Brooklyn

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.

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!

5 Brooklyn Adventures Perfect for Preschoolers

A New York City day with a preschooler is likely to be full of adventure and excitement, but those short attention spans can be downright exhausting. Thankfully, the borough of Brooklyn is filled with non-stop kid fun, even for the most rambunctious little ones.

Of course, there's no shortage of fantastic zoos and gardens, museums, and playgrounds for spending a day out and about in the city, but we've developed five parent-tested, Brooklyn-based itineraries that are perfectly tailored to the younger crowd. 

Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

New York City doesn't lack for world-class museums and cultural institutions. While I've been to The Met more times than I can count (and still haven't seen it all) and can while away an afternoon at The Whitney no problem, sometimes my kids need something with a little more action.

That's where New York City's many family-friendly children's museums come in. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites, ranging from totally interactive playspaces to spots for making art, studying history, and much more. All of NYC's kid museums provide plenty of fun things to do, and are great indoor activities whether you're beating the summer heat or escaping winter's chill.

Best Beaches Near NYC: A Guide for Families

Summertime means beach time, and while there are lots of beaches near and even in NYC, some are more family-friendly than others. After packing up your gear and schlepping the kids by car, train, bus, or ferry, the last thing you want to find out is your chosen beach has no bathroom or bathing suits are optional. Skip the guesswork with our roundup of eight easy-to-reach beaches for NYC families, including detailed info on attractions, food, bathrooms, and hidden costs. Most are within two hours of Manhattan by car and are easily accessible via public transportation as well, so you can plot a great staycation for your family.

Find more beach fun in our Beaches, Pools, and Water Playgrounds Guide, or check out these summer day trip ideas.

10 Heart-Pumping, Thrill-Seeking Activities for NYC Kids

I've got three kids with three decidedly different personalities. Even though my youngest is just a toddler, it's clear she's a daredevil at heart, never content to sit still for long and always looking for a challenge sure to scare me. She's already got me thinking of activities to thrill her spirit—safely of course. If you've got a like-minded child who refuses to keep her feet on the ground and operates at hyper-speed, New York City is filled with activities to satisfy young thrill seekers, from rock climbing to surfing to trapeze and more. Read on for 10 activities that will get kids' hearts (and yours!) pumping.

Nature Programs for NYC Toddlers and Preschoolers

When your city kid has exhausted every museumshow, and playground option in town, it’s nice to be able to get a dose of nature thanks to NYC’s array of zoos, gardens, and parks. And for nature-loving, dirt-loving, mud-loving, bug-loving city kids, the good news is there's no shortage of programming for toddlers and preschoolers in each borough. 

We've rounded up our top places in New York City where your toddler or preschooler can marvel at, learn about, and connect with nature. See our guides for even more camps and classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.

Where to Take Fitness Classes With Your Big Kids in NYC

Baby and me exercise classes for everything from swimming to yoga are practically a rite of passage for NYC families. And as your baby grows up, there are tons of popular drop-off and drop-in classes for busy toddlers and preschoolers—introducing little kids to dance, gymnastics, and beyond. But what about when your kids age out of baby-and-me classes and play gyms?

The good news is, there are lots of fitness classes you can take with your older kids in NYC. And what better way to bond with your child than to take a class together, and get healthier at the same time? It's a win-win. Check out these destinations that allow you to get active and let your kid tow along for the fun and exercise.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

Going out on the water in New York lets you see the city from a whole new perspective. Whether you're sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's relaxing, refreshing, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day with the kids.

While there are all kinds of boat tours on offer around NYC, from the Circle Line to the citywide ferry service, 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 highlighted some personal favorites, and broken down the best options by type, including the best boat rides for wildlife watching, best for would-be pirates, best for your budget, and more. Discover even more family-friendly things to do this summer in our Summer Fun Guide

Best Carousels in NYC: 13 Merry-Go-Rounds City Kids Love

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 inside an iridescent fish. We've rounded up the best merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

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