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Your Complete Guide to Raising Kids in Manhattan

Your Complete Guide to Raising Kids in Manhattan

This is your ultimate guide to life in Manhattan with kids! A cheat sheet to everything you need for your family, from the best events each weekend to the top birthday party places, summer camps, schools and child care, sports and after-school activities, doctors and hospitals, parent support groups, and more.


Living in New York City with kids is exhilarating, full of opportunities, and not without its challenges (overwhelming choice and cost of living, anyone?). Culture for every age level is constantly at our fingertips, playgrounds and children’s programming abound and are easily accessible via public transportation or walking, and the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens beckon with even more family-friendly options.

Here we present your introduction to family life in NYC—consider this your cheat sheet to finding what you want for your kids when you want it, a virtual table of contents to all of NYMetroParents’ articles and tools that will help you be the best, most well-informed parent in NYC. We’ve got everything you need to know about raising a child in Manhattan!


Family Fun in Manhattan

We take family fun time pretty seriously, which means we’re constantly updating our Calendar of Events with fun and low-cost things to do every day with kids in Manhattan and the New York metro area. The calendar is searchable, too, so it’s easy to find the events your family is most interested in, or you can head straight to our Editors Picks page to see where we’ll be taking our kids this month. And hey, NYC living ain’t cheap, right? That’s why we round up the best FREE events for you every month.

Want our top event picks delivered to your email inbox every week (just in time to plan a fun weekend)? Then sign up for our family activities newsletter.

If you’re looking for something specific, our family fun guides will point you in the right direction. Here are some of our perennial favorites:



Kid-Friendly Museums

Minor League Baseball Games


Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens


Or maybe you just want to know the best things to do every season in the city? We’ve got you covered there, too: Our editors scoured the city from the Financial District to Washington Heights to find the 100 must-do events in Manhattan throughout the year, including 20 awesome annual events in each season.


Family Getaways Near NYC

Sure, we love this crazy city that never sleeps, but sometimes a weekend trip outside the city limits is necessary to keep our sanity. Lucky for us, there are many places within easy traveling distance that are worth braving bridge and tunnel traffic. Here are a few of our best bets:


Field Station: Dinosaurs in New Jersey

Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester

Concord, Massachusetts

Sesame Place in Pennsylvania

See the full list of family outings here.


If you’re craving some time in nature, check out our seasonal guides to fun on farms: maple sugaring (spring), berry picking (summer), apple picking and pumpkin picking (fall), and where to cut your own Christmas trees in December. There’s even a farm within city limits that might surprise you.

Thinking about sending your kids outside Manhattan for summer camp? Our camp guide to the New York City area includes nearby sleep-away camps along with specialty camps and traditional day camps.


Choosing Classes, Sports, and Camps

When they’re not in the classroom, we schedule our kids’ time around classes, sports, and other extracurricular activities during the school year and camp during the summer. There are so many wonderful options in this big city of ours, but we’ll help you choose the best fit for your child. Check out our guides to:


Sports Programs for Kids in Manhattan

After-School and Weekend Classes for Kids

 Summer Camps in the New York Metro Area


Of course, these extracurriculars look great on a college resume, but the last thing we want to do is overschedule our kids. We’ve got expert tips for avoiding burnout and finding balance.


Planning a Birthday Party in Manhattan

Apartment size often dictates that kids’ parties are held outside our homes, whether it’s at a nearby play space, theater, bowling alley, park, or other venue. You’ll find plenty of  fun party places,  party entertainment,  specialty cake shops, party stores, and more on our site, to help you plan the best party in the neighborhood. Plus, check out the party tips and inspiration section of our site for everything from fun party favors to birthday cake recipes.


Manhattan Schools and Tutoring Services

While Manhattan is home to some of the best schools in the world, the system can be hard to navigate. We’ve got advice for you every step of the way, from when you’re choosing the right preschool philosophy for your child (Montessori, Waldorf, play-based…) to when you decide to send your child to  public,  private, or  religious school. Plus, we’ve got expert tips if you’re searching for  tutors, learning centers, or the best school for a child with special needs.

And check out our archive of education articles for year-round advice updated regularly.


Keeping Your Family Healthy

It’s important to have a family doctor and a team of health care professionals nearby that you trust with your family’s well being. Search our site for:


 Doctors and Dentists

Urgent Care Centers

…and  more family health services and providers


Also, check out our archive of health articles for a wealth of advice that will help you make the best choices for your family, such as:


How to Know When to Go to the ER or Urgent Care

10 Tips to Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy

How to Know If Your Child Is Getting Enough Sleep


Finding Childcare in Manhattan

As a busy city parent, you need a nanny, babysitter, or other caregiver that you can trust. Use our site to find:


 Nanny and Babysitting Services

 Day Care and Child Care Centers


Finding Friends and Parent Support

If you’re new to New York City or just new to parenting, you might be looking for a support network of like-minded parents to answer those burning questions: Is there a public bathroom near my kid’s favorite playground? Which restaurants in my neighborhood have outdoor seating AND allow strollers? Where can we go sledding on a snow day? (Actually, we’ve got the answer to that one right here.)


Parent Support Groups in Manhattan

Support Groups for Parents of Kids with Special Needs


Plus, read essays by other city parents who know exactly what you’re going playing in fall on rock in central park 

Getting to Know NYMetroParents

Did you find what you’re looking for above? Feel free to email us your feedback and questions to 

And remember, NYMetroParents keeps the conversation going beyond our comprehensive website. Make sure to pick up our print magazines (find a copy near you), and join our virtual community on Facebook and Twitter, where the comments are lively and the sneak-peeks are constantly coming!


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Kaitlin Ahern

Author: Kaitlin Ahern has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. See More

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