New York City

Weekday Fun: Live-Scored Star Wars, San Gennaro, DIY Rockets

For New York City kids, early fall is a time of planting and feasting. The New York Botanical Garden begins a corn-doll making workshop on Wednesday, and the Feast of San Gennaro gets going in Little Italy on Thursday. Of course, if a family needs to go extra-terrestrial, the New York Philharmonic begins live-scoring Star Wars movies on Friday.

Just looking to escape the city? See our Fall Fun Guide to petting zoos, corn mazes, and farms right outside the five boroughs. Or maybe stay here and get a bite in Fort Greene. In the meantime, our September GoList is always overflowing with oodles of cool stuff to do, and our Event Calendar can help you plan your day-to-day activities. 

Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and the Zoos

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens, and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days, or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy, cash-strapped parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from the Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

As always, you can check our Events Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide or Zoos and Gardens Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art and exhibitions in NYC.

Which Preschool? NYC Parents Spill on How They Found 'The One'

When it comes time to choose a preschool for your NYC kid, especially the first child, the decision can seem daunting. What if you pick wrong and she hates it? What if you hate it? What if he won’t get the leg up you’re hoping for at this school? What if...what if...what if….?

At the time, it might even feel like the biggest parenting decision you’ve made to date, besides perhaps where to give birth or which pediatrician would care for your new baby. Seasoned parents, however, will tell you: It’ll be OK. 

Trust your gut—and it’ll be OK—and if it’s not, switch, or there’s always next year!

Don’t take my word for it, though. Here are four NYC parents who have been through the sometimes agonizing process of picking out a preschool and are now sharing their stories on how they whittled down the choices, selected a school, and made it on to pre-K and kindergarten without losing their...marbles. 

6 New Playgrounds in NYC You Gotta See This Fall

Summer may be coming to an end, but the crisp weather of fall is a great time to get out and explore your local park in New York City. Even better, check out a new playground—and with the recent influx of capital dollars, all five boroughs are boasting freshly renovated play spots begging to be explored during your next outdoor adventure.

We've rounded up six completely revamped playgrounds that reopened during the past six months, plus another handful to be revealed before we ring in the new year. So grab those sneakers and get ready to explore one of these shiny new play spots. You can always find more of our favorite playgrounds in our NYC guide.

Weekend Fun: Hello Kitty, Dan Zanes Concert, and a County Fair

School is back in session, but summer temperatures linger, too, to the delight of NYC kids. In Manhattan, check out the popular West Side County Fair, a fun art show in Carl Shurz Park, and a day of fishing in Battery Park City with live music from a very famous children's musician. In Brooklyn, grab a new bike for that quickly-growing kid or teen at the Brooklyn Bike Jumble. Ride to a restaurant and sit outside!

But make sure to take a moment and keep Texas in your thoughts due to the damage by Harvey. Our Mommy Poppins Houston site is a great resource if you're wondering how and where to donate baby items.

Meanwhile, as summer fun is replaced by fall's more crowded schedule, stay sharp! Learn all about bargains with our new deals page. And here's a tip: car seats are now available for Lyft rides across New York City.

And introducing: our new September GoList! There's also our just released Fall Fun Guide if you're looking to plan ahead, and don't forget to take a glance at our best events for preschoolers this fall, as well as our Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids. Keep our Parks and Playgrounds guide at the ready, too, as the weekend forecast looks divine.

As always, our Event Calendar remains ready to drill down to any specific dates.

Family Restaurants Near Barclays Center for Post-Show Kid Eats

When you’re heading to an event at the Barclays Center with the kids, you have one of two options: Get in quickly and fill them up with sometimes-pricey, always dependable vendor food, or... plan ahead and leave time to hit one of the kid-friendly restaurants in the neighborhood after the show, concert, or game. Opened in 2012, it's home to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, and often hosts the circus, headliners like Katy Perry, and Disney on Ice.

Fort Greene has recently turned into a foodie destination, bringing in all sorts of specialty food shops (Doughnut Plant, anyone?), food halls, and myriad culinary hot spots, from southern barbecue to custom ramen. So take advantage of the trip and the area: Grab your kids and grab a table at our favorite places around the arena.

5 Kid-Friendly Urban Farms Right Here in New York City

Times—and the food industry—have changed from when I was a kid. In the 1980s, everything we ate came from the freezer section, cans, and boxes. Microwaves were hot kitchen appliances. I didn't even know what an unpicked strawberry looked like or what type of plant blueberries grew on. Trees, maybe? Now, knowing where your food comes from, understanding sustainability, and eating local are all hot topics that parents are passionate about. New York City offers plenty of farmers' markets, gardens, and parks to get close to nature. But did you know there are plenty of farms, too?

We've compiled a list of open-to-the-public farms within NYC that all deserve a visit. Each one has a special and interesting hook. Make sure to check seasonal hours/days-of-operation before you travel. 

Several of the farms profiled below, while others are squeezed right into a standard city block. If you really want that full country vibe, you can always head out to the nearby farms of Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester for pick-your-own apples, tractor rides, and petting zoos.

Léman Manhattan Launches a New "Grown-Up and Me" Toddler Program

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has been serving preschoolers in downtown Manhattan for the past twelve years, but parents of even littler learners will be happy to hear there's a brand new toddler program in town. Developed by the school's experienced early childhood educators, Léman Explorers is a “grown-up and me” class that aims to give children ages 16 months to 3 years old the skills and confidence they need for preschool and beyond.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in Hudson Valley Again

There are some experiences every family should try once. Then there are annual events that, after you try them, you vow to do every year forevermore. The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson,  a Hudson Valley Halloween staple with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, falls firmly in the latter category.

The downside of the Blaze is that tickets start selling out way in advance ... like early September. The 2017 shows begin Friday, September 29, and run through Saturday, November 25—a longer run than planned in years past. They are not held every day, so start checking the calendar now. Our NYC readers should know that the Blaze is definitely worth splurging on, even if you need to rent a Zipcar. It's also accessible via public transportation.

Read on for what you need to know about this Halloween spectacle, including details about this year's installations (including the timely Pumpkin Zee Bridge). Looking for more fall and Halloween fun? Sign up for our newsletters

Frozen the Musical Heads for Broadway: What You Need to Know

This winter in NYC brings an extra dose of snow and ice, but of the magical Disney variety. One of the favorite princesses of the last decade and ice queen extraordinaire, Elsa, and her sister Anna, will make their Broadway debut in New York City this February. If you're familiar with the Let It Go-cult of Elsa, then you probably already knew a Frozen musical was en route, but we're here to give you the scoop on what to expect, including ticket prices and for which ages this show is best.

Joining family hits The Lion King and Aladdin, the buzz is strong for Disney's latest musical adaptation. The official opening night is set for March 22 (preview performances begin in February), but tickets for Frozen went on sale this month, and of course, are already going fast (hey, it's never too early to consider holiday gifts the whole family can enjoy).

We're pretty confident this Broadway production deserves a spot on your family's 2018 bucket list if you're willing and able to go for this extra special splurge.

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