New York City

NYC's High Line: The Best Sights and Events for Families

Like many native New Yorkers, I sometimes get caught up in my daily routine and forget all that this amazing city has to offer families, from unexplored treasures to mega popular tourist destinations that are always crowded, but for good reason. The High Line, a formerly-abandoned track of elevated railway on Manhattan's west side that's found new life as a public park, is one prime example.

Owned by the city, but maintained by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line in coordination with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the High Line has developed a bit of a reputation as a tourist zone. But a visit to the High Line is well worth braving the crowds. It's both an amazing public art site and a community hub, with wonderful year-round programs for locals—and it's FREE. Plus, its proximity to both Chelsea Market and Hudson Yards makes the High Line a perfect city adventure (snacks included).

Here are all the must-see spots for children at this unique outdoor park, plus the kid-friendly events you'll want to add to your family's calendar.

Destination Playground: J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope Is Action-Packed for All Ages

It’s no surprise that one of the city’s most family-friendly neighborhoods is home to a top destination playground. J.J. Byrne Playground, a Park Slope hotspot, underwent a year-long, multi-million dollar renovation in 2012 to bring in challenging climbing structures for older kids and an action-packed play area for younger kids, plus engaging water features that include a stream and spray jets.

Read on for more features that solidify this spot as one of our favorite playgrounds.

Enjoy Free Family Camping in NYC Parks with Urban Park Rangers

Contrary to what you might think, you don't need to invest in expensive equipment or even leave New York City to pitch a tent and camp this summer. The Urban Park Rangers offer FREE overnight family camping in city parks at select times and locations throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Bonus: They bring almost everything you need for a night spent under the stars, including the tent!

The annual program kicks off a little before Memorial Day and although it's FREE, advance registration is required for all campouts. Read on to find out how to snag a spot at one of these cool camping trips—including some signup periods that open this week!

13 Brain-Boosting NYC Playgrounds That Build Physical and Mental Skills

Playtime should be fun, but that doesn't mean you can't learn a few lessons along the way. In an age when STEM activities are all the rage, and we race our kids from class to class, sometimes it's worth slowing down and setting the kids free in a park or playground to see what skills they pick up on their own.

We've rounded up a baker's dozen NYC play areas that foster old-fashioned playground skills—like balance, strength, and coordination—while also offering unique features that encourage brain-boosting skills—like problem-solving, engineering, physics, cooperation, imagination, resilience, and teamwork. Plus, they're some of the coolest play zones in the city.

50 Fun Things To Do in Las Vegas with Your Kids

Once America's playground for adults, in the last decade Las Vegas has become one of the most popular family vacation destinations. While it is possible to book a sitter to enjoy some grown-up time on the strip, it would be a shame to visit this desert town and not experience the great natural attractions, museums, and family fun you can find a little further afield.

We took a recent trip to Vegas with our young children (aged two and six) and really had a blast exploring kid-friendly activities both on and off the beaten track. Here are my recommendations for the top things to do with kids in Las Vegas.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals Near NYC

One of my favorite things about late spring and summer is the plethora of fruit in season, especially the berries. Picking your own makes it even sweeter. As we move into the height of strawberry season, there are a slew of festivals and farms with fruit ripe for the picking. Many are just a short car ride away from New York City, making for a great day trip of strawberry picking and seasonal festival fun with additional perks for kids like carnival rides, petting zoos, and outdoor performances.

Read on to discover nearby strawberry fests and more than a dozen pick-your-own strawberry spots, all under two hours away.

For more day trip inspiration, check out our Family Getaways Guide, and find more local u-pick opportunities in our Farm Guide, or on our Long Island or New Jersey sites.

Upstate NY Day Trip: 25 Things To Do with Kids in New Paltz

Similar in spirit to nearby Woodstock, New Paltz is laid-back college town in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains that offers plenty of outdoor and indoor attractions for all ages, especially in warmer months. Families can swim in a mountain lake, enjoy a hike amidst beautiful scenery, pick produce at local farms, visit quaint shops and restaurants, and explore a historic 17th-century community.

While New Paltz is just 90 minutes away by car from NYC and even closer to Westchester, the scenery suggests a faraway land. Adding to this appeal are the many festivals and other annual events that readers might consider timing their visit to coincide with.

Read on for 25 ways to enjoy New Paltz with kids. You'll find plenty of reasons to stay more than a day!

Upper East Side with Kids: Top 50 Things to Do, Eat, and See

Like the Upper West Side and Park Slope, the Upper East Side is one of those neighborhoods where you can barely go a block without passing some kind of kid-centric business or attraction.

Despite its somewhat snooty reputation, the 'hood has lots of fun (and often affordable!) activities for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens. From unique play spaces to world-class art museums, lush landscaped parks, lovely independent toy stores, and afternoon tea complete with fairy wings, the Upper East Side has all that plus mansions, parades, public art, towering temples and churches, athletic complexes, and some of the priciest real estate in town.

Explore the neighborhood and see the best it has to offer NYC families with our top 50 things to do with kids on Manhattan's family-friendly Upper East Side.

Free Summer Sports and Outdoor Programs for NYC Kids

Just because we live in a concrete jungle doesn't mean our kids can't enjoy a summer filled with athletic activities outdoors. The best news: You don't need to be a banker to afford it.

New York City offers many opportunities for kids to learn team sports and to try swimming, tennis, golf, fishing, kayaking, camping, and more for FREE. Of course registering for these FREE programs takes a little legwork and (since many are first-come, first-served) punctuality. We've got the scoop on what's available, and how your kids can vie for spots. You can find more no-cost activities in our Free in NYC Guide, or check out these FREE or inexpensive summer camp options around NYC.

Swimming Spots to Host a Pool Party for Your NYC Kid

Hosting a swimming birthday party is a splashy way to celebrate your child's next big day. Kids can hit the water for an instant taste of summer no matter the season.

While FREE swimming spots abound in the summer months, the rules make it a little difficult to party there. So, expect to fork over some dough if you want to throw a good, old-fashioned pool party at one of these swimming spots in NYC that offer birthday party packages to the general public—most are offered year round.

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