Timeout New York Kids

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NYC street fairs and festivals for families

Spring’s awesome lineup of kids’ events can’t be beat—from riding the Ferris wheel to seeing the coolest in puppetry arts, here are our top picks of the season

Photograph: Captain Kidder

New York in springtime is a beautiful place—flowers begin to bloom in NYC parks, outdoor seating opens at some of the 50 best family restaurants and the air feels as fresh as can be! The thing to be most excited about, however, is the awesome lineup of great NYC street fairs and festivals. Ride the Ferris wheel at State Fair Meadowlands, check out the coolest art at Figment NYC Weekend and catch an awesome flick at Brooklyn Film Festival kidsfilmfest. Happy adventuring, and be sure to check back soon. We'll be adding more awesome stuff throughout the season!



NYC street fairs and festivals

Super Sábado! 2015

  • Critics choice
  • Free

El Museo del Barrio's free family programming every third Saturday of the month presents gallery tours and art workshops centered around a different theme. Gear up for Carnaval, the joyful Caribbean and Latin American fete, and enjoy live music, dance workshops, and more (Feb 21). Look foward to three more events this spring surrounding themes like "Big Screen" (March 21) and "A, B, Cuentos!" (April 18) and close out the series with a block party blowout (May 16). R.S.V.P. recommended. All ages.

  1. El Museo del Barrio 1230 Fifth Ave, between 104th and 105th Sts
  2. Sat Apr 18 - Sat May 16
More info

Affordable Art Fair

This four-day art fair makes an ideal way for families to gallery-hop within the confines of one venue. Nearly 80 booths will be showcasing works on the lower end of the price spectrum ($100–$10,000, with half the works priced at $5,000 or less), many by up-and-coming talents not yet on the international radar. Families won't want to miss the interactive and educational Children's Workshops on Saturday 3/28 and Sunday 3/29 at 11:30am, in which little artists will make collages and finger puppets. Recharge throughout the day with sandwiches, coffee and kids' meals at the Monterone Cafe, and hit up the fair on Friday 3/27 between 6pm and 8pm to take advantage of free admission. All ages.

  1. Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Fri Mar 27 - Sun Mar 29
More info

Children's Carnival

  • Price band: 1/4

Trek out to the working farm for a country carnival, held in the apple orchard. Among the festive offerings are amusement rides, midway games, hayrides and a magic show in the barn. All ages.

  1. Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, between 73rd Rd and 74th Ave
  2. Sat Apr 11 - Sun Apr 19
More info

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The outlandish haberdashery on display—ten-foot-tall hats, costumed pets, bonnets with live birds nestled inside—more than makes up for the lack of floats at this annual see-and-be-seen parade. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sun Apr 5
More info

Jack and Jill Spring Fair

  • Price band: 1/4

Manhattan's Jack and Jill School holds its annual spring fair, complete with carnival rides, arts and crafts, performers, food and games. Kids can play in a bouncy castle, take a ride on a carousel, get their faces painted and more. Ages 1 to 12.

  1. Jack and Jill School 209 E 16th street, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Sat Apr 25
More info

Sakura Matsuri

  • Critics choice

You might think you're suddenly in Japan at the BBG's legendary spring festival celebrating the peak of the cherry blossom season. The Japanese tradition of Sakuri Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) celebrates spring, the arts and the great outdoors with a slew of cultural arts and general merry making. On tap at this year's fest, the nation's largest happening in a public garden, are performances like taiko drumming, samurai sword fighting and classical dance; demos in such Japanese arts as ikebana (flower arranging) and tea ceremony; a collection of vintage kimonos and an imaginative cosplay fashion show; and, for kids, hands-on workshops (in the Osborne Garden) where they'll learn manga, origami and even the art of making spring pinwheels. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 990 Washington Ave, at President St
  2. Sat Apr 25 - Sun Apr 26
More info

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The gargantuan street fair, hosted by the iconic film fest, offers tons of thrills for city kids. Nestled between tried-and-true fare like snacks and face painting are some ultra-cool activity stations, including animation demos using iPad and mobile devices. Storytellers, puppeteers, and cast members from Broadway and Off Broadway shows perform on the festival's main stage throughout the day. This year's schedule is TBA, but highlights of past years included filmmaking workshops with the Tribeca Film Institute, a behind-the-scenes look at a real hair and make-up trailer, a VIP red carpet featuring cutouts of athletes and celebs, and a game arcade focused on learning and social change—featuring dinosaur-themed games and a FarmVille2 installation. The youngest festival visitors should be sure to check out the Kidz Block Party (at Duane St) for readings, a bubble garden and more. As kids move from activity to activity, they can create a "VIP Pass" by stamping a booklet provided to them; at the end of the day, if your pass is filled, you get a special prize. Greenwich St between Chambers and Hubert Sts. All ages.

