Financial District

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum: Tips for Going to Ground Zero With Kids

Visiting Ground Zero with your kids is a deeply personal decision. Even if your family hasn't already talked about the terrible events of September 11, 2001, many children will learn about the attack on the city at school, from friends, or via the annual coverage of the anniversary. Whether you're breaking the news yourself, or your kids bring questions to you, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum might help provide some context and meaning.

You're probably aware that this isn't your typical kid-centric museum, and children may only be able to handle a small part of the exhibit without feeling emotional. So, whether your kid is a native New Yorker or you're just visiting, here are our parent-tested tips for your visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

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).

Summer Streets Returns This August: Explore Car-Free NYC with Kids

Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 12th season of car-free Saturdays on August 3, 10, and 17.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive Saturdays of car-free summer fun, with a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge closed to cars and open exclusively to pedestrians, skaters, and bicyclists. Five fun-filled rest stops overflow with fun activities, giveaways, and entertainment.

Most of the interactive stations are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details on this ultimate summer street fest.

The Battery With Kids: 9 Fun Things to Do in Downtown's Biggest Green Space

The Battery, the park at the southernmost tip of Manhattan Island, is to lower Manhattan what Central Park is to upper Manhattan. This welcoming green space has been enlarged twice during its lifetime with landfill, and is now the largest open space downtown—25 acres of waterfront property. The Battery (as it has been renamed—although many people still call it Battery Park) is a beautifully landscaped garden full of family activities, public art, and great views—and not just of the Statue of Liberty, either. The promenade is a perfect place to stroll, ride bikes, scooter or just sit in the sunshine. Most people think of it as the place to get the boats for the Statue of Liberty, but I like to think of it as the “front lawn” for the city and a perfect outing for the whole family.

Read on for how to get the most out of a day out with kids in the Battery.

7 NYC Ferry Rides With Kid-Friendly Stops to Explore

Ferry rides are a great way to see NYC from a new point of view—and cruising on the water is so much more exciting for jaded city kids than taking the boring old subway. The NYC ferry system makes it easy and fun to hop on a boat for a day trip to a not-so-distant shore.

While we're big fans of all the family activities you can enjoy on Governors Island, and riding the FREE Staten Island Ferry is on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in this town, there are lots more ferries departing NYC docks all around town. Here are some of our favorite NYC ferry rides to popular places where there are plenty of things to do and see with the kiddos.

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. 

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

Macy's July 4th Fireworks 2019: Where to See Them in NYC

Every year, Macy's annual July 4th fireworks show in New York City is an unforgettable highlight of the summer. On Thursday, July 4, 2019, fireworks will light up the sky over the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge serving as the centerpiece: About 25,000 pyrotechnic shells will be launched from its span alone, streaming skyward and creating a cascading curtain of light below the bridge, too. The event celebrates its 43rd anniversary this Independence Day.

Spectators should be able to see the fireworks from many neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan as well as parts of Brooklyn. If you're hoping to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks live, it's never too early to start planning your viewing strategy. Tickets for paid viewing options like Fourth of July Fireworks cruises are already on sale and going fast.

Of course, you don't need to spend a penny to see the sparklers, but there are some important things to know before you go. We've got the scoop on how to find the best places to watch, when to go, and what to bring.

And don't forget, there are frequent fireworks shows in NYC during the summer, from Coney Island to Central Park. Read our roundup of where else to see cool displays this summer, including some Fourth of July competitors.

13 NYC Restaurants with Backyards and Patios for Kid-Friendly Dining

Great outdoor dining makes summer in the city tolerable, at least in my book. An hour sitting on a shady patio, sipping a cold drink, steels me for the rest of the week on sweaty NYC subways and dog-pee-scented streets. It's also a great way to savor those first sun-filled days of spring.

Of course, eating out with kids is never as simple as that, so we’ve selected not just sublime outdoor dining spots but ones with enough room to roam. Hopefully, these family-friendly Manhattan restaurants, from the Battery up to Inwood, will make you forget you are in New York City with that backyard living life, even for those of us whose apartments are too small and too dark with nary a leaf to be seen.

We’ve also covered the best backyard outdoor dining in Brooklyn and Queens. See all our restaurant recommendations in the Mommy Poppins NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.

Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC

When we were growing up, New York City playgrounds had sprinklers. Now parks and playgrounds across the five boroughs have "water features"—fountains, geysers, rivers, pumps, and beautiful spraying statues. Kids just love them, and we parents prefer these newfangled playgrounds because they're pretty and cool, and make us feel as if our exorbitant NYC housing costs are justified.

Sprinkler season in NYC parks kicks into gear when the temps reach 80 degrees, although some parks may turn on water features earlier. There are hundreds of water features in NYC parks, and we've highlighted some favorites by borough: the best in Brooklyn, best of Queens, and best of the Bronx. Some are cooler (literally and figuratively) than others, and more amazing ones seem to open every year. When we first published this article in 2008, we had five favorite splashing spots. Now we're up to 27 fancy playgrounds where kids can get wet in NYC. See if your favorites made our list.

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