Chinatown

The Museum of Chinese in America: A Chinatown Gem for Kids

New York City has a rich and diverse heritage, and the city's museums are often the keepers of this ongoing story of its people and origin tales. The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), for example, explains the Chinese immigrant story. Being multiracial, with a father from mainland China, I always felt drawn to learn more of the journey of my people, and I've visited several times.

The museum opened in 2009 and has been attracting visitors from all over the world ever since. On my most recent trip to MOCA, I was amazed at how much this beautiful and unique NYC establishment had expanded; particularly by incorporating more children focused programs.

7 Spots to Explore the Immigrant Experience with City Kids

No matter your political leanings, immigration is a hot topic of conversation these days, and New York has a rich and ongoing history as a gateway to our country. We've combed through our city's top museums and cultural institutions to pinpoint some of the most kid-friendly destinations for those curious about the immigrant experience, or looking to teach children about diversity and tolerance for others.

Of course NYC often plays host to rotating art exhibits related to this theme, which you can always find in our event calendar. One upcoming highlight is the annual outdoor Photoville exhibition in Dumbo, where families will find both American and global diversity and immigration stories on display, from Syrian refugee tales to a Newark campus to Detroit.

Now, here are seven NYC spots where history leaps off the pages for interactive exploration.

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.

Ice Cream Bucket List: 10 Over-the-Top Shops To Try This Summer

Ah, August in the city! You've probably got your routine down pat at this point: art exhibits, subway-accessible beaches, and Summer Streets are all regulars in your summer schedule. As are trips for cool treats. If your neighborhood ice cream shop is feeling a tad too familiar at this point in the summer, it's time to step it up—and step it out of your 'hood.

We’ve rounded up 10 over-the-top ice cream establishments that are a little more under the radar than say Black Tap, but are the perfect way for you and your kids to enjoy before summer's over. Get ready to be blown away (and say goodbye to Mister Softee, for now): There’s rolled ice cream, innovative soft serve, make-it-yourself ice cream, and cutting-edge ice cream sandwiches. Go forth and enjoy, and check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great family eats.

Summer Streets Brings New Water Park and Epic Slide to NYC

Citi Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 10th anniversary of car-free Saturdays on August 5. This year it's debuting something totally new, and yes, a little whacky near Central Park: an inflatable water park from LG with a dishwasher theme. Expect "massive slides in the shape of cutlery," hanging glide rails that lead to the pool, and a "3rd rack" section.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive August Saturdays of car-free fun to enjoy a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge. VitaCoco will bring back its epic water slide in lower Manhattan, and the always-popular zip line—rising 30 feet above the urban landscape and spanning a distance of 165 feet—returns as well for 2017.

Most all of the interactive stations like the dishwasher water park (will there be soap bubbles??) are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details for this ultimate summer street fest.

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted about FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE children's concerts, 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 this month.

Two of our favorite NYC annual fests take place this month, including the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side and City of Water Day on Governors Island. If neither of those tickles your fancy, we've rounded up several other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Boogie on the Boulevard. Still making your July 4th plans? We've got the details on that holiday, including where to see the fireworks.

So go get your calendar! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

Play Retro Video Games at NYC Museums and Family Arcades

Does it bother you that your kids don't know all four of the ghosts in Pac-Man (say it with me: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde), or all the characters in Mortal Combat, or what the game Asteroids even is? We're here for you. We've found a handful of old-fashioned family-friendly arcades around NYC, some straddling the line between retro and cutting edge video games.

Of course, you can also find arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Buster's. Check out our roundup of more birthday-oriented video game spots with laser tag and cheesy pizza for more of these game fun zones. You can also find small arcades at many of the city's bowling alleys.

But consider one of the retro spots below if you're in the market for some parental nostalgia and old-school family fun.

NYC Cat Cafes: Kids Can Visit, Adopt, and Pet Furry Felines

Cat cafes are big in Japan, and it only makes sense that they're catching on in New York City, as well. After all, cats are the ideal apartment pet, and in a big, sometimes anonymous city, it can be comforting to spend some time with feline companions. If your kid is cat-crazy, but you can't commit to ownership, cat cafes may be the ideal solution.

And even if you already own a feline or two, cat cafes are still a fun place to explore your inner cat lady (or cat man). It's a great option for a family winter outing, especially for mature kids, tweens, and even teens, and we've got the scoop on three cat cafes that call the Big Apple home.

Really crazy for cats? Check out the upcoming Cat Camp, an adoption and conference about all things feline happening this March in Chelsea. You might even get to meet the internet famous Lil Bub.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2017's family activities.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place Saturday, January 28, 2017, and ushers in the Year of the Rooster. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. We just profiled nearly a dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Enjoy a Lunar New Year Feast at These NYC Chinese Restaurants

Lunar New Year is one of the most important traditional holidays on the Chinese calendar, and what better way to ring in any new year than by feasting. Whether it’s a tradition in your home or not, while you’re enjoying the firecrackers and parades make sure you take time to eat at some of New York City's best purveyors of Chinese food. And when we say time, we mean a few hours.

Banquet dinners can consist of six to 12 courses. Every dish has symbolic significance: fish increases prosperity, noodles bring longevity, and dumplings promise wealth. My family, including my 1-year-old, love a good, traditional, carb-coma banquet. Four generations around one table, red envelopes being passed with love, and hours to spare on course after course? Now that’s how to celebrate the New Year.

Book your own adventurous feast with the kids at one of these celebrated locations in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Flushing, Queens, and Manhattan's Chinatown, or just stop in for a traditional Lunar New Year snack or dessert. And don’t end the party at the dinner table. Lunar New Year in New York City is jammed with amazing parades and activities for the kiddies as well.

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