Brooklyn

31 Things We Can't Wait to Do This Fall in NYC

The other day, I spotted the first of the Halloween pop-up shops that dot city streets come Fall, and it hit me: Though my AC is working overtime, and I'm still cramming as much summer fun in with my kids as possible, the winds of change are blowing.

Rather than lamenting the things we didn't get to, though, we decided to look forward to what's on tap, so here's our season-long look at the family-friendly fall fun we can't wait to get started on. After all, we've got lots of assorted school holidays and long weekends to fill before the weather really changes. Without further ado, here are 31 things we're looking forward to doing this fall in NYC, a mix of seasonal favorites and new openings that has us actually looking forward to September.

Best Free Annual Parades in New York City for Kids

As the saying goes, everyone loves a parade. And in NYC, we have plenty of processions to choose from. During the warmer months, there are parades practically every week celebrating a wide variety of cultures and causes, and all of them are FREE.

While it's always cool to watch the colorful costumes, floats, and performers pass by, there are certain annual parades that are particularly great for families. These processions are either exceptionally vibrant like Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade or the Three Kings Day Parade, or invite costumed kids to get in on the action like the small Halloween Parades that are much less intense than the big one in Greenwich Village.

Included in our list are parades we've attended—some many times—or others that come highly recommended. So, get our your calendar and save these dates to see if you can catch them all!

Ennis Playground Gives Gowanus a Freshly Updated Playspace

We're suckers for a destination-worthy playground, but we also have big love for NYC's smaller neighborhood playgrounds. In a city like ours, a playground doesn't necessarily need an elaborate theme or deluxe play features to be a huge boon to the neighborhood. The newly renovated Ennis Playground in the heart of fast-changing Gowanus is one such gem. Ennis Playground reopened last month after an 11-month, $2.9 million renovation—here's a look at what's new.

Go Fish: Where to Go Fishing with NYC Kids for Free (Even If You Don't Have Gear)

Fishing is a classic family activity, but it can only be done outside of NYC, right? Wrong. My husband and I have been fishing with our 9-year-old son in the five boroughs since he was a preschooler. It's relaxing and a great way to bond, plus it teaches patience (you definitely need it for this sport).

Not only does NYC offer different kinds of fishing experiences (freshwater, salt water, catch-and-release), there are organizations that even supply the rod, reel, tackle and bait so all you need to bring is a good attitude. Our rivers, lakes, ponds and beaches are truly teeming with fish, and we've got the scoop on where you and your kids can catch them.

Great Party Spots in Brooklyn for Baby's First Birthday

Let’s face it: Your baby's first birthday isn’t just about celebrating the start of toddlerhood. It’s about acknowledging the fact that you’re still standing after a whole year of parenting, even if you can’t remember the last time you slept!

At this age, the kids in attendance probably won't be running in circles (in fact, many of them might not be walking), so you don't need as much space as you will in a few years, and there’s a good chance that your guest list is heavy on the grown-ups. We've already rounded up great best first birthday spots in Manhattan, and now we've put together a list of top Brooklyn baby-friendly first birthday bash spots that adults and kids will appreciate.

Looking for more party-perfect ideas? Take a look at these Brooklyn gym parties, or visit our handy Party Guide and Directory to find entertainers and more.​​

5 Kid-Friendly Urban Farms Right Here in New York City

Times—and the food industry—have changed from when I was a kid. In the 1980s, everything we ate came from the freezer section, cans, and boxes. Microwaves were hot kitchen appliances. I didn't even know what an unpicked strawberry looked like or what type of plant blueberries grew on. Trees, maybe? Now, knowing where your food comes from, understanding sustainability, and eating local are all hot topics that parents are passionate about. New York City offers plenty of farmers' markets, gardens, and parks to get close to nature. But did you know there are plenty of farms, too?

We've compiled a list of open-to-the-public farms within NYC that all deserve a visit. Each one has a special and interesting hook. Make sure to check seasonal hours/days-of-operation before you travel. 

If you really want that full country vibe, you can always head out to the nearby farms of Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester for pick-your-own apples, tractor rides, and petting zoos.

13 Coolest Places in NYC to Take Photos of Your Kids

Not to brag, but New York City is pretty darn photogenic. The glittering buildings, the amazing public art, the bright blue rivers, the buzzing neighborhood streets...It might just be the coolest family photo studio on Earth. No wonder you can hardly turn a corner in this town without running into a movie shoot.

Whether you're looking for the perfect backdrop for a family photo or just looking to take your Instagram game up a notch, we've rounded up a list of the best spots in the city to take pics of your kids (way beyond the classic "waving in front of the Statue of Liberty"...not that there's anything wrong with that). But of course, it's not just about getting that perfect shot—it's about having a perfect NYC memory, too. Each of these spots is also a great family destination in its own right, with playgrounds, parks, and museums to explore.

Be sure to follow Mommy Poppins on Instagram for more cool places to discover in NYC with your kids, with or without your camera.

Mommy and Me Swim Classes in New York City for Babies and Tots

Mommy and me swim classes (or daddy and me) are a wonderful way to spend time with your baby or toddler. Ideally, these lessons should be enjoyable, stress-free, educational, and a good source of exercise for kids and parents.

During the summer, swim lessons offer overheated families the chance to cool off while young kids become comfortable in the water, a skill they'll certainly use a lot in the coming years, what with all the great swimming pools and beaches in NYC. Parent-child swim classes are also offered around the city throughout the fall, winter, and spring, both on weekends and after school.

Most classes for wee ones and their caretakers take place in indoor pools. Except for the free swim lessons offered via lottery by the New York City Parks Department, mommy and me classes invariably cost something. We've rounded up the top parent-child swim programs across the city (and for more options, see our roundups of swimming classes for all ages in Brooklyn and Queens).

Money-Saving Deals for NYC Kids Classes and Fall Programs

Hey, we know kids activities can cost a pretty penny, so we reached out to some of New York City's much-loved children's programs to see if they wanted to extend any special offers to our readers. Sure enough, we snagged 15 deals that'll help you save on kids classes this fall! Read on to find discounts on dance classes, kids cooking classes, art for kids, kids gyms, and so much more.

Don't dawdle, because these deals will quite literally disappear as they expire. If you don't see a deal listed below it means the offer is no longer available. If you're looking for even more kids classes, visit our NYC Classes Guide, or you can even search our Directory by location and age!

NYC Playgrounds With Shade: Play It Cool at These Shady Parks in NYC

Need to find a playground with shade for a hot summer day in NYC? These shady playgrounds in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens offer a break from the sun, but no shortage of fun.

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, there's no reason for us parents to get stuck baking in the heat. A few NYC playgrounds are known to offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—but we asked our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. 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. But if you're looking for a cool place to play this summer, one of these spots should do the trick.

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