Roosevelt Island

Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs in 2016, returns—along with many of our favorite annual series.

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a few family-friendly screenings. Movies usually begin when evening falls, between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early...the well-known series fill up fast, and many parks offer pre-movie entertainment.

Even if your local park is screening a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It's a thrilling, communal event, and a summer rite of passage for New Yorkers of all ages.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Awesome Specialty Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Here in New York City, finding a summer camp for your kiddo isn't the hard part. It's picking one from all of the awesome options that's tough!

If you're looking to narrow your search, specialty camps are the perfect way to fuel your kid's passion or even help them hone in on a new hobby. For science- and tech-lovers, there are a number of STEM/STEAM camps, teaching everything from artificial intelligence and 3-D printing, to marine biology and wood working. Aspiring athletes can get in on a game of soccer or gaga ball at a sports-centered camp, or try their hand at figure skating or parkour. There's even Chinese language instruction for budding linguists, performing arts camps for kids who love the spotlight, programs that take your tiny historian back in time, and even hands-on cooking camps for the littlest foodies.

With half-day and full-day options, and sessions ranging from one week to the entire summer, there's truly something for everyone. Take a look at some much-loved specialty camps below, and browse our New York City Camp Guide for even more options.

7 New Birthday Spots in NYC for Your Kid's Next Party

Every year, your kid's birthday arrives even faster, right? It seems like you just had her last party! But here you are again, and you need some new ideas. 

Good news! So many great new spots have opened in NYC in the last year, so you're about to be the coolest parent party planner. Whether your kid wants to make art, roll in a ball pit, dress up her dolls, play with dogs, or just bounce up and down for an hour, there's a new place for everyone. Read on for seven new kid party spots that have opened in the last year.

Find more party spots and entertainers in our NYC Party Directory.

Manhattan's Best Drop-in Play Spaces and Kids' Gyms

Finding a non-membership, drop-in play spot for your toddler or preschooler in your neighborhood is like gold to New York City parents—almost as good as scoring a deal on rent. Because when it gets too cold for the city's many playgrounds, and another playdate at home seems dull (or, let's be honest, stressful), taking your kid to a cool indoor kiddie gym or other play space, where everything seems new and someone else will do the cleaning up, is a relief to the whole family.

While the outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn dominate the indoor play space market, Manhattan has plenty of creative kid spaces. Some of these dozen awesome spots profiled below allow families to drop in, while others ask that you make reservations, but none require any kind of long-term financial commitment.

For even more wallet-friendly play spaces citywide, see our round up of budget-friendly play spots. And if you've got a child under the age of 5 to entertain, you might also check out our roundup of a dozen indoor play spaces perfect for the pint-sized set.

Roosevelt Island's Music and Play Station: Where Kids Groove

I'll never knock a good play space. Give my kids a ball pit, some climbing structures, foam blocks, and a clean area (maybe that's just for me)...and we're there. There are definitely neighborhoods overflowing with them—you could easily do a Brooklyn play space crawl, spending most of your time in Park Slope—so that's why I was excited to hear about a new one popping up on Roosevelt Island, the arts-and-movement-centered The Music & Play Station. The owners, Owen and Bridget Johnston, were gracious enough to give me the lowdown on the new space and what parents and kids can expect when they visit. Read on for more info.

Free NYC Halloween Parades for Kids

Everyone loves a parade, which means we're all absolutely smitten with Halloween parades. While families with older kids may dare to take in the iconic Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it can be pretty scary—it's always insanely crowded, loud, and many of the costumes are risque, gory, or in poor taste. If your children aren't up for that big Hallow-baloo, there are plenty of smaller, kid-friendly NYC neighborhood parades, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, including the Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge, the mega Jackson Heights parade, the famed Park Slope march, and a G-rated Village parade for little ones.

We've rounded up community-driven Halloween processions for families to watch or march in, most of which are FREE. If you don't live in a great trick-or-treating area, these parades are a wonderful way to hunt for candy in another neighborhood. Find even more seasonal happenings in our Halloween Fun Guide.

Roosevelt Island: What to Do with Kids After Taking the Tram

New York is a city of islands. Many of them, like Governors Island, City Island, Randall's Island, and even the infamous Rikers Island, get lots of attention; however, low-key Roosevelt Island manages to slip under the radar. It’s time to get cozy with this narrow, 2-mile long sliver of land in the East River nestled between Manhattan and Queens.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a familiar site for many New Yorkers and the aerial ride alone is great fun for kids, but what about when you disembark on the isle? Over 11,000 people call this peaceful community home. The vibe is urban, but there are open spaces perfect for rambling. Self-contained, it has its own school, newspaper, and library. My family and I found plenty of cool things to keep us entertained and we've pulled together our top picks for things to do on the isle. 

5 Great Places to See Fall Leaves 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.

For this guest post, we turned to local parents Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert, who regularly blog about their excursions at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Kids Outdoors New York City. Kids Outdoors is a FREE online community for families filled with ideas on alfresco activities in the NYC area and expert advice on how to get started.

Indoor Tennis for NYC Kids: 10 Programs with Youth Lessons & Family Play

Summer feels like the height of tennis season: FREE outdoor lessons abound, and watching tournaments like Wimbledon and the US Open always inspires my family to hit the court. Then, just as we're getting back into the (literal) swing of things, the cold weather comes—but there's no need to put away our rackets. NYC is home to many indoor facilities that offer high-quality tennis lessons for kids year-round. A few even offer family game play!

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Best New York City Views: 11 Spots to See and Photograph NYC

Visitors come to New York City from the world over to eat our pizza, feel our energy and marvel at our spectacular views. But even for us locals, NYC is an awe-inspiring sight (we just need to remember to slow down and take it in every once in a while).

While tourists routinely flock to the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock to literally look down on the city, there are less well known vantage points that also offer incredible views of NYC, including parks, promenades, museums and a tram. So grab your camera and get ready to fall in love with New York City for the first time—or all over again.

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