DUMBO

Best Brooklyn Bridge Park Playgrounds (Ranked!)

Few city playgrounds can compare to what Brooklyn Bridge Park has to offer. Running 1.3 miles along the East River on a defunct cargo shipping and storage complex, the 85-acre waterfront space is host to a water paradise, Tarzan swings, slides, tunnels, and the city’s largest sandbox. Plus, the Lower Manhattan skyline view never fails to give me major city feels.

If you’ve packed your sunscreen and stamina, you can take the family to experience them all, but if you want to prioritize, we’ve ranked them for you. All of the Brooklyn Bridge Park playgrounds are fun, but our faves at the top of the list offer the most equipment, most variety, amenities, and wow-factor.

Ice Cream Shops Near Great Playgrounds in Brooklyn and Manhattan

We're well into playground season now, and New York City parents are steeling themselves to endure hearing the Mister Softee theme playing on a loop until September. While there's nothing wrong with grabbing a cone from your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck, I admit that I prefer play spots that have really fantastic ice cream vendors nearby. Cold and sweet, a few scoops of mint chocolate chip or strawberry (my flavors of choice) make sticking out the sticky New York City weather that much more manageable. And my kids don't mind eating it either.

Here are some of my favorite spots to grab a scoop, plus fun places to play before or after.

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE kayaking, and FREE things to do every day with kids in New York City. Now we're rounding up our favorite and (mostly) FREE family festivals and city street fairs going on in the month of July.

Two of our favorite annual fests take place this month: the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side, and City of Water Day at South Street Seaport and other locations around town. But that's just the beginning. We've rounded up lots of other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Back to the Beach in Staten island.

So go grab your calendar (and check ours frequently)! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

Free June Concerts for NYC Kids: Rolie Polie, Los Lobos, Astrograss

Free outdoor music is one of the hallmarks of a great NYC summer...in our opinion anyway! Pack a picnic, stake out a spot, lay down a blanket, and soak up some no-cost culture in the form of New York City's top kindie bands as they play FREE concerts at some of the city's most beloved parks and playgrounds, including the annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Family Concert, featuring Los Lobos in 2018.

Of course, there are so many performances that it can be hard to figure out which ones are worth the time, energy, and schlep. That's why we've done the work for you. Read on for nearly two dozen cool concerts happening this June for NYC kids.

Our Favorite Toddler Playgrounds in Brooklyn

It's no secret that Brooklyn is one of the most family-friendly boroughs in New York City. More young families are discovering the rich culture and kid-friendly perks like indoor play cafes that make it a great place to raise your family. It's the reason why these days, strollers outnumber the hipsters in most Brooklyn neighborhoods. And one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful tree-lined blocks is to go for a walk with your tot in tow to visit some of the amazing playgrounds in the area.

We've already ranked the best playgrounds in Prospect Park and the top playgrounds for your big kids in Brooklyn, but now we're putting together a list of some of our favorite playgrounds sized for toddlers.

Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2018

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with more than a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including 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 some awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April.

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

Christmas Tree Lightings in New York City This Holiday Season

You don't have to brave the Rockefeller Center commotion to witness a fabulous Christmas tree lighting in New York City.

We've rounded up some tree lightings that are much less crowded and every bit as hip, from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx and everywhere in between. These community holiday celebrations are festive and (mostly) FREE, and there’s no need to stand on your car to glimpse the goings-on. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and cozy up to one of these holiday illuminations in New York City. Find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

VRBar Brings Virtual Reality Gaming Fun to Brooklyn

The promise of virtual reality has been dangled before us, enticingly, for years. Until now, disappointing and expensive forays into the virtual world have left us happy to leave VR to hardcore gamers and “boys with toys”... and disposable income. But, finally, virtual reality arcades and an explosion of fun games are making it an actual reality for families.

We recently reviewed VR World in Manhattan and the positive experience made us excited to seek out another virtual reality spot in Brooklyn. The recently relocated vrbar in Dumbo offers virtual reality gaming in a less crowded, reservation-based environment.

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