Flushing

Queens Party Places: 33 Top Spots for Kids' Birthdays

We've profiled cool NYC party places in the past, but there are so many awesome birthday spots in good old Queens alone that it deserves a post of its own.

These Queens birthday party places cater to all kinds of kids, from active to artsy to animal lovers. As a Queens mom with two children, I've been to many of these spots personally. You can find additional birthday inspiration in our NYC Party Guide.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms as a Family in NYC

There are few more delightful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring than by viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over New York City. In Japan, cherry blossom-viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed, and celebrated. Traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking, and music.

Everyone seems to know about the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but there are other places to enjoy these gorgeous blossoms without the crowds this April and even deeper into the spring season. Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring.

8 Free New York City Skateboard Parks

Skateboarding is one of the few sports actually designed for urban spaces, which may be why NYC kids love it so much. Skating uses the city environment as the stage for its tricks, but finding a safe place to skate can be tough. Skate parks provide a perfectly designed place to practice those skateboarding fakie flips and to grab some air. These spots in and near New York City are great for beginners and seasoned skateboarders alike. (Sometimes you'll also spy inline skaters or BMX bikers.)

All these skate parks put safety first. Athletes must wear helmets, kneepads and elbow pads, and kids under age 18 are also required to put on wrist guards. That said, most skate parks are unsupervised and have an enter-at-your-own-risk policy. Some even require parents to sign waivers for their children. So be safe, and enjoy the spring weather! For more outdoor sports and kid-friendly fun, see our guide to NYC's best parks and playgrounds.

Best Shows for NYC Kids and Families for Spring 2019

The spring is always a great time for family theater, but the next few months look particularly exciting. There are page-to-stage adaptations of young-adult favorites (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Anne of Green Gables); wordless spectacles to captivate all ages (Snap, Cirque du Soleil's new extravaganza); and a few thought-provoking choices for young teens (The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, Silent Voices: Lovestate).

While on Broadway it's all Beetlejuice and Be More Chill, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 22 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

Macy's Flower Show and 6 More NYC Spots to See Spring's Blooms

After so many hours spent indoors during cold winter months, springtime in New York City is one of my family’s favorite seasons. Besides the warmer weather and increased outdoor playtime, we love spotting the season’s first snowbells, crocuses, and blossoming trees

While plenty of flowers poke through the earth in neighborhood parks and along city sidewalks—not to mention community gardens—there are a few spots in the city where spring blooms are downright outstanding. Springtime also brings the annual flower show at Macy's, which kicks off this weekend on Sunday, March 24. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we've rounded up our favorite places to enjoy springtime

Night at the Museum: 5 NYC Museum and Zoo Sleepovers for Kids

Sleepovers are all the rage (even Governors Island has gotten into the overnight game). And while a night chaperoning a group of small night-owls might not rank high on your to-do list, kids will get a big kick out of sleeping over at one of their favorite cultural institutions. From the Bronx Zoo to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to the new Sharks! exhibit at Coney Island, there's a museum sleepover to fit every kid's interests. And you'll earn some serious cool parent cred—some of these overnight adventures are so extravagant, they landed on our list of NYC splurges worth doing at least once.

Get Out and Drop In! Best Queens Play Spaces and Gyms for Kids

From Queens' formerly industrial waterfront to deep in the borough, family-friendly spots and amenities are on the upswing. There are wide-open spaces to run with abandon, playgrounds aplenty, and indoor play spaces with open play hours are strong in number: In fact, Queens has more indoor play zones than Manhattan and is gaining on Brooklyn.

We found 20+ indoor romping locations in the borough that offer drop-in sessions open to the public (no membership required). Bonus: All of these spots host birthday parties, too, and most are much more affordable than their Manhattan competitors.

NYC Bowling Alleys That Welcome Kids and Families

Bowling is a perfect indoor family activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry—couldn't resist). At about age 5, children really start enjoying it, making it an ideal family outing. Bowling birthday parties are a hit for the school-age set and most venues offer special packages and pricing.

There are traditional bowling alleys—think leagues, snack bars, pro shops—in the outer boroughs, but Manhattan's spots tend to cater to grown-ups. Don’t worry though: Kids can still find lanes—you just have to know when to go. Here are 16 places to bowl with kids all across New York City.

Indoor Ice Skating Rinks in New York City for Every Season

As much as we love ice skating outside, sometimes it's just too cold, hot, or rainy for New York City's seasonal outdoor rinks. Indoor alternatives let NYC kids skate year-round. Some in-the-know parents with young skate enthusiasts tell me they prefer indoor rinks because the quality of the ice is better, making for a smoother glide, which is especially helpful for newbies.

Here are six NYC indoor ice skating rinks to check out, whether your kid is just starting out on the ice or is practicing their hockey or figure skating moves. Many offer birthday party options, skating lessons, and rentals—plus, most are open in summer if you ever need to cool down.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations for NYC Kids

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2019's family activities. School-aged kids ought to be excited, too, as the holiday gives them an extra day off from school.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, this year the holiday takes place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, and ushers in the Year of the Pig. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. Check out one of these dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

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