Westchester

12 Family-Friendly Hotels Where Kids Stay Free

Traveling with family can be a serious investment. After shelling out for planes tickets, you still have to book a hotel and cover the cost of meals. Package deals and all-inclusive resorts can be a great way to save, but an even better bargain is when kids stay and/or eat for free at the hotel.

While early fall seems to be the best time to book such family travel deals, it's not too late to get in on the savings. Whether your destination is the Caribbean, Mexico, or a U.S. city, hotels that offer free rooms and meals for kids are a big budget saver. Here are our picks for some of the best family vacations around.

Veterans Day Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids

Such a motley assortment of activities are on tap this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley families, there's something for every mood and taste. Take advantage of the lull between the holidays with some low-key adventures and freebies.

Several tributes to veterans are planned by local towns, including the Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony in Somers. Families can experience local Native American history, including a wigwam, at The Lenape of Westchester. Hobbyists can indulge in their passion at the Train & Hobby Show, while fans of wee woodland creatures can search for them and build them a home at Fairy and Gnome Houses and Nature Walk. And though Thanksgiving hasn't yet arrived, it's already time to gear up for December holidays at Ring in the Season at Ridge Hill in Yonkers.

Read on for all this and more, and be sure to check our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletters, and consult our November GoList to plan the rest of the month!

Breakfast with Santa for Kids and Families in Westchester

Though Santa is busy preparing for his famous ride on Christmas Eve, he still somehow has time to break bread (or pancakes) with children in Westchester this holiday season. These cozy get-togethers have become increasingly popular, typically featuring a full breakfast and holiday activity, with added perks at some. The best part? Quality time and a photo-op with St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up some top picks for Breakfast with Santa throughout Westchester to help you spread some holiday cheer. Advance registration is either required or recommended, so don't delay. And don't forget to bring your wish list!

If you're looking for more holiday activities, check our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters.

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

12 Holiday Craft Fairs and Markets in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

‘Tis the season for holiday craft fairs, where an abundance of handmade goodies are presented by local makers across Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley. Whether it’s sweet-smelling soaps, handmade jewelry, or blown glass, you are sure to find something special for everyone on your Nice list. 

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite holiday markets and Christmas craft fairs occurring across the area, many of which pack in extra kid-friendly events like games and photos with Santa. Looking for more holiday activities? Check out our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters!

Sweet Ways to Donate Halloween Candy

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are seven charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

Weekend Fun: Media Lab, Chocolate Festival, Horse Fun Day

With the Halloween hullabaloo behind us, now’s the time for a more motley assortment of family activities in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

Though not calorie-free, indulgence is likely worthwhile at the Red Hook Chocolate Festival, which includes a chocolate Olympics, an appearance by Willy Wonka, and gobs of other cocoa goodness.

November is a great time for nature programs—savoring the foliage in the brisk air before the winter temps and snow set in. Adventurers can test their resourcefulness at Fall Survival Skills, and equine lovers can enjoy the multifaceted Horse Fun Day. Learn about light and exposure in filmmaking at the FREE Family Saturdays @ the Lab, or make calling cards for your American Girl doll.

These are just the first few of our top picks for the weekend. Read on for more; then browse through our Event Calendar for more options. And our November GoList is a great resource to plan the whole month.

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November GoList: The Best Things to Do with Kids in Westchester

November is a month of transition, as the celebrations of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays merge, and Westchester and the Hudson Valley are rich with related family activities. If you haven't made it to some local Halloween haunts, there's still time to squeeze in some pumpkin fun; then, before you can say gobble-gobble, it’s time for the Thanksgiving Day ParadeHanukkah Festival of (Laser) Light, and Frosty Day.

This is a good month for makers and STEAM lovers, with, among others, the return of the annual Poughkeepsie Mini Maker Faire. And if you didn't OD on Halloween candy, satisfy your sweet tooth at the Red Hook Chocolate Festival, where decadence is the name of the game.

Below are our top 10 picks for November, but remember that our Event Calendar has many more fun and enriching activities of all kinds. Savor the season and enjoy it all! 

60 Free Places to Play at with Westchester & Hudson Valley Kids

We spend a lot of money on kids—not just clothes and other necessities, but also camps, pool memberships, enrichment classes, and extracurricular activities. Tack on the annual birthday bash, and poof—there goes the paycheck!

To help ease the financial pile-on (especially during the pricey holiday season), we’ve identified a long list of ways to keep kids entertained and stimulated without spending a dime. Read on for our thrifty finds.

Looking for more free fun? Keep tabs on our Event Calendar, which is always loaded with free (and low-cost) activities for all ages!

Halloween Weekend Events for Westchester Kids

Eek! It’s the final weekend before Halloween! Westchester and the Hudson Valley crank up the fun on Saturday and Sunday, and below we’ve highlighted some of our faves.

In addition to all the large-scale events found in our Halloween Fun Guide (as of press time, some are nearly sold-out, so pounce on these if they’re part of your plan), a don’t-miss event is the annual Nyack Halloween Parade, whether you march in it or spectate. This is the second-largest in New York State (second only to the Greenwich Village event). Also for Halloween, we’ve rounded up free ways to celebrate and our ultimate bucket list, so no stone is left unturned! Need a diversion from pumpkins and spooks? The YoFi Film Festival kicks off with a weekend of FREE family films and activities, including a workshop called, “How to Watch a Movie.”

Meanwhile, unrelated to Halloween, Bear Mountain Oktoberfest wraps up this weekend—last call for your fix of bratwurst and apple strudel!

We can’t fit all the fun in our top picks, so be sure to visit our Event Calendar for extra Halloween happenings and much more!

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