Upper West Side

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned drinking hot cocoa into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.

Hex & Co. Is a Board Game Lover's Paradise for NYC Kids

If screen time is getting to be too big of a battle at your place, head out to get back to the old-school gaming model: board games. Hex & Co. recently opened on the upper Upper West Side (Columbia area) and is serving up more than 1,000 board games, from classics to new pop-culture hits, to give your family a chance to sit down, grab a bite to eat, and, you know, talk and make eye contact with one another.

Hex & Co. joins outer borough favorites, Brooklyn Strategist, Brooklyn Game Lab, and The Geekery in Astoria, Queens for classic family fun. (More on this later.) Read our review and get all the details on the fun new spot below.

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at 20 kid-centric destinations. These places will keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

Explore the Power of Our Senses at AMNH's Latest Exhibit

Today's non-stop world, especially in the city, is a full sensory experience. From sights and sounds to smells, touch, and taste, we're surrounded by everyday adventures.

It's how we understand the world around us. Now the Upper West Side's American Museum of Natural History is delving deep into the fascinating mechanics of our bodies with a new exhibit that some have called a little "trippy," Our Senses: An Immersive Experience. Eleven interactive galleries within invite visitors to touch, smell, see, listen, play, and challenge their senses as they wander through.

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. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough that accept children's items.

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

It's the most wonderful time of the year and New York City is gearing up for a magical holiday season. There's just something about the sheer delight and excitement in kids' faces that can make even dodging tourists and taxis fun.

While there's no shortage of things to do around the holidays in the Big Apple—annual train displays have begun and we're looking forward to exciting holiday events, cozy brunches with Santa, spectacular Nutcracker productions, and more—we know FREE fun can often be the best kind, especially with kids in tow. So we've rounded up 25 holiday activities for the family to enjoy gratis now through New Year's Eve. Consider it our holiday gift to you. For more seasonal fun, 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.

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 22, 2017 to watch the giants come to life. Significant changes are in store for the 2017 edition of the balloon inflation, including an early start time and new procession route.

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. In need of more holiday inspiration? Visit our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

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 the goodies that come along with them—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for an afternoon outing in NYC.

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