We love having our orthodontic office in Park Slope. The neighborhood has so much character. It’s super family-friendly, there’s tons going on, and the residents have really embraced Fresh Orthodontics. What more could we ask for?! As we’ve put down our roots in the community over the past few years, we’ve gotten to know the local happenings, hence our Brooklyn kids’ activity guides and our recent compilation of places for kids birthday parties in Brooklyn. Most of our team members are parents of young kids, so we’re always keeping our eyes open for fun new places to visit. We thought we’d take things a step further with a neighborhood guide, especially for Park Slope kids. Enjoy!
Where to Eat With Kids in Park Slope
L’Albero Dei Gelati – 341 5th Avenue – This is one of the most kid-friendly restaurants in Park Slope and probably all of Brooklyn. The café specializes in gelato with crazy flavors, like green beans and mint and savory eggplant, along with the classic, sweet versions. They also have delicious paninis, coffee, wine, salads, soups and a brunch menu. They use natural and organic ingredients, which they source from local farmers, in all of their food and even offer gluten-free and vegan options. They really cater to their youngest patrons with a healthy kids’ menu, a full stock of crayons and paper, high chairs, changing tables and fun gelato and cookie making workshops for children.
Bareburger – 170 7th Avenue – Bareburger offers tasty burgers, fries and shakes, which are always winners with kids. Even better? Their food is sustainable and organic and they have choices for all dietary needs. The service is excellent and the vibe is relaxed and rustic. The options on the kids’ menu are fantastic. That’s probably why when you walk in, a good percentage of the patrons are under the age of 12.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie – 280 5th Avenue – This eatery with new American cuisine caters to all ages in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. It has an oyster bar and late-night weekend hours for the adults and a fairly extensive kids’ menu with the likes of chicken fingers and a mini hot fudge sundae. It’s really perfect for the whole family. Blue Ribbon has high-chairs and the staff is always friendly and accommodating with the little ones. It was even honored as the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant in 2003 by New York Magazine. FYI: Dr. Khanna is a bit nuts about their fried chicken…just can’t shake those southern roots.
Dizzy’s Diner – 511 9th Street and 230 5th Avenue – Dizzy’s is a Park Slope staple with two locations in the neighborhood. Their menu ranges from delicious comfort food (kids will love the mac-n-cheese and chicken tenders) to fancier options, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices. It’s a great brunch spot and there are always crayons available to entertain the kids. The family-friendly Park Slope restaurant has high-chairs for the little ones and gives them a fun diner experience. Keep in mind, it’s cash only.
Franny’s – 348 Flatbush Avenue – We had to include a pizza joint on this list because what kid doesn’t love sauce, dough and cheese? Franny’s was named one of the best pizza places for families in New York by Time Out. Not only are the pies mouth-watering, the restaurant uses mostly local and organic produce and dairy. It’s cheerful, casual and on the off chance your child isn’t into to pizza, Franny’s has a whole range of Italian fare.
Best Places for Kids’ Classes in Park Slope
Take Me to the Water – Berkeley Carroll School – 726 President Street – If you’re looking for kids’ swimming lessons in Park Slope, look no further. Take Me to the Water offers Brooklyn swim lessons for people of all ages and abilities including Baby and Me (six months to two-and-a-half-years-old), group lessons (five-years-old to adults), private swim lessons for people who are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged or afraid of the water, semi-private lessons (three- to four-years-old) and a swim team for kids interested in a challenge in a non-competitive environment. Phew! They really have swimming for everyone! Regardless of the class option you choose, class sizes are small, the water is warm, the expert instructors are caring, nurturing and knowledgeable and the curriculum is engaging.
Brooklyn Design Lab – 413A 7th Avenue – This is a really cool place for kids’ activities in Park Slope. Toddlers, preschoolers and elementary-aged children can work on unique, creative projects to really stimulate their minds and curiosity. Younger kids get to look, touch and explore different things like wood, paper and clay before creating simple crafts and projects. School-aged kids have a range of activities to choose from including creating things like LEGO designs, fossil art and Star Wars-inspired crafts. The classes change regularly, so be sure to check the schedule.
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Spoke the Hub Dancing – 748 Union Street – Housed in the Gowanus Arts Building, Spoke the Hub Dance provides a creative space for Brooklyn artists and also hosts tons of dance and performing classes, camps and special events. The kids will get in some exercise while having a blast. You’ll find tap, ballet, modern dance, hip hop and more. They also have specialized options like Sing, Dance & Make Believe for ages two and three and the popular Action Heroes class.
Park Slope Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library – 431 6th Avenue – If you’re in the market for some free classes for kids in Park Slope, the Public Library is the place to be. From Toddler Yoga to Nannies’ Fairy Tales Writing Workshops to the DIY: Friday Art Series for Young Adults, you’ll keep your child’s brain active. If mom and dad want to join in the library fun, there are some interesting adult classes as well.
Hootenanny Art House – 428 15th Street – Hootenanny is a place for Park Slope families to gather. You’ll find music, art, yoga and dance classes for kids as well as the occasional adult event. Probably the coolest program they have is Music Together. The whole family is welcome, though it’s geared towards little ones from birth through four-years-old. Children of different ages are grouped together so that the youngest students can watch and imitate the older kids and the older kids can learn from teaching the tiny tots. Attendees sing, listen, watch and explore musical instruments.
