Brooklyn

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!

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 spring 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 city limits and just beyond.

In addition to retro skating fun, many of these spots offer extras, including arcade games, bounce houses, and party packages.

NYC Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Back when my daughter was in kindergarten, her class got into a conversation about world hunger. Her solution? Just go eat at a restaurant. (Marie Antoinette would have been proud.)

Clearly, my child has been raised on a diet that's heavy on eating out, and why not? New York City has some of the best kid-friendly restaurants anywhere.

Of course, dining out doesn't come cheaply, especially in this town—unless you happen to be a child. For NYC kids, there really is such a thing as a free lunch, brunch, and sometimes even dinner, if you know where to go. At these nine local eateries, you can feed those hungry mouths for the unbeatable price of $0, while you get a break from playing chef. We know what you'll be making tonight: reservations.

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 each offers 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. With merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs, there's probably one near you.

7 Fun Party Places for Car- and Train-Obsessed NYC Kids

Long before my kids laid eyes on Pixar movies, they were obsessed with cars. Big ones, little ones, toy ones—as long as they were fast and sleek, they'd want to play with them or, better yet, ride in them.

Growing up as public-transit-taking New Yorkers also means a healthy obsession with trains. So no matter the mode of transportation that piques your kid's interest, we've got a party recommendation for you. We've rounded up seven party places in or near NYC where kids can enjoy car- and train-centric activities, from driving go-karts, calling all aboard on a vintage train, and even slot-car racing. Best of all, there's no driver's license required.

Dumbo Boulders: Climbing Brooklyn's Giant New Wall with Kids

When we heard a 12-foot high outdoor climbing wall had landed on the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park, my tree-climbing, monkey-bar-swinging son had to give it a try. As longtime Brooklynites, we’ve been taking advantage of the ever-expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park and great Dumbo eats for years. The addition of Dumbo Boulders offers yet another great reason to visit the neighborhood.

Best Places for Family Playtime in NYC

Playing together with your kids is one of the best parts of being a parent. Not only does it get everyone off the couch and moving, but you're also creating memorable family experiences.

Don't worry if you don't have a backyard. There are plenty of ways to play in NYC that are as engaging for grown-ups as for children, from mini-golf to bumper cars, bowlingbilliards, and beyond. Best of all, you and your kids get to disconnect from technology and enjoy a few hours of awesome bonding time.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in NYC

There are few more delightful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring than by viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over New York City. Everyone seems to know about the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but there are other places to enjoy these gorgeous blossoms without the crowds this April and even deeper into the spring season.

In Japan, cherry blossom-viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed, and celebrated. Traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking, and music.

Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring.

Candy Stores for New York City Kids

For many New York City kids, holidays like Easter (and Valentine's Day, and Halloween, and....) mean candy. And with New York City in the midst of a chocolate renaissance—Jacques Torres recently opened the city's first chocolate museum—it's a good time to be a kid. 

But what of the classic candy store, where kids can enjoy filling a bag, or a Mason jar, before they begin filling their faces. Many of these NYC spots are stores without seating or bathrooms; places sticking true to shelves and aisles stuffed with packages of colorful, cavity-creating treasures. A few offer more modern treats and additions like chocolate-making classes for kids.

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