Midtown West

Where to Find Free Classes for Kids at 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. A 2018 study by Sun Trust Bank found that a majority of parents spend at least $1,000 a year 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 more than a dozen 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 cultural institutions.

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

Best Winter Theater for NYC Kids 2019

New York City has tons of cool shows for families this winter, including the debut of two buzzed-about Broadway productions aimed at tweens: the Internet-fueled phenomenon Be More Chill and the big-budget musicalization of Beetlejuice. But you don't need to dig into your 401K to give your kids a memorable live theater experience in NYC—plenty of family-friendly productions are playing beyond Broadway for a lot less.

This winter there are wonderful options for kids of all ages from toddlers to teens, including shows aimed specifically at the preschool set (The Naughty Penguin, Sesame Street Live!), stage adaptations of popular picture books such as The Snowy Day, The Magic School Bus and The Stinky Cheese Man, and eye-popping spectacles for the whole family (Thunderbird American Indian Dance Concert and Powwow, Jedi Academy).

Best of all, most of these 28 shows are priced at $25 and under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

10 Most Exciting Kid-Friendly Openings Coming to NYC in 2019

If there's one constant in New York City, it's change. The dawning of a new year has us looking at our calendars and into our crystal balls, anticipating all the fun that's still to come for NYC kids. We opened 2019 with some welcome family-friendly news, but that's not the biggest change in store for city families this year. Read on for 10 new places to play, museums to explore, shows to catch, and goodies to eat. If that's not enough kid-friendly fun for you, make sure you've visited our favorite spots that opened last year, too!

Pip's Island Returns to NYC This Spring With New Immersive Adventure

The holiday season is winding down and many a little one may be wondering, “what next?” Well, parents, fear not. With the return of the engaging, interactive, and empowering Pip's Island, there is plenty for kids to look forward to. My daughters and I experienced this immersive theatrical adventure back in 2016, so I was delighted to learn of its return. Read on for details on the all-new adventure coming to Times Square, with tickets on sale now.

15 Times Square Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Eats

Finding a family-friendly Times Square restaurant that doesn't belong in a mall might be more difficult than navigating the costumed-character-crammed sidewalks of the area with a stroller. The Applebee's, Chevys, Olive Garden, and TGI Friday's might leave you feeling as if you're in the 'burbs, not the crossroads of the world.

But just as there are things to do with kids in Times Square beyond the tourist attractions, there are also a variety of off-the-beaten-track, family-friendly eateries that serve tasty cuisine reflecting our melting pot of a city.

Next time you're in the Theater District, whether seeing a Broadway show, entertaining guests, or just passing through, skip the chains and try one of these 15 kid-friendly Times Square restaurants.

18 Best New NYC Family Destinations That Opened in 2018

City kids are a lucky bunch. The past year saw a huge crop of new kid-friendly destinations popping up throughout the five boroughs. From a major new exhibit at the New York Aquarium to overhauled and brand new playgrounds and even a whole park, plus indoor places to shop, romp, and create, cool new exhibits, exhibitions, and a brand new museum, our kids have got it made. We're just lucky they let us come along for the ride!

Read on on for our top 18 new kid-friendly destinations in New York City that opened in 2018. If you've already conquered these, see what other adventures await on our list of 100 kid-friendly things to do in NYC before your kids grow up.

Kids Play for Free at These New York City Stores

Looking for a new winter play destination? With a shiny new FAO Schwarz filled with delights and an American Girl mega-store, there's no shortage of stores in New York City where kids can play for free. You'll find options as varied as building Lego friends, exercising on the Wii Fit, or getting their train fix for the day, and the kids will be so exhausted by day's end, they might not even whine about leaving the Nintendo system behind (fingers crossed).

For more indoor play options, check out our guide to Indoor Play Spaces and Fun Zones in NYC.
 

Circus Abyssinia Is a Jaw-Dropping Holiday Show Kids Will Love

I love that the New Victory Theater usually presents a circus show as its holiday production—after all, if there's anything as magical and sparkly as the holiday season itself, it's the circus. Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams may have a different vibe than the Big Apple Circus, but it's just as charming and jaw-dropping. Especially when you realize the troupe was formed just last year!

At just 100 minutes including intermission, with inventive twists on familiar acts, Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams is an exhilarating holiday show for the whole family. Read on to find out about the fabulous feats you'll see—and how you can meet and take pics with the performers.

Where to Donate Kids' Clothes, Toys, and Gear Across NYC

With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.

We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. 

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.

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