Staten Island

19 Indoor Party Spots with Mega Playgrounds for NYC Kids' Birthdays

For parents of winter babies, we feel your pain when it comes to birthday party options. While summer baby parents have both indoor and outdoor options (the park! the pool!), those of us with children born in colder months (or even fall and early spring), need to find a space where kids can run off all that pizza-and-cake energy. Enter: mega play spaces.

From bounce houses and trampolines to arcade-packed game spaces, these wide-open spaces give all pint-sized guests a chance to run free. Check out our top picks below—and start booking now.

15 Must-Do 2018 Holiday Events in NYC for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from early November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain Thanksgiving parade, tree and menorah lightings, train shows, department store windows, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 15 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

35 Free Family Events in New York City This November

As we usher in the holiday season in New York City, it can also seem like we're entering the spend-and-splurge time of year. Thankfully, this month also ushers in some of our favorite FREE annual events for families in NYC, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and Macy's Santaland. You'll also find plenty of non-holiday (and non-Macy's) fun for the kids, or even visiting families, such as Pumpkin Smash 2018 and the Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington.

Read on for more of our top FREE event picks for the month, and don't forget to hop over to our just-released November GoList, featuring the very best of the month, including those with an admission fee. You can always find more freebies in our FREE NYC Guide, from play spaces and gratis admission hours at museums to birthday perks.

Note: Each event is listed by the week it falls in, and roughly in calendar order. Everything listed is FREE, but some events may require tickets or other advance planning. Click through to the event listings for details.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

Guide to Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead for NYC Kids

Halloween isn't the only spooky holiday to celebrate this fall. Day of the Dead—or Día de los Muertos as it's known in Spanish—is observed by many Latino cultures and is especially popular in Mexico.

Day of the Dead officially takes place on November 1 and 2 to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. However, NYC events are spread throughout October and early November and most of them are FREE. Revelers honor friends and family members who have died by building altars, or ofrendas, and adorning them with colorful paper flowers, beautifully decorated skeletons, and candles. It's a joyful way to remember the deceased—without freaking kids out. We've rounded up nine Day of the Dead events where NYC kids and families can celebrate the holiday.

You can find more fall activities in our Fall Fun Guide and check out the Halloween Guide for all the other spooky, kid-friendly happenings in NYC this month.

9 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks to Visit with Kids in NYC

Now that the beaches are closed for the season, it's time to bundle up and sharpen those ice skates. Many of New York City's outdoor rinks are open for family fall, er, winter fun.

Whether you prefer an iconic New York City destination like the ice rink at Rockefeller Center or something off the beaten path like Lasker Rink, the city offers plenty of options for beginner and experienced skaters alike — there’s even a FREE skate spot. And if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.

10 Great Places for Fall Leaf-Peeping Right in NYC

Signs of fall's arrival are all around us as the leaves in New York City's parks and along tree-lined streets start to turn. This is the time of year when many families plan a day trip upstate or to New Jersey to gaze at gorgeous red, orange, and yellow foliage. But you don't need to leave NYC to take in some stunning autumn sights. In addition to major green spaces like Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Staten Island's Greenbelt and Van Cortlandt Park, there are some wonderful off the beaten path city spots where you can enjoy colorful panoramic views that deliver the full splendor of fall.
 

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. 

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

When my son was a baby, I wondered if he'd ever know the joy of trick-or-treating door to door like his suburban counterparts. But over the years, I've learned that NYC really knows how to celebrate Halloween. There are tons of FREE Halloween celebrations, kid-friendly costume parades, and close-knit communities that dole out copious amounts of candy to trick-or-treaters.

For little New Yorkers, Halloween can sometimes seem more scary than sweet—and a lot of it takes place after bedtime. So we've put together a list of 13 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Enjoy the gentle spirit of these Halloween events while you can—your kids will be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

For more Halloween happenings, check out our Halloween Guide and our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

Register for Free Fall/Winter Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE fall/winter swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, October 1, 2018, at noon.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

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