Chelsea

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.

New VR Gaming and Escape Room Opens in Chelsea

There's a new game in town—actually, a whole slew of them—with the opening of Escape Virtuality in Chelsea, featuring two floors of immersive gaming and technology. Whether you're in the mood for classic, immersive VR games, have a taste for a wild ride, or want to tackle a brain-teasing escape room, grab your big kids and sense of adventure and give it a go. Read on for a look inside the new space and tips for what to expect (and play!) when you arrive.

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.

18 Family-Friendly NYC Food Halls for an Easy, Delicious Meal

You want to grab a bite out with the kids and the local pizza joint isn't going to cut it—but asking your wriggly, tired kids to sit quietly in a nice restaurant is like lighting a firecracker and then hoping it won't explode. 

Food halls are the perfect solution. In spite of their historic mall­-culture reputation, the model of a casual hall with multiple food options is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, and not just in suburbia. Right here in NYC, food halls are gaining major foodie clout with excellent vendors, artisan marketplaces, and appealing perks (and sweet treats) for families with kids. It's the perfect eatery for families: there's a food option for everyone, minimal wait times, multiple bathrooms, and no one notices if your kid tantrums or drops half their meal on the floor.

We've rounded up and sampled 18 outstanding food halls that offer top-notch eats, spacious seating, and lots to do in the surrounding neighborhoods, including Battery Park, Chelsea, MidtownFort Greene, Brooklyn, and more.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for even more family dining options in just about every neighborhood—and every finicky palate. 

7 Family-Friendly Rooftop Hotel Pools to Visit in NYC

While we have much love for our FREE NYC pools, sometimes it's worth the splurge for a day pass to a private pool, where there are fewer rules and smaller crowds.

In summertime, the outdoor swimming options expand to include rooftop pools, thanks to NYC's creative hotel scene. Whether you're a local looking for a day pass or a tourist searching for a family-friendly hotel for an upcoming vacation, here are seven hotels with kid-friendly rooftop pools worth checking out. Some offer day passes, while others are open only to hotel guests—but even if you have to book a night, a staycation that includes a swim with a view can make a weekend into a special occasion.

Basketball Classes and Lessons for NYC Kids

Baseball may be our national pastime, but drop by any of NYC's parks and it seems like basketball is the local favorite.

In New York City, there are many basketball programs that teach kids the basics in friendly, non-competitive environments. They differ from basketball leagues, which assume players are ready for full-on competition. With these intro-to-basketball classes, kids learn the rules and fundamentals, and work up to one-on-one or small-team play.

Here are 15 basketball programs for kids in NYC, along with info on where to find FREE one-off clinics. You can find more posts about kids' sports classes in our Classes Guide and class directory

Gymnastics Classes for NYC Kids: 17 Spots for Little Olympians

Whether your kids were inspired by the stunning flips, turns, and acrobatics of the Final Five or you just need a safe place for them to get the wiggles out without disturbing your downstairs neighbor, gymnastics provides a great introduction to sports. Often called the "mother of all sports" for its conditioning qualities and focus on strength, balance, and flexibility, gymnastics gives kids an early fitness foundation.

My daughter doesn't care about any of that, of course. She just wants to tumble, jump, and dance, which is how the sport came into our lives. From the traditional artistic disciplines made famous by NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage to the lesser-known rhythmic gymnastics, in which gymnasts use props like ribbons, balls, and hoops while performing acrobatic moves to music, we've got the lowdown on where to find gymnastics classes in NYC. Bear in mind, many of these classes run on a school-year calendar, meaning fall is the peak time to register.

You may also want to check out our NYC Classes Guide or peruse our Directory Listings for more classes.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit It Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as the spring and summer baseball season, with its hours spent watching the game and playing Little League at our local ball fields. My son, who is serious about baseball, is always itching to get some real reps in, but there's only so much that can be tackled within the four walls of a cramped New York City apartment.

Luckily, the city has a slew of batting-cage options. Some even include private instruction and facilities where players can work on their fielding skills. Batter up!

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.

Chelsea With Kids: 50 Fun Things to Do in This NYC Neighborhood

Chelsea attracts locals and tourists alike with its rows of charming historic townhouses, great restaurants, and top NYC attractions like The High Line, Chelsea Market, and the Whitney Museum.

The neighborhood has changed a lot over the past few decades. Back in the '80s, its streets were rundown and desolate, but in the '90s an influx of artists and gay professionals helped kick-start the area's transformation. Today, parents know it as a high-end neighborhood with fantastic amenities. You'll find megastores on the avenues and high-end children's (and pet) boutiques on the side streets; eclectic art galleries, massive athletics complex Chelsea Piers, and popular indoor and outdoor romping spots like apple seeds, Chelsea Waterside Park, Seal Park, and more.

Although Chelsea's boundaries are difficult to define, we'll cover the area from 14th to 30th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River. With those boundaries set, here are our top 50 things to do with kids in the neighborhood. Find more Manhattan neighborhoods to explore, or see our Visitors Guide for the best of NYC for families.

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