Chelsea

Great Classes in Manhattan To Try in Winter 2018 for Tots To Teens

When the weather gets chilly, classes can be a total lifesaver. Luckily, New York City delivers an unbelievable array of options for babies through teenagers.

Try something literally off the wall, like drop-in parkour classes, or let kids' creativity take shape in a claymation class over school break. Develop new skills in gymnastics, tennis, and even Chinese. The options are virtually limitless.

You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, but we've also rounded up some great options to inspire your family to find something new this season, especially now that the weather has us all stuck inside. 'Tis the season to sign up for winter and spring 2018, so take a look!

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

Get Ready for a Brand-New Chelsea Waterside Playground

Organizers broke ground last week on a big overhaul to one of the west side's favorite playgrounds, the Chelsea Waterside Play Area. The park, nestled between the West Side Highway and 11th Avenue on 23rd Street, is beloved for its expansive and colorful water park features in the summer, and multiple sections of year-round jungle gym equipment, swings, and sandbox.

We reviewed it not long after it opened seven years ago, but since then it's seen "enthusiastic wear and tear," and some sections had even been closed for repair, according to the local organizations that manage the park, the Hudson River Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park. After raising $3.4 million dollars for a "complete renovation and expansion," the groups, in partnership with NYC city officials, broke ground for the revamp on Wednesday, October 3. Scroll down to read all about the impressive new features.

12 NYC Food Courts and Markets That Make Family Mealtime Easy

Food courts, in spite of their mall­-culture reputation, are 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. Actually a food court might just be 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.

Because we're always on the lookout for great kid-­friendly outings, especially during the colder months, we've rounded up, and sampled, 12 outstanding food halls that offer top-notch eats, spacious seating, and lots to do in the surrounding neighborhood, including Battery Park, Chelsea, the Theater District, and Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

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

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical Is Perfect for Times Like These

You know how, as a parent, you can explain a concept dozens of times, but until a kid sees it for themselves, they don't really get it? When the topic of discrimination comes up (if it hasn't already), don't bother trying to define it. Just take your children to Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical.

The bright set, costumes, and hair/makeup (blue skin! purple skin! rainbow hair!), as well as the characters' electric personalities will draw kids in immediately, while the 55-minute performance takes a complicated topic and puts it through a kid-friendly lens—without dumbing it down or simplifying it too much.

Read on for our full review, or check out our NYC Theater Guide for more family shows playing now.

5 Must-Try Laser Tag and Paintball Arenas for NYC Kids

Are your big kids bored of bowling? Not quite ready for the zip line? Consider laser tag or paintball, both fun party options and action-fueled activities you can find right here in NYC.

For the uninitiated, laser tag is a high-energy game of tag meets hide-and-seek that’s played with infrared laser guns in a darkened arena. Paintball pelts participants with small dye pellets. The object of both games: Get to your opponents before they get to you out by strategically shooting, running, and hiding from cover to cover. Don't worry, the laser guns emit harmless, invisible rays that register a "kill" by lighting up a spot on your adversaries' vests and paintball pellets might sting for a few seconds, but there's no long-lasting effects.

Check out one of these five fast and furious laser tag and paintball spots.

5 Must-See Interactive Art Exhibits in NYC That Close Soon

If the purpose of art is to make us think about and see the world from a different perspective, taking your kids to see creative works is a double whammy. Kids always seem to see the world with fresh eyes, so having an art-venture is a super fun way to get a new POV as a family.

The city is bursting with FREE outdoor art over the summer, as well as several new exhibits just for kids. But we recently stumbled upon some extra fun, interactive art happenings that although not necessarily designed for kids, are actually perfect for them. Most of these close as summer winds down and fall blows in, so read on to get the scoop now.

Karate and Tae Kwon Do Classes for NYC Kids

My husband always said he wanted our sons to know they could take a punch and live to tell about it. To that end, martial arts classes were mandatory in our house, not just for self-defense but also to teach them self-control. (After all, enough of the latter can often stop you from needing the former.)

The two most popular martial arts disciplines for kids in New York City seem to be karate and tae kwon do. So we've rounded up some excellent classes in all five boroughs where kids can get kicking.

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

Best Summer Theater and Shows for NYC Kids (Free Options Too!)

New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's not the case when it comes to the stage.

There are shows for all ages, interests, and budgets throughout the season, including a FREE page-to-stage adaptation of the Pete the Cat picture books, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the launch of new kid-friendly matinees for a long-running Harry Potter parody, and a rare revival of the musical Really Rosie based on Maurice Sendak stories. Best of all, many of our picks cost less than $25 per ticket, and four are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit it Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as spring since it means the start of Little League and hours spent at our local ball fields. Of course, leading up to the season shift my son, who is serious about baseball, is itching to get some real reps in.

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. Check out our roundup and be sure to click through to each spot's website for details on current operating hours and prices.

Find more action in our Kids' Sports Center Guide for NYC Families.

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