Washington Heights and Inwood with Kids: Top 35 Things to Do

Two distinct neighborhoods make up the northernmost tip of Manhattan: Washington Heights and Inwood. Although these NYC nabes are constantly lumped together, they are really two unique areas that happen to share a lot of incredible history.

The Heights is a mix of multigenerational Hispanic families and young artists and families attracted to prewar apartment buildings and lovely parks. The area overflows with colorful Latino restaurants, shops, and cultural groups, and boasts multiple riverfront green spaces, notably Fort Washington Park, home to the famed Little Red Lighthouse, and Fort Tryon Park, where you'll find the Metropolitan Museum's medieval art mecca, the Cloisters.

Inwood is a quieter residential area that's quite tight-knit. Many family-friendly businesses are owned and operated by locals, like Indian Road Cafe, Bread and Yoga, and apothecary/soda fountain Dichter Pharmacy, which dates back to the 1940s.

Read on for all the top spots for kids in these Manhattan neighborhoods, from playgrounds to great eats.

What's Purim and Why All these Carnivals and Festivals?

Not too sure what Purim is? Imagine something between Hebrew Halloween and Middle Eastern Mardi Gras, and you'll more or less have it. Jewish families know Purim as a time of uncharacteristically raucous rabbinical revelry, marked by costumes, noisemakers, interactive storytelling, triangular pastries, and enough drink (for the grown-ups) to muddy the lines between good and evil. Gentile families generally don't know it at all. But Purim is worth knowing. Its story has all the best elements: a party-hearty king, a beautiful and courageous queen, a resourceful good guy, and a bad guy so hateful that everyone drowns out his name with noisemakers at carnivals all over town. Check out one of the events below for classic Purim carnival activities, costume parades, and boisterous retellings of the Purim story.

And if you know of a celebration we've missed, please let us know!

10 Places to Host a First Birthday Party in Houston

Congratulations! You've almost survived an entire year of keeping a tiny human alive and now, it's time to plan a celebration to mark the occasion. First birthday parties come in all shapes and sizes and often involve guests of all ages including parents, siblings, friends from daycare, and more. Choosing the theme, decor, food, and location for a first birthday party can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We've rounded up a list of Houston area venues that provide age-appropriate activities for your birthday boy or girl to help you plan a fun, festive first birthday celebration. And for more ideas, check out our Birthday Party Guide for Houston families.

Weekend Fun: The Gruffalo, Maple Sugaring Fest, Blue Comet Day

This last weekend of the month is packed with fun February freebies. You can ride the rails back in time at Blue Comet Day, listen to stories at the Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss Storytime, take a Winter Waterfowl Walk, and check out all kinds of free fun at Westfield Area YMCA's Kids Expo—all at no cost!

It's also a great weekend to see a show—catch Charlotte's Web Live at Forum Theatre Arts Center, The Gruffalo at the Theater at RVCC, and Turtle Dance Music at bergenPAC. Both The Gruffalo and Turtle Dance Music offer sensory-friendly performances.

Plus, it's a weekend of celebrating. Celebrate Black History Month at America We Served: Three Centuries of African American Soldiers, or celebrate Clean Ocean Action's Birthday with an Under the Sea Family Brunch.

Check out our Guide to Indoor Play Spaces for more options for weekend family fun, including where to find Free Indoor Play Spots. And look to our event calendar and February GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Crystal Springs Resort: Two NJ Hotels Host Mountains of Family Fun

Sometimes, it's all about the location when you travel. Exploring new areas of your state or country are exciting. But other times, it's all about the amenities. When you pack two sister resorts full of skiing, snow adventures, water play, and spa options, there's really no need to go past the grounds—which is the case with Crystal Springs Resort in northern New Jersey.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about Grand Cascades Lodge and Minerals Hotel, and if they're right for your family.

Find more vacation destinations in our Family Resort Guide, which is packed with reviews.

Robots, Rockets, and Explosions Wow Kids at NORY STEM Camps

Summer is a time when kids should be trying new things, asking crazy questions, and exploring wild possibilities, even if it sometimes means failing along the way. At least that’s what the two dads who founded NORY believe.

NORY is a summer camp for New York City’s youngest innovators. Kids ages 3-12 can sign up for STEM-focused programs with weekly themes that are totally worth geeking out over, like wood working, kitchen science, and chemical engineering and explosions. The 5 to 1 ratio of curious campers to inspiring instructors helps to keep kids totally engrossed in the hands-on curriculum. And it’s clearly doing the trick, because the popular camp is expanding to three main campuses in FiDi, Midtown East, and the Upper West Side this year.

These Bakeries Make the Best Birthday Cakes in Los Angeles

"Good things come in small packages" - or so my mother told me. And though she's always right, I'd argue that good things from bakeries come in large packages: as in, I'd take a whole cake over a cupcake any day, wouldn't you? If your little guy or gal has a birthday on the horizon, have a look at our long list of delectable bakery possibilities below, including vegan and gluten-free options. And just a heads up: though we've all been told that "good things come to those who wait," don't feel you must wait for a birthday to take home a confection! Oh go ahead, let them eat cake!

12 Books that Make Kids Proud to be Bostonians

Boston is a city steeped in history, and one of the best ways to learn about all of its famous landmarks and residents is through books. Next time you head to one of our city's great libraries or bookstores, look for one or more of these 12 great children's books, including a brand-new, beautifully illustrated story about the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. From landmark lore to rich biographies, these great reads will inspire hometown pride in Boston kids in different, age-appropriate ways.

Theaters with Sensory-Friendly Performances for NJ Kids

Taking littles to the theater opens up opportunities for exposure to the arts, building social skills, and learning about appropriate audience behavior. For children with autism, developmental disabilities, or sensory sensitivities (such as difficulties with bright lights, loud noises and sudden, surprising bursts of volume or activity), the theater can be an intimidating place.

Luckily, NJ is home to several performing arts spaces that offer exclusive performances for kids with special needs, so the entire family can experience the arts together. These sensory-friendly performances often include accommodations such as lowered volume and raised lighting, the ability to move about the theater freely, dedicated quiet areas, and trained staff to lend a helping hand should the need arise.

Read on for a list of theaters and upcoming performances where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are. We hope you enjoy the show!

Kids' Happy Hour Activities in NYC to Keep 'Em Busy Until Bed

Even for the most innovative parent, the gap between late afternoon and bedtime can be challenging to fill—especially during bad weather. When it's too cold and dark for the park, the "witching hour" can feel like an endless desert of time. Most play spaces, libraries, and museums close the doors before 6pm, so it's hard to justify schlepping across the city for a short window of playtime, especially when getting everyone fed is a factor. What's a parent to do? Well, check out our borough-by-borough breakdown of kid-centric locales that are open "late!" to keep your kids (little and big) busy till bedtime. 

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