Best Free Annual Parades in New York City for Kids

As the saying goes, everyone loves a parade. And in NYC, we have plenty of processions to choose from. During the warmer months, there are parades practically every week celebrating a wide variety of cultures and causes, and all of them are FREE.

While it's always cool to watch the colorful costumes, floats, and performers pass by, there are certain annual parades that are particularly great for families. These processions are either exceptionally vibrant like Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade or the Three Kings Day Parade, or invite costumed kids to get in on the action like the small Halloween Parades that are much less intense than the big one in Greenwich Village.

Included in our list are parades we've attended—some many times—or others that come highly recommended. So, get our your calendar and save these dates to see if you can catch them all!

Explore the Past and the Great Outdoors at Allaire State Park

Growing up in Monmouth County, I visited Allaire State Park frequently with my family as a child. Those day trips were filled with playground time, train rides, and old-fashioned candy purchased at the village’s general store. Now I take my own kids there, just like my parents took me.

Allaire is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway, close to the Jersey Shore, and bursting with outdoor fun like family-friendly hikingbike riding, picnicking, and camping. But what sets this New Jersey state park apart from other bucolic green spaces are its historic village and working steam train.

With 3,000 acres of nature, a rich history, and lots of fun activities and seasonal events, Allaire continues to be a popular destination for NJ families. Read on for the highlights.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Cardboard Regatta, Fiesta La Ballona, LA Birthday, & More

We say good-bye to summer break as one after another our favorite seaonal series come to a close (or just start, for those who want to be contrary).  A new academic year is upon us, and those kids who aren't back in school will be soon enough.  

It's not just kids: whether you're 10 or 50, or old enough for the senior senior discount, you're feeling a change in the way the wind blows. Luckily, we've been through this rodeo enough to know it's never the end: the sun sets, only to rise again. Soon enough there will be a sequel or a live action remake.  

There's always something going on in the City of Angels, whether it's rocking, rolling, or floundering with questionable seaworthiness. We've got plenty to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead, but ah, those summer niiiiights.

Keep reading for our best end-of-summer picks for this weekend....

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Theater District Open House, AIA Sandcastle Contest, Aug. 24-25

School may be back in session, but the summer heat hasn't quit just yet, and that means we're still looking to pack in one last little bit of summer fun! To help you make the most of summer's inevitable end, we came up with a list of 14 things to do before summer ends, whcih is packed with fun family activities like family bingo night, a trip to Candytopia, and Kroger Family Sundays with the Houston Astros

That being said, we also know that some of you are ready to wash your hands of summer and jump right back into the school routine, and this weekend has some awesome back to school events to help facilitate that as well. Saturday you can head to Memorial City Mall for an After School Activities Fair or to Pasadena for their annual Back to School Market, and Sunday Kingwood is hosting a Back 2 School Market. We also rounded up several free and cheap after-school programs and classes for all the parents who need and/or want a little extra for their kids in those awkward hours between the end of the school day and the end of the work day. 

Our event calendar and August GoList are both always good sources of idea inspiration when you need something to do, and you can sign up for our weekly newsletter to have all of our newly published content delivered straight to your inbox.

Now let's check out what's happening around town this weekend.

Weekend Fun: Hot Air Balloons, Cardboard Boats, and a Kids' Triathlon

Fall is approaching, and amid the frenzied school supply mall runs, families can check out numerous fairs celebrating the annual harvest season. Just this weekend there are agricultural fairs in Brooklyn, Terryville, and Chester, If ox pulls, carnival midways, and fried fair food aren't your thing, check out the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival, or escape an authentic native wigwam. For those who prefer indoor activities, head to Hartford to wish the Bushnell Carousel a happy 105th birthday.

For the latest and best family-friendly goings on around the state, keep checking our frequently updated events calendar and follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Have a great weekend!

