Looking to make a move to NYC, but have kids in tow? Visions of the life of a New Yorker don’t typically conjure up playdates and after-school activities. Thanks to Hollywood, most of us imagine nightlife, broadway, glamorous brunches, and maybe some action-packed chase scenes.
Thankfully, that’s nowhere near a complete picture of what NYC has to offer.
The City That Never Sleeps is a playground for adults, that’s true, but it’s also a vibrant, diverse place to raise a family. Of course, not just any neighborhood will appeal to parents and their kiddos. If you’re moving with a family or planning to start one while living in NYC, consider our top 5 best neighborhoods to live in.
If you’re looking for a neighborhood that has something for the kids without sacrificing your own lifestyle, look no further than Park Slope. This Brooklyn neighborhood has a great reputation, starting with great schools and a mom-and-pop culture in its storefronts.
There are a ton of unique things for kids to explore new interests, but you won’t get stuck in total kid immersion. Places like Good Day Play Cafe bring the best of both worlds – something for the little ones with an adult menu and seating area to keep parents content.
Looking for a quiet neighborhood close to the subway with great housing options? Check out Washington Heights. This area may be famous in part due to the musical In the Heights, but it has more appeal than just its recognizable status.
You’ll find lots of green spaces here and a vibrant Latin vibe. There are lots of other families around which is great news for both you and the kids. Head over to Fort Tyron Park to spend some time in nature and meet friends new and old. There are swing sets and jungle gyms in the park, and it’s the host to seasonal festivals and holiday activities like a Halloween parade.
Another Brooklyn charmer, Carroll Gardens is a great place for families to live. Kids will love the shops with activities, classes, and camp options. Want a fun place to take the family for ice cream sundaes or old-school soda treats? The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain brings classic charm to a modern generation.
You won’t have to travel far for kids’ clothes or toys, either. There are plenty of shops for a leisurely weekend stroll or a bit of retail therapy with unique kid- and family-friendly games, toys, and clothes.
Upper West Side
If you’re looking to bond with other families, you’ll have an easy time on the Upper West Side. Strollers rule the sidewalks here running alongside pre-war buildings amongst tree-lined streets. If your kids are a bit older or your idea of kid-free downtime is a museum or cultural institution hopping, you’ll be happy to have easy access to the Museum of Natural History, New-York Historical Society, Lincoln Center, and Symphony Space. You’ll also find the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for fun and educational entertainment.
You’ll also find great schools for kids of all ages and easy access to public transport. Libraries, theatres, shops, and restaurants ensure you have a variety of things at your disposal for both entertainment and practical purposes. Like to spend time outdoor with the kids? There are plenty of parks to choose from, too.
Ask any of the local families and they’ll tell you: Queens is a great spot to raise kids. Affordable and progressive, Astoria has a lot of New York charm without the Manhattan skyscrapers and Brooklyn hipster scene. There are lots of public parks, playgrounds, and green spaces to get out of the house with the kids. That includes Astoria Park which has a public swimming pool!
Nearby Jackson Heights has a wide variety of international restaurants to help your kids taste flavors from around the world in their own backyard. You won’t need to choose between your family and social life with family-friendly beer halls and restaurants like the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden.