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

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

Fleet Week at the Intrepid

Fleet week is here, and with it some great events for families! Watch the Naval ships roll in on May 23, enjoy a night of swing dance on May 26 and pay tribute to those who served the U.S. with a ceremony on the holiday itself. A wide range of Fleet Week events also take place at the New York Harbor, Pier 92 in Manhattan, USS The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island, Military Island (Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets), Eisenhower Park, the Flagship Brewery and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument. All ages.  

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Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum , Hell's Kitchen Until Tuesday May 29 2018
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Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

Embrace your inner kid with the best finger foods around! Sauce-slathered ribs, crispy wings and out-of-this-world pulled pork are just a few of the tasty nom-noms on offer at Madison Square Park’s coolest event of the season. Stop by stands manned by top-notch chefs, pit masters and restaurant owners to try all kinds of delicious offerings before taking your ’cue (and kids) to a nearby park bench to enjoy the live music. All ages.

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Madison Square Park , Flatiron Saturday June 9 2018 - Sunday June 10 2018
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Memorial Day Fair at Sunnyside Gardens Park

The members-only Queens park opens its gates to the public for this annual community shindig. Children can roam the park's playgrounds, baseball field and basketball court, then take in a number of special events, which has included bounce houses, rock-climbing walls and live music in years past. All ages.

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Sunnyside Gardens Park , Sunnyside Saturday May 26 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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Make Music New York

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Musicians flood NYC's public spaces during this daylong, citywide, entirely free festival. Little ones can join free song and movement sessions and big kids can pick up harmonicas, recorders and more to join in on group jam sessions alongside the pros. Visit the event's website for the full lineup of happenings, which includes the Twilight Chorus (for Humans) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Western classical music for piano at Pier 1 in Riverside Park and plenty more. All ages.

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Various locations Thursday June 21 2018

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
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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

We Make the Future Block Party

Families can spend Father's Day a unique and artsy way with the Rubin Museum's annual festival. The event—held rain or shine—offers kids the chance to participate in DIY projects that cater to the venue's yearly theme, which is looking ahead. Pit stops to the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck, performances of the Cham dance by Palyul Monks and build-your-own cities will make this experience a knockout for kiddies. All ages. 

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Rubin Museum of Art Birthday Parties , Chelsea Sunday June 17 2018
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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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