New York City

15 Must-Do 2018 Holiday Events in NYC for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from early November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain Thanksgiving parade, tree and menorah lightings, train shows, department store windows, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 15 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018: Where to Watch, What's New

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 92nd anniversary this November, taking over the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, November 22, 2018, and decorating the city with its boisterous marching bands, extravagant floats, and giant balloon characters. Every year brings a mix of old and new characters to the parade, and 2018 is no exception, with a mix of new balloons, floats, and balloonicles set to make their NYC debuts.

If you're planning to attend the parade with the kids (and millions of others!), read on for the most up-to-date information on the route, best viewing locations, and other highlights. Check out our in-depth inflation post for an overview of the Wednesday-night festivities. You'll find more holiday inspiration in our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

Four New Indoor Play Spaces to Try This Season in NYC

You’re faced with another chilly, dreary, rainy day and your kids are climbing the apartment walls. You’ve done all of the fun seasonal activities and the playgrounds are out of the question. That's when NYC's indoor play spaces can be real lifesavers. We're always on the hunt for the latest and greatest indoor play spaces, and a handful of new spots have opened up this year that are definitely worth the trip. Pack your socks, because here's the scoop on four new spots where the kids can get all of their energy out—and you can regain your sanity (and even have a cup of coffee).

20 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Election Day

New York City kids get a day off from school on November 6, 2018, and it might just be the perfect day for an accompanying adult to call in sick (or civic!). Fall weather usually provides perfect temps for hitting up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, and we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 20 great things to do on Election Day—even though this one is "only" a midterm. 

If you're among the many (if not most) parents who have to work one way or another on Tuesday November 6, check out our directory for the many mini camps around the city offered on Election Day. And while you're at it, peruse our November GoList, our Fall Fun Guide, and our list of free family events in November for an action packed November beyond Tuesday.

Read on for 20 ideas on how to spend the day—and maybe hold a family vote to choose one or two.

What's New in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Lineup for 2018

There's nothing like Thanksgiving Day in New York City, and that's thanks in large part to the one and only Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which celebrates its 92nd anniversary when it steps off at 9am on Thursday, November 22.

We've got the scoop on all the new faces joining the parade lineup in 2018, in addition to our tried-and-true tips on how to catch the balloons coming to life the night before, and where to stake out your prime viewing spot for the main event. Read on to meet the new stars of the show.

Sweet Ways to Donate Halloween Candy

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are seven charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

Weekend Fun: Diwali, Canstruction, NYC Marathon

Ready to pack away all those spiders and skeletons, but not sure what to do about Mr. Jack O'Lantern? Head to the annual Pumpkin Smash in Chelsea. The first weekend in November also features big events like Canstruction at Brookfield Place and the New York Marathon, with PS 118's annual race celebration bringing bounce houses, face painting, and a front-row view of the runners.

India's Festival of Lights, Diwali, sparkles at Manhattan's Asia Society and Queens' Forest Hills library on Saturday. On Sunday, you can make sculptures out of light at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. And there are Dia de Los Muertos celebrations this Saturday at both the AMNH and the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Get in some leaf peeping this weekend at Wave Hill or the Fall Forest Weekend at the NY Botanical Garden. Coffey Park's Fall Festival serves up performances, crafts, and fall-focused family fun. And the Meatpacking District's Fall Fest (rescheduled from last weekend thanks to the Nor'Easter) is back on track this Saturday, too.

With Election Day coming up on November 6, it feels especially appropriate to mark the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Fort Washington; Fort Tryon commemorates the occasion with military drills, blacksmith demos, and other revolutionary activities. (And don't miss our list of 20 Fun Things to Do with NYC Kids on Election Day.)

As always, we recommend a deep dive into our newly released November GoList, and remember to scan our ever-growing calendar for new additions and neighborhood-specific events. 

35 Free Family Events in New York City This November

As we usher in the holiday season in New York City, it can also seem like we're entering the spend-and-splurge time of year. Thankfully, this month also ushers in some of our favorite FREE annual events for families in NYC, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and Macy's Santaland. You'll also find plenty of non-holiday (and non-Macy's) fun for the kids, or even visiting families, such as Pumpkin Smash 2018 and the Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington.

Read on for more of our top FREE event picks for the month, and don't forget to hop over to our just-released November GoList, featuring the very best of the month, including those with an admission fee. You can always find more freebies in our FREE NYC Guide, from play spaces and gratis admission hours at museums to birthday perks.

Note: Each event is listed by the week it falls in, and roughly in calendar order. Everything listed is FREE, but some events may require tickets or other advance planning. Click through to the event listings for details.

TapeScape Opens at the Brooklyn Children's Museum

As the weather cools and those freezing playground slides become less appealing, we’re all scrambling for indoor activities to keep our little ones entertained. Luckily, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has added another family-friendly NYC activity to the to-do list.

TapeScape, open now through December 30, 2018, is an explorable structure made from scaffolding and 480 rolls of packing tape. My daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting the museum’s newest exhibit and it’s exactly as promised. We loved climbing through the tens of thousands of feet of clear tape that is intricately woven around a metal frame. There are many tunnels and passageways to explore, which inspired my three year-old's sense of adventure. She even asked if we could replicate the structure in our own kitchen. Uh, no.

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