Prospect Heights

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.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more futuristic fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. After clarifying that we were talking about shelter from the sun's rays, not sketchy parks, they came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinkler Parks in Brooklyn

When the sticky NYC summer heat has truly settled in, caregivers have to think of ways to keep the kiddos cool that are also fun and will burn off 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, it’s 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 don’t get bored with the same old spray.

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!

Best Brooklyn Baby and Me Classes to Try Together

Brooklyn is chock-full of babies, so it's no wonder that the borough is home to an overwhelming number of baby classes. You'll find pretty much every kind of parent and baby course you can think of (or never even imagined), from music to movement to drop-in art, where you can bond with and stimulate your baby while meeting other local parents.

Of course, because your baby is totally unique, you may be looking to try something a little different, and Brooklyn certainly delivers. In these offbeat baby classes, you can introduce your little one to DJing, swimming, and working out—all before she's even spoken her first word.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

There's something magical about being out on the water in New York City. Whether you are sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's a lovely and relaxing activity, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day. It's also an opportunity to see the city from a whole new perspective.

Countless operators offer all kinds of boat tours around NYC, and of course, there's now the new citywide ferry service, too! So the question for parents is, which ones are truly family-friendly? After all, once you're on the water you're committed to the ride regardless of tantrums, seasickness, or boredom.

To help you figure out which NYC boat rides will work best for your family, we've broken them down by type (great for tots, wildlife watching, DIY rides, etc.) and highlighted some of our kids' personal favorites. You can find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide

Brooklyn Has a Unicorn Store Full of Rainbow Horns and Magic

Imagine a magical wonderland where your child can pretend to be a mythical creature, hunt for hidden messages on the walls, gaze into a magic talking mirror, and throw rainbow confetti into the air just because.

This place doesn’t just exist in your 4-year-old’s dreams. It opened this month on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, on the border of Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

Sweet Mother’s Day Brunch Spots in Brooklyn for Kids and Mom

Celebrating mom with a special brunch is a time-honored tradition. This year we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite Brooklyn restaurants, where the food is outstanding and the vibe is special yet still family friendly. Mark your calendars: Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14.

Each of our picks serves a standout brunch—and offers high chairs. Be sure to reserve or show up early as these spots fill up quickly. If you’ve got young kids in tow, consider packing a few snacks and small toys to keep them busy while you wait to be seated.

Need more ideas? Check out our suggestions for Mother's Day brunch in Manhattan or in Queens.

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.

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