Uptown

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. After clarifying that we were talking about shelter from the sun's rays, not sketchy parks, they came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

Let's Dance Art Exhibit at CMOM Gets Kids Moving

If you've got a kid who likes to move and groove, put on your dancing shoes and head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan for the newly opened Let's Dance exhibit.

Occupying the museum's ground-floor gallery, which briefly housed its Hello From Japan exhibition earlier this year, Let's Dance offers a vastly different museum experience for youngsters. While many recent CMOM exhibits have been chock-full of vignettes for kids to explore and experience, Let's Dance is an open-ended experience. The gallery space that was filled by busy streets of Tokyo in the spring has been transformed to an open canvas for artistic exploration in Let's Dance.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

There's something magical about being out on the water in New York City. Whether you are sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's a lovely and relaxing activity, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day. It's also an opportunity to see the city from a whole new perspective.

Countless operators offer all kinds of boat tours around NYC, and of course, there's now the new citywide ferry service, too! So 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 broken them down by type (great for tots, wildlife watching, DIY rides, etc.) and highlighted some of our kids' personal favorites. You can find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide

A Virtual Ocean Is Coming to Times Square

A digital ocean experience complete with faux sea lions, a coral reef, and sharks will open in October 2017 in the Times Square area. National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey will make use of a host of technology (plus award-winning designers) to create a multiroom experience that visitors will travel through for a glimpse of deep sea life.

It will open just a few doors away from the new Gulliver’s Gate, ramping up Times Square’s attractions for families and kids.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 11, so we wanted to provide a few more details on what to expect at Ocean Odyssey, especially for those who want to be first in line.

Eloise Hops Off the Page and into the New-York Historical Society

If you're drawn to classic children's literature, it's time to don your fanciest frock and head over to the New-York Historical Society where a rawther special guest has taken up residence.

Eloise, the brain child of cabaret singer-turned author Kay Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight has taken over the museum's second floor, bringing her precocious spirit and side kicks Weenie and Skipperdee along to the gallery, which was previously home to other beloved NYC characters like Mo Willems' Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggie.

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted about FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE children's concerts, 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 this month.

Two of our favorite NYC annual fests take place this month, including the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side and City of Water Day on Governors Island. If neither of those tickles your fancy, we've rounded up several other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Boogie on the Boulevard. Still making your July 4th plans? We've got the details on that holiday, including where to see the fireworks.

So go get your calendar! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

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 are 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 29 and running all the way through Wednesday, September 6, 2017, we've compiled the best FREE children's entertainment 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. Peruse our Events Calendar for more events.

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

Best Free NYC Swimming Pools for Toddlers and Kids

It's summertime and the livin' is easy—beaches, sprinklers, and awesome days at the playground. Oh the hard life of a New York City kid. And now, the NYC Parks Department is poised to open its outdoor pools on Thursday, June 29, 2017, the day after public schools let out.

We've rounded up our picks for the best free pools in the city. These are all places we've visited personally, or have come highly recommended by families we know. But the city hosts more than 50 outdoor pools this summer, so it will be hard not to find one you like. Time to get swimming!

Free Outdoor Kids Music Concert Series in NYC This Summer

While lots of New York City's fantastic seasonal events are kid appropriate, children hold a special place in their hearts for music. And what's better than not just one but a series of spectacular, outdoor, family-friendly and FREE music performances?

It's likely that your neighborhood parks, playgrounds, piers and plazas right around the corner have a kiddie-filled line-up throughout the summer, so scroll, click, and set reminders with your favorites. With top family bands playing annual series like Mad. Sq. Kids and SummerStage Family Workshops, you're sure to find something everyone can wiggle to from one week to the next. We've already told you about the great concerts playing in June for NYC kids, and now we're rounding up the rest of the summer with concerts in July and August to keep the kids grooving all summer!

For specific family concert picks, check out our roundups of the best performances, or you can find even more family fun in our jam-packed Summer Guide.

Hidden NYC: 21 Fun Things To Do in Central Park

Central Park was created as a respite for the teeming masses of Manhattan. The 843-acre jewel is home to woodlands, meadows, lakes, and wildlife, and years later still offers a respite to all New Yorkers. Today, more than 40 million people annually visit the lush expanses of one of the country's earliest public parks. Its 21 playgrounds make it a destination for families from all over the city and world.

Central Park isn’t a place to tire of easily. My family's daily commute to school takes us back and forth across the park, for which I thank my lucky stars. But it's easy to lose perspective and forget how much this massive green space has to offer locals and visitors alike. With that in mind, we've rounded up 21 fun sites and scenes worth exploring in New York City's big backyard, from the obvious playgrounds and sledding hills to more obscure destinations. Enjoy.

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