New York City

Winter Day Trips: 10 Family Fun Spots Near NYC

Whether you prefer spending the winter months snuggling on the couch or frolicking in the snow, there's one thing we can all agree upon—sometimes, you just need to get out the city for a change of pace. So we pulled together a list of family-fun day trips that appeal to all sorts of interests, from budding naturalists to full-fledged ski bunnies. Best of all, these destinations are all two hours or less from New York City by car, and we think they're all worth the trip.

For more day trip ideas, check out our Day Trip and Weekend Getaway Guide. Happy trails!

A Dozen Times Square Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Eats

Finding a family-friendly Times Square restaurant that doesn't belong in a mall might be more difficult than navigating the costumed-character-crammed sidewalks of the area with a stroller. The presence of Applebee's, Chevys, Olive Garden, and TGI Friday's might leave you feeling as if you're in the 'burbs, not the crossroads of the world.

But just as there are things to do with kids in Times Square beyond the tourist attractions, there are also a variety of off-the-beaten-track, family-friendly eateries that serve tasty cuisine reflecting our melting pot of a city.

Next time you're in the Theater District, whether seeing a Broadway show, entertaining guests, or just passing through, skip the chains and try one of these 12 kid-friendly Times Square restaurants.

14 Things to Do and See at Rockefeller Center Besides the Tree

Rockefeller Center is undoubtedly the most crowded place in New York City during the holidays. Everyone, whether they live in town or are just visiting, goes to see "The Tree." But then what?

There is actually quite a bit for families to do besides gazing at the twinkling evergreen and battling tourists in this 22-acre complex. Rockefeller Center is a great holiday destination with plenty of shopping, eating, and culture for kids of all ages. Squeeze it in as part of a holiday windows walk; check it out while you wait for the Rockettes to start kicking; or grab a bite after your show—we've got great suggestions for no-reservation, family-friendly restaurants nearby.

Read on for 14 fun things to do at Rockefeller Center this winter.

25 Top Palm Springs Resorts, Attractions , & Things To Do for Families

No matter the season, you can always count on Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley for balmy weather and lots of fun in the sun. In fact, this glamorous resort area, only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, is blessed with an average of 350 days of sunshine each year and is the ideal playground for countless family activities. Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of a vacation in the desert.

Weekend Fun: Menorah Mania, Dan Zanes, Hamilton, and Science

Christmas and Kwanzaa events for New York City kids might be gathering speed, but there's another holiday, first: Hanukkah begins Tuesday, December 12. This weekend is the first stop for Hanukkah activities, with kid- and family-friendly events like Menorah Mania on the Lower East Side, and Bagels for Benny on the Upper East Side. See our full guide to Hanukkah celebrations around town all December

Otherwise, aside from the winter wonderlands, outdoor Santa celebrations, nutcrackers, and holiday sing-along concerts with Dan Zanes and Friends, there are plenty of non-holiday events this weekend, too. Check out City of Science or the National Marionette Theatre's Pinnochio. On Saturday, there's also a musical tribute to Alexander Hamilton at the Hamilton Grange National Memorial. 

For more, see our guide to the best holiday shows, and address Santa's supply chain with our lowdowns on the FAO Schwartz and Toys R Us pop-up shops. Don't forget: Mommy Poppins has the best trio for December kids: our December GoList, our Holiday Fun Guide, and our fun-filled Event Calendar. There's also plenty of FREE activities taking place this month.

A Holiday Weekend Itinerary in NYC with Preschoolers

We are all fully aware that a tired child is an unhappy child—which makes for an unhappy family, especially when said brood is trying to simultaneously fend off tantrums and take in the town during the holidays.

That's why we've created a NYC holiday itinerary specifically geared to the under-five set: something a little more mellow for those preschoolers visiting from out of town, or even locals wanting to check out all the holidays festivities the city has to offer. It's set of activities that respects the limits of a preschooler's emotional and physical mileage.

Planning ahead? Check out what special events might be taking place during your visit with our always-up-to-date NYC Event Calendar.

Free and Cheap Kids' Ski Programs in the Northeast This Winter

Let's face facts: No matter how exhilarating skiing and snowboarding are, they are also among the most expensive activities in which a family can participate—especially if your kids take a single run and spend the rest of the day sipping cocoa.

Thankfully, many nearby state ski associations offer free or mostly free lift tickets to grade-schoolers, even if you're not a resident of that state. Of course, there are hurdles to clear to get those benefits—kids need to be the appropriate age, apply online and, in some cases, be accompanied by a paying adult. There are also "processing fees" attached to several, but it breaks down to a very discounted ticket if you use it more than once. But for avid skiers and riders, or those who merely want to try out the sports, these programs can save you plenty of cash when skiing with the kids.

Read on for more information on how to ski for free in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. (Note: Connecticut has a residents-only program for free ski passes for kids at Mohawk Mountain.)

Check our Ski and Snow Sports Guide for more fun on local hills and mountains.

Where to Donate Kids' Clothes, Toys, and Gear Across NYC

With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.

We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough that accept children's items.

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

A Cozy Kid-Friendly Bookshop Arrives in Kew Gardens, Queens

Queens has never been short on fun adventures, places to discover, and educational havens… but it does lack in one area: bookstores. After titan Barnes and Noble vacated the entire borough, only a handful of brave little bookshops remain. so most children's story hours take place at the local library.

Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa, and Holly Nikodem saw the shockingly low number of general interest bookstores in Queens, and these ingenious book lovers set out to create an independent reading refuge for their community.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign supported by the community, Kew & Willow Books opened its doors in October 2017, offering adults and kids alike a beacon of book hope.

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