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The 10 best New York City neighborhoods for families

You voted on the best NYC neighborhoods for families—here are the top ten results! Did yours make the cut?

Photograph: Ingfbruno/ Wikimedia Commons

We asked, you answered! Ever wondered where to find the best NYC neighborhoods for families? Here’s how you, our lovely readers, voted. Give yourself an excuse to explore our ranked list of neighborhoods (and the rest of the city) with our favorite 101 things to do with kids in NYC and things to in the fall with kids and top-notch outdoor activities, or go on food adventure around the city with our 50 best family restaurants


Williamsburg, Brooklyn

It’s not just the land of suspenders and ironic beards—W’burg is also a pretty darn stellar neighborhood for families. It’s home to kid-pleasing events like Smorgasburg (hooray food exploring!), cool play spaces (PLAY, Twinkle) and it has G and L train stops located throughout. McCarren Park was called out several times by our readers as a standout chilling spot for you and the kiddos, plus there’s a plethora of public playgrounds in the area for the little ones to roam. Fun fact: Brooklyn Bowl (although often considered to be adults-only), actually offers family bowl (all ages) from noon–6pm on Saturday and Sunday…so don’t miss it! Plus, there are plenty of fun date night spots for Mom and Dad in the area (did we mention Barcade, Knitting Factory, Nighthawk and Music Hall of Williamsburg?!). Oh, and Peter Luger. Don’t forget that.


Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

These petite nabes just south of Downtown Brooklyn are brimming with old-timey charm, from the historic brownstones to local hangouts like the Jalopy Theatre and 20s-era soda fountain, Brooklyn Farmacy. Families love being situated on the outskirts of the Atlantic Avenue hustle, but still within walking distance of cool attractions like the New York Transit Museum and Brooklyn Historical Society. The nearby Trader Joe’s is a point of envy for families in other ‘hoods, and when cooking is too much, there are stellar family restaurants surrounding Smith Street—some of which serve brunch for the whole gang. After-school activities abound, from Carroll Park and the awesome Pier 6 playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park to creative classes at Beam Center or high-tech Pixel Academy. When Atlantic Antic floods the streets each year, local families are right in the center of the action.


Park Slope, Brooklyn

A New York parent fan-favorite, Park Slope only placed at #8 (can you believe it?!). Nevertheless, it’s one of our favorite family neighborhoods. Within its extremely kid-friendly walls are some great schools, amazing restaurants, a sweet playground with water features (JJ Byrne), Brooklyn Boulders, Brooklyn Game Lab and countless other fun, kid-friendly activities. There are also plenty of fun things to do in Prospect Park (visit the zoo, check out the boathouse, BBQ and catch live performances in the summer!). Moms will dig the info-packed Park Slope Moms network, plus, the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Garden are also just a short trip away in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. 



Several NYC families spilled on why they’re happily settled in Harlem—specifically in ‘hoods like Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill. Life above Central Park is good for a variety of reasons, but the biggest perk of all is space. Broods get more bang for their buck in these uptown Manhattan areas, and the large but affordable apartments give kids and parents some much-needed room to breathe. Parents love the easy downtown commute to work and living in close proximity to plenty of kid-friendly entertainment: kids can sign up for art, dance, music and sports classes in Riverbank State Park, bike along the waterfront on the Hudson River Greenway, catch summer concerts in Marcus Garvey Park and more. Institutions like the Apollo Theater and the new Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling allow youngsters to explore the history and culture of the area, and who could forget the finger-lickin’ food (and awesome kids’-meal deals) at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que?


Woodlawn, Riverdale and Norwood, Bronx

Sure, it’s all the way up there, but it’s totally worth considering the Bronx for your next family home. Our readers shared that they loved raising their kids in a neighborhood that’s teeming with plenty of kid-friendly fun and growing families of many nationalities. There’s the Mosholu Golf Course and Van Cortlandt House Museum (and greater Van Cortlandt Park), beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden (and greater Bronx Park) plus Wave Hill over a bit in Hudson Hill!


Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Take the R train to the end of the line and you’ll find yourself in lively Bay Ridge—a history-rich neighborhood crucial to Brooklyn’s identity. Third- and fourth-generation families have stayed put for many reasons, and newcomers are finding their way to the area for its ability to make people from all cultures and walks of life feel welcome. According to our readers, renting and buying property is about half as expensive in Bay Ridge as in other sections of the borough, and high-performing District 20 schools are a major plus. Residents get prime view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island, and green spaces along the waterfront are plentiful. Youngsters can romp around in Owl’s Head Park, play Little League on Fort Hamilton Athletic Field or bike along a spacious, 4.5-mile stretch of the Shore Parkway. Local and express trains provide easy access to Manhattan, but families love having this vibrant spot waiting when they head home.


Jackson Heights, Astoria, Sunnyside and Hunters Point, Queens

Local families have spoken—Queens is a wonderful place to raise kids! Neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, Astoria, Sunnyside and Hunters Point may not have the skyscrapers of Manhattan or the hipster vibes of Brooklyn, but that’s just why the parents here like it. Without trying too hard to be kid-centric in all aspects, Queens boasts affordability, progressive schools (props to District 30) and a plethora of public parks and playgrounds, making it a welcoming spot for youngsters. Astoria highlights include scenic Astoria Park with it’s massive public pool, the Museum of the Moving Image and family-friendly watering hole, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. Jackson Heights is noted for Travers Park and international eateries serving Indian, Mexican, Colombian and beyond. Don’t forget to check out the numerous branches of the Queens Library and let little ones run free in parks like Sunnyside Gardens and Hunters Points Park South in LIC—fresh air is in no short supply in this borough.


