Westchester

30 Best Vacation Ideas for Families Who Want to Avoid Winter

Ready to ditch your winter blues for a family-friendly vacation in climates warmer than here? 

From perpetually wet feet to relentlessly bundling (and unbundling) your kids with layer upon layer, the need to escape grows for many parents as the winter season drags on—and on. Even those families who don't live with the finicky four-season cycle might prefer their vacation with a side of palm trees, rather than fur-trimmed snow boots. So whether you're seeking to escape the cold or just don't want to vacation in it, we've rounded up more than two dozen of our favorite warm-weather destinations that beckon you to shed your parka and bask in the sun.

Read on to find great all-inclusive resorts, beaches, and charming cities teeming with culture that might not offer bathing suit weather in January but certainly no snow!

25 Awesome Santa Activities for Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

For those who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is hardly complete without a trip to visit Santa. Lucky for us, there's no shortage of places in Westchester and the Hudson Valley where kids can have a meet-and-greet with the big guy, and we’ve rounded them up for you here.

From traditional mall photo ops to Santa breakfasts, tree lightings, and other holiday activities, we've got tons of fun ways to meet the man in red.

For even more holiday fun, see our coverage on Must-Do Holiday Experiences for Westchester Kids and where to see performances of the The Nutcracker and other holiday shows.

Thanksgiving Weekend Events for Westchester Kids

Thanksgiving is upon us, as is the official kickoff of the holiday season in Westchester. With a four-day weekend ahead, there are plenty of great events happening in our area to keep families together and entertained.

Several holiday events launch this weekend, including the return of the annual (and enhanced) Winter Wonderland and Frosty Fest, to name but two. Also this weekend is the return of Frosty Day, featuring a town-wide celebration of the pride that comes from claiming Frosty as a native son. A similar affair, Mistletoe Magic, is held in Rye, also offering a smorgasbord of holiday fun. Celebrations of the Festival of Lights begin this weekend too, with the stage production of the Hanukkah Festival of (Laser) Light.

Read on for our top weekend picks and click through for full details. Looking for more holiday options? Browse our Holiday Guide, full of events, activities, and ideas for every day of the holiday season. Also be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and beyond.

We wish you a wonderful holiday weekend filled with family, friends, great food—and lots of fun activities!

It's Christmastime at Sesame Place: A Parent's Review

This first snow has fallen, winter is coming, and it is Christmastime at Sesame Place! If you think Sesame Place is just a water park or summer attraction, put on your jacket and be prepared to be delighted by how they transform the entire park into a winter wonderland, with special guest visits from some of your favorite holiday heroes, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Bumble (aka the Abominable Snowman), and of course the big guy himself, Santa Claus, at their Very Furry Christmas celebration. 

I set out for a day of fun with my two kiddos (aged one and five) to get our holiday started extra early this year. With an early Thanksgiving, festivities are kicking into gear across the area and there are already a number of great winter-themed selections to partake in. If you have kids under 10, you will definitely want to make Sesame Place a holiday tradition. If your kids are older, be sure to check out our roundup of free holiday outings, and some can't miss events to celebrate the season, no matter your age.

Christmas Tree and Menorah Lightings for Holidays in Westchester

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to herald its arrival than with the lighting of Christmas trees and menorahs? You don't have to head to Rockefeller Center to enjoy that holiday magic.

Many tree lighting events in Westchester have live music, toasty refreshments, a visit from Santa himself and—in some cases—some extra bells and whistles. Menorah lighting celebrations include parties, music, and plenty of tasty treats. 

We’ve rounded up several lighting festivities, ranging from big celebrations to cozy, small-town affairs. 

Looking for more seasonal fun? Check out our November GoList and be sure to browse our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date on our latest info.

25 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole with Kids

Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures. 

To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.

For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!

25 Holiday Activities for Westchester Toddlers and Preschoolers

The holidays are a special time for all children, but toddlers and preschoolers help keep the rest of us young with their awe and delight at simple holiday pleasures. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it’s a wonderful age to share family traditions—or introduce new ones.  

We’ve rounded up 25 things you can do with your toddler or preschooler this holiday season, many of which are FREE! Looking for more ideas? Consult our Event Calendar and follow us on Facebook—we've got many, many more! 

Best Kid-Friendly Nutcracker and Holiday Shows for Westchester Families

The holiday season is fast upon us, and while it's good to remember to slow down and savor the season at your own pace, one bit of advance planning we recommend is to purchase tickets for holiday performances. Not only do they often sell out in advance, but claiming choice seats can avoid the familiar whines of “I can’t see!”

Fortunately for Westchester residents, there are various holiday performances to choose from. We’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly productions—from assorted interpretations of The Nutcracker to concerts and a couple productions of A Christmas Carol—to help you ring in the holiday season.

Read on and click through for details. Also be sure to visit our Event Calendar, where you’ll find an ever-growing number of other holiday events we’re curating for your family to enjoy! Looking for even more holiday options? Check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

Weekend Fun: Diwali, Star Wars Days, Carnival of the Animals

All kinds of fun is coming up this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley kids. Whether you're a fan of Star Wars or STEAM, circus acts or parades, there's all this and more.

Thanksgiving starts early with the Annual Valenti Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is preceded by a pancake breakfast. A hot-ticket alert is for Circa: Carnival of the Animals, while FREE entertainment (plus cultural enrichment and interactivity) abounds at Diwali, Hindu Festival of Lights. The Mini Maker Faire is an extravaganza allowing families to be inspired by maker encounters and seeing their creations. STEM fans can get their fill of circuitry, rockets and more at the free STEAMFEST. And, although this year we don’t have a new Star Wars film to look forward to, kids can get their Jedi fix at Lego Star Wars Days.

These are just a few of our top picks for the weekend; the rest can be found below, and there are even more fun and enriching opportunities on our Event Calendar. Consult our November GoList to plan ahead, and sign up for our weekly newsletters to stay current with all our great findings!

Free Play Area Opens at Cross County Shopping Center

Last week, Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers opened a brand-new, free play area, the centerpiece of which is the area's first Luckey Climber.

The outdoor climbing structure—part jungle gym, part work of art—was designed by Hartford, CT–based "kid architect" Spencer Luckey, whose distinctive climbers can be found in public spaces and private institutions around the world, including Liberty Science Center in Newark, NJ; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City, NY.

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