SoHo

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.

Cool Party Places to Celebrate Your Tween's Birthday

By the time you've hit the tween years, you've been to enough birthday parties to feel like you've seen it all. Looking for a new celebratory experience worthy of increasingly grown-up interests for your 10 to 13 year-old? We've rounded up 13 too-cool party spots to celebrate your tween's next big birthday. With party packages this out of the ordinary, you'll be able to please even the pickiest tween with unique fetes like zombie laser tag, DIY chocolate or ice cream, and jewelry making with semi-precious stones.

Destination Playground: DeSalvio Playground in Nolita

Nested within Soho, Nolita is a neighborhood best known for its chic cafes and fashion forward boutiques. But it's also a family destination thanks in part to one of the city’s most new and improved playgrounds. After a two-year long, $1.7 million renovation funded by the borough president and city council, the DiSalvio Playground recently re-opened to the delight of both neighborhood kids and kids who have traveled from other parts of the city. Read on for an overview of our recent visit.

Top Summer Camps in NYC — STEM, Arts, and More

Most parents know the importance of STEM learning in this tech-focused world, but the arts—and balance—are just as meaningful. Once school lets out, summer is the perfect opportunity for kids to mix things up with more arts and active play, either as part of a STEM program or not.

We've gathered some of our favorite partner camps that offer amazing visual arts, film, dance, theater, and cooking programs; super cool STEM curriculums featuring everything from forensics to Minecraft; and some that keep kids on their toes by offering a little bit of this and that. For even more ideas, check out our New York City Camp Guide, or browse our Summer Camp Directory by location, type, and age!

Great Art Camps for NYC Kids: Paint, Sculpt, Sing, Perform

There's really no place like New York City for kids to learn about art. There are many professional artists who moonlight as a talented pool of teachers. The demand for art programs has created an amazing wealth of exceptional art classes and camps. After evaluating a myriad of creative arts camps, we have selected 11 exceptional camps which excel for different reasons.

We found visual arts camps, dance and theater camps, music camps, and even creative writing camps. There are also camps that have programs in cool stuff like circus arts and art camps that allow kids to sample a little of everything. We found programs that run all summer as well as week-long intensives. No matter their age, if your child is ready to dive into a summer of artistic expression, read on to find the perfect camp.

If you need more ideas, check out our Camp Guide and full Directory of Listings for dozens more great camp.

Awesome Classes to Try Now for NYC Tots to Teens

Produce an indie film, create a graphic novel, perfect your backhand, or code your own video game. NYC offers amazing options when it comes to kids classes. Even babies and preschoolers can take terrific art, music and swimming classes. Our New York City Classes Guide and Directory list so many options, the hardest part might be finding time to try them all. To get you started, we're sharing a few of our favorite partners to consider signing up for now. 

Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and Zoos

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens, and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days, or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy, cash-strapped parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from the Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

As always, you can check our Events Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide or Zoos and Gardens Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art and exhibitions in NYC. Also, don't forget to put your library card to work for free admission at many of these same places!

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at popular kid-centric destinations. These places keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

New Year's Eve Fireworks in NYC and More 2019 Family Celebrations

There are plenty of ways to ring in 2019 in New York City. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options from daytime celebrations for wee ones to Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties. 

However you welcome the New Year, we hope it's a blast. You can find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide, and more fun things to do with kids on school break.

Kids Play for Free at These New York City Stores

Looking for a new winter play destination? With a shiny new FAO Schwarz filled with delights and an American Girl mega-store, there's no shortage of stores in New York City where kids can play for free. You'll find options as varied as building Lego friends, exercising on the Wii Fit, or getting their train fix for the day, and the kids will be so exhausted by day's end, they might not even whine about leaving the Nintendo system behind (fingers crossed).

For more indoor play options, check out our guide to Indoor Play Spaces and Fun Zones in NYC.
 

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