New York City

Easy Day Hikes Near NYC for Families To Explore

Spring has arrived, and there are few things New Yorkers like better than a day outside with the family. Although NYC has incredible parks and playgrounds to explore, sometimes it's worth taking a day trip outside the city limits.

So pack a cooler and a picnic blanket and find your new favorite kid-friendly hiking destination among this list that takes you to the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and even some memorable parks within the five boroughs. Each of these hikes has something special to offer, and best of all, they are kid-tested and kid-approved! 

Hudson Valley Day Trip: 40 Things to Do with Kids in Beacon

At just about an hour from downtown White Plains, Beacon makes for a superb family-friendly New York day trip. This Dutchess County city features an artsy, bustling downtown—mostly centered along Main Street—that's home to lots of different shops and restaurants. There’s something for kids of a variety of ages to do, and it's also close to other exploration-worthy towns like Cold Spring

We’ve rounded up fun things to do when you visit whether you head up in the summer, winter, or sometime in between. Looking for even more day trip ideas? Check out our Summer Fun Guide or sign up for our newsletter to stay in-the-know.

Little Dreamers Kingdom Gives Toddlers a Bright Play Space in Queens

With more and more indoor play areas for kids opening in Queens, it can be hard for new spaces to stand out in the crowd. But Little Neck’s Little Dreamers Kingdom is doing just that by exclusively focusing on toddlers and preschoolers. With a smaller space and tot-sized playthings, caregivers can keep an eye on their little ones without hovering. It also offers a variety of fun toddler class offerings and birthday parties.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the space, including hours and recommended ages.

The Best Annual Family Festivals for NYC Kids (Mostly Free)

There are certain New York City celebrations we love so much, my daughter and I go every year, like the interactive, art-filled Figment on Governors Island, the incredible (and educational) World Maker Faire New York, and Street Games, the Parks Department's tribute to old-school pastimes.

I know I'm not the only mom out there who likes to plan ahead, and since the festival season kicks into high gear this month, we figured it was a great time to round up our top annual festivals for families. Every single pick on our list is either an event my family or one of our writers has been to personally, or an annual favorite endorsed by our friends and readers. In other words, they're really worth your time and money—even better, in many cases they don't cost a penny.

The Little Red Fish Review: A Low-Key, Whimsical Puppet Show

Reviewed by Eti Bonn-Muller

Amid a dimly lit stage, stacks of books float through the air as the imagination of a little boy in search of his missing pet runs wild in The Little Red Fish, a new production from the New York City Children's Theater playing in NYC this April. The theater teamed up with Puppet Kitchen, the same group behind the oversize, colorful puppets in the popular Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, for Little Red Fish. Darting about the stage throughout the 30-minute show, his elusive finned friend elicits gasps from the audience whenever it punctuates the sober set with its burst of vermilion light.

Read on to see why The Little Red Fish is one of our top theater picks for NYC kids this spring.

Weekend Fun: Big Umbrella, Comic Con, and Circuses

Kids' shows, in particular, often rely heavily on technical pizzazz—lighting, music, surprises—but this weekend Lincoln Center’s new Big Umbrella Festival goes for the polar opposite. Instead of big bangs and bright spotlights, productions aim to provide a safe and comforting, and inspiring, experience for kids on the Autism spectrum. 

Beloved kids' music star Brady Rymer kicks things off Saturday morning with a whimsical Americana music mashup. And while several of the festival's shows are sold out for this weekend—Up and Away and Light Show— seats remain for the NY Phil's special Young People's Concert, rejiggered to be spectrum-friendly. You might also look ahead to Oddysea, an underwater tale about a turtle and a crab.

By the way, Chalk, currently in the middle of its run at the Kraine Theater, fits right in with the Big Umbrella aesthetic, pulling in elements of silent cinema and Harold's Purple Crayon to draw kids in, literally. Sunday is Access Family Day on the Intrepid, offering special programs for kids with developmental or learning differences.

Got a kid who prefers to be in the middle of loud, bustling mayhem? Then Comic Con is the perfect outing, with a roster of celebrity guests all weekend and a costume parade on Sunday. Or step right up to bleacher seats at Universoul Circus, now celebrating 25 years of razzle dazzle, or Circus Muse, both in Brooklyn. The Bubble Guppies and Daniel Tiger also make stops in NYC this weekend.

Plus, we're finally being promised some warm weather, so get out there to enjoy Earth Day in Union Square, a Queens carnival, or the Morgan's annual Family Fair. Not a bad weekend to try out a destination-worthy playground, roller skating, or even start thinking about where to see NYC's cherry blossoms.

Do you even have to ask? Of course there's more. Take a gander at the ever-expanding calendar, bookmark our juicy April GoList, nab some inspiration from our Spring Fun Guide, and—if you've been slacking off—let us give you a leg up on summer camp planning.

The NYC Public School Calendar Is Here for 2018-2019

If you're a parent of a child in public school, you live by the school calendar. Even many local NYC preschools follow the public school schedule. And as the 2017-2018 school year nears its end, the New York City Department of Education has just released the calendar for the 2018-2019 school year.

Keep this list handy as you start making next year's family vacation plans! With the exception of the occasional unplanned snow day or case of the sniffles, these are all of the dates you can count on your kiddos being out of school.

25 Outdoor Adventures in the City for NYC Kids

One of the main reasons we're willing to deal with the challenges of raising kids in NYC (the crazy rents, the stressful school searches, the closets for apartments) is our easy access to enriching cultural activities like theater and museums. When it's time for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun, New York can be equally enriching. The city offers a range of bucolic parks and more destinations where kids can get busy playing outside, without leaving the five boroughs. 

From camping under the stars to fishing to zip-lining, here are 25 fresh ways to enjoy a spring staycation with the whole family. Some are FREE, most are accessible by public transportation, and we guarantee that they are all tons of fun. 

(Video) Egg House Opens on LES with Pop-up Playground and Museum

Attention social media mavens and budding Instagram stars, The Egg House, an interactive pop-up with a funky story has just opened on the Lower East Side. Photo-ops abound as you wind your way through the fantastical wonderland that is Ellis the Egg's fictional New York City pad.

It's part playground, part museum, part snackbar—all served with a healthy side of one of our favorite proteins...eggs.

Best Destination Sandboxes at Local Parks for NYC Kids

There's no denying it—kids love diving into a sandbox, running their shovels and hands through the grains of sand, dumping a full bucket over and generally getting their hands dirty.

Though NYC parents might get grossed out at the thought of what could be lurking in our uncovered, urban sandboxes, it's hard to forbid preschoolers one of their most beloved sensory experiences. So pull up a bench (and your cup of coffee; you'll be here a while!), and check out these eight toddler-tested, mom-approved NYC sandboxes. We've done our best to find the cleanest ones across the city. Besides, you can always wash their hands in the nearby sprinklers or park bathrooms when you're finally able to get them out.

And hey, you don't have to hoof it out to the local beach to reach this sand, which just means more time for other NYC kid activities. Find more destination playgrounds in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds Guide.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - New York City