New York City

Best Dance Parties for Kids in NYC

Who doesn’t love a good family dance party for shaking off the rainy day blahs? While you could always ask Alexa to crank up the tunes in your living room, it's even more fun to hit the dance floor with kids at a venue that caters to tail-shakers of all ages. You will be dancing the day or night away with a great family fun vibe. Who can resist that?

Read on for a list of venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn where families can get their groove on.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: November GoList

Fall in NYC has well and truly arrived—the days are crisp and cool, and the leaves are changing color all around town. While the holiday season is creeping up on us, too, there's still plenty of fall fun to pack in, including the annual Canstruction, a new pop-up devoted to everybody's favorite mouse, and Día de Los Muertos and Diwali celebrations.

If your family kicks into Christmas mode the minute your Halloween costumes come off, we're not judging—in fact, we're right there behind you in the Santa hats! Reserve your spots for Polar Express train rides and Macy's Santaland, which is by (FREE) reservation only again in 2018. Meanwhile, the NYBG's holiday train show returns this month with new creations, along with the beloved Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and iconic NYC toy wonderland FAO Schwarz.

Read on for the best family outings in November, and for more options, check our Event Calendar and Fall Fun Guide

Best Halloween Celebrations for NYC Kids on October 31

As holidays in New York City go, few rival the scope of Halloween. Our 2018 Halloween Fun Guide overflows with parades, FREE fun, and trick-or-treating spots in each of the five boroughs, and Wednesday, October 31, remains the main event when kids score all the candy a parent can responsibly "test" once young trick or treaters have collapsed at bedtime.

Some things are certain: Both the trick or treating in Tribeca and the Park Slope Civic Council Children's Halloween Parade will be packed with amazing costumes. BAM's annual BAMboo! block party will again treat kids to dancing and bounce-house jumping, and the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel will happily scare your tween or teen. But be sure to check out some new fun stuff, too, like the Haunted Musical Trick-or-Treat at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music or the sweet kids costume contest at Harlem's Sugar Hill Creamery (FREE ice cream to the winners!).

Whatever you decide to do on October 31, arrive early and expect crowds. For the best ways to plan an epic Halloween night with your NYC kids, scroll on. Most of our picks are FREE or inexpensive.

Thanksgiving Volunteer Options for NYC Kids and Families

Every year around the holidays, readers ask about ways to volunteer with their children in New York City. Surprisingly, finding ways to give back with kids isn't always as easy as you'd think. Many charitable organizations have age minimums for their projects, and family-friendly volunteering opportunities often book up weeks in advance. (Which, of course, is a good sign—better to have too many people interested in volunteering than not enough.)

With Thanksgiving approaching, we wanted to highlight some great ways NYC kids and their parents can give back to those in need. We're including opportunities for children of all ages so everyone can participate. While kids might not be able to work in a soup kitchen, they can help the homeless, hungry, and elderly in other meaningful ways.

Here's a list of family-friendly ways to put the "giving" in your Thanksgiving.

40 Reasons the Upper West Side is NYC's Ultimate Family-Friendly Neighborhood

Tucked between Central Park and Riverside Park, it’s hard to beat the family-friendly awesomeness that is the Upper West Side. The neighborhood boasts tree-lined streets with wide sidewalks, easily-accessible subway lines, more playgrounds than you can count, plus endless cafes, museums, kid-centric hot spots, and many of the best schools in the city. Though the Upper West Side spans over 40 blocks, it has a small community vibe that makes it particularly attractive to families with young children.

To add to the appeal, richly-appointed new boutique-style residences, like our sponsor 222w80, offer a long list of larger building amenities that are perfect for families. With a state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga studio grownups will love, a children’s playspace and arcade-like game room for the younger crowd, and an on-site bowling alley and virtual reality game room the whole crew can enjoy, you’ll think you’ve gone to apartment heaven.

Read on to find out why the Upper West Side has long been—and continues to be—one of the most sought-out neighborhoods by families in New York City.

