Prospect Heights

11 NYC Neighborhoods to Visit With Your Family This Summer

Whether you're a New York native, a day-tripper, or a tourist from way outta town, summer is the perfect time to explore this action-packed city. And since there's certainly no shortage of warm-weather adventures for kids of all ages, we partnered with the Big Apple pros over at NYCgo to share some of the top can't-be-missed 'hoods worthy of a visit while the sun's out this season.

From sharks to new parks, make it a summer of adventure with these hot, family-friendly neighborhoods across all five boroughs!

Best Brooklyn Splash Pads and Water Playgrounds for Summer Fun

When the sticky NYC summer heat sets in, kids need fun things to do to keep cool (bonus points if the kiddos also get a chance to burn off some energy). There’s no better solution than water playgrounds—get cool in the water, dry off to hit the other playground equipment, rinse and repeat. All afternoon.

And best of all, hitting a water playground is a FREE summer activity you can do every day. We’ve rounded up the best water features and playgrounds around Brooklyn so that you and the little ones can try a new place to spray and play every day of the week. 

It's a long summer! Find more ways to keep cool with our NYC Beaches, Pools, and Water Parks Guide, which includes splash pads in other boroughs too!

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.

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. It's the simplest of amusement park attractions, and there are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in New York City alone. It's easy to stumble upon them on your next park outing.

Each city carousel offers a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride, from harbor views to a ride in a iridescent fish. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first ride of the season, so we've rounded up the merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

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.

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