Queens

9 Easy Fall Family Hikes in NYC

It finally feels like fall in New York City, which means my family is headed to the hiking trail. At least once a quarter, usually coinciding with the change of seasons, someone in the family decides it's time to escape to the woods for a little urban relief. And really, there's no need to head upstate or to the 'burbs to get that outdoors fix.  

Did you know that our fair city is home to over 300 miles of hiking trails through 10,000 acres of unencumbered Mother Nature? We have sampled enough parks around NYC to confidently share this list of trails that vary in length, scenery, and difficulty (including those just right for little legs), and that reward hikers with views of water, bridges, and yes, that gorgeous fall foliage. Whatever borough you call home, my boy, who helped to compile this list, and I hope you will have a blast lacing up and hitting the trails. Note: He is too young to share mommy's byline. 

14 Not-So-Scary Halloween Events in NYC for the Preschool Set

With a little one who gets tired after one or two blocks of trick-or-treating, I find myself hunting for Halloween events that are more geared towards his age group. Luckily for us, NYC boasts plenty of less spooky, pre-bedtime events for the littlest ghouls and goblins. 

With that in mind, we've put together a list of 14 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Enjoy these gentle Halloween events while you can—your kids will be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

Find even more festive happenings for all age groups in our Halloween guide (including kid-friendly costume parades around the city), and of course in our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at the Queens Farm Museum

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 21, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

Harvest Fests, Pumpkin Patches, and Hayrides Right Here in NYC

If you think you need to head out of the city for an authentic fall harvest experience, we've got good news: You can pick the perfect pumpkin, go on a hayride, meet farm animals, and even get lost in a massive corn maze right here in NYC.

So if you're looking to skip the car rental, hop onto the subway instead to head out to these fall harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, all located within the five boroughs. Looking for more fall fun? Check out our NYC Fall Fun Guide for the best of the season.

Horseback Riding in NYC: Lessons and Rides for Kids

Horseback riding in New York City? You bet! While your NYC apartment probably won't accommodate a pet pony, you can indulge your child’s love of horses without leaving town. There are several options for family-friendly horseback riding and grooming lessons, plus drop-in trail riding experiences for a unique way to experience the great outdoors in NYC.

Sadly, Claremont Riding Academy, the last remaining horse stable in Manhattan, closed in 2007 so there's no longer horseback riding in Central Park. However, there are stables in the other four boroughs that allow families to make like it's the Wild West. 

Best Events This Fall for NYC Preschoolers

Let the fall fun begin! This autumn there are loads of events, festivals, and shows in NYC just right for the preschool set, and as an added bonus, many are FREE! With fall fairs, petting zoos, and musical performances to choose from, you're bound to find the perfect event for your preschooler.

If you're looking for a festive day trip, find out where preschoolers can pick their own apples or even find the perfect pumpkin.

Easy Day Hikes Near NYC for Families to Explore

When the weather is fine, there are few things New Yorkers like better than a day outside with the family. Although NYC has incredible parks and playgrounds to explore, sometimes it's worth taking a day trip outside the city limits.

So pack a cooler and a picnic blanket and find your new favorite kid-friendly hiking destination among this list that takes you to the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Long Island, and even some memorable parks within the five boroughs. Each of these hikes has something special to offer, and best of all, they are kid-tested and kid-approved! 

Free and Cheap After-School Programs for NYC Kids and Teens

Tis the season for after-school program enrollment. Families looking for reasonably priced enriching and fun programs for their children have tons of sports, arts, academics, and other kinds of classes to choose from. In fact, a handful of high-quality after-school programs are actually free or super inexpensive!

Some places, like the New York City Parks Department, offer after-school coverage Monday through Friday. Other programs like those found at the Children’s Museum of Art (CMA) only meet once or twice a week. We've rounded up organizations that offer complimentary or reasonably priced classes to kids, tweens and teens throughout the five boroughs. Lots of the programs on this list have multiple enrollment periods per year. Check in with Mommy Poppins regularly to stay on top of enrollment options during the fall, winter, and spring.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of September's 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 a lively local celebration, make sure you hit up the One Crown Heights Neighborhood Festival at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. 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 festivals this September.

The Best Playgrounds in Queens

Although every pocket and corner of Queens has a neighborhood playground, we’ve taken the time to scout the cream of the crop for NYC kids. Whether you're visiting from another borough or just want to explore a new-to-you-neighborhood, here are 11 of our favorite romping spots in Queens, from Astoria to the Rockaways. These parks offer clean, safe equipment with innovative and fun details that go beyond the jungle gyms of the past, like rope spider webskid-sized Ferris wheels, and super cool sprinklers

Looking to make more of a splash? Check out our roundup of the top water playgrounds in Queens or find more playgrounds across the five boroughs in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds guide.

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