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Best bowling alleys for New York City families

These bowling alleys in NYC are prime spots for families to play a few frames and duke it out in arcade games

Photograph: Sean Rosenthal
Bowlmor

Every kid, no matter how tech-obsessed, loves an old-school game of bowling. These family-friendly bowling alleys in NYC are the perfect spot for a cheap playdate, though with way-cool aspects like glow-in-the-dark lanes and NYC-themed decor, Mom and Dad might want to jump in for a few frames too! If you're looking for things to do with kids when its raining in NYC, bowling is one of our absolute favorite indoor activities.

Bowling alleys in NYC

Astoria Bowl

With 28 glow-in-the-dark lanes, light balls, bumpers and arcade games, this spot fully qualifies as kid-friendly. What’s more, it’s got a decent drink menu and plenty of food for everyone. Got an avid kid bowler? Their Youth League is open to kids aged 5–18. What’s more, you can register your offspring for a Summer Fun Bowl pass—and they can bowl free! 19-45 49th St, Queens (718-274-1910, astoriabowl.com). Open bowl prices vary, see website for details; $4 shoe rental.

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Bowlmor Lanes Times Square

This NYC-themed bowling spot features fifty lanes in seven private bowling lounges inspired by different times and places in New York history. Example: In the "Chinatown Lounge," young players can hit a giant gong when they bowl a spare or strike; there's also a three-dimensional dragon that pops off the wall. Lightweight balls and bumpers are available for tykes. If you work up an appetite, next-level pub fare can be delivered straight to your lane. 222 W 44th St (212-835-2695, bowlmor.com). Prices vary depending on time and day, call ahead for details.

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Bowlmor Lanes, Chelsea Piers

Forty glow-in-the-dark lanes (with bumpers), banquette seating and decent music (and beer for parents) make this a bustling spot for a rainy-day afternoon outing with the kiddos. Hungry? Wait-service delivers decent food right to your lane. Walk-in or reserve for large groups -- it’s a hot spot for kid birthday parties. When you’re all bowled over, the adjacent full arcade, laser tag, bocce ball and indoor mini-golf course cannot be denied. Pier 60 and 23rd St and West Side Hwy (212-835-2695, bowlmor.com). Prices vary depending on time and day, call ahead for details.

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Brooklyn Bowl

Critics' pick

Although this concert-venue-cum-16-lane-alley attracts hipsters in droves with concerts and superstar DJ sets (Questlove among them), weekend afternoons from 12–6pm are wide open to all-ages during Family Bowl. Chow from the acclaimed Blue Ribbon restaurant will fill you up while you take down the pins, family style. 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn (718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com). $25 per lane, per half-hour; $4.95 shoe rental.

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Williamsburg

Frames

This funky, neon bowling mecca holds much appeal for grown-ups (cocktails, a lounge and dance club), but also offers packages for families. For $29.95 per person (4 person minimum), you and your kin can bowl for two hours, drink soda or juice and feast on pizza and a chicken-tenders -- shoe rental is included, too. Monday through Saturday before 5pm and all day Sunday. Kids' parties and family brunch are also available. 550 Ninth Ave (212-268-6909, framesnyc.com).

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Hell's Kitchen

Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge

This hip, fancy bowling alley is decidedly club-like and 21+ after 5 pm during the week (and after 7 pm on weekends), but when the sun’s up, families are encouraged to come in and get their bowl on. Elevated pub grub, like grilled cheese sammies, pigs-in-a-blanket and sliders, round out the experience. 624–660 W 42nd St (646-829-0170, bowlluckystrike.com). $9 per person, per game Mon-Weds; $10 per person, per game Thurs–Sat $10; $6 shoe rental.

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Hell's Kitchen

Melody Lanes

Critics' pick

This old school Brooklyn stalwart is totally kid-friendly, almost all the time. A popular spot for kid birthday parties, the kitchen serves basic grilled/fried fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the added bonus of “glow bowling” every night at 7pm. 461 37th St, Brooklyn (718-834-BOWL, melodylanesny.com). Prices vary for lane and shoe rental, see website for details.

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Greenwood

Rab's Country Lanes

Hardcore bowling families rejoice: This alley caters to early risers, opening at 9 am most days. It offers 48 lanes (all with bumpers), touch-screen computers and your basic bowling fun. Purchase a fun pack for $55 and get an hour and a half of bowling, shoe rentals, a pizza and a pitcher of soda for up to four people. 1600 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island (718-979-1600, rabslanes.com). $6 per game, $5 children under 18, $27 per hour until 6pm; $5 shoe rental.

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Staten Island

Shell Lanes

If bowling is more about the game than the frills, this Gravesend spot keeps the good times rolling while keeping costs down. With 32 lanes there’s plenty of space, plus youth leagues for the dedicated young bowler. What’s more, they host kid birthday parties at very decent prices. 1 Bouck Court, Brooklyn (646-773-5936, shelllanes.com). Prices vary for lane and shoe rental, see website for details.

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Showplace Entertainment Center

With jumbo screens lording over lanes, a laser light show, the hottest arcade games (Fast & Furious), 5 Skee-Ball lanes and air-hockey, this spot is like a one-stop kid wonderland. Chow down on pizza, wraps burgers and subs while you game the day away. Here’s a deal: Monday through Friday from noon to 5pm, enjoy one hour of bowling, four shoe rentals and a pizza for only $25—just mention the deal at check-in. 141 E Service Rd, Staten Island (718-477-2695, showplacebowling.net).

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Staten Island

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