Seaport

Free NYC Halloween Parades for Kids

Everyone loves a parade, but there's nothing quite like a neighborhood Halloween parade. While families with older kids may venture out to the iconic Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it can be pretty scary—it's always insanely crowded and loud, and many of the costumes are risque, gory, or in poor taste. If your children aren't up for that big Hallow-baloo, there are plenty of smaller, kid-friendly NYC neighborhood parades in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, including the Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge, the mega Jackson Heights parade, the famed Park Slope march, and a G-rated Village parade for little ones.

We've rounded up community-driven Halloween processions for families to watch or march in, most of which are FREE. If you don't live in a great trick-or-treating area, these parades are a wonderful way to hunt for candy in another neighborhood. Find even more seasonal happenings in our Halloween Fun Guide.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in NYC Now

New York City kids live in one of the culinary capitals of the universe—and fortunately for all of us parents, some of the best new restaurants in our food-obsessed city are totally family-friendly. Whether you're headed out for a special celebratory meal as a family, eating out after a long day of family fun exploring NYC's museums and neighborhoods, or just need a break from cooking, here are some the of hottest NYC restaurants to check out with the kids. 

Inquiry-Based Learning is Front and Center at Blue School

What does it take to be named one of the most innovative schools in the entire world? Just ask the founders of New York City's Blue School, who actually co-created the performance art phenomenon Blue Man Group more than a decade before deciding to build an educational program that embodies that same boundless energy and rule-breaking creativity. Since it first entered the scene back in 2006, the independent school for two-year-olds through eighth grade has been named one of the thirteen most innovative global schools by Business Insider and one of just six selected by Wired magazine.

Located in lower Manhattan, the oh-so-modern Blue School campus is filled with unexpected spaces including a "Wonder Room," an Upcycling Center, and a double-height Materials Library. Meanwhile, thoughtfully designed classrooms; designated lab spaces for studio art, STEAM, science, music, and drama; a gymnasium and performing arts space; and the outdoor roof and terrace are all equally reflective of the school's mission to provide students with endless opportunities for collaboration, exploration, and self-expression. (You can see for yourself at an upcoming open house or admissions tour.) Across the campus, you'll find two-year-olds exploring materials by digging their toes into mounds of clay; third graders writing non-fiction pieces about Westward Expansion through the eyes of animals who bared witness; and fifth graders studying social justice through independent research into the unknown stories of known activists.

Ice Cream Shops Near Great Playgrounds in Brooklyn and Manhattan

We're well into playground season now, and New York City parents are steeling themselves to endure hearing the Mister Softee theme playing on a loop until September. While there's nothing wrong with grabbing a cone from your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck, I admit that I prefer play spots that have really fantastic ice cream vendors nearby. Cold and sweet, a few scoops of mint chocolate chip or strawberry (my flavors of choice) make sticking out the sticky New York City weather that much more manageable. And my kids don't mind eating it either.

Here are some of my favorite spots to grab a scoop, plus fun places to play before or after.

11 NYC Neighborhoods to Visit With Your Family This Summer

Whether you're a New York native, a day-tripper, or a tourist from way outta town, summer is the perfect time to explore this action-packed city. And since there's certainly no shortage of warm-weather adventures for kids of all ages, we partnered with the Big Apple pros over at NYCgo to share some of the top can't-be-missed 'hoods worthy of a visit while the sun's out this season.

From sharks to new parks, make it a summer of adventure with these hot, family-friendly neighborhoods across all five boroughs!

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, this year in Brooklyn, and Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Family Day.

So go grab your calendar (and check ours frequently)! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

NYC Destination Playground: The Imagination Playground

When the Imagination Playground near South Street Seaport opened eight years ago, the concept was revolutionary. The brainchild of famed architect David Rockwell, the unique play space was the product of years of Rockwell's own research, inspired by parenting his city kids. Rockwell's flagship destination playground has since inspired other indoor play spaces and outdoor playgrounds, including a second Imagination Playground in Brownsville, Brooklyn, featuring those iconic, oversize blue building blocks.

What makes the Imagination Playground different? Unlike many city playgrounds, this one wasn't designed for the usual swinging, climbing, sliding, and wild romping. Instead, its figure-eight shape encourages creative play in distinct play areas that offer different experiences. It's not quite the free-for-all of NYC's only adventure playground on Governors Island, but it does include some DIY fun.

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 Toddler Playgrounds in Lower Manhattan

Thanks to the residential boom in Lower Manhattan, the borough's southernmost point is more family-friendly than ever. Streets that once were the domain of Financial District workers running for their offices are now just as likely to be full of strollers and newly-walking tots. The many new playgrounds that have been constructed or renovated in this area make downtown Manhattan a part of the city you don't want to miss for family fun.

The playgrounds on this list offer fun things to do for all ages but are especially great for toddlers—because as all parents of toddlers know, finding a playground where your little one won't get run over by bigger kids is no small feat. Fun equipment, appropriate climbing structures, infant swings, thoughtful layouts, and a bevy of sandboxes await you at these downtown playgrounds, all located south of Washington Square Park. Time to get swinging!

Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs in 2016, returns—along with many of our favorite annual series.

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a few family-friendly screenings. Movies usually begin when evening falls, between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early...the well-known series fill up fast, and many parks offer pre-movie entertainment.

Even if your local park is screening a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It's a thrilling, communal event, and a summer rite of passage for New Yorkers of all ages.

When we say we have ALL the movies, we're dead serious. But we've also got a page that's a tiny bit more digestable: 100+ Free Outdoor Family Movies in August. If you'd like to see what's happening day by day in all five boroughs, check it out.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

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