Brooklyn

Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs last year, returns along with many of our favorite annual series. 

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a family-friendly screening or two. Movies usually begin between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early: The well-known series fill up fast. Sometimes there is even pre-movie entertainment.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. Find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Take the Subway to NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway, Orchard Beach

Fourteen miles of sparkling sand and crashing waves can be found in four of the five boroughs (sorry river-locked Manhattan), which is good news for NYC families. Because as much as we enjoy hitting the Jersey Shore, Fire Island, and other Long Island beaches, we're not big fans of renting cars and sitting in traffic.

New York City's beaches are just a subway, bus, or ferry ride away. From the "Bronx Rivera" to iconic Coney Island and the Rockaways, these urban seasides often offer just about everything suburban beaches do except the out-of-town commute.

Brooklyn Outdoor Eats: Restaurants with Kid-Friendly Backyards

Brooklyn boasts its share of restaurants with sidewalk tables, but those of us with kids enjoy those eateries with more spacious outdoor dining. A backyard, picnic tables, roof decks, or sometimes even a bit of grass? We're sold!

Just in time for summer, we've rounded up of our favorite spots from across Brooklyn that feature ample outdoor space, serve delicious food, and welcome families with children. If you're in the mood for variety, we've included a mix of cuisines: Japanese, Mexican, Cuban, Southern comfort and of course, pizza and New American.  

Headed to Brooklyn from a surrounding area? Browse our Brooklyn Kids Guide to take full advantage of the borough while you're there, or peruse our NYC Restaurant Guide for more family-friendly eats.

Brooklyn Has a Unicorn Store Full of Rainbow Horns and Magic

Imagine a magical wonderland where your child can pretend to be a mythical creature, hunt for hidden messages on the walls, gaze into a magic talking mirror, and throw rainbow confetti into the air just because.

This place doesn’t just exist in your 4-year-old’s dreams. It opened this month on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, on the border of Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

Coney Island with Kids: Luna Park Rides, Aquarium, Mermaids

The shores of Coney Island and Brighton Beach open for the season on Memorial Day weekend; the amusement parks opened on April 8, and the boardwalk and New York Aquarium are open year-round. Sounds like it's time for a Brooklyn day-cation!

From Luna Park's new(ish) Endeavor wheel and Thunderbolt roller coaster to old favorites like the carousel and Deno's Wonder Wheel, the Coney Island Museum and Circus Sideshow, and Nathan's Famous hot dogs—not to mention the sand and waves and Friday-night fireworks—here are the best things to do in Coney Island with kids this season, including a fun event with Mommy Poppins: the Summer Brain Game kickoff party at Luna Park.  

16 Great Parks and Playgrounds for NYC Kids' Birthdays

Savvy DIYers know that during the warmer months, New York City's parks make a stunning backdrop for a birthday bash. Granted, this type of party requires more work than booking one of those all-inclusive packages, but you get to control most of the details, including the cost (though sadly not the weather).

Find more party spots in our NYC Birthday Guide, including inexpensive room rentals for when bad weather threatens the fun.

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill: Best Things to Do with Kids

The charming streets of tree-lined Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Boerum Hill are filled with family-friendly dining, places to play, and unique experiences like gaming and drop-in play spaces. It's infused with a mix of cultures, including Italian and French. The spires of grand historic churches mix with the pretty brownstones and numerous parks and playgrounds.

The area is bordered by the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge Park to the west and the charming Brooklyn Heights enclave to the north, with Park Slope and Gowanus to the south and east.

Read on for our top picks for kid-friendly fun in this popular Brooklyn neighborhood.

Sweet Mother’s Day Brunch Spots in Brooklyn for Kids and Mom

Celebrating mom with a special brunch is a time-honored tradition. This year we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite Brooklyn restaurants, where the food is outstanding and the vibe is special yet still family friendly. Mark your calendars: Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14.

Each of our picks serves a standout brunch—and offers high chairs. Be sure to reserve or show up early as these spots fill up quickly. If you’ve got young kids in tow, consider packing a few snacks and small toys to keep them busy while you wait to be seated.

Need more ideas? Check out our suggestions for Mother's Day brunch in Manhattan or in Queens.

Best Family Festivals and Street Fairs in NYC 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 top annual festivals, street fairs, and carnivals and put together our roundup of top picks for May. 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 20 awesome fests happening in NYC this May.

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

A Dozen Miniature Golf Courses for NYC Kids

For many families, mini golf is a quintessential spring and summer activity that they look forward to every year. My son loves it, so we've tried just about every putt-putt course in the tristate area.

While there are plenty of courses on Long Island and in New Jersey, you don't need to head out of town for putt-putt golf. There are currently a dozen places to play mini golf right here in New York City. And as sports go, it's typically fairly inexpensive—often as little as $5 a round for kids. Another bonus is that it's one of those rare activities that parents and kids can play together. You can even host a birthday party at most of these spots.

Read on to find out where to play mini golf with the kids in the city, and I'll see you on the green!

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