Upper West Side

See Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation with Kids

Thanksgiving in New York City wouldn't be what it is without the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you're eager to take your kids to glimpse those giant balloons and don’t want to rise before dawn, visit the area near the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, to watch the giants come to life, including the brand-new balloons for 2018.

While the balloon inflation isn't crowd-free, it’s an only-in-New York event all its own—and a must-do holiday event for families. Read on for tips on when to go and where to eat dinner afterward. In need of more holiday inspiration? Visit our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

Big Apple Circus Returns to NYC with New Ringmaster and Incredible Acts

At a time when the world sometimes feels like a circus, it's soothing to find a real, true, exuberant circus wowing audiences at Lincoln Center. The Big Apple Circus is back for its 41st edition under an intimate one-ring big top, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the stage. While many of the thrills are new, the joyful effect remains the same.

Stephanie Monseu, the fabulous new female ringmaster, keeps the show moving at an exhilarating clip alongside two wonderful clowns, Mark Gindick and Adam Kuchler. And the jaw-dropping array of acts, all backed by a live band, includes both veterans (Jenny Vidbel and her adorable animals) and first-timers (horizontal juggler Victor Moiseev). We've got the scoop on all the audience favorites, whether it's worth splurging on VIP tickets, and how you can connect with the circus stars after the show.

8 Things to Love About the Children's Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is an absolute must-visit for any NYC family with young children, and it’s especially great for kids ages ten and under. This Upper West Side mainstay is a super-fun environment to learn about science, culture, art, music and history. CMOM features both permanent and rotating immersive exhibits, themed play areas, workshops, classes, and interactive performances, all designed around the latest child development research. The nearly 40,000-square-foot institution spans five stories, which seems to be just enough space to keep your children happy, engaged, and occupied without overwhelming them (or you).

I’ve taken my kids to CMOM more times than I can count, and it never gets old. There’s always something new and interesting to explore, along with some ever-present favorites (the fire truck is sure to please any child, big or small – just ask my husband). Read on to see our top reasons why CMOM is one of our favorite kid-centric destinations in all of New York City.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018: Where to Watch, What's New

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 92nd anniversary this November, taking over the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, November 22, 2018, and decorating the city with its boisterous marching bands, extravagant floats, and giant balloon characters. Every year brings a mix of old and new characters to the parade, and 2018 is no exception, with a mix of new balloons, floats, and balloonicles set to make their NYC debuts.

If you're planning to attend the parade with the kids (and millions of others!), read on for the most up-to-date information on the route, best viewing locations, and other highlights. Check out our in-depth inflation post for an overview of the Wednesday-night festivities. You'll find more holiday inspiration in our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

40 Reasons the Upper West Side is NYC's Ultimate Family-Friendly Neighborhood

Tucked between Central Park and Riverside Park, it’s hard to beat the family-friendly awesomeness that is the Upper West Side. The neighborhood boasts tree-lined streets with wide sidewalks, easily-accessible subway lines, more playgrounds than you can count, plus endless cafes, museums, kid-centric hot spots, and many of the best schools in the city. Though the Upper West Side spans over 40 blocks, it has a small community vibe that makes it particularly attractive to families with young children.

To add to the appeal, richly-appointed new boutique-style residences, like our sponsor 222w80, offer a long list of larger building amenities that are perfect for families. With a state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga studio grownups will love, a children’s playspace and arcade-like game room for the younger crowd, and an on-site bowling alley and virtual reality game room the whole crew can enjoy, you’ll think you’ve gone to apartment heaven.

Read on to find out why the Upper West Side has long been—and continues to be—one of the most sought-out neighborhoods by families in New York City.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

Guide to Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead for NYC Kids

Halloween isn't the only spooky holiday to celebrate this fall. Day of the Dead—or Día de los Muertos as it's known in Spanish—is observed by many Latino cultures and is especially popular in Mexico.

Day of the Dead officially takes place on November 1 and 2 to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. However, NYC events are spread throughout October and early November and most of them are FREE. Revelers honor friends and family members who have died by building altars, or ofrendas, and adorning them with colorful paper flowers, beautifully decorated skeletons, and candles. It's a joyful way to remember the deceased—without freaking kids out. We've rounded up nine Day of the Dead events where NYC kids and families can celebrate the holiday.

You can find more fall activities in our Fall Fun Guide and check out the Halloween Guide for all the other spooky, kid-friendly happenings in NYC this month.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Opens at New-York Historical Society

Harry Potter fans, grab your brooms: The long-awaited Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition is now open at the New-York Historical Society, with plenty of magical lore, historical artifacts, original manuscripts and drawings, and family-friendly programming to rekindle your love affair with the blockbuster books in whole new way.

On view now, the exhibition runs through Sunday, January 27, 2019, and timed admission tickets are selling out faster than a Fizzing Whizbee. Read on for a peek inside the much-anticipated exhibit.

Free NYC Halloween Parades for Kids

Everyone loves a parade, but there's nothing quite like a neighborhood Halloween parade. While families with older kids may venture out to the iconic Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it can be pretty scary—it's always insanely crowded and 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.

The NYC Parents' Guide for Visitors: 10 NYC Must-Sees Beyond Times Square

There are so many great things to do and see with kids in NYC, from museums to zoos to destination playgrounds, it's hard to narrow down to a reasonably sized list. But knowing what NYC families like doing best in their own hometown is a solid place to start if you're planning a visit! 

As veteran New Yorkers, my family has their own list of absolute must-see and must-visit spots around the city. Some are off the beaten path, and some might be considered a bit touristy, but all of them are places we love—and love experiencing with visitors, in particular. Whether you're visiting NYC with kids for the first time or the fiftieth time, here is a list of some of the best places to go right now, as recommended by parents who live here.

Find more top sights in our NYC Visitors Guide for Families.

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