Crown Heights

Brooklyn and Queens Beer Gardens Where Kids Are Welcome

New York City is overflowing with family-friendly restaurants, but how about bars? Chasing a toddler through a dimly-lit room that's crowded with tables probably isn't your idea of a successful happy hour. When you're looking to grab a drink with the kids in tow, beer gardens are a better option, with plenty of space for little ones to roam around and menus packed with hearty fare that's sure to please picky palates.

Turns out that Brooklyn could give Bavaria a run for its money when it comes to kid-friendly beer gardens. A few even offer special activities for tots like sing-alongs and playgroups during daytime hours. So whether you're celebrating a birthday, or just making it through the day without a meltdown, here are some of NYC's best beer gardens and halls where families can raise their glasses. We've even thrown in a couple of Queens spots, too.

Remember to call ahead or check the weather if you're looking to sit outside. Some beer gardens are just seasonal, or will close all outdoor seating in cold temperatures.

Macy's Flower Show and 6 More NYC Spots to See Spring's Blooms

After so many hours spent indoors during cold winter months, springtime in New York City is one of my family’s favorite seasons. Besides the warmer weather and increased outdoor playtime, we love spotting the season’s first snowbells, crocuses, and blossoming trees

While plenty of flowers poke through the earth in neighborhood parks and along city sidewalks—not to mention community gardens—there are a few spots in the city where spring blooms are downright outstanding. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we've rounded up our favorite places to enjoy springtime

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are essential for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter.

Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered nearly two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

The New IDNYC Card Perks for Families You Don't Want to Miss

It's no secret that living in New York City and raising kids here isn't cheap. So one of my favorite finds has been the IDNYC program, which, among other things, offers FREE and reduced-price memberships more than 40 cultural institutions across the city.

Since the municipal ID program launched in 2015, more than 1 million people have turned up at IDNYC centers to get their free ID cards and the benefits that being a card-carrying citizen of this great city brings. In 2018, the city introduced several new institutions to the program, including two that might interest NYC families: Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn and Chelsea Piers are now IDNYC partners. At Aviator, you can nab an individual membership for 20 percent off and score 15 percent off party bookings. Chelsea Piers invites you to enjoy 2-for-1 admission at its indoor ice skating rink as well as discounts at its driving range.

The IDNYC card offers more than cultural benefits: Families can take advantage of discounts on prescription drugs, car-share memberships, movies, sporting events, and more. It even acts as a public library card and can help you open an account at a bank or credit union.

I've put my card to use to take advantage of these benefits and more, so read on for a dozen reasons to sign up for your FREE card, including discounted admission to some of the city's best children's museums and zoos.

Free and Cheap Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Summer camp can be an especially stressful financial issue, because while we want our children to have a fun, rewarding, and safe experience, we don't want to dig into our retirement fund to pay for it. Even if your family's swimming in money (and if you are, congrats), we all appreciate a good bargain anyway.

Although there seem to be fewer FREE New York City summer camps than in years past, our list of inexpensive or cheaper camps for local kids is substantial. Some wonderful New York City programs are subsidized by arts and education funding so that all children can experience the amazing resources of this city.

Read on for all the info on our picks for FREE and bargain summer camps for NYC kids. You can find even more summer options in our jam-packed Summer Camp Guide and search for programs by interest, age range, and location in our Camp Directory.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations for NYC Kids

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2018's family activities. School-aged kids ought to be excited, too, as the holiday gives them an extra day off from school.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place on Friday, February 16, 2018, and ushers in the Year of the Dog. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. Check out one of these dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Kids at These NYC Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is peaceful for New York City kids, but it sure isn't boring, with music and storytelling and volunteer activities all focused on celebrating Dr. King's life and teachings with kids. Enjoy interactive peace marches, a historic walking tour of Harlem, a FREE bash at BAM in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and various museum events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15, 2018) is also a National Day of Service, when citizens are encouraged to help out in their communities. So we've included a list of family volunteering opportunities that are wonderful ways to honor King's work. You can find even more things to do on MLK Day in our Event Calendar.

Park Slope Summer Day Camps for Brooklyn Kids

As one of the most kid-friendly neighborhoods in New York City, Park Slope has no shortage of summer day camps. Whether your kids are into art or theater, nature or sports, crafts or music—or a little bit of everything—there's sure to be a program to keep them busy and happy all summer long.

But don't wait till spring is here to start looking. Winter is the time to start planning your kids' summer, as programs often fill up quickly. For more summer camp options outside of Park Slope, be sure to consult our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids and complete listings. If you're looking for affordable (and even FREE) ways to keep your kids busy, peruse our roundups of Free and Cheap Summer Camps.

New Year's Eve Fireworks in NYC and More 2018 Family Celebrations

There are plenty of ways to ring in 2018 in New York City. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options from Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties. 

However you welcome the New Year, we hope it's a blast. You can find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide, and more fun activities to do on school break.

22 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's outpost, Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill, Curiosity on Court, and the brand new Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best-of-Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls, or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for nearly two dozen drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.

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