Uptown

18 Family-Friendly NYC Food Halls for an Easy, Delicious Meal

You want to grab a bite out with the kids and the local pizza joint isn't going to cut it—but asking your wriggly, tired kids to sit quietly in a nice restaurant is like lighting a firecracker and then hoping it won't explode. 

Food halls are the perfect solution. In spite of their historic mall­-culture reputation, the model of a casual hall with multiple food options is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, and not just in suburbia. Right here in NYC, food halls are gaining major foodie clout with excellent vendors, artisan marketplaces, and appealing perks (and sweet treats) for families with kids. It's the perfect eatery for families: there's a food option for everyone, minimal wait times, multiple bathrooms, and no one notices if your kid tantrums or drops half their meal on the floor.

We've rounded up and sampled 18 outstanding food halls that offer top-notch eats, spacious seating, and lots to do in the surrounding neighborhoods, including Battery Park, Chelsea, MidtownFort Greene, Brooklyn, and more.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for even more family dining options in just about every neighborhood—and every finicky palate. 

7 Family-Friendly Rooftop Hotel Pools to Visit in NYC

While we have much love for our FREE NYC pools, sometimes it's worth the splurge for a day pass to a private pool, where there are fewer rules and smaller crowds.

In summertime, the outdoor swimming options expand to include rooftop pools, thanks to NYC's creative hotel scene. Whether you're a local looking for a day pass or a tourist searching for a family-friendly hotel for an upcoming vacation, here are seven hotels with kid-friendly rooftop pools worth checking out. Some offer day passes, while others are open only to hotel guests—but even if you have to book a night, a staycation that includes a swim with a view can make a weekend into a special occasion.

Baby and Me Music Classes Around NYC

Music classes are often the first "mommy and me" experience parents try, so it's no coincidence such classes are offered all over the city. When you're ready to get out and spend some time jamming with other adults and their wee ones, check out one of these music classes in Manhattan and beyond.

We also have roundups of parent and child classes in Queens and music classes in Brooklyn. As always, you can find even more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Basketball Classes and Lessons for NYC Kids

Baseball may be our national pastime, but drop by any of NYC's parks and it seems like basketball is the local favorite.

In New York City, there are many basketball programs that teach kids the basics in friendly, non-competitive environments. They differ from basketball leagues, which assume players are ready for full-on competition. With these intro-to-basketball classes, kids learn the rules and fundamentals, and work up to one-on-one or small-team play.

Here are 15 basketball programs for kids in NYC, along with info on where to find FREE one-off clinics. You can find more posts about kids' sports classes in our Classes Guide and class directory

Gymnastics Classes for NYC Kids: 17 Spots for Little Olympians

Whether your kids were inspired by the stunning flips, turns, and acrobatics of the Final Five or you just need a safe place for them to get the wiggles out without disturbing your downstairs neighbor, gymnastics provides a great introduction to sports. Often called the "mother of all sports" for its conditioning qualities and focus on strength, balance, and flexibility, gymnastics gives kids an early fitness foundation.

My daughter doesn't care about any of that, of course. She just wants to tumble, jump, and dance, which is how the sport came into our lives. From the traditional artistic disciplines made famous by NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage to the lesser-known rhythmic gymnastics, in which gymnasts use props like ribbons, balls, and hoops while performing acrobatic moves to music, we've got the lowdown on where to find gymnastics classes in NYC. Bear in mind, many of these classes run on a school-year calendar, meaning fall is the peak time to register.

You may also want to check out our NYC Classes Guide or peruse our Directory Listings for more classes.

Game On: 10 Soccer Classes for NYC Kids

We've rounded up a variety of NYC soccer programs for budding kid athletes, from preschoolers just learning to kick that checkered orb, to middle-schoolers ready to master the roll and step over dribble.

Kids soccer is a year-round sport in NYC: You can get your kids into the game through a day camp over the summer, at drop-in classes throughout the year, or by participating in a season-long program with one of the youth soccer organizations listed below. Bonus: Many of these places also offer soccer-themed birthday parties, too. 

Read on for 10 spots offering soccer sessions to NYC kids. You can find even more options in our NYC Directory and our NYC Classes and Enrichment Programs Guide.

14 Great Ice Cream Shops in NYC for a Cool Summer Treat

Playgrounds, sprinklers, and cold, sweet, over-the-top treats are the things summer dreams are made of—and no, I'm not just thinking about the kids. Luckily, the culinary mecca of NYC is packed with ice cream shops, and many are close to our favorite play spots.

But sometimes, you need an ice cream spot to be the destination, not just a pit stop on a busy summer day. For those times, we present our list of the best scoop shops in the five boroughs, skipping the big-time chains in favor of local purveyors. Many source ingredients locally, craft their treats in small batches, and give back to the community and beyond, so you can feel a little less guilty about suggesting ice cream for lunch...or dinner...again. Read on for 14 summer hot spots serving up the best cold treats in town.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit It Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as the spring and summer baseball season, with its hours spent watching the game and playing Little League at our local ball fields. My son, who is serious about baseball, is always itching to get some real reps in, but there's only so much that can be tackled within the four walls of a cramped New York City apartment.

Luckily, the city has a slew of batting-cage options. Some even include private instruction and facilities where players can work on their fielding skills. Batter up!

10 Play Fountains Where NYC Kids Can Get Totally Soaked

While all three of my kids love to go for a dip, heading to one of NYC's public pools requires advance planning and me donning a bathing suit. Often, our summer fun is more spontaneous. For those hot summer days when we're out and about or need a last-minute distraction, I keep this list of play fountains in the back of my mind.

A more immersive experience than standard sprinkler parks, these play fountains feature shallow pools of water for wading, plus jets shooting H2O sky high. They're the perfect place for kids to frolic and get completely doused without mommy having to go all in—literally. Best of all? They're all completely FREE.

Here are 10 fun play fountains in NYC where kids can get absolutely soaked. Most opened for the season over Memorial Day weekend, though some start flowing earlier if temperatures hit 80 degrees.

Carl Schurz Park: 10 Things to Do With Kids in This Upper East Side Gem

Carl Schurz Park on Manhattan's Upper East Side is a jewel of an urban green space. Nestled between East End Avenue and the East River, the 15-acre waterfront park spans six city blocks. While it can't match the Upper East Side's other big green space, Central Park, in size, Carl Schurz Park is charming in its own right with lovely arched bridges, wide paved waterfront walkways, flower-filled gardens, lush landscaping, towering old shade-producing trees, an iconic statue, a perpetually busy playground, and equally packed events calendar.

It's not surprising Carl Schurz has so much in common with Central Park: It was masterminded in 1902 by none other than Calvert Vaux (half of the duo that created Central Park and Prospect Park). Carl Schurz also has one attraction no other NYC park will ever have: The historic Gracie Mansion, which is home to New York City's mayor.

Here are 10 fun things to do in this jewel of a green space no matter the season.

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