children's Museum of the Arts to Lincoln Center's annual Kids Spring Fling.

You can find even more seasonal activities in our Spring Fun Guide.

Hidden NYC: 21 Fun Things To Do in Central Park

Central Park was created as a respite for the teeming masses of Manhattan.The 843-acre jewel is home to woodlands, meadows, lakes and wildlife, and years later still offers a respite to all New Yorkers. Today, more than 40 million people annually visit the lush expanses of the country's earliest public parks. Its 21 playgrounds make it a destination for families from all over the city and world.

Central Park isn’t a place to tire of easily. My family's daily commute to school takes us back and forth across the park, for which I thank my lucky stars. But it's easy to lose perspective and forget how much this massive green space has to offer locals and visitors alike. With that in mind, we've rounded up 21 fun sites and scenes worth exploring in New York City's big backyard, from the obvious playgrounds and sledding hills to more obscure destinations. Enjoy.

Tasty Mother's Day Brunch Spots in Manhattan and the Bronx

Mother's Day is less than a month away, which means it's time to start planning the special day for the much-deserving mother or wife in your life. Speaking from experience, all moms really want is a little time off. You could choose to serve breakfast in bed, but why not forgo the chores altogether and hit one of NYC's many delicious brunch spots instead!

We've rounded up a baker's dozen worth of scrumptious places throughout Manhattan and northern borough neighbor, the Bronx. Each one is designated by mom style, including those looking for a waterfront view to moms who prefer a restaurant with vegetarian options. Pinpoint your special lady's preference, make your reservations and get ready to dig in. If you live further afield, be sure to check out our roundups of Mother's Day brunch spots in Brooklyn, or up the ante with one of these fun NYC itineraries to celebrate.

However you decide to spend the day, Happy Mother's Day from your peers here at Mommy Poppins!

Kid Bike, Seat and Gear Rentals for Pedaling Around NYC

Bike riding makes for a great family outing—with a little help from the right gear. We scoured NYC looking for the best bike rental locations that offer child bike seats, tandem bikes, trailers and more to make biking with kids seamless fun for the whole family. And while May is National Bike Month, and the warm spring temps may propel families to head outdoors to enjoy the season, bike riding is also a great summer and fall activity, as well as year-round transportation option for many New Yorkers. 

So whether you're a space-challenged New Yorker without the room to store bikes and bulky children's seat attachments for your toddler, or just visiting for the day, read on for our top rental picks.

For more seasonal fun, check out our NYC Spring Fun Guide.

 

Upper West Side with Kids: 30 Things to Do for NYC Families

The Upper West Side of Manhattan is one of the most famously family-friendly areas in NYC. I've lived on the UWS since I was just a tot and raised two children (now teens) in the same apartment where I grew up, so we're all very passionate about the neighborhood. (That's part of why we've covered it so extensively in the past.)

Roughly covering the area from Lincoln Center to 106th Street and Riverside Park to Central Park, there are a slew of kid-centric hot spots and activities in this massive neighborhood. It wasn't easy, but we've whittled down our list to 30 top picks for things to do with kids on Manhattan's Upper West Side. While you're sure to find the obvious ones (hello, American Museum of Natural History and Children's Museum of Manhattan), we also included lots of offbeat ideas and unusual info about the familiar attractions.

7 Free Outdoor Art Exhibits to See in NYC This Spring

New York City's parks and plazas are brimming with a new crop of kid-friendly public art installations just in time for springtime neighborhood walks.

These seven eye-popping statues are larger than life. There are gigantic glowing bunnies at Brookfield Place and a massive recreation of a DNA molecule in Marcus Garvey Park. You'll also find a 30-foot swimming pool propped up on its side in Rockefeller Center; a 25-foot-tall spinning, neon sign in Brooklyn Bridge Park; a pair of towering orchids at the entrance to Central Park; and an awe-inspiring, 30-foot-tall aluminum humanoid on the Park Avenue Mall. 

Visit these gigantic pieces one by one or link a couple together for a fun family outing, perhaps over the upcoming NYC public school April break. The best part of these seasonal art installations is that they all can be spotted in parks or other public places, so you can view them at your convenience and for FREE.  

NYC Carousels: 13 City Merry-Go-Rounds To Spin You Around

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. There are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in our city and all offer a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first carousel ride of the season. There are merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs, which means there's probably one near you.

7 NYC Arcades for Kid Video Game Birthday Parties

Arcades are an ideal place to celebrate a kid's birthday. Blinking lights, spinning wheels, ringing bells and mechanical jingles give arcades a festive atmosphere, and the assortment of amusements offers something for everyone. If you have a rare child who isn't a video-game enthusiast, these gaming parlors usually offer air hockey, skee-ball and basketball games; some even have laser tag. These kid-pleasing party spots are full service, so hosts only have to provide a cake or cupcakes. Many offer games that award tickets redeemable for prizes to fill a goody bag.  

Our list of seven arcades for kid birthday parties features spots in every New York City borough, from Manhattan to Staten Island, plus a mobile arcade that comes to you. Read on for all the details.

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out our NYC Party Guide or Directory of birthday fun suppliers.

Where to Roller Skate with Kids in NYC and Beyond

City dwellers seem to go crazy for ice skating season, but once the ice thaws and summer is upon us, where's a skater to go? It's time to introduce the kids to the old-school art of roller-skating at one of these seven rinks within New York City limits and just beyond.

In addition to retro skating fun, many of these spots offer extras, including arcade games, bouncy houses and party packages. Many of NYC's outdoor skating rinks open in April as the weather warms, just in time for spring break. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm hours and skate rental availability. 

Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs and Carnivals in April 2016

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with 10 fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including the 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival's annual family street fair, which has been renamed Tribeca On Location; the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival; the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival; Staten Island's St. George Day celebration; and Street Games in East Harlem. We highlight those and a handful of smaller festivals worth putting on your radar.

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together for a common cause. Many include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats and live performances. Here are 10 awesome NYC fairs, carnivals and festivals for families this April.

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