Weekend Fun: Teddy Bears, Peaches, and Boats

Ahoy mateys! This weekend is the Antique & Classic Boat Festival in Salem, where families can watch some truly amazing vessels on the water and even maybe see what it's like to ride one. While you're on the North Shore, swing by the Connors Farm Peach Festival and ride their new custom-built Putnam Railroad train. Got a sick teddy? Bring your favorite bear or stuffie to Stone Zoo for a check up. It's also your last chance to visit the Marshfield Fair until next summer.

Things to Do This Weekend: US Open, Jazz, Battle of Brooklyn, Soapbox Derby, High Line

Tennis anyone? The annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day is back, bringing tennis stars and music superstars to NYC in advance of next weekend's US Open. Can't get to Queens? Check out the US Open Experience down in the Financial District for kids' clinics, big-screen tennis viewing, and the chance to score a free racket!

For old-fashioned summer fun, soapboxes will roll through Park Slope at Saturday's South Slope Derby, or families can create art En Plein Air on the High Line. History buffs can celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, fought in 1776 on land that is now part of Green-Wood Cemetery, at the Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration on Sunday. Or visit George Washington's Encampment on the Upper West Side to check out what revolutionary soldiers had to eat.

Jazz fans (and fans-in-the-making) can "count down to the 20s" at Governors Island's Jazz Age Lawn party, where jitter-bugging is on repeat all weekend long and kids under 12 can tag along for free. Or hit the Jazzmobile Block Party in Corona, Queens, at the Louis Armstrong House for serious be-bop cred.

Check a few more things off that "before school starts" summer bucket list—or start planning for fall: Tickets for Smithsonian Museum Day, offering FREE access to museums all around the city on September 21, are available to download now. Get 'em before they're gone! For more end-of-summer fun, check our August GoList and Event Calendar.

Weekend Fun: Summer Hoot, Dutchess County Fair, NY Air Show

From carnival rides to aircraft exhibits, roving robots to square dancing, there’s a broad assortment of family fun in store this weekend in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

The headline event is the Dutchess County Fair, returning for the 174th time with amusement rides, carnival games, livestock competitions, a petting zoo, and loads more. Whether your idea of quality entertainment is live music or racing pigs, this fair has it all.

The Summer Hoot is a hoot indeed, with three days of old-school appeal in the form of square dancing, blacksmithing demos, performances, children’s theater, and more for all ages. Those interested in history and the military might enjoy General Washington on the Hudson: The Battle of Stony Point, while fans of feats can be dazzled by aerial maneuvers, parachute jumps, and more at the New York Air Show.

But these are just the beginning! Read on for more of our top picks for the coming weekend. For more summer fun in and around Westchester, look no further than our Event Calendar, where you'll find many more great ways to enjoy the rest of August with your family—many of which are FREE. 

Weekend Fun: Railroad Fest, Scottish Games, Peach Festival

Chug on down to the Railroad Musuem of Long Island in Riverhead for its annual festival this weekend. Hop aboard a miniature World's Fair train for a ride around the lawn. Then head east to the Harbes Family Farm Peach Festival.  These are just some of the great events and activities for Long Island kids and families this weekend.    

Elsewhere, enjoy the Long Island Scottish Festival and Games, including a wee bit o' bagpipers, caber tossing, Highland games, and more. 

Essex County's New Accessible Playground Lets All Kids Play Together

All children can benefit from outdoor play in a park or playground, and lucky for us, there's a new accessible playground in Bloomfield, NJ, designed with the needs of kids with physical and developmental disabilities in mind. 

Watsessing Park's all-access playground opened at the end of July after a seven-month, $4 million renovation. This new addition to the 69-acre Essex County park, located at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Conger Street, boasts inclusive features such as wheelchair-friendly surfacing and ramps, a seated merry-go-round, special swings, and much, much more—all in delicious, candy-colored hues.

Already fans of Watsessing Park's splash playground, my 6-year-old and I spent a perfect summer afternoon at this updated play space where all kids can play together and have fun. Read on for the scoop.


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