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

  • Free

Head down Fifth Ave to 4th St and you'll stumble upon puppet-making ($2), t-shirt decorating ($4), a bouncy moonwalk ($4) and tons of delicious festy food. Groove to live tunes and performances courtesy of Yellow Sneakers (2:30pm), Tuffy's Great Adventure (11:30am), Arlee Chadwick (12:15pm) and Charlie Kanev (1:15pm). Kids can even snag a photo op with a real, live Star Wars character, and keep an eye out for wandering dinos from Field Station: Dinosaurs! Proceeds benefit Puppetry Arts. Get there quick—the first 200 kiddos get a free gift bag. Fifth Ave at 4th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn
  2. Sat Apr 25
More info

Children's Festival of Flowers

  • Free

Kids can explore the Jefferson Market Garden and the various flowers, shrubs, and shade trees that bloom there. The festival will also include educational and art activities, as well as live music and entertainment. All ages.

  1. Jefferson Market Garden Greenwich Ave, between Christopher and 10th Sts
  2. Sat May 30
More info

Taste of Tribeca

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Sample grub from Tribeca's best eateries at this 21st annual alfresco tasting, which benefits art education at P.S. 150 and P.S. 234. Cost of entry gets you a tasting card that you can use to score six dishes—featured eateries range from stalwarts (Landmarc, the Odeon) to hot newcomers—while checking out live music and family-friendly entertainment, including face painting, arts and crafts, yoga, martial arts and more in the Kids Zone. Tickets go on sale March 1. Duane St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sat May 16
More info

Figment NYC Weekend

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Governors Island explodes with artistic energy at this weekend devoted to outside-the-box creativity. Kid-centric highlights include the TreeHouse, a colorful structure made of recycled materials where kids can climb, play, and the City of Dreams Pavilion—a scanopy structure made from used plastic cups and zip ties—open to the public for the summer. Make sure to check out the interactive works of kinetic, playful art featured in the Sculpture Garden and the Artist–Designed Minigolf Course. All ages.

  1. Governors Island Governors Island
  2. Sat Jun 6 - Sun Jun 7
More info

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival

  • Free

Celebrate Jewish and Chinese cultures at the crossroads of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. Only here can you and your little ones marvel at Chinese opera and acrobatics while listening to klezmer music and learning Yiddish. Or, encourage your brood to look over the shoulders of a mah jongg pro after taking a synagogue tour. This year, the festival will incorporate Puerto Rican culture as well, with salsa music, Spanish lessons and empanadas. True to the festival’s name, kosher egg rolls and classic New York–style egg creams will also be in abundance. All ages.

  1. Museum at Eldridge Street 12 Eldridge St, between Canal and Division Sts, 10002
  2. Sun Jun 7
More info

Museum Mile Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Now in its 37th year, New York’s biggest block party hits town once more, offering free access to nine museums (from the Met to the Guggenheim) along a car-free mile sprinkled with music, art and entertainment. Kids can color up the sidewalk with chalk, attend live model drawing classes, get their faces painted, and enjoy performances by clowns, magicians, jugglers, musicians and more. The festival starts on the steps of Cooper Hewitt's landmark building at 91st St and Fifth Ave. All ages.

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

  • Free

The nation's top pitmasters celebrate summertime barbecues by cooking up their specialties. Dig into tasty grub, enjoy free music and seminars, and take in a cooking demo or two. Admission is free, but the mouthwatering food is not. All ages.

  1. Madison Square Park 23rd St to 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Sat Jun 13 - Sun Jun 14
More info

State Fair Meadowlands

  • Price band: 1/4

The giant fair offers more than 150 rides and attractions, plus tons of free entertainment, including master hypnotist Steve Bayner, racing pigs, an open-air circus, a petting zoo, lions and tigers, and fireworks (July 3 & 4). Admission on opening day (June 19) is only $2. Check the website for the full schedule. All ages.

