DUMBO

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.

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.

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 NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2017

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with almost a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including the the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration, and the annual Street Games in East Harlem. 

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together for a common cause. Many include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats, and live performances. Here are a dozen awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April. (One notable omission: The Tribeca Film Festival's annual fair has been discontinued in 2017.)

Best NYC Children's Bookstores to Spend an Afternoon In

Only a small number of dedicated children's bookshops exist in NYC—Books of Wonder and Bank Street Bookstore, we're looking at you!—but there are a number of other indie stores with impressive children's book sections. Many of these lit havens host children's activities, including read-alongs but also author events, and writing workshops.

My kids have a particular weakness for books, possibly because it's the one thing I never deny them—as evidenced by the overflowing bookshelves at home. We love exploring new-to-us, local shops and spending lazy afternoons getting lost in the stacks, so we've rounded up some of our favorite bookstores around the city, including two new ones coming soon.

Whether shopping for a birthday gift or looking for a local storytime, the neighborhood independent bookstore is a great bet for NYC families.

8 Rock Climbing Walls for Kids in New York City

Indoor rock climbing is a great way for kids to get some needed activity in the dead of winter or year-round. Why not let them bounce off someone else’s walls for a change, right? Plus, it takes concentration, discipline, and strength, all qualities we're happy to expose them to.

New York City boasts more than half a dozen indoor boulders, at least one in almost every borough, plus a brand-new outdoor, seasonal spot. The best part? Kids tend to love the activity and it isn't too pricey. Try it out in a drop-in program, or sign up for one of the many after-school classes or break camps offered at the eight rock climbing facilities profiled below.

Find more active fun in our Kids' Sports Centers Guide.

Brooklyn's Best Hot Chocolate Spots

Delicious, steaming hot cocoa topped with pillowy marshmallows is a kids staple during the winter months, warming little hands from the very first sip. You can make it at home, of course, but foodie Brooklyn offers a multitude of independent chocolatiers, coffee shops, and cafes serving up rich, creamy and inventive hot chocolates.

We recently covered the best spots to get hot chocolate in Manhattan, as well as Queens, but Brooklyn, home to the city's artisanal food scene, has plenty to offer, too. Read on for 10 of our favorite spots to pick up a cup of hot chocolate with the kids in this family-oriented borough.

Dine-In NYC Movie Theaters for Family Brunch or a Night Out

After a recent boom in dine-in movie theaters, NYC parents can combine dinner or brunch and a movie in one fell swoop for a perfect family outing, special occasion or treat for a deserving kid, or a much-needed date night. These theaters and screening rooms offer restaurant-style eats, and a fun, new way see movies, no matter what your age, and range from seriously swanky to indie theater cool. 

The dining menus at these theaters, many of which are brand-new in the last year, are packed with easy-to-eat snacks, some even offer sandwiches, salads, and tacos. While none of the theaters here have kids' menus they all serve up things sure to delight little moviegoers. Plus, these theaters have full bars so adults can indulge in a glass of wine, a local beer or a cocktail, which just might be the thing to help parents sit through some of these kid flicks.

Read on to find out what you can expect from your visit. 

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.

9 Exciting New Spots in NYC for Kids' Classes

Confession time: Sometimes, I feel a little overwhelmed by just how many children's classes are available in New York City. Should we do gymnastics or ballet? Robotics or writing this semester? It can be hard to know which are worth the time and money. An inspiring instructor can shape a lifelong hobby or even a career, but if that first class isn't good, a kid can sometimes lost all interest in a subject.

We've put together a list of nine new spots around the city offering cool kids' classes; hopefully this list makes your choice a little more manageable! Your child can get a mental workout at one of the new maker spaces or work off any excess energy with more physical classes, like yoga or rock climbing. 

Remember, this is just a sampling of offerings in NYC. For more enrichment options, check out our Classes Guide or Directory of businesses for a more complete listing.

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