Weekend Fun: Halloween Parties and Parades, Trick-or-Treating, Day of the Dead

Call it "Halloweekend:" The fun-packed build-up to the big day takes over town this Saturday and Sunday, including the Haunted Halloween Walk & Fair in Prospect Park, Trick or Treating on Governors Island and at Grand Central Station, Staten Island's Halloween Harbor, and the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla, along with smaller-but-equally-fun events like the Children's Halloween Festival at Bleecker Playground, the Irish Halloween fest, and Obake (Ghost World) Family Day at the Japan Society. There are even pet costume parades in Fort Greene, at the High Line Hotel, and at the Little Bay Park Dog Run. Note that due to an expected Nor'easter in NYC this weekend, some Saturday events may be rescheduled or postponed, so check websites and details before heading out.

Halloween isn't the only holiday in town this weekend; don't forget about Day of the Dead celebrations, including a sunset outdoor screening of Coco, Día de los Muertos at Wave Hill, and celebrations at the National Museum of the American Indian and St. Mark's Church in the Bowery. You can also enjoy more fall festivities at the annual Children's Fall Festival in Queens.

For Halloween events on Wednesday, October 31, check out our complete roundup of Halloween Day festivities, plus our comprehensive NYC trick-or-treating guide, highlighting the best neighborhoods to hit in all five boroughs. There's still time to pick the perfect pumpkin before the big day, too, even within the city limits. Don't forget: in the aftermath, you can donate all your leftover candy and, later in November, smash your pumpkins

Need a break from planning your kid's costume? Bryant Park's Winter Village and skating rink and Prospect Park's rink open Saturday.

While it's never easy to whittle down all of NYC's amazing Halloween events to one post, you can check our October GoListEvent Calendar, and Halloween Guide for even more ideas.

Family-Friendly Restaurants Near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Even if you brought a bag full of snacks to your Brooklyn Botanic Garden excursion, kids will be hungry after all that time running through the grass, collecting sticks, and chasing butterflies.

The good news is that there are plenty of family-friendly options for a bite in the nearby Crown Heights and Prospect Heights neighborhoods, many with high chairs and changing tables available. These restaurants are also close to the Brooklyn Museum, and a short walk from the Brooklyn Children's Museum and Prospect Park.

Preschool Admissions Tips from Experts, Schools, and Moms Who've Been There

Finding the right preschool is a challenge for many NYC parents. Of course you want to provide your kids with the best early education experience possible, but there’s also cost and location to consider—and available spots can be in short supply at the most popular preschools. Plus, the sheer number of programs and educational philosophies (are you a Montessori family, or is your two year-old more of a Reggio-Emilia kinda toddler?) can be overwhelming.

Like a lot of other things in this city, finding a great preschool calls for a bit of advance planning and research. But with a few helpful tips, you can navigate the preschool admissions obstacle course. To demystify the process of getting into preschool in NYC, we reached out to admissions consultants, preschool directors, and parents who’ve been there, toured that. What we discovered is that there are as many different and "great" preschools as there are perfectly wonderful children. The right preschool situation is out there for your family!

Children's Museum of the Arts: A Must-Visit Creative Hub for Kids

Slime in the carpet. Glitter on the walls. Paint on a brand new couch. These are just a few of the art-projects-gone-wild I've cleaned up over the years. And though I know the value in all this messy fun and creativity, sometimes I just don't want to deal with stocking the supplies, guiding the activities, and cleaning it all up. Enter the Children's Museum of the Arts. For my money (and sanity!) nothing beats a trip to this creative hub. Dubbed by my arts-loving daughters as their favorite NYC museum, it's an arts education powerhouse that doubles as an indoor playspace, making it a must-visit for NYC guests and tried-and-true boredom buster for city parents.

25 NYC Restaurants Serving Family Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings—and to spend hours in the kitchen, right? Eh, we New Yorkers of small-space kitchens and rapid-fire takeout options often prefer to let someone else handle our annual turkey fest. Of course, in New York City we can choose from many award-winning restaurants for that amazing dinner. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a number of options in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to make this November 22, 2018 as easy and delicious as possible.

Now, instead of deep-cleaning your apartment to host those far-flung relatives (and their expectations), you can spend the night before Thanksgiving in a more festive way—say, watching the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, sightseeing, or even volunteering. After all, what could be more of a New York City Thanksgiving experience than that?

Find even more family-friendly NYC eateries in our local restaurant guide. Visiting and still looking for a place to stay? Check out these top family-friendly NYC hotels, or these Midtown gems offering views of the Macy's parade.


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