New York City

Best Toddler Playgrounds in Lower Manhattan

Thanks to the residential boom in Lower Manhattan, the borough's southernmost point is more family-friendly than ever. Streets that once were the domain of Financial District workers running for their offices are now just as likely to be full of strollers and newly-walking tots. The many new playgrounds that have been constructed or renovated in this area make downtown Manhattan a part of the city you don't want to miss for family fun.

The playgrounds on this list offer fun things to do for all ages but are especially great for toddlers—because as all parents of toddlers know, finding a playground where your little one won't get run over by bigger kids is no small feat. Fun equipment, appropriate climbing structures, infant swings, thoughtful layouts, and a bevy of sandboxes await you at these downtown playgrounds, all located south of Washington Square Park. Time to get swinging!

Brooklyn Children's Museum Opens ColorLab, a Family Art Studio

Rainy, steamy, and sticky summer days in New York City have met their match. If you’re in desperate need of indoor activities that will engage and inspire the whole family (in the air conditioning!), check out ColorLab, a new family art studio at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights.

The just-opened studio space within this top NYC kid museum encourages kids and adults to create collages, sculptures, drawings, and other artworks, through independent exploration, hands-on collaboration, and experimentation—and you get to take your creations home.

Domino Park and Playground Get Ready to Open in Williamsburg

The NYC summer just got a little sweeter with the news that Domino Park on Williamsburg’s waterfront will be open to the public on Sunday, June 10.

With a sugar-factory-inspired playground, kid-friendly water feature, open lawn, urban beach, taqueria from Danny Meyer, and so much more, we suspect this new Brooklyn park is about to become one of the top fun things to do with kids this season.

Register for Free Summer Swim 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. The FREE summer swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration for all three sessions opens Monday, June 11, 2018, at 7am.

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

Weekend Fun: Block Parties, Brooklyn Pride, RiverFest, Concerts

Looking for a party? June's second weekend is packed with kid-friendly celebrations across all five boroughs. On Sunday, the Brooklyn Children's Museum celebrates the finale of its Block Party exhibit with an outdoor party, including face-painting and a DJ, while the Riverdale RiverFest offers boat rides, mini golf, a bounce house, and more in the Bronx. And in Manhattan, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party churns out finger-licking delectables all weekend.

June is Pride Month, and the second weekend in June kicks off Pride celebrations around town (although Pride Week in New York City "officially" runs from June 16-24). On Saturday, the Brooklyn's Pride Celebration lights up Park Slope with a street fair and parade. On Sunday, the Children's Museum of the Arts hosts its own Pride Cultural Festival, complete with a mini-Vogue Ball and a drag queen storytime. 

Of course, June brings tons of FREE concerts and outdoor movies around town. The FREE Celebrate Brooklyn Family Concert in Prospect Park promises plenty of family grooving with Los Lobos as the headliner. Saturday's movies under the stars include Wonder Woman in Manhattan, Field of Dreams on Staten Island, and Mulan 2 in Brooklyn.

Randall's Island hosts its annual Treasure Hunt on Saturday, where kids can learn and practice orienteering skills and catch a musical puppet performance. Intrepid families might even make a day of it and stick around for a free outdoor screening of Ferris Bueller's Day Off as the sun goes down.

For more ideas, see our Summer Fun Guide, and keep an eye on our endlessly expanding calendar! Plan ahead for Father's Day with our handy guide to the top things to do in the city with your favorite dad.

Enjoy Free Family Camping in NYC Parks with Urban Park Rangers

Contrary to what you might think, you don't need to invest in expensive equipment or even leave New York City to pitch a tent and camp this summer. The Urban Park Rangers offer FREE overnight family camping in city parks at select times and locations throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Bonus: They bring almost everything you need for a night spent under the stars, including the tent!

The annual program kicks off a little before Memorial Day and although it's FREE, advance registration is required for all campouts. Read on to find out how to snag a spot at one of these cool camping trips.

Get a Free Chromebook 2GB for All your Summer Family Screen Time

Don't get us wrong. We're all about avoiding summer brain drain by keeping kiddos engaged with swim lessons, crafts, drama camps, and robotics clubs. But with all that busyness—plus parents' packed work and home calendars, which don't slow down just because it's school vacation—we'll take any opportunity to fit in some quality time with our kids. And what beats spending a sun-showery afternoon catching up on your family's favorite TV shows, or blasting the AC and curling up on the couch to watch a movie on a hot summer night? I doubt I'm the only one who has fond childhood memories of picking out a video tape and kicking back with the whole crew and some microwave popcorn...

Verizon Fios gets it. And that's exactly why they're sweetening the deal for anyone looking to make the switch before school lets out, by offering new customers a free Samsung Chromebook 3 (2GB) or $200 credit toward other Samsung tech, including all 2018 UDH TVs over 40" or 2018 Soundbars, select Samsung tablets, earbuds, fitness trackers, and more. For just $79.99 a month (plus taxes, equipment charges, and other fees with Auto Pay and paper-free billing) you'll get the super reliable Fios Gigabit Connection, a Custom TV package, and phone service for two years with a two-year agreement and price guarantee.

Family Restaurants in NYC with Fun Things for Kids to Do and See

If you're anything like me, a meal out with the family is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, a restaurant will give you the night off from cooking and cleaning; on the other hand, you're forced to navigate menus with your preschooler's finicky eating habits top of mind, and constantly reminding your older kids not to fill up on soda. Parents might feel they're spending more time scolding and discussing what proper table manners look like than relaxing and enjoying their meal.

What to do? Even with the myriad family-friendly restaurants across NYC, sometimes the key is to find more than just a menu filled with tasty, kid-friendly options to get you through a night out with your sanity intact. Outdoor dining is one option, while play cafes are another. But we've also rounded up 10 NYC restaurants that serve kid-friendly eats alongside extra special fun things for kids to do and see. The kid-pleasing entertainment ranges from ninjas to video games.

Where to Find Teen-Friendly Dance Parties in NYC

Music-loving teens in New York City are in luck. All the big musicians come through the city, and there are plenty of quirky, off-the-radar music venues, too.

Yet, not everything is open to the under-18 crowd. Many shows, especially if held at a bar, and a number of clubs, ban those under the legal drinking age of 21. Luckily, there are a handful of places that open up their doors to teens for dancing, concerts, and club nights, so NYC teenagers don't have to miss a beat. 

Read on for a list of clubs where they won't have to worry about getting carded—and you won't have to worry about them sneaking into someplace they shouldn't be.

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