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The best things to do in Dumbo for families

We round up the best things to do in Dumbo after you visit the new Time Out Market. Check out parks, stores and more!

Written by
Danielle Valente
&
Time Out editors
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Now that Time Out Market New York is officially open (as of May 31 at 8am), now's a great time to explore the best things to do in Dumbo for kids and families. 

Since you'll be noshing on NYC's best dishes under one roof in our new Water St digs, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the Brooklyn nabe we call home. 

Boasting some of the best kids' playgrounds, indoor activities and one of the most beloved carousels in NYC, this waterfront destination will certainly keep you and young'uns entertained long after you've digested your meal from the market. There's no shortage of things to do with kids in this industrial, chic and vibrant community.

Have a look at some of our favorites—and definitely order seconds when you're dining with Time Out. It is Market Month, after all! 

Best things to do in Dumbo

  • Time Out Market

hungry visitors—big and lil'—can indulge in the city's tastiest dishes in one location thanks to Time Out Market New York. If you're traveling with your tiny foodies in tow, here's a guide to kid-approved dishes from a handful of our vendors. From hearty breakfast dishes at Clinton St. Baking Co to a margherita pizza at Juliana's and mac and cheese from Jacob's Pickles, we've got you covered.

  • Things to do
  • Play spaces
  • DUMBO

Options abound at Recess Dumbo, whether you're looking to let your tot drop in occasionally for free play or if you're interested in scoring a membership to the epic kids' oasis. No matter what you decide, your little one will thank you. He or she will get a kick out of the jumparoo (a big tube where pint-sized visitors bounce), fire poles, slides and climbing netting. Chances are, this venue is bound to wipe out your brood, so prepare for naptime once you arrive home. 
 

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  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

Arguably one of the best kid's activities in the Dumbo nabe, Jane’s Carousel delights little riders (and their caregivers) with its gorgeous handiwork and even more gorgeous views of the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan. The carousel opened in 2011 after local artist Jane Walentas underwent roughly 30 years of renovations. Now, the original 1922 structure by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company—re-painted, re-embellished and set with 1,200 lights, 48 horses and two chariots—dazzles visitors in a pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.

  • Things to do
  • South Brooklyn

This newly-opened DUMBO space promises a healthy dose of compeition. Suit up for an adventure in a darkened, dual-level basement where you and friends can aim for one another and try to claim victory. Events and parties welcome! All ages are welcome, provided participants are able to handle the laser gun. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Brooklyn Heights

Stretching along the East River, this beautiful revamped waterfront destination is proof that an idyllic slice of nature can exist in the city. Pier 2 is tricked out with recreation facilities for basketball, handball, bocce, shuffleboard and roller skating. Bring your bikes (or rent them at Pier 1's entrace) for a spin on the Greenway, then stop at Pier 6 to explore a playground featuring wonderfully landscaped play spaces, including the Water Lab—a stone-strewn area with water underfoot to splash in—plus, New York's largest sandbox. At Pier 3, post up with a blanket and book, or take a peaceful stroll minus traffic noise thanks to Sound Attenuating Hill. Continue walking south and you'll come across one of the prettiest walks in NYC: the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Add clean bathrooms, a food court, spots for fishing and the mutli-purpose sports fields at Pier 5 and there’s not much room for improvement—especially when views of downtown Manhattan and New York Harbor are the backdrop.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Patsy Grimaldi—the flour-dusted legend behind Grimaldi's, which has since changed hands—busts out of retirement to reclaim his pie shop's first location and original coal oven. Your whole brood is more than welcome—pizza has, after all, been in Patsy's family for eight generations. The menu spotlights iconic red-sauce fare, including classic pies (margherita, marinara, calzone and white pizza) and meatballs, as well as New York cheesecake, cannolis and other tasty desserts.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 1 of 4

Taking inspiration from her grandmother's kitchen in Queens and her background in retail, Dawn Casale came up with one of the tastiest business plans in NYC: One Girl Cookies. Chocolate or pumpkin whoopie pies ($2.50) are always crowd-pleasers, and the campfire cookie ($3)—a marshmallow graham cookie covered in chocolate—will get littles in the mood for summer. 

The powerHouse Arena
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

PowerHouse publishes beautiful photo books, but the company's loft-like space and gallery in DUMBO hosts all kinds of events, including book launches from some of the hottest authors and illustrators in kids' lit.

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  • Shopping
  • DUMBO
  • price 2 of 4

Offering a variety of kids' clothing, toys, shoes, baby accessories (not to mention spectacular kids' birthday gifts), Two Kids and a Dog is a great place for shoppers catering to the 8 and under set. There's also a lot of Brooklyn-repping gear for the little ones (onesies, T-shirts)—after all, its owners Natalia and Kip are longtime residents of the area, and proud of it!

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Jacques Torres Chocolate
  • Shopping
  • Chocolate and candy
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

Besides offering the usual assortments, truffles and bars (plus more-inventive delicacies such as chocolate-covered cornflakes), this location also houses a full-on ice cream parlor, with such treats as homemade waffle cones and cookie sandwiches.

Half Pint Citizens
  • Shopping
  • Kid's clothes
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

Kids without storage bins are like moms without chocolate: a mess. We never stop sniffing around for stylish, hold-everything receptacles. Our current faves are at this Dumbo shop: eco-cute organic-cotton canvas bins and caddies from 3 Sprouts, emblazoned with a lovable owl, elephant, beaver, monkey or clever masked raccoon. A super new arrival is Dwell Studio's awaited nursery furniture, including the Century crib and changing station.

More fun for kids

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