When the summertime heat (or cool weather chill) is just too much to bear, you may need to resort to indoor activities to keep the kids happy. Unlike giant megaplexes, these local theaters provide a personal touch with their carefully curated selection of the best kids' movies, ticket discounts and top-notch snacks that blow regular popcorn out of the water.
NYC movie theaters for families
Angelika Film Center
At this arthouse cinema, you can take in the occasional kid-friendly flick. Soon showing: A Lego Brickumentary, an insider peek at the ubiquitous toy’s enormous impact narrated by Jason Bateman. While you’re there, treat yourselves to the caf's gluten-free cookies or Rice Krispies treats and wash 'em down with an Orangina or a latte. 18 W Houston St (212-995-2000, angelikafilmcenter.com). Adult tickets $14.50, children under 11, $11.50.
When BAM opened this century-old arts center in Fort Greene in 1906, the venue served as the company's music hall, and in 1957, it was converted into a playhouse for intimate plays and revues. It wasn't until 1998 that the spot became a four-screen movie theater where you can screen kid-friendly classics (and some recent hits) on Sundays afternoons at 2 pm. Past showings include Kirikou and the Sorceress, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and the Best of BAMkids Film Festival shorts.30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, bam.org). Prices vary, check website for details.
Located in the heart of breeder Brooklyn, this friendly neighborhood movie theater almost always features a current kid-friendly release in 2D and 3D. What’s more, going to the movies doesn’t have to break the bank— the 60s-era theater offers discounted tickets all day Tuesdays and Thursdays for everyone (except special events), for adults before 5pm and for kids ages 11 and under any time, any day. Prices vary, check website for details.
Looking to watch something with your kid that you can’t see anywhere else? GKids Films is known to bring shorts, national and international children’s films to this West Village theater. In addition to indie and cult fare for grown-ups, it often screens smart, cool and sophisticated selections from the New York International Children's Film Festival, tailored to children ages 3–18. Be sure to keep an eye out for screenings and purchase tickets in advance, for many showings sell out.
Landmark Sunshine Cinemas
Kids can amp up their Orville Redenbacher kernels with any of ten free powder toppings, including jalapeo, nacho cheddar, barbecue, apple cinnamon and chocolate marshmallow, and take in the occasional kid-friendly art film at this indie East Village movie house. For example: now showing is Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet—an animated Lebanese film written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King). Tonight’s screening will include a special appearance by the film’s producer, Salma Hayek. 143 E Houston St (212-260-7289, landmarktheatres.com). Adult tickets $13.50, children under 13, $11.
This beautifully renovated Queens institution has a state-of-the-art, 267-seat theater showing family film screenings every weekend and during school holidays. While there, take advantage of special hands-on workshops for families, which are first-come, first-serve with a materials fee (see website for schedule and pricing). Some screenings cost extra, but most are free with admission. Jim Henson's throwback films and Muppet TV specials are often on the roster, as are other nostalgia-inducing picks like Inside Fraggle Rock, featuring the behind-the-scenes chats with one of the fraggle voices and the film’s conceptual designer.