Downtown

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 and Back to the Beach in Staten island.

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

Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

New York City doesn't lack for world-class museums and cultural institutions. While I've been to The Met more times than I can count (and still haven't seen it all) and can while away an afternoon at The Whitney no problem, sometimes my kids need something with a little more action.

That's where New York City's many family-friendly children's museums come in. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites, ranging from totally interactive playspaces to spots for making art, studying history, and much more. All of NYC's kid museums provide plenty of fun things to do, and are great indoor activities whether you're beating the summer heat or escaping winter's chill.

10 Heart-Pumping, Thrill-Seeking Activities for NYC Kids

I've got three kids with three decidedly different personalities. Even though my youngest is just a toddler, it's clear she's a daredevil at heart, never content to sit still for long and always looking for a challenge sure to scare me. She's already got me thinking of activities to thrill her spirit—safely of course. If you've got a like-minded child who refuses to keep her feet on the ground and operates at hyper-speed, New York City is filled with activities to satisfy young thrill seekers, from rock climbing to surfing to trapeze and more. Read on for 10 activities that will get kids' hearts (and yours!) pumping.

Nature Programs for NYC Toddlers and Preschoolers

When your city kid has exhausted every museumshow, and playground option in town, it’s nice to be able to get a dose of nature thanks to NYC’s array of zoos, gardens, and parks. And for nature-loving, dirt-loving, mud-loving, bug-loving city kids, the good news is there's no shortage of programming for toddlers and preschoolers in each borough. 

We've rounded up our top places in New York City where your toddler or preschooler can marvel at, learn about, and connect with nature. See our guides for even more camps and classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.

Where to Take Fitness Classes With Your Big Kids in NYC

Baby and me exercise classes for everything from swimming to yoga are practically a rite of passage for NYC families. And as your baby grows up, there are tons of popular drop-off and drop-in classes for busy toddlers and preschoolers—introducing little kids to dance, gymnastics, and beyond. But what about when your kids age out of baby-and-me classes and play gyms?

The good news is, there are lots of fitness classes you can take with your older kids in NYC. And what better way to bond with your child than to take a class together, and get healthier at the same time? It's a win-win. Check out these destinations that allow you to get active and let your kid tow along for the fun and exercise.

Best Off-Broadway Shows for Kids: Affordable Children's Theater in NYC

Taking kids to a Broadway show is an exciting and memorable experience. It's also a pricey one. That's why it's worth looking beyond Broadway, where you'll find some long-running, kid-friendly shows that are less expensive, more offbeat, but just as special.

From a surefire toddler hit to a Harry Potter parody for tweens to those world-famous blue dudes, there are options for all ages and interests. We've even shared ways you can snag deeply discounted tickets. All of these Off-Broadway productions make great birthday party activities, too.

Chelsea With Kids: 50 Fun Things to Do in This NYC Neighborhood

Chelsea attracts locals and tourists alike with its rows of charming historic townhouses, great restaurants, and top NYC attractions like The High Line, Chelsea Market, and the Whitney Museum.

The neighborhood has changed a lot over the past few decades. Back in the '80s, its streets were rundown and desolate, but in the '90s an influx of artists and gay professionals helped kick-start the area's transformation. Today, parents know it as a high-end neighborhood with fantastic amenities. You'll find megastores on the avenues and high-end children's (and pet) boutiques on the side streets; eclectic art galleries, massive athletics complex Chelsea Piers, and popular indoor and outdoor romping spots like apple seeds, Chelsea Waterside Park, Seal Park, and more.

Although Chelsea's boundaries are difficult to define, we'll cover the area from 14th to 30th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River. With those boundaries set, here are our top 50 things to do with kids in the neighborhood. Find more Manhattan neighborhoods to explore, or see our Visitors Guide for the best of NYC for families.

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 Carousels in NYC: 13 Merry-Go-Rounds City Kids Love

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. It's the simplest of amusement park attractions, and there are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in New York City alone. It's easy to stumble upon them on your next park outing.

Each city carousel offers a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride, from harbor views to a ride inside an iridescent fish. We've rounded up the best merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

100 Free Things to Do This Summer with Kids in New York City

Summer is the season of FREE in NYC—and here it comes. There's no-cost fun everywhere you turn, from festivals, outdoor movies, and concerts, to kayaking and fireworks. With the public school break upon us, and the kids itching to play (and swim), we've rounded up FREE things for families to do every single day of summer vacation. Starting with Thursday, June 27 and running all the way through Wednesday, September 4, we've compiled the best FREE things to do with kids in NYC all summer!

Of course, this list isn't comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of FREE fun events happening across our city this school break. You can find more cool seasonal activities and destinations in our Summer Fun Guide, including beach day trips, FREE splash pads, and more. Check out our Events Calendar for more fun happenings.

Still searching for a summer camp for a week or two? Check out our NYC summer camp directory and guide.

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