Washington Heights

First Birthday Parties: Manhattan Spots to Celebrate Your Tot

By the time you've reached your baby's first birthday, you may be ready to rock out.

After all, you've survived sleepless nights, blowouts, mounds of laundry, and lived to tell the tale. Birthday parties are big business in New York City; where you celebrate that first milestone depends largely on how much of a blowout you desire, and how much cash you wish to spend. Keeping in mind that you've got years of birthday parties in your future, we've rounded up 10 spots in Manhattan to celebrate that all-important first birthday.

Whether the party is about your kid and his or her crew, or you need to cater more to grown-ups than little people, we've got a spot for you. So prime the camera and get ready to celebrate.

Washington Heights and Inwood with Kids: Top 35 Things to Do

Two distinct neighborhoods make up the northernmost tip of Manhattan: Washington Heights and Inwood. Although these NYC nabes are constantly lumped together, they are really two unique areas that happen to share a lot of incredible history.

The Heights is a mix of multigenerational Hispanic families and young artists and families attracted to prewar apartment buildings and lovely parks. The area overflows with colorful Latino restaurants, shops, and cultural groups, and boasts multiple riverfront green spaces, notably Fort Washington Park, home to the famed Little Red Lighthouse, and Fort Tryon Park, where you'll find the Metropolitan Museum's medieval art mecca, the Cloisters.

Inwood is a quieter residential area that's quite tight-knit. Many family-friendly businesses are owned and operated by locals, like Indian Road Cafe, Bread and Yoga, and apothecary/soda fountain Dichter Pharmacy, which dates back to the 1940s.

Read on for all the top spots for kids in these Manhattan neighborhoods, from playgrounds to great eats.

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.

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 still can 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.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more futuristic fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted about FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE children's concerts, FREE kayaking, and FREE things to do every day with kids in New York City. Now we're rounding up our favorite and (mostly) FREE family festivals and city street fairs going on in this month.

Two of our favorite NYC annual fests take place this month, including the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side and City of Water Day on Governors Island. If neither of those tickles your fancy, we've rounded up several other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Boogie on the Boulevard. Still making your July 4th plans? We've got the details on that holiday, including where to see the fireworks.

So go get your calendar! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

NYC Museums Open Doors for Free on Inauguration Day

As the country swears in a new president Friday, January 20, a number of New York City museums are opening up their doors for FREE. Many others will host American- or historical-themed events, or even protest sign making at one.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that in a city where residents overwhelmingly voted against President-elect Donald Trump, that NYC is in less of a celebratory mood than a reflective or even defiant one. Protests continue, including the Women's March on NYC, this Saturday. But the museums' outreach, a sort of taking in of those looking for camaraderie on Inauguration Day, is a welcome touch.

And in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, we've rounded up 11 ways to commiserate your Inauguration Day away. Whether you spend it taking in one of the city's cultural institutions FREE of charge, or in the company of like-minded friends we wish you the best on what still strikes us as a truly surreal day.

Kid Film Festivals and Indie Movie Theaters in NYC

A visit to the movies is tempting in the cold of winter, but big-budget family film options can be lackluster. Why not rediscover the magic of the movies at a children's film festival?

City kids can sit back and enjoy the carefully curated lineup at the BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival. These showcase international and offbeat shorts and features. You'll also find cool classics every Sunday at Film Forum Jr., as well as a mix of indie and classics at BAM this winter and spring with its BAMkids movie matinee series. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person.

Here are details on these festivals, as well as theaters such as the Film Forum known to offer regular indie kid flicks. 

Morris-Jumel Mansion: Explore Manhattan’s Oldest House

If you've ever considered visiting Manhattan's highest point, you've probably contemplated a trip to One World Observatory, but if you want to keep your feet on the ground and still find a spectacular view, your best bet is to head to the southern edge of Washington Heights where you'll find Manhattan's oldest house, Morris-Jumel Mansion, perched atop Sugar Hill.

Built in 1765 as a summer villa for his family by British Colonel Roger Morris and his wife, Mary Philipse, the mansion stands today as a museum and member of the Historic House Trust of New York City. A visit brings sweeping views of the city, a glimpse into New York City's rich history, and puts you just a wee-bit closer to the Hamilton phenomenon.

Meet Snoopy and Celebrate the Peanuts Movie All Over NYC

Good grief! The Peanuts Movie, the first-ever 3D feature film based on Charles M. Schulz's beloved cartoon characters, hits theaters next month and to celebrate, the studio is sponsoring Snoopy-themed kid activities throughout NYC starting this Saturday, October 24. Whether your children are already fans from watching those classic holiday TV specials like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas or are just now learning how awesome Charlie, Linus, Lucy and the rest of the gang are, they're sure to have a blast at these FREE Snoopy sightings, cartooning lessons and other Peanuts-centric events in Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Washington Heights