Timeout New York Kids

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New York's best things to do with the family 2012

We've chosen the best things to do with the family in the city—everything from a must-visit pizza spot in midtown to a toddler dance party in Park Slope.

  • Photograph: Chris Mosier

    Best ice-skating rink for beginners: Standard Hotel

  • Photograph: Alexis Buatti-Ramos

    Best kids' theater: New Victory Theater

  • Best children's film festival: NYICFF

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    Best (mostly) healthy snack: Forbidden Fruit

  • Photograph: Dominic Perri

    Best kids' concert series (TIE): City Parks Foundation SummerStage Kids Series

  • Photograph: Sari Nickelsburg/MAMA411

    Best kids' concert series (TIE): Symphony Space Just Kidding Series

Photograph: Chris Mosier

Best ice-skating rink for beginners: Standard Hotel

New York's best things to do with the family 2012

Best ice-skating rink for beginners: Standard Hotel

Sure, Wollman and the rink at Rockefeller Center are spectacular spots to turn a figure eight, but that’s if you’re a decent skater already. When it comes little ones and beginners, it doesn’t get much better than the Standard Hotel rink in the Meatpacking District. Its got tiny skates to rent out, the prices are reasonable, the diminutive size is confidence-building and—perhaps best of all—infrared warming lamps over the outdoor seating area and a stand with crêpes and hot chocolate means kids and their parents can stretch out the fun by warming up between sessions. • 212-645-4646, standardhotel.com.—Lee Magill

  1. 848 Washington St, (at W 13th St), 10014
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Best kids’ theater: New Victory Theater

  • Price band: 2/4

Year after year, the full-scale, multilevel theater—smack dab in the middle of Times Square—produces the city’s most professional and inventive children’s shows. With a lineup that always includes several European imports, the New Vic prides itself on introducing even the youngest audience members to various genres, from opera and step-dancing to puppetry and circus acts. What many may not realize, though, is the sheer amount of pre- and post-show events and activities offered by the theater (all included in the price of your ticket). Kids can get crafty in art workshops with New Victory teaching artists, participate in a “Talk-Back” with performers and creative team members, and take part in a digital scavenger hunt. • 646-223-3010, newvictory.org.—Rory Halperin

  1. 209 W 42nd St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
More info

Best children’s film festival: NYICFF

Since 1997, the New York International Children’s Film Festival has given kids of all ages a tantalizing glimpse into the wide world of cinema beyond the usual talking gerbils and doe-eyed princesses at the multiplex. It’s where six-year-olds start a lifelong obsession with Japanese anime. It’s where teens can get the heebie-jeebies at a scary flick or commiserate with the angst of very real girls in heart-breaking shorts. And it’s where everyone can preview animated features like A Cat in Paris before they hit the big time at the Oscars. Most important, the NYICFF is where the next generation of film geeks is being lovingly cultivated—the kids who will go on to shoot their own award-winning digital shorts, or at least keep indie cinemas like the Film Forum and IFC in business for years to come. And for that, we all owe them a round of applause. • March 1–24; gkids.com.—Marisa Cohen

Forbidden Fruit

Best (mostly) healthy snack: Forbidden Fruit

In a city where you can’t walk two feet without bumping into a gourmet cupcake, it can be a challenge for parents to teach healthy snacking habits—especially when we crave those sprinkly confections as much as our children do. But at Forbidden Fruit, everyone can feel good about indulging. In the bright Greenwich Village shop, fruits are displayed like jewels. Choose from a perfect little clementine, a skewer of pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and banana, a cup of glimmering raspberries, or basics like apple slices, a plump strawberry or a banana on a stick. Then watch the staff dip or drizzle it with white, dark or milk chocolate (you can add on coconut flakes, walnuts or sprinkles if you’re feeling naughty). Not only do these treats mix the healthy stuff with chin-licking chocolate, but the shop’s prices are just right, ranging from $1.35 for two apple wedges to $3.65 for a sharable skewer. • 212-671-1222, forbiddenfruitnyc.com.—Marisa Cohen

  1. 106 Macdougal St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts
City Parks Foundation SummerStage Kids Series

Best kids’ concert series (TIE): City Parks Foundation SummerStage Kids Series

It’s easy to see why City Parks’ annual summerlong program of free outdoor concerts for families is hard to beat. Each year from June to August, the eclectic series is stocked with top-shelf (and sometimes famous) talent—the Verve Pipe, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Robbie K, Hayes Greenfield and Hot Peas ’N Butter have all played on the green grass. This season alone, the festival put on more than 95 shows at parks around the five boroughs—a mixture of daytime and midweek concerts, plus larger family-day performances, including dance classes and art workshops, on the weekends. Oh, and did we mention these concerts are completely free? • Various city parks; go to cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage for information.—Jeff Bogle

Symphony Space Just Kidding Series

Best kids’ concert series (TIE): Symphony Space Just Kidding Series

The world’s finest roster of kindie talent visits the Upper West Side every year as part of Symphony Space’s all-ages event series. Families get a grand experience at the main stage, in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (one of our favorites was a Gustafer Yellowgold and Chelsea Symphony concert in 2011), and a more up-close-and-personal one in the 168-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia theater downstairs. The mix of up-and-coming stars (Elska, Mista Cookie Jar, Lucky Diaz and the Not-Its! this season) and established regulars (Elizabeth Mitchell, Justin Roberts) never fails to impress. Neither does the venue’s Thalia Kids’ Book Club, which introduces kids to award-winning authors and illustrators like Rebecca Stead and Lemony Snicket through meet-and-greets and readings. • 212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org.—Jeff Bogle

  1. 2537 Broadway at 95th St

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