New York City

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 the 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.

Joshua Tree: 12 Things Not To Miss with Kids in this Desert National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is an otherworldly experience: groves of twisted trees and giant boulders create enchanting settings so unique, you might think you have stepped into a fairy tale—or landed on an alien planet. Approximately a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, and a stone's throw from Palm Springs, this park is great for a family camping adventure or just a day hike, because it captures everyone’s imagination. Stroller-friendly trails make it a great option for little trekkers, as do several walks easy enough for young kids (or tired grown-ups) to maneuver. But teens and tweens who never tire will never run out of rocks and boulders to climb over.

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.

Lower East Side Food Crawl: Best Old School NYC Eats

The Lower East Side is emblematic of everything we think of "Old New York," especially the hustle and bustle of a working class immigrant neighborhood. Although many immigrant populations called the neighborhood home, the Lower East Side became home base for New York City’s Jewish population. The Lower East Side is now much more hipster than Hebrew and most of the old establishments have been spruced up, but it’s still an amazing neighborhood to explore...and eat in. Oh my, can you eat!

From knishes to candy, pastrami to pickles, there’s so much good food on offer it’s hard to know where to begin. But most of all, it’s fun to eat in places with tons of history and "theater." Whether you want to do it as a food crawl with the kids or just go down for one family meal, we’ve covered the best old-school, mostly Jewish food spots on the Lower East Side.

Brooklyn Bridge Park: 35 Top Things to Do with Kids

There is no shortage of warm weather family activities in Brooklyn, but I find myself continuously making the trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park throughout the spring and summer months. Running 1.3 miles along the East River on a defunct cargo shipping and storage complex, Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre waterfront space promising recreation, sustainability and environmental exploration. Also, the Lower Manhattan skyline views never fail to impress.

Where else can you swim, fish, roller skate, kayak, and barbecue? Oh, and you can score free hot dogs this summer thanks to the Hot Dog Bus! There's even a floating glassblowing museum visiting the park this May, and a Pop-Up Science Encounter in June! Yep.

We've rounded up our favorite things to do to help you explore the park with your little ones, including some of the exciting new offerings in one of the city's most fascinating parks

Weekend Fun: Cinco de Mayo, Governors Island, Swale, and Festivals

So much to celebrate and things to do, now that spring finally seems to be sticking the landing in NYC.  

If it's May 5, it's Cinco, and you can celebrate at Flushing Town Hall's Cambalache dance workshop and concert. The Brooklyn Children's Museum hosts a celebration that includes Papel Picado (paper cutting), stories, and Talvera Tile design—and you can catch a screening of Coco in Maria Hernandez Park. On Staten Island, Cinco de Mayo signals the opening of the Willowbrook Park carousel, and a screening of Coco at Clove Lakes Park.

May 5 is also FREE Comic Book day, so be sure to check with your local comic haunt for goodies—or get one at the Children's Museum of Mahanttan this weekend (while supplies last) where kids can also make comics of their own.

It's opening weekend—at last—on Governors Island, which means The Yard is ready for kids to jump back in and start constructing (or deconstructing), and the Adventures on Governors Island mini adventure park is back online with its zip line, maze, and climbing walls. Bonus: The ferries are FREE for opening week!

Highbridge Park and The Cloisters are both hosting Urban Wildlife Fests on Saturday, where kids can meet real critters. A bumper crop of school fairs are happening this weekend, including Calhoun (West 81st), PS 84 (on West 92nd), and Columbia Greenhouse (West 116th). There's also a kite fest in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the annual Hippo Playground Fair romps onto the calendar with pony rides and bouncy castles. 

Sunday's Spring Family Scavenger Hunt at Green-Wood Cemetery introduces the “Agents of Discovery” app, which the historic site developed in partnership with the US Forest Service. And Swale, NYC's forage-able floating garden, sails back into Brooklyn for the summer.

Be sure to check the newly released May GoList, our comprehensive guide to May Fairs and Festivals around NYC, and maybe get a leg up on Mother's Day (next weekend!) by perusing our updated Mother's Day Brunch picks or top 25 activities. This weekend is especially packed with possibilities, so don't forget to review our calendar for more ideas.

NYC Fun Zone Gives Upper East Side Toddlers a New Play Space

The Upper East Side is already packed with plenty to do for neighborhood families. It's almost made for kids, and we're told that the Yorkville neighborhood east of Third Avenue is booming with kid fun, too. In fact, the Manhattan nabe just got a brand-new play space that's steps from Carl Schurz Park, and it truly is a gem nestled among the shops on York Avenue.

The minute you enter NYC Fun Zone you notice its inviting, clean space for babies up to kindergarten-aged kids. Toddlers will feel right at home. Even my 5-year-old had a blast and didn't want to leave! 

Get all the details on the bright and fun new uptown venue below.

Coney Island with Kids: Luna Park, Aquarium, Beach, Mermaids

The shores of Coney Island and Brighton Beach open for the season on Memorial Day weekend, but the amusement park rides have been spinning for a month, and the boardwalk and New York Aquarium are open year-round, making this season the perfect time for a Brooklyn day-cation!

The big news on this slice of sand is undoubtedly the arrival of Ocean Wonders: Sharks at the New York Aquarium later this summer, but before the predators arrive, there's still plenty of fun to be had. Catch a thrill at Luna Park, enjoy the old-school favorites like the carousel and Deno's Wonder Wheel, visit the Coney Island Museum or Circus Sideshow, and scarf down a Nathan's Famous hot dog. And we haven't even mentioned the sandy beach and waves and Friday-night fireworks. Without further ado, here are the best things to do in Coney Island with kids this season.

50+ Free Things To Do in May with NYC Kids

This month is all about outdoor spring fun, and we've got the lowdown on all the great FREE events happening in NYC, including some stellar street fairs and festivals, and even the start of outdoor movies and music. There's also the opening of Governors Island, a Memorial Day Weekend concert, and Kids Food Fest. With most of the events happening alfresco, New York City families will have a bit more space to spread out, throw down a blanket, and enjoy the (late!) arrival of the warmer temps.

Read on for more than 50 FREE things to do this May in New York City, including in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Find more top events in our May GoList, or our always packed daily NYC Event Calendar.

Finally, get ready for the summer season with our roundup of the city's best beaches (opening Memorial Day), and a handy list of nearby water parks.

Bryant Park and More Midtown West Parks and Playgrounds to Visit

Romping room may not be tops on your list of Midtown West destinations, but most city dwellers know about the not-so-hidden emerald gem Bryant Park, which abounds with enough family- (and budget-) friendly fun for an entire day's worth of entertainment, no matter the season. Twirl on the carousel in warm weather or the city's only FREE ice skating rink come winter.

We've got the lowdown on all the fun this green space has to offer for locals and visitors alike, plus five playgrounds off-the-beaten Midtown path, where kids can climb, swing, and slide to their heart's content.

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