Harlem

Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2018

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with more than a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration, and the annual Street Games in East Harlem.

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together for a common cause. Many include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats, and live performances. Here are some awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April.

Best Indoor Play Spots for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Manhattan

The playground isn't always an option for keeping antsy little New Yorkers (and the grown-up variety) busy. When the weather turns and the stir-craziness sets in, it's time to search out indoor options that are not your apartment. 

After finding myself searching for indoor play options a few too many times, I'm offering my mom-tested picks for the top spots for the toddler-and-preschool set in Manhattan. None of these places—kid gyms, museums, and even atriums—require a membership, and all will help you, your little one, and, most importantly, your apartment survive a long, cold winter or rainy day.

Read on for a dozen of the best places to play with your preschooler in Manhattan, including FREE spots.

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

25 Free Holiday Events for Families and Kids in NYC

With Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah all fast approaching, New York City is gearing up for a magical holiday season. There's something about the sheer delight and excitement in kids' faces that can make even dodging tourists and taxis fun. 

Some of the best family events in NYC happen in November and December: annual train displays, exciting holiday events, cozy brunches with Santa, spectacular Nutcracker productions, and more. But FREE family fun is often the very best kind, especially with kids in tow. So we've rounded up 25 FREE Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah activities for the family to enjoy now through New Year's Eve. (Consider it our holiday gift to you!) For more of the best events of the holiday season in NYC, be sure to check out our Holiday Guide.

Christmas Tree Lightings in New York City This Holiday Season

You don't have to brave the Rockefeller Center commotion to witness a fabulous Christmas tree lighting in New York City.

We've rounded up some tree lightings that are much less crowded and every bit as hip, from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx and everywhere in between. These community holiday celebrations are festive and (mostly) FREE, and there’s no need to stand on your car to glimpse the goings-on. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and cozy up to one of these holiday illuminations in New York City. Find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

5 NYC Day Trip Itineraries Perfect for Preschoolers

New York can be a big, intimidating place for anyone to visit, but especially our smallest kids like preschoolers. Thankfully, the City That Never Sleeps offers plenty of opportunities to entertain even the most pint-sized of visitors.

Of course, you can visit our top zoos and amazing gardens, the mega stores for a special treat, or our top-notch museums like the American Museum of Natural History. These are all great choices and included in our 100 Things to Do In NYC Before Your Kid Grows Up list of the absolute best children's activities in NYC.

But we wanted to come up with something a little different, and a little more mellow for those preschoolers visiting from out of town, or even locals wanting to check out a new-to-you neighborhood—something that respects the limits of a preschooler's emotional and physical mileage. So we've rounded up five mom-tested itineraries that give you and your kid a glimpse of the city without totally wearing everyone down.

Planning ahead? Check out what special events might be taking place during your visit with our always-up-to-date NYC Event Calendar.

7 NYC Arcades for Kid Video Game Birthday Parties

Arcades are an ideal place to celebrate a kid's birthday. Blinking lights, spinning wheels, ringing bells, and mechanical jingles give arcades a festive atmosphere, and the assortment of amusements offers something for everyone. If you have a rare child who isn't a video-game enthusiast, these gaming parlors usually offer air hockey, skee-ball, and basketball games; some even have laser tag. These kid-pleasing party spots are full service, so hosts only have to provide a cake or cupcakes. Many offer games that award tickets redeemable for prizes to fill a goody bag.

Our list of seven arcades for kid birthday parties features spots in every New York City borough, from Manhattan to Staten Island, plus a mobile arcade that comes to you. Read on for all the details.

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out our NYC Party Guide or directory of birthday fun suppliers.

10 New Kids' Birthday Party Spots Around NYC

I'm always looking for birthday party ideas that don't involve a potential slideshow of my Pinterest fails, especially for my 9-year-old who is blossoming into a mini Martha Stewart. Luckily, NYC seems to open new party spots monthly for the kids.

We've rounded up a sampling of some of the top new locations around the city that are offering kid party packages or room rentals, including a rock climbing spot and cool preschool-age play spaces.

Need further inspiration to kick that birthday fatigue to the curb? Check out our NYC Birthday Party Guide, or peruse these special occasion options, from dine-in movie theaters and fancy high tea to museum sleepovers.

So read on for a list of great birthday party venues that might just save your couch, the dog, the cat, your relationship with your downstairs neighbor, and your sanity!

10 Underrated NYC Parks You Don't Want to Miss

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. Yet, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland—that's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. Don't worry if you can't make it to all of these before school starts—we have at least a few more months of fair weather ahead!

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