Battery Park City

Close to the hustle and bustle (but far enough away to really enjoy the waterfront), Battery Park City is loved for many reasons—there’s top notch PS 276 to rave about, a ton of beautiful green parks (Battery Park, West Thames Park, Robert F Wagner Jr. Park—many are dog friendly) and an amazing running esplanade for busy moms and dads. There, kids can learn to ride their bikes free of any dangerous intersections. Local families also rave about the Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Battery Urban Farm and Brookfield Place and the Marina. As a final perk, Battery Park offers amazing views of Lady Liberty and the Hudson, and local baseball fields boast stunning views of One World Trade.


Upper West Side

Strollers rule the sidewalks in this family-filled corridor running from 59th to 110th Streets between Central Park and Riverside Park. Elegant prewar buildings dot the quiet, tree-lined streets, and with so many iconic institutions within walking distance (the American Museum of Natural History, the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, Symphony Space and Lincoln Center to name a few) it’s no surprise this is a favorite area to raise kids. Area schools are excellent, subway access is top-notch, and almost every block has something to keep little ones entertained, including libraries, theaters, family restaurants and great shops (it’s truly a goldmine for kids’ clothing and toy stores). No family outing need be the same with stellar playgrounds at your disposal—Safari, Tar Family and Rudin Family Playgrounds in Central Park and Elephant and Hippo Playgrounds on Riverside Drive are favorites.


Lower East Side

Say hello to your winner! Those who frequent the Lower East Side for it’s raucous nightlife might be surprised that so many families with young kids call it home, but by day, the neighborhood caters to the younger set. Packed with accessible, high-achieving schools, the Lower East Side is home to a tight-knit community of active parents. Many take advantage of housing cooperatives, like Seward Park, Amalgamated and Hillman, for affordable, family-friendly apartments in the area, outfitted with private parks and playgrounds for outdoor fun. Thanks to the nabe’s diverse history, there are plenty of opportunities for youngsters to learn about various ethnicities and try all the foods that come with them (think dumplings, doughnuts, pickles, pretzels and beyond). Favorite attractions like the Tenement Museum, Hester Street Fair, playgrounds and local NYPL branches keep families busy, and nothing beats a day spent in East River Park between the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, complete with views of the Statue of Liberty. Getting around is easy using the plentiful bus and subway options nearby, but hotspots like Tompkins Square Park, Little Italy, Chinatown and Soho are conveniently located within walking distance—even with little ones in tow.



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Anette I

Harlem! Really??? So you will first choose Harlem for your young family and not #middlevillage #foresthills #glendale #bayside; too many actually good areas to mention. 

Queens R

Who wrote this article? A tourist? A transplant? 3 completely different neighborhoods were thrown into one. May be it was written long ago, but I was surprised that Rego Park/Forest Hills isn't even mentioned and it is the Queens neighborhood families are flocking to: excellent schools, well connected to the rest of the city -only a 15 min commute to midtown- beautiful houses and tree lined streets, and a middle school (Russell Sage) that is the main NYC feeder to all Specialized High Schools. You need to UPDATE!

Diana H

Crime rates and gang activity ??

Sabrina S

Those are three completely separate neighborhoods you've lumped together in #6

Brian A

As for #6....It's "THE Bronx," folks. Saying Bronx makes you look silly. And uneducated. And certainly not a Noo Yawka.

Brian A

AND those were three different neighborhoods!

khrislouie d

@Brian A  That picture looks like it's Woodlawn Cemetary too... it's a nice place but I don't know about raising kids on a Cemetary.

Theresa I

@Brian A To Time Out NY, it's all one in the same. i'm surprised any area of the Bronx was even mentioned. Of course all 3 areas couldn't be any different.....

Em P

Inwood is one of the best nabes, too! The schools could be better, but it's surrounded by parks, playgrounds and full of small progressive day cares. I see lots of double strollers every day! The brunch strip on Dyckman St. has awesome kids menu options, Scribble art center has awesome thought-provoking art classes, and local musicians offer lessons in piano, guitar, voice, and drums. It's a creative haven, people haven't discovered yet! 

Mo C

so 3 bronx neighborhoods = 1 neighborhood and 4 queens neighborhoods = 1 neighborhood?

way to go TONY. Insulting "the other" boroughs as usual.

Ebony D

Upper West Side!!! I love this neighborhood

David R

Stuy Town should have been high on that list, IMO.

Elizabeth Q

The growth of the North Bronx near Riverdale, Woodlawn Norwood AND Bedford Park Mosholu area has been incredible thanks to the very dedicated Community Board Members of District 7 and District 8. The residents are very proactive. They attend monthly meetings and collaborate with local organizations to create family friendly events throughout the year. The Williamsbridge Oval park is a must go park for kids of all ages. The Mosholu Library is a quaint public place where it's become the community living room for reading and studying. More residents have moved to these areas from other boroughs due to the affordability of housing, products and services. As the community continues to support renovated playgrounds and parkland beautification, it's getting ready to welcome new families as new development is being built at a rapid rate. Born and raised in Manhattan, I love living in this area of the Bronx where it has that NYC urban-ness with easy commute to Manhattan and yet it has a community town like feel thanks to all the small business, parks, parkland and the diversity of the neighborhoods. Here is where you can still buy a house and have your garden! 

Theresa I

@Elizabeth Q There's a lot of areas in the Bronx where you can buy a house with a garden. I realize venturing into one of the "scariest" boroughs is a stretch for white liberals but every now and then they should live on the edge and see what else the Bronx has to offer. They would be surprised. 

Night A

Staten Island wasn't mentioned, even though it has parks and most houses have backyards for kids to romp around. Also the schools in Staten Island are great, plus living anywhere in Staten Island is cheaper than Brooklyn and Manhattan!

Barbara M

Everyone knows Staten Island is part of NJ...Yeesh...