Long Island City

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are essential for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter.

Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered nearly two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Long Island City, Queens

Long Island City is a bustling, young, up-and-coming NYC neighborhood, with plenty of growing families and loads of kid-friendly restaurants. Whether you're hitting a destination playground, having a culturally rich excursion, or going heavy in the arts-and-crafts department, finding a spot to eat is easier than you think. You'll find everything from Thai to Italian, diners to fancy artisanal food, plus great dessert spots.

Since the area is quite spread out, we've also added a pair of restaurants near two of LIC's more out-of-the-way attractions: the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park.

11 Rock Climbing Walls for Kids in New York City

Indoor rock climbing is a great way for kids to get some needed activity in the dead of winter or year-round. Why not let them bounce off someone else’s walls for a change, right? Plus, it takes concentration, discipline, and strength, all qualities we're happy to expose them to.

New York City boasts more than half a dozen indoor boulders, at least one in almost every borough, and more are due to open in 2018. A couple of these are only open during the summer months, but most are open year round. The best part? Kids tend to love the activity and it isn't too pricey. Try out a drop-in program, or sign up for one of the many after-school classes or break camps offered at the rock climbing facilities profiled below.

Find more active fun in our Kids' Sports Centers Guide.

13 Tween and Teen Birthday Spots for NYC Kids

If you're getting eye rolls just uttering the words "bounce house" to your New York City tween or teen when birthday-party talk comes up, we've found 13 fresh party ideas at venues new and old, all of which are sure to be a hit with the guest of honor and his or her (equally judgmental) friends. With party packages this cool, it's a shame to celebrate but once a year.

Find more awesome kids' birthday ideas in our jam-packed NYC Party Guide.

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 or even practicing their hockey or figure skating moves. Many offer birthday party options, skating lessons, and rentals and most are open in summer if you ever need to cool down.

7 New Summer Camps for NYC Kids in 2018

There may be snowflakes a flying, but it's officially summer camp searching season in New York City. While the metro area and surrounding suburbs don't lack for choices, there's always something new on the horizon for our kids!

In 2018, we've found a number of new summer camps, from cooking to outdoor nature and even coding and science. Without further ado, we present seven new this year camps for city kids.

7 New Birthday Spots in NYC for Your Kid's Next Party

Every year, your kid's birthday arrives even faster, right? It seems like you just had her last party! But here you are again, and you need some new ideas. 

Good news! So many great new spots have opened in NYC in the last year, so you're about to be the coolest parent party planner. Whether your kid wants to make art, roll in a ball pit, dress up her dolls, play with dogs, or just bounce up and down for an hour, there's a new place for everyone. Read on for seven new kid party spots that have opened in the last year.

Find more party spots and entertainers in our NYC Party Directory.

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 are aplenty, and indoor play spaces with open play hours are strong in number: In fact, it has more than Manhattan and is gaining on Brooklyn.

We found 14 indoor romping locations in the borough that offer drop-in sessions open to the public (no membership required), including newcomer Jump N Play, which opened in Ozone Park this past summer.

Bonus: All of these spots host birthday parties, too, and most are much more affordable than their Manhattan competitors.

LIC Welcomes Playday, an Art Center for Kid Creators

Once just a neighborhood of sprawling factories and warehouses, Long Island City, Queens, has transformed into a hot spot for young professionals and families. New things seem to open every day. We love the outdoor thrills at Gantry Plaza State Park and the rest of the waterfront to indoor romps at the Noguchi Museum and play spaces like City Owlets.  

But now there's a brand-new, distinctly unique creative environment in LIC: Playday. Is it an education center? Is it an art school? Is it a kids' crafting club? It’s all those things and more.

Find Free Classes for Kids at 14 NYC Stores and Public Spaces

We'll just say it: Raising a kid is expensive. Weekend classes, summer camp, after-school care, and dance and music lessons can add up. According to the 2016 Backpack Index, parents spend an average of $739 a year on average per child on extracurricular activities. And let’s face it New Yorkers, we’re most likely paying much more than that.

That’s why we’ve rounded up 13 FREE classes that run year-round in NYC to lighten the financial load. All the classes listed here are free within free-to-access stores and public places, but there are also plenty of free and low-cost activities inside of NYC museums and gardens that have monthly-memberships. Don't forget that your IDNYC card will give you free or discounted access to many of these cultural institutions.

Peruse our Free in NYC Guide for more budget-friendly family fun.

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