New York City

Get Ready for a Brand-New Chelsea Waterside Playground

Organizers broke ground last week on a big overhaul to one of the west side's favorite playgrounds, the Chelsea Waterside Play Area. The park, nestled between the West Side Highway and 11th Avenue on 23rd Street, is beloved for its expansive and colorful water park features in the summer, and multiple sections of year-round jungle gym equipment, swings, and sandbox.

We reviewed it not long after it opened 17 years ago, but since then it's seen "enthusiastic wear and tear," and some sections had even been closed for repair, according to the local organizations that manage the park, the Hudson River Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park. After raising $3.4 million dollars for a "complete renovation and expansion," the groups, in partnership with NYC city officials, broke ground for the revamp on Wednesday, October 3. Scroll down to read all about the impressive new features.

Free NYC Halloween Parades for Kids

Everyone loves a parade, which means we're all absolutely smitten with Halloween parades. While families with older kids may dare to take in the iconic Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it can be pretty scary—it's always insanely crowded, loud, and many of the costumes are risque, gory, or in poor taste. If your children aren't up for that big Hallow-baloo, there are plenty of smaller, kid-friendly NYC neighborhood parades, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, including the Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge, the mega Jackson Heights parade, the famed Park Slope march, and a G-rated Village parade for little ones.

We've rounded up community-driven Halloween processions for families to watch or march in, most of which are FREE. If you don't live in a great trick-or-treating area, these parades are a wonderful way to hunt for candy in another neighborhood. Find even more seasonal happenings in our Halloween Fun Guide.

12 NYC Food Courts and Markets That Make Family Mealtime Easy

Food courts, in spite of their mall­-culture reputation, are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, and not just in suburbia. Right here in NYC, food halls are gaining major foodie clout with excellent vendors, artisan marketplaces, and appealing perks (and sweet treats) for families with kids. Actually a food court might just be the perfect eatery for families: there's a food option for everyone, minimal wait times, multiple bathrooms, and no one notices if your kid tantrums or drops half their meal on the floor.

Because we're always on the lookout for great kid-­friendly outings, especially during the colder months, we've rounded up, and sampled, 12 outstanding food halls that offer top-notch eats, spacious seating, and lots to do in the surrounding neighborhood, including Battery Park, Chelsea, the Theater District, and Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for even more family dining options in just about every neighborhood—and every finicky palate. 

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Fall swimming lessons are on the horizon; the lottery for the first two-week session opened on Monday, October 2 at noon and runs through Monday, October 9 at 11:59pm.

Fall swim lessons will take place Monday, October 16, 2017 through Saturday, December 30, 2017. The mandatory water test for older kids will take place Saturday, October 14.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classesmommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Columbus Day Weekend in NYC: Free Festivals, Parades, Scarecrows

The long Columbus Day weekend is here, and NYC kids have a message for local schools: keep the holidays coming! What's a parent to do? Why, check out the New York Botanical Garden's Dig! Plant! Grow! Scarecrow Weekend, take to the ice for the first skate of the season at Rock Center's Opening Day, score tickets for opening weekend of the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, or celebrate Columbus Day in Prospect Park.

This weekend is also full of seasonal celebrations including the annual Little Red Lighthouse FestivalHarlem Harvest Festival, the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, and the Jefferson Market Garden Children's Festival. And let's not forget the annual Columbus Day Parade.

It's a great weekend to take a fall day trip, or maybe go on a neighborhood investigation and check out Long Island City or the playgrounds of Central Park.

Read on for our top picks for the coming weekend, or see the 23 Best Events for Columbus Day in NYC. Also, be sure to check our October GoList and just released Halloween Guide to help you plan out the rest of this fall and, as always, our Event Calendar is full of activities and events for every day of the week.

18 Indoor Party Spots with Mega Playgrounds for NYC Kids' Birthdays

For parents of winter babies, we feel your pain when it comes to birthday party options. While summer baby parents have both indoor and outdoor options (the park! the pool!), those of us with children born in colder months (or even fall and early spring), need to find a space where kids can run off all that pizza-and-cake energy. Enter: mega play spaces.

From bounce houses and trampolines to arcade-packed game spaces, these wide-open spaces give all pint-sized guests a chance to run free. Check out our top picks below—and start booking now.

Brooklyn Leaf-Peeping with Kids: Top Streets for Fall Foliage

When fall arrives in the tristate area, serious leaf-peepers tend to head upstate. But when you have little kids, the idea of packing them into the car, with all the snacks, for a long drive through traffic, to try to point out clusters of colors in the distance, is often less than appealing. What if we told you that you don't even have to leave Brooklyn to see some genuinely beautiful fall foliage? The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of maple trees, oak trees, and more are right here. You just have to know where to look.

A safe bet to find those stunning fall colors will always be your local park or garden, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (the Japanese garden is typically gorgeous at this time of year). But for a FREE neighborhood walk, consider these blocks in Brooklyn for family walk. We've even pointed out top spots to stop for a break along the way.

23 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Columbus Day

New York City kids have only been in school for a month and weary parents are staring down another off-day. But don’t panic. There are plenty of New York City kid spots and activities ready to entertain you and your brood on Columbus Day.

Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, of course, but we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 23 things to do with the family on Columbus Day. Read on desperate parent, read on.

Check out our Columbus Day Weekend event picks for NYC kids to find even more happenings for the holiday weekend.

New Victory Theater: Best Family Shows for 2017-18 Season

The New Victory Theater enters its 22nd season with a full lineup of awe-inspiring and affordable performances for all ages. In addition to its incredible shows, the award-winning theater helps foster a lifelong love of the stage by offering a range of educational programming from hands-on workshops, to performances tailored for audiences with special needs, and interactive pre- and post-show activities.

Mommy Poppins is partnering with the New Victory for the fifth straight year, starting with a preview of the 2017-2018 season, which includes recommendations for every age and the best way to save on tickets.

Best Free Halloween Events for Kids in New York City

What's the one way to make a costume-and-candy filled Halloween celebration even sweeter? Make it FREE. In New York City there are so many no-cost fetes, we've decided to give parents a real treat: a roundup of FREE Halloween events for kids in all five boroughs, including big annual family favorites like Fort Greene's BAMboo! block party, the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park and the one-night-only theatrical spectacle at Brooklyn's Halloween 313 house.

So bring your trick-or-treat bags, but leave your wallets at home for these gratis happenings, and then check out our Halloween Fun Guide for details on the best costume parades, trick-or-treat spots, and other seasonal activities.

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