DUMBO

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.

Best Winter Shows for NYC Kids: Dinos, Circus Acts, Peter Pan

Winter 2017 in New York City is loaded with cool children's theater. Recently, we spotlighted a pair of high-profile family musicals coming to Broadway this season: long-running London hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a screen-to-stage adaptation of the animated movie Anastasia.

But you don't need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC—plenty of engaging family productions are playing Off-Broadway for a lot less. This winter there are wonderful options for toddlers to tweens, including interactive shows created specifically for the preschool set (Shadow Play and Ear, Nose, and Tail ), eye-popping spectacles for all ages (Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live and Cirque-tacular's Snowkus Pocus), and stage adaptations of popular picture books such as Elephant & Piggie and Please Bring Balloons. Best of all, most of these shows cost $25 or under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

A Lego Pop-Up Has Landed in Brooklyn for the Holidays

An interactive Lego pop-up play zone from the folks behind Brick Fest Live opened in Downtown Brooklyn last weekend for a limited two-week engagement. You'll find Legos to play and build with, video games, a Lego block pit, walk-through exhibits made of Legos, collaborative projects, a Star Wars theme, and yes, shopping options. I visited with my 3.5 year old son over the weekend, so read on for what he (and I) thought of it!

The 1,500-square-foot Lego Holiday Experience is located in Brooklyn’s new City Point Brooklyn, an ongoing development project set to house a Target, Trader Joe’s, movie theater, giant food court, and other retail stores. While the website says it’s “open now," the only store that is actually open is Century 21 and this LEGO pop-up, so don’t count on getting food or much shopping done inside of the complex.

New Children's Play and Art Space Arrives in Dumbo with Spark

The ever-changing Dumbo waterfront just gained a new kid-friendly tenant. Spark, the brand-new annex of the Brooklyn Children's Museum, opened in mid-October with drop-in play hours and educational programming for kids ages six months to 6 years. It's modest in size, with 1,850-square-feet spread out across one floor, but that intimate setting is particularly manageable for those with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

I visited the space on opening weekend with my 3-year-old. Read on for our full review of this new drop-in play spot in Brooklyn.

Dumbo with Kids: 50 Fun Things to Do for Families

The Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo is a draw for both visiting tourists and locals eager to enjoy the water and city views, family-friendly restaurants, shops, and plenty of outdoor activities. Located between the famous Manhattan Bridge (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and Brooklyn Bridge, this neighborhood offers stunning views of lower Manhattan, cobblestone streets, and experiences varied enough to keep the whole family entertained.

The neighborhood's crown jewel is Brooklyn Bridge Park—a stunning waterfront park that boasts lovely walking paths, playgrounds, roller skating, kayaking, swimming, and an impressive sports complex at Pier 5—but this eclectic area also offers an abundance of delicious eats, scores of beautiful shops, indoor play spaces for kids, and so much more. Read on for 50 things to see, do, and explore with kids in Dumbo.  

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