Outdoor Places to Play With Kids in Park Slope
Harmony Playground – 64 West Drive – Located by the Prospect Park Bandshell, Harmony Playground is appropriately music-themed. With a huge harp and trumpet that squirt water in the summer, an impressive jungle gym complete with musical notes to play, fun slides and a wobbly bridge as well as a toddler play area, this playground has it all and you could spend an entire day there letting the kids run free.
J.J. Byrne Playground – 344 5th Avenue – J.J. Byrne Playground was renovated several years ago and now it’s a child’s paradise. It features separate play areas for different ages. The gated toddler area is perfect for little ones who are prone to running off. Older children will appreciate the slides, swings and spinning chairs. Yet, the main attractions in warm weather are the water features including sprinklers and a water pump.
Zucker Natural Exploration Area – Nellie’s Lawn in Prospect Park Near East Drive – The Prospect Park Alliance knocked it out of the park with this one. They salvaged trees that were damaged by storms and other natural materials found within the park to create a one-of-a-kind play area where kids can connect with nature. They can explore the hollowed-out tree stumps, walk along the long logs or just hang out on the various structures.
Garfield Tot Lot – 20 West Drive – This playground is especially for toddlers. It has a pint-sized jungle gym and slide, is usually pretty quiet and features plenty of benches perfect for taking a rest, changing diapers or doling out snacks.
Park Slope Playground – Between Berkeley Place and Lincoln Place – While this one isn’t as flashy as the others on this list, it is a good place to play outdoors with kids in Park Slope because of its convenient location. If your kiddos need to blow off some steam, there are plenty of things to climb on plus your usual swings and water features.
Old Stone House & Washington Park – Between 4th and 5th Avenues – The Old Stone House, in the middle of Washington Park, is only two blocks away from the Fresh Orthodontics’ office and it acts as a sort of town square for Park Slope. It’s surrounded by recreational fields, basketball courts and a skate park and has a Sunday farmers’ market, tons of events like music symposiums and summer activities galore.
Our Favorite Park Slope Kids’ Retailers
Pink Olive – 167 5th Avenue – This fun and whimsical boutique has an array of unique gifts as well as clothes for kids and babies. If you’re looking for a baby shower gift the recipient will remember, you can’t go wrong with Pink Olive. Everything is stylish and really high-quality.
A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn – 419 7th Street – A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn is a charming place to shop for kids in Park Slope. The boutique has a variety of shoes, socks and accessories for children and adults. They offer footwear from a variety of well-known brands and the store itself is absolutely beautiful. Your children will be captivated enough to let you browse in peace.
LuLu’s Cuts & Toys – 48 5th Avenue – Only Brooklyn would have a kids’ hair salon and toy store in one place. The stylists at LuLu’s are experienced working with kids so they can handle the squirming and stave off the tears for a stress-free experience. Little ones can watch a flick during their haircut and they’ll get a balloon and lollipop when it’s all done. If they’re lucky, they can even sit in the train chair. If all else fails, the large selection of toys will distract them.
BEVA Boutique – 340 7th Avenue – This Park Slope kids’ retailer has a wide selection of stylish and adorable clothes and accessories for the younger crowd and some toys to boot. There are handmade items as well, which tend to make really great gifts.
Little Things Toy Store – 145 7th Avenue – Little Things Toy Store has an endless supply of creative toys. You’ll find wooden toys, puzzles, craft supplies, science toys and more. Plus, when you’re done shopping, there are play tables just outside of the store where the kids can try out their goodies.
Park Slope Indoor Activities for Kids
Brooklyn Arts Exchange – 421 5th Avenue – The Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) has classes for kids of all ages like tumbling, theater and dance as well as camps and workshops. However, on rainy days, nothing beats their drop-in playspace for kids ages one through four. It’s a flexible time for children and families to engage in creative play guided by a teaching artist.
Community Bookstore – 143 7th Avenue – Community Bookstore is an awesome gathering place and purveyor of books for kids, teens and adults. Parents can stock up on their reading material while children hang out in the comfortable kids’ area. The store also features the occasional visit from a children’s author and weekly story times with stories, songs, milk and cookies.
Congregation Beth Elohim – 274 Garfield Place – Tuesday through Friday, October through April, Congregation Beth Elohim offers drop-in play for kids birth through two-years-old and a parent or guardian. The popular program is held in the social hall, which is transformed into a large indoor play space with toys and activities. The program is coordinated by an early childhood facilitator.
Kidville – 808 Union Street – This Park Slope indoor kiddie gym requires a membership, however, the amenities are pretty unbeatable. The venue features art, dance, gym and music classes for babies, toddlers and kids up to five-years-old where they can learn, socialize and expend some energy. It also has cool features like trampolines and a climbing wall.
Barnes & Noble – 267 7th Avenue – Yup, we’re including another bookstore on this list. The Park Slope Barnes & Noble location is extremely kid-friendly. With toys and games, children’s events, story times, and more in their kids’ section on the lower level of the store, it’s the perfect cold weather or rainy day place to take the family.
Gymboree Play & Music – 365 4th Avenue – Gymboree offers all sorts of hands-on classes and activities for kids, ages birth through five-years-old, ranging from music to sports that help little ones learn, socialize and develop motor skills and coordination. While it’s membership-based, you do get to try a free class. It also happens to be a birthday party hotspot.