New York City

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE kayaking, and FREE things to do every day with kids in New York City. Now we're rounding up our favorite and (mostly) FREE family festivals and city street fairs going on in the month of July.

Two of our favorite annual fests take place this month: the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side, and City of Water Day at South Street Seaport and other locations around town. But that's just the beginning. We've rounded up lots of other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Back to the Beach in Staten island.

So go grab your calendar (and check ours frequently)! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

Weekend Fun: Pride Parade, Jedi Training, Mud Day

Pride Month concludes with a bunch of kid-friendly events this weekend, including the Kidding Around Pride Picnic, Youth Pride for teens in Central Park, and the big parade on Sunday. Little ones can learn about kindness and inclusion at Books of Wonder's Pride Weekend Picture Book Bonanza in Chelsea, and historical re-enactors bring the Stonewall Uprising to life at the New York Historical Society's DiMenna Children's History Museum.

Meanwhile, Star Wars fans can do some Jedi training at the Chelsea Rec Center, St John the Divine breaks out a Carnival for kids to celebrate the start of summer, it's International Mud Day on Staten Island (and, apparently, all over the world!), and ye olde timey Traditions Fest promises a weekend full of activities from the 18th century to modern times.

As of this week, NYC pools are officially open for cool, splashy fun, not to mention NYC beaches and all our favorite splash pads and water parks. Naturally, there are plenty of free, family-friendly movies in the parks and other fun options packing the MommyPoppins calendar.

Looking ahead to next week's July 4th celebrations? We have a comprehensive guide to seeing the Macy's Fireworks and other fireworks shows around NYC. 

Bronx Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers to Cool Off the Kids

As much as the kids might beg, not every summer day can be a pool day. That's why water playgrounds with jets, misters, and refreshing splash pads are essential to summer survival in NYC. Kids (and their grown-ups) can frolic in sprinklers and spray showers, many with nifty features like footbridges, geysers, and themed settings. We've told you about some of our favorite playgrounds with water features citywide, but the Bronx deserves a shout-out all its own. Read on for details on nine of our favorite splash pads in NYC's northernmost borough.

Find more water fun in our Beaches, Pools, Water Parks Guide, or cool NYC activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Best Brooklyn Splash Pads and Water Playgrounds for Summer Fun

When the sticky NYC summer heat sets in, kids need fun things to do to keep cool (bonus points if the kiddos also get a chance to burn off some energy). There’s no better solution than water playgrounds—get cool in the water, dry off to hit the other playground equipment, rinse and repeat. All afternoon.

And best of all, hitting a water playground is a FREE summer activity you can do every day. We’ve rounded up the best water features and playgrounds around Brooklyn so that you and the little ones can try a new place to spray and play every day of the week. 

It's a long summer! Find more ways to keep cool with our NYC Beaches, Pools, and Water Parks Guide, which includes splash pads in other boroughs too!

50 Things to Do with Kids in Midtown Manhattan

Whether you're a visitor, a commuter, or a local, it's hard to avoid passing through NYC's Midtown Manhattan. Bordered by 59th Street on the northern end and 34th Street to the south, encompassing Times Square and Rockefeller Center, and extending from river to river, the Midtown neighborhood has an expansive personality that matches its large size. 

Between the towering office buildings and the tourist traps on seemingly every street corner, it might seem hard to uncover worthwhile family spots, but in fact Midtown is loaded with family-friendly entertainment, art, attractions, and activities. We've done the legwork and rounded up 50 fun picks for enjoying Midtown with kids in tow.

5 Brooklyn Adventures Perfect for Preschoolers

A New York City day with a preschooler is likely to be full of adventure and excitement, but those short attention spans can be downright exhausting. Thankfully, the borough of Brooklyn is filled with non-stop kid fun, even for the most rambunctious little ones.

Of course, there's no shortage of fantastic zoos and gardens, museums, and playgrounds for spending a day out and about in the city, but we've developed five parent-tested, Brooklyn-based itineraries that are perfectly tailored to the younger crowd. 

Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

New York City doesn't lack for world-class museums and cultural institutions. While I've been to The Met more times than I can count (and still haven't seen it all) and can while away an afternoon at The Whitney no problem, sometimes my kids need something with a little more action.

That's where New York City's many family-friendly children's museums come in. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites, ranging from totally interactive playspaces to spots for making art, studying history, and much more. All of NYC's kid museums provide plenty of fun things to do, and are great indoor activities whether you're beating the summer heat or escaping winter's chill.

Where to Pick Your Own Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries Near NYC

Juicy blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are usually in season from July through the end of August near NYC, and some farms even have a second crop of raspberries that ripen later in the summer. So, if you missed the short but sweet strawberry picking season and can't wait for peach picking come August, now is a good time for your family to plan a berry picking outing to one of our favorite nearby farms.  

Read on for the lowdown on 13 spots in the tri-state area, all less than 2 hours from NYC (including one accessible by mass transit) plus our helpful been-there-done-that tips. A word of caution: approximate driving times below do not include traffic. You'll probably run into some, especially on summer weekends near the entrances to popular farms. 

Check out our comprehensive guide to all the nearby pick-your-own farms for everything from peaches to flowers and veggies.

50 Fun Summer Things to Do with Kids and Families in the Hamptons and North Fork

So much to do, so little time. That’s a popular refrain on Long Island’s East End, where vacationers and residents alike struggle to pack as much adventure as possible into the 80-some days of summer. Which is where we come in, of course. Our Mommy Poppins experts have updated their list of the best fun things to do this summer with great family-friendly events in the Hamptons and North Fork. We’ve researched family beaches, state and county parks, pools, and even indoor options just in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.

So if you're visiting the East End, have a look at this kid-friendly list of great summer activities. While you’re at it, check out our guide to this unique region, home to farms, museums, wineries, and even the trendy celebrity or two. Who knows: While you’re here, you might even scratch an item or two off our list of 100 must-do things with LI kids. Hurry, time’s a-wasting.

Weekend Getaway: Make a Splash at Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos

At Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, families can enjoy an indoor water park that is a balmy 84 degrees every day, even in the middle of winter. The resort appeals to families with toddlers to teens for a quick weekend getaway or school vacation trip. Who needs to splurge on a flight to the Caribbean, eh?

The Poconos family resort's location just completed its first phase of a $15 million renovation that included updating its rooms and adding in new kid-friendly programming. We returned for a visit to get the scoop on all the new attractions, including a Summer Camp-In event offered through Labor Day. Great Wolf Lodge didn't forget about mom and dad when adding new upgrades. The Pennsylvania hotel and resort now offers a "Wine Down" service for parents after a long day at the indoor water park.

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