Long Island City, the westernmost residential neighborhood in Queens, is well known for its stunning waterfront parks and thriving art community. The city has one of the highest concentrations of art galleries and institutions, making it an area teeming with educational and creative programming for your little ones. In addition to lovely park views and art galore, this neighborhood is also home to a multitude of kid friendly shops, eateries, and thrilling venues. There is simply no shortage of things to do with your kids in Long Island City.
Gantry Plaza State Park
4-09 47th Road
12-acre riverside park offers breathtaking views of midtown Manhattan both night and day. Take the kids on a walk along one of four piers, explore the gardens, and snap a picture in front of the famous Pepsi-Cola sign, of course. Recreational activities include basketball courts, playgrounds, handball courts, and a fishing pier equipped with a cleaning table. Just Things
47-28 Vernon Blvd.
Considered one of the
best consignment shops in Long Island City, Just Things is an eccentric little shop full of gems waiting to be uncovered. The front room is packed with board games, books, toys, dishes, vases, jewelry, and more while the back is mostly for clothing. Have the kids join you as you sift through loads of unique and affordable items. RESOBOX
41-26 27th St.
Japanese cultural center is dedicated to sharing and celebrating Japanese influence in the arts. Stop by to take advantage of one of the many activities, events, classes, art exhibitions, or authentic cuisine offered each day. Check out the site ahead of time to sign up for one of the classes specifically geared toward children, such as the Crocheting and Amigurumi Making or Manga Drawing and Animation Class. Court Square Diner
45-30 23rd St.
If you’re looking for a truly authentic diner experience,
Court Square Diner is the place for you. Serving the area since 1946, the diner is as retro as they come. The menu is packed with large portions for affordable prices as well as a children’s dinner menu. Make sure to save room for dessert, as the diner serves cakes, pies, and pastries baked on-site as well as milk shakes, ice cream, and pudding. The diner is open 24/7, so it’s never a bad time to pop in for a meal with the family. MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City happens to be home to one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the U.S.
MoMA PS1 is not a collecting institution, but rather an exhibition space focused on displaying the most experimental contemporary art. Regular programming includes Sunday Sessions, a weekly presentation of performance, moving images, music, dance, and discursive programs, and Warm Up, an outdoor summer music series open to all ages. See the website for hours, dates, and admission prices. Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Blvd.
outdoor museum and public park is packed with bizarre sculptures and multi-media installations with which your kids will love interacting. The park began offering free art-making workshops for neighborhood youth in 1990 and has expanded since then, now serving approximately 8,000 children and teens annually. Kids may participate in Sculpture Camp, Saturday Sculpture Workshops, and Guerrilla Storytime. Teens on the other hand may participate in a number of programs designed to foster and highlight creative expression such as Next Step Pictures, Sculpture Studio, LeAp, and Coastal Classroom. Programming for everyone includes kayaking, canoeing, and yoga. Check out the website for dates and hours. Indoor Extreme Sports
47-11 Van Dam St.
Looking for more of a thrill?
Indoor Extreme Sports happens to be the city’s only indoor paintball/REBALL center available both by private reservation and walk-on. Besides just paintball, the center also offers Black OPS Lasertag, Zombie Lasertag, Arena Lasertag, Archery Tag, Zombie Experience, and I Survived The Room. A minimum of eight players is required for a private reservation. Smaller groups will be considered as walk-on players and should call ahead to check availability. Pricing is per player and covers a 1½-hour session for lasertag games and a 2- to 3-hour session for paintball. See the Pricing section of the website for specific rates and requirements. The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road
museum designed and created by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi exists to preserve and display the artist’s sculptures, architectural models, stage designs, drawings, and furniture designs. Take your family on a tour of the thought provoking exhibits or participate in one of the many programs available to families of up to four with children ages 2-11. All programs are taught by Museum Educators and include gallery experiences as well as hands-on art making. Three programs currently offered are Open Studio, Art for Tots, and Art for Families. Open Studio is offered the first Sunday of every month from 11am-1pm while the other two are scheduled on select Saturdays and Sundays and require online registration. City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32nd Place
Skating school, youth hockey, adult hockey, summer camps for all levels, private lessons, and party packages are all offered at this
indoor skating rink. If you’re looking for a simple day on the ice with the family, attend a public skating session. Admission is $6 on weekdays and $9 on Saturday and Sunday. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for $5 per person. Public skating sessions are irregularly scheduled throughout the month and vary by season. Make sure to check out the schedules tab on the website. LIC YMCA
32-23 Queens Blvd.
The Y is the ultimate place for families and can always be depended upon to provide a host of stimulating programs. The
LIC YMCA offers a wide range of family classes including Art & Wonder, Cardio Kickboxing, Cooking, Fit Families, Outdoor Fun, Yoga & Pilates, and Zumba. The Y also hosts free Family Nights during which families may participate in activities such as arts and crafts, recreation, open gym, and games. You can also attain a family membership which allows you to regularly attend family open gym and open swim times. Check the schedule for dates and times or call the branch phone number.
Main image: Children participate in the Amigurumi workshop at RESOBOX, in which they make stuffed crocheted animals. Courtesy RESOBOX
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