  1. Meadowlands Fairgrounds 50 Rte 120
  2. Fri Jun 19 - Mon Jul 6
More info

Mermaid Parade 2015

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Coney Island’s answer to Greenwich Village’s infamous Halloween parade might be a little risqué for some tiny ones, but plenty of families scope out King Neptune as he presides over wacky floats, marching bands, drill teams, vintage cars and a dazzling array of scantily clad seafaring sirens. From W 21st St and Surf Ave to the Boardwalk at W 10th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn. All ages.

  1. Parade route
  2. Sat Jun 20
More info

On A Wing Festival

  • Free

Every year, the On A Wing Festival features family events that celebrate all of New York’s winged park residents. Stop by this fest to gawk at bats, birds and bees, put some feathers under the microscope, enjoy storytelling and live music and go on a bird-watching tour with park rangers. Little ones will be especially enchanted by the release of colorful Painted Lady butterflies into the Shakespeare Garden. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Belvedere Castle Midpark, enter at 79th St
  2. Sat May 2
More info

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

  • Free

Chow down on eats from around the world and buy handcrafted goods from local vendors (and Etsy crafters). Games and activities for the little ones abound, and live music and dance performances will take place on a stage at 55th St. The festival is held on Ninth Ave from 42nd to 57th Sts. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Sat May 16 - Sun May 17
More info

Dance Parade and Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This annual procession features more than 80 styles of dance from the traditional (like ballet and modern) to the exotic (like bhangra, Bolivian Tinkus and zouk). Thousands of moving and grooving marchers make their way through Lower Manhattan to Tompkins Square Park, where a post-parade DanceFest program will include performances, lessons and a dance party. The parade starts at 21st Street at Broadway. All ages.

Mamapalooza

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This 12-year-old celebration on the Hudson is all about motherhood: Mamas are honored with music, live stand-up routines and lots of activities for little ones. The lineup is still TBA, but in recent years, kiddos were treated to NYC-based kindie rocker Moey's Music Party as she led the "Princess Revolution" (no damsels-in-distress allowed), and the Gymboree play tent. All ages.

  1. Riverside Park, Pier I W 70th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sun May 17
More info

World Science Festival

  • Price band: 1/4

Shhh: Your kids might actually learn something while having fun at this five-day educational celebration. Prominent minds from around the world will unite to discuss the brain, time, the origins of the universe and more. This year's fest will include a special series of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of relativity. On Sunday, May 31, attend the Ultimate Science Street Fair in Washington Square Park for loads of fun, free demos and workshops, where kiddos will learn about extreme weather, robotics and outer space. Visit www.worldsciencefestival.com for a full list of events, including the Flame Challenge, where scientists compete to communicate complex topics so that an 11-year-old would understand them (this year the prompt asks, "What is sleep?"), the Cool Jobs panel ($30), special apprentice programs ($30) and Stargazing. Hurry, tickets for these events sell out quickly! All ages.

  1. Various locations
  2. Wed May 27 - Sun May 31
More info

Freedom Art Jam

  • Price band: 1/4

The Jewish Museum presents a family-friendly art and dance party for Passover. Little ones and adults alike can celebrate by dancing to 60's tunes from Baby Loves Disco DJs (12–1:30pm) as well as the catchy pop–rock tunes of The Macaroons (2pm). After hitting the dance floor, kids can create matzah storybooks, collaborate on a giant Seder plate collage and explore the museum's galleries. Ages 3 and up.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St, 10128
  2. Sun Mar 29
More info

Brooklyn Film Festival kidsfilmfest

  • Price band: 1/4

Young film buffs can spend an hour watching live action and animated shorts from around the world in this cinema extravaganza created just for kids. This year's line up is TBA; last year, audiences enjoyed films like “No More Mister Mice Guy,” about a perturbed man on a mission to hunt down the biscuit-stealing mice living within his walls, filmed by two young Australian boys. Curious kids can pick the brains of directors and actors during a Q&A session and take part in an interactive workshop using storyboards, cutouts, clay and more after the screenings. Be sure to arrive early; tickets sell out quickly. All ages.

  1. IndieScreen 289 Kent Ave, at South 2nd St, 11211
  2. Sat May 30
More info


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