Prospect Heights

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms as a Family 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.

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.

25 Best Things to Do in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with Kids

Prospect Heights is a small Brooklyn neighborhood that's in the middle of all the action. Nestled between Crown Heights, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene, it's brownstone Brooklyn at its best, with tree-lined streets, eateries galore, and a mix of longtime residents and new transplants. Much like the rest of the borough, the community has seen its fair share of gentrification; however, it remains quite diverse, and is a wonderful place for families to live or visit.

An array of kid-friendly cafes, bars, restaurants and shops line Vanderbilt Avenue, and Washington Avenue is another thriving commercial strip. The southern periphery of Prospect Heights features some of Brooklyn’s most famous landmarks: the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (also covered in our Crown Heights guide), along with the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the northern edge of Prospect Park. Meanwhile, Barclays Center (also covered in our Fort Greene guide) is located in its northwestern corner.

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.

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.

Brooklyn Leaf-Peeping with Kids: Top Streets for Fall Foliage

When fall arrives in the tristate area, serious leaf-peepers tend to head upstate. But when you have little kids, the idea of packing them into the car, with all the snacks, for a long drive through traffic, to try to point out clusters of colors in the distance, is often less than appealing. What if we told you that you don't even have to leave Brooklyn to see some genuinely beautiful fall foliage? The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of maple trees, oak trees, and more are right here. You just have to know where to look.

A safe bet to find those stunning fall colors will always be your local park or garden, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (the Japanese garden is typically gorgeous at this time of year). But for a FREE neighborhood walk, consider these blocks in Brooklyn for family walk. We've even pointed out top spots to stop for a break along the way.

Family Restaurants Near Barclays Center for Post-Show Kid Eats

When you’re heading to an event at the Barclays Center with the kids, you have one of two options: Get in quickly and fill them up with sometimes-pricey, always dependable vendor food, or... plan ahead and leave time to hit one of the kid-friendly restaurants in the neighborhood after the show, concert, or game. Opened in 2012, it's home to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, and often hosts the circus, headliners like Katy Perry, and Disney on Ice.

Fort Greene has recently turned into a foodie destination, bringing in all sorts of specialty food shops (Doughnut Plant, anyone?), food halls, and myriad culinary hot spots, from southern barbecue to custom ramen. So take advantage of the trip and the area: Grab your kids and grab a table at our favorite places around the arena.

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