Planning to raise kids in NYC? While the Big Apple might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of family-friendly areas, New York City does have safe and affordable neighborhoods with great schools, lush green spaces, and budget-friendly housing. If you’re hoping to settle down and start a family in the metro, here are the best neighborhoods in New York City for families in each borough!
- The Bronx: Riverdale
- Brooklyn: Park Slope
- Manhattan: Battery Park City
- Queens: Forest Hills
- Staten Island: Great Kills
The Bronx: Riverdale
- Home Price: $358,962 median purchase price; $1,305 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 85% of cities in New York
If you’re looking for affordable housing and room to roam, The Bronx is the NYC hidden gem for you! Located right at the edge of North Manhattan, Riverdale is one of the best neighborhoods in the Bronx for families. It’s not just the quick commute that makes the area an awesome place to live, but also the leafy trees, Hudson River views, and friendly neighbors that contribute to Riverdale’s charming aesthetic. Kids can get their education nearby at Horace Mann School, Riverdale Country School, and The Bronx High School of Science. Riverdale is also one of the best places to buy a home in New York City, if you’re dreaming of purchasing a spacious single-family Colonial or Tudor-style house with a yard.
Things to Do in Riverdale
Visit the Van Cortlandt House Museum to take a self-guided tour of the 18th-century home and learn more about the history of Van Cortlandt Park. Head over to Riverdale Stables, where kids can join the After School Riding Program or the entire family can take private lessons. Schedule a tee time, practice your swing at the driving range, or refine your skills on the putting green at Mosholu Golf Course. Drop kids off for dance class, summer camp, or to audition for a play at Riverdale Rising Stars. Stop at Liebman’s Deli for Kosher menu items, including a Frankfurter, Stuffed Cabbage, and Hungarian Goulash. Or order kombucha on tap, indulge in a Dulche De Leche Mousse, or visit on Sunday for farm-to-table brunch at Moss Café.
Brooklyn: Park Slope
- Home Price: $951,201 median purchase price; $2,004 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 81% of cities in New York
Not only is living in Brooklyn perfect for young professionals, but people with children say this borough is one of the best places to live in New York as well. Among the top Brooklyn neighborhoods for families is Park Slope! A quiet atmosphere, tree-lined streets, quaint coffee shops where you’ll bump into neighbors, and a blossoming restaurant scene all make this historic district an ideal Brooklyn spot for raising kids. Families in the area also have their pick of great schools with public PS 321 and Millennium Brooklyn High School, as well as the private Berkeley Carroll School close by.
Things to Do in Park Slope
Go birdwatching or host a picnic in the sprawling Prospect Park or walk over to the Prospect Park Zoo and Carousel. View paintings and sculptures, attend a visiting artist lecture, or take a studio art course at the Brooklyn Museum. Find your next Halloween costume, get a new book, or grab a greeting card at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where all of your purchases benefit the writing nonprofit 826NYC. Eat Colombian empanadas or arepas during a family dinner or have an after-work sangria at Bogota Latin Bistro. Or discover your new favorite dessert at Ladybird Bakery, where you can choose from amazing pastries like the Almond Plum Tart, Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake, and Lemon Cloud Cake.
Manhattan: Battery Park City
- Home Price: $754,550 median purchase price; $2,903 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 86% of cities in New York
Searching for one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan? Check out Battery Park City! Low crime-rates, clean streets, views of the Statue of Liberty, and beautiful parks make this is one of the best places to live in the heart of New York. Urban families can find luxury housing to rent or buy here that’s within walking distance of the Financial District and Lower Manhattan, and kids are close to highly-rated schools like Spruce Street School, Stuyvesant High School, and Millennium High School. The area also hosts community events like the annual Battery Park City Block Party, so it’s easy to see why this family-friendly NYC neighborhood is known as “The Best Small Town in the Big Apple.”
Things to Do in Battery Park City
Spend the day enjoying the green space, playing basketball, or planting something at the Children’s Garden at Rockefeller Park. Visit The Battery to ride the sea-creature themed carousel, take a tour of the wildflowers, or do yoga in the garden. See Manhattan from a new perspective, take a virtual reality tour of the city, or enjoy an upscale dinner with a view at One World Observatory at the top of the One World Trade Center. Find a unique chapbook in the library, attend guest readings from emerging authors, or sign up for a weekend masterclass at Poets House. Stop by Umami Burger for happy hour or go shopping at stores like Madewell, Suitsupply, and Burberry all within Brookfield Place. Dine at Blue Smoke and try the Salmon Salad or Baby Back Ribs with a side of Collard Greens and Sweet Potato Mash. Or start the day with something refreshing like a Matcha and Tonic at Laughing Man Coffee & Tea.
Queens: Forest Hills
- Home Price: $444,362 median purchase price; $1,494 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 87% of cities in New York
As the best borough in NYC for families, Queens is the destination for green spaces, excellent food, and getting more home for your money. Tucked in the middle of this quaint borough, Forest Hills is a top neighborhood for raising kids in NYC. Active families will love being close to expansive green spaces like Forest Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and kids will have access to excellent schools like Forest Hills Montessori School, The Kew-Forest School, or Queens High School for the Sciences at York College. Forest Hills is also one of the best places to buy a home in New York City, thanks to the affordable pre-war apartments and spacious Tudor-style houses for sale in the area.
Things to Do in Forest Hills
Enjoy seasonal events complete with local food vendors, live music, activities for kids, and more all hosted by the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce. Get creative at Oliloli Studio, where you can host your child’s birthday party or drop in during open hours to paint pottery. Attend Teen Movie Wednesdays or stop by for Open Mic night at the Forest Hills location of Queens Library. Go shopping at Thank Heaven to find trendy children’s clothing, toddler accessories, and baby shower gifts. Eat at Nick’s Pizza and build your own calzone or pizza. Or sip on a Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate and nibble on something sweet like Berry Napoleon or something savory like Feta Cheese Pie at Martha’s Country Bakery.
Staten Island: Great Kills
- Home Price: $404,414 median purchase price; $1,147 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 94% of cities in New York
Dreaming of moving to the suburbs? If you’re looking for an affordable home surrounded by a tight-knit community, Great Kills might just be the place for your family! This secluded area is one of the best neighborhoods in Staten Island for those hoping to escape the city while still being able to commute into Manhattan. Located on the South Shore, Great Kills is full of waterfront views and just steps away from a day at the beach, and families can rest assured that their kids will get a good education at top-rated schools like The Barbara Esselborn School, The Gifford School, The Eltingville School, and P.S. 8 Shirlee Solomon.
Things to Do in Great Kills
Take a kayak tour, spend some time at the beach, or head to Great Kills Park at night for stargazing. Visit the Great Kills Library to join a Book Discussion Group, participate in a coloring night for adults, or stop by Infant Lap Storytime. Paint a unicorn statue, take photos of your creations at the selfie wall, and finