Midtown East

Best Restaurants Near Rockefeller Center for Families

Some of those who visit regularly or work near Rockefeller Center admit they find the dining choices less than exciting. But whether you're there over the holidays to see the famed Rockefeller tree, ice skate, check out the holiday windows, or to enjoy one of the other fun experiences in this action-packed complex, you'll need to eat eventually, and there are some good restaurant options if you know where to look.

Here are our top picks for kid-friendly eateries near Rockefeller Center, and for more family-friendly restaurant options in NYC, check out our Restaurant Guide.

NYC's Most Dazzling 2018 Holiday Window Displays

There are very few things that can lure me into Midtown's big department stores during the holiday season. While I do make an annual exception for Macy's Santaland, the real holiday magic lies outside the doors as the holiday windows come alive with spectacular displays.

Always a Mommy Poppins favorite, and certainly a must-do FREE outing, a holiday windows walk in NYC is especially exciting this year, with interactive elements and beloved characters. We spent a good part of our Sunday afternoon checking out the dazzling displays. Read on for a peek at their magic, and relive the fun of NYC holiday windows in years past.

Things to Do and See at Rockefeller Center (Besides the Tree)

Rockefeller Center is undoubtedly the most crowded place in New York City during the holidays. Everyone, whether they live in town or are just visiting, goes to see "The Tree." But then what?

There is actually quite a bit for families to do besides gazing at the twinkling evergreen and battling tourists in this 22-acre complex. Rockefeller Center is a great holiday destination with plenty of shopping, eating, and culture for kids of all ages. Squeeze it in as part of a holiday windows walk; check it out while you wait for the Rockettes to start kicking; or grab a bite after your show—we've got great suggestions for no-reservation, family-friendly restaurants nearby.

Read on for some fun things to do at Rockefeller Center this winter.

Santa Claus Photo Spots in NYC for Christmas 2018

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s not camera shy. New York City parents have a host of options for where to see and pose with Santa, from the popular Santaland at Macy's to more casual events, where you can take your own festive photos of the kids while visiting Jolly Old St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up over a dozen of our favorite options for photos with Santa from across the five boroughs, including options for those who want to splurge, bring their pets, or just get it over with, as well as those with special needs. With so many alternatives, chances are, wherever you are, your kids won’t be far from Santa.

Find more seasonal fun, including a Santa brunch or tea, in our NYC Holiday Guide.

Best Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and Beyond

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of the best things to do with kids in New York City during the Christmas season, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, leaves, and other botanical bits and pieces. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only holiday train show in town. Read on for more details on all the Christmas train shows the city has to offer this season (including the Botanical Garden's big spectacle). And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size Christmas train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and goodies—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for afternoon tea with kids in NYC.

Macy’s Unveils Santaland Details for 2018 Christmas Season

Santa is sprucing up his sleigh and getting ready to fly into New York City’s very own North Pole, Macy’s Santaland, where for the second year in a row, visits with Santa will be by (FREE) reservation only.

Santaland will open for the holiday season Friday, November 23, 2018, the day after the Thanksgiving Day parade, and will welcome visitors through December 24, 2018, Macy’s revealed in a statement.

The 34th Street retailer will reinstate the reservations-only policy it implemented for the first time last year as a way to cut down on the lines. (Around 170,000 people visit the NYC Macy's Santaland each Christmas season.) This year also sees the return of the popular Express Lane option. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting Santa at Macy's this year.

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.

Awesome Party Places for NYC Kids

New York isn't exactly a cookie-cutter city, so it may not come as a surprise that there are kids' party places for just about every interest under the sun. Sports fanatics can invite guests to hit an indoor ice skating rink or a high-tech golf driving range, while little athletes can celebrate with trampolines and obstacle courses in state-of-the-art gyms. Imaginative birthday boys and girls can mark the day with a fairytale-inspired fantasy ballet party, while tech lovers can throw LEGO- or Minecraft-themed bashes. There are even animal encounters for underwater enthusiasts and mobile pizza parlors for fun-loving foodies.

If you're on the hunt for a venue for your own one-of-a-kind kid, take a look at these awesome spots with packages for tots, tweens, and teens (plus, plenty of help from experienced party pros). For even more ideas, take a look at the New York City Party Guide, or browse our directory for party places, entertainers, and even party supplies.

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now.

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