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Best kids' festivals and fairs in NYC

Explore the coolest kids' festivals and fairs this season. Many of these great festivals are cheap or free—don't miss 'em!

Photograph: Courtesy Donna F. Aceto

These NYC kids' festivals are perfect to explore as a family—just ask your kids! Spring, summer and fall play host to all kinds of spectacular family events, including festive outdoor activities for kids and free activities for kids. It's also a great time to check off the items on our list of 101 things to do with kids in NYC!

Kids' festivals and fairs in NYC

Sakura Matsuri

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You might think you've been transported to Japan at the BBG's legendary spring festival celebrating the peak of the cherry blossom season. The Japanese tradition of Sakuri Matsuri celebrates spring, the arts and the great outdoors with a slew of cultural arts and merry making. All ages.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden , Prospect Park Saturday April 28 2018 - Sunday April 29 2018

Big Umbrella Festival

Lincoln Center Education proudly presents Big Umbrella Festival, the first month-long festival focused on artistic programming for children on the autism spectrum. Big Umbrella Festival will feature performances specially designed to accomodate the developmental needs of this particular audience and their familes. All ages.

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Clark Studio Theater, Rose Building (at Lincoln Center) , Upper West Side Until Sunday May 6 2018
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City of Science

World Science Festival has partnered up with Con Edison for this science education initiative. Families will enter a mini metropolis in which they’ll learn about science, technology, engineering, and math through a variety of interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities. Walk on water; create an orbiting universe a the Warped Space Gravity Simulator; use a seismic accelerator to launch objects 20 feet into the air; and topple seven-foot-tall dominoes all in the name of science. Brains will get a workout trying to solve challenges and puzzles and discovering physics. An activity guide is also available for download that is full of fun experiments you and your child can conduct before and after the event. All ages.

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NYU Kimmel Center , Greenwich Village Sunday June 3 2018

Rubin Museum Block Party

Enjoy an afternoon of arty fun at the Rubin Museum’s annual outdoor fete, where the whole family can watch live music and dance performances, participate in art making and nosh on Van Leeuwen ice cream and snacks from Brooklyn Popcorn Truck. This year’s edition gives a nod to the Rubin Museum’s year-long exploration of "The Future" with activities and performances inspired by the theme, including a drone demo and a social timeline. Make sure to spend some time wandering around inside the Rubin, which has free admission all day. All ages.  

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Rubin Museum of Art Birthday Parties , Chelsea Sunday June 17 2018
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Tuffy Tiger’s Family Day

Tuffy Tiger is one character who knows the value of quality time. During his day-long family event, kiddos and their parents can listen to music, try their hand at arts and crafts, play games and participate in activities such as puppet making and tote decortaing—which will surely please creative little ones. The first 200 kids to head to the event will be rewarded with a free giftbag. Don't forget to strike a pose with Tuffy while you're there! All ages. 

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Old Stone House , Downtown Monday May 28 2018

Chile Pepper Festival

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Adventurous eaters descend upon the Chile festival, where taste-testing is reserved for the brave, to send off summer with a bang. Try some artisanal spicy snacks and desserts featuring products exclusively created for the festival (like chile chocolates). While you nosh, take the sizzling tunes from bands from all over the world while your kids enjoy fun activities. All Ages.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden , Prospect Park Saturday September 29 2018
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Street Games 2018

Kids take to the park for skateboarding clinics and ’60s and ’70s street games like double-dutch and lemon-twist hula-hooping. There's also a box car derby and obstacle course! Less athletically-inclined youngsters can chill to their heart's desire and catch a performance by the Dance Theater of Harlem. Reedeem a prize for completing at least five of the ten activities offered! For more information, go to nyc.gov/parks/streetgames. 114th St and Pleasant Ave. Ages 5 and up.

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Thomas Jefferson Park , Lenox Hill Saturday April 28 2018

Harvest Festival

It’s been another bountiful season at the Urban Farm! Celebrate all the Earth gives us at this annual festival, brought to you by Randall’s Island Park Alliance. There will be live music, self-guided tours of the Urban Farm, face painting, kite-flying and other fall fun! All ages.

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Randalls Island Park , Randall's Island Sunday October 14 2018
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Ghouls & Gourds

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The colorful harvest celebration returns to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to host Halloween revelers of all ages. Visitors can participate in a wacky costume parade, play festive games, hear the best children's stories and listen to live performances. Ghouls and goblins of all ages will get a kick out of this spooktacular event. All ages.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden , Prospect Park Saturday October 27 2018

More fun activities for kids

Best outdoor activities for kids in NYC

There are plenty of outdoor activities for kids in New York City—many you'll even love doing as a family! Explore the coolest skating rinks, parks, family attractions, and campgrounds in cooler weather, and check out our favorite NYC beaches, swimming pools and berry-picking hotspots when it's toasty. 

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By: Allie Early

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