New York City

10 Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips Near NYC

New York City is magical during the holiday season. However, if you're looking to experience some holiday happenings not too far from home, we've rounded up great options for family day trips, where kids can see Santa, dazzling holiday lights, and even a North Pole village.

From right-in-our-backyard picks to rustic Christmas fun in Mystic, Connecticut and Hudson Valley, here are 10 holiday outings—listed from nearest to farthest from Midtown—worth a drive or train trek.

VRBar Brings Virtual Reality Gaming Fun to Brooklyn

The promise of virtual reality has been dangled before us, enticingly, for years. Until now, disappointing and expensive forays into the virtual world have left us happy to leave VR to hardcore gamers and “boys with toys”... and disposable income. But, finally, virtual reality arcades and an explosion of fun games are making it an actual reality for families.

We recently reviewed VR World in Manhattan and the positive experience made us excited to seek out another virtual reality spot in Brooklyn. The recently relocated vrbar in Dumbo offers virtual reality gaming in a less crowded, reservation-based environment.

20 Things To Do with NYC Babies Before They Turn 1

The whole "New York City is a terrible place to raise babies" debate seems to continue, especially in conversations on local parenting groups. But as a mom of three who had all my babies right here in NYC, I disagree. Yes, it can be a nuisance to find subway stations with working elevators and contend with tiny spaces and noisy neighbors, but there are so many enriching first-time experiences to share with your baby in the city that make it worth muddling through the inconveniences.

So stock your diaper bag, strap your infant into a stroller or carrier and try these 20 things to do with your baby before age 1.

See the Nutcracker in New York City: 15 Family Shows

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic holiday experience for kids and parents, and NYC offers dozens of wonderful interpretations of this beautiful Christmas show.

While many children love the energy and drama of a Nutcracker—from the sweet Sugar Plum fairy visit to the frantic battle with the Rat King—it can be long for some. So we've rounded up more than a dozen variations of The Nutcracker playing this season in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, including the classic showing at Lincoln Center to just-for-kids versions. Many of our picks are abridged versions and inexpensive (or FREE) while still possessing the charm to keep kids wide-eyed.

Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and More

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of New York City's top seasonal attractions for families, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only train-centric show in town. Read on for more details on this annual spectacle, as well as a roundup of the other train shows the city has to offer this holiday season. And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

10 Brooklyn Spots That Both Little and Big Kids Will Love

Whether you have a large brood that ranges from babies to tweens or simply a few who have somewhat of an age gap, finding activities and restaurants that cater to each and every age and stage can be challenging. The desire to go out and spend time together in NYC can sometimes be overshadowed by the task of finding place that will keep babies, toddlers, preschoolers, older children, and parents entertained.

So whether you want to sit down and have a meal, or spend an afternoon at a museum, we've rounded up 10 mid-Brooklyn locales that offer a little something every member of the family—even the adults!

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.

New Grammy Museum in NJ Offers Hands-on Musical Fun for Kids

Rocking out is encouraged at the new GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Strutting onstage, playing electronic instruments, and singing karaoke-style are part of the fun at this new museum celebrating pop music's biggest stars, including many with New Jersey roots. An electronic jam session may be the coolest way for kids to spend a rainy day

Weekend Fun: Veterans Day, GingerBread Lane, Mini Maker Faire

Big, big events for NYC kids this weekend! The NYC Veterans Day Parade may be the largest, with astronaut Buzz Aldrin as grand mashall, but there's also a new American Girl Store (re)opening in Rockefeller Plaza, the 11th annual children's book fair in Brooklyn, and the second ever My First Film Fest at the Walter Reade Theater. 

If that's not enough, the 241st Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington goes full-on re-enactment in Inwood, there's basketball on unicycles in the Bronx and, in Times Square, the Lion King 20th Anniversary Celebration and Free Ticket Raffle. That's right: an outdoor festival with a chance to win FREE Lion King tickets.

Meanwhile, you may have noticed that, like airports, train stations aren't just train stations anymore. Mommy Poppins has the lowdown on fun stuff for kids at Grand Central. Also, for those new parents who want to catch a flick without being shushed, we present our guide to cry baby matinees at New York City theaters

Of course, it's not too early to see our guide to the Thanksgiving Day Parade: Where to Watch, and What's New. For more future plannning, also see the November GoList, our newly released Holiday Fun Guide, and, of course, the Event Calendar for all the fun that's fit to post. 

Top photo by U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Robert Harclerode/DVIDSHUB/CC BY 2.0

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.

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