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 of the city for a change of pace. So we pulled together a list of family-fun filled day trips that appeal to all sorts of interests, from budding artists 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.
Latest posts by Fiona Taylor
It’s a total cliché to say something is a hidden gem, but in the case of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, it’s hard to find a description that’s more apt. For years, I drove right past the park, which is somewhat concealed behind a tall fence on Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, on the way to my daughter's school. Finally, my family decided to investigate.
We weren’t expecting to find a five-acre, open-air art park with amazing views of the East River and Manhattan. The artwork on display changes regularly, and visitors can easily spend a day here wandering among the sculptures, sunbathing, reading, or strolling the gardens.
Best of all, Socrates Sculpture Park is totally FREE, and is open year-round for amazing waterfront views, public art, and cool family-friendly programs and events. Read on for even more reasons why you should go.
About 15 years ago, a friend told me Long Island City and Hunter’s Point were the up and coming places to be. At the time, the area seemed too industrial to be the next hot spot, but the subsequent years have proved my friend right. Who would have thought former warehouses would be renovated to become restaurants and boutiques and LIC would be full of young families, eager to enjoy the amazing waterfront parks and amenities? Apparently, not me.
The change is evident. Glass-enclosed condos have remade the shoreline skyline and new amenities seemingly pop up daily. There's so much to see and do in this family-friendly neighborhood. Here's our list of 45 fun things to do in Long Island City with kids. Now, go forth and explore!
We all need a little excitement in our lives. For some, any of these 13 carousels around New York City will deliver all the excitement in the world. For others, the idea of zip-lining through the air ranks high on their to-do list. Of course, adventure parks aren't for everyone, but there's proof they help children learn problem-solving and collaboration skills. Plus, it's just plain fun to play together as a family and create unforgettable memories.
New York City may not be the epicenter of adventure parks, but it's making strides, especially with Adventures on Governors Island, the Bronx Zoo's Treetop Adventure, and a seriously high-flying outdoor zip line in Queens. Meanwhile, just outside the city limits, there are dozens of rope and zip line courses.
We've rounded up a handful of our favorite outdoor adventure parks either in the city or reachable within a quick day trip. Also make sure to see our brand new guide to 25 outdoor adventures in the city for NYC kids.
My 10-year-old daughter is a Harry Potter fanatic. She’s read the series six times, watched all the movies, and still sincerely hopes for an acceptance letter from Hogwarts when she turns 11. We’ve both taken online quizzes to figure out which Hogwarts house we’d belong to. (She got Gryffindor, and I got Ravenclaw.) When I heard about Puffs, a play that recounts the Harry Potter story from the perspective of the Hufflepuffs, who were mostly background characters in the Harry Potter saga, I knew we had to see it.
Puffs is charming, entertaining, and fast-paced. The premise is simple: No one really wants to be a Puff, not even the Hufflepuffs. When the characters receive their house assignments, the new Puffs feel a little bewildered. What is being a Puff really about?
Stargazing in New York City is more likely to mean a celebrity sighting than watching actual celestial bodies. I grew up in the suburbs and have fond memories of standing in my yard with my dad and my telescope, talking about constellations. Even if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space here, the light pollution precludes seeing anything but the brightest stars. If you can’t book a trip to some remote, rural location, the next best thing is a planetarium—especially since you also get expert guidance as to what you’re seeing.
While the next solar eclipse isn't due till 2024 (on April 8, if you want to really plan ahead), we will have a lovely lunar eclipse on July 4, 2020, and meteor showers happen quite frequently. The constellations are great story-telling vehicles, and discovering how to use the stars to navigate is a fun (if not necessarily practical) life skill to develop. If your child is fascinated by the night sky, we've rounded up some excellent options to help them explore the universe, and beyond!
Whether you couldn't put down the classic book or can hum along to all the hits from the iconic movie, most adults remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from our childhoods. Producing a new musical version of such a popular story might sound risky, but Warner Brothers took that challenge and ran with it, with a Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that opened this past April at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. There are definitely a couple of things you should know about this dark tale before deciding to take the kiddos, but all in all, the show received a well-earned round of wild applause from children and adults alike.
Ah, August in the city! You've probably got your routine down pat at this point: art exhibits, subway-accessible beaches, and Summer Streets are all regulars in your summer schedule. As are trips for cool treats. If your neighborhood ice cream shop is feeling a tad too familiar at this point in the summer, it's time to step it up—and step it out of your 'hood.
We’ve rounded up 10 over-the-top ice cream establishments that are a little more under the radar than say Black Tap, but are the perfect way for you and your kids to enjoy before summer's over. Get ready to be blown away (and say goodbye to Mister Softee, for now): There’s rolled ice cream, innovative soft serve, make-it-yourself ice cream, and cutting-edge ice cream sandwiches. Go forth and enjoy, and check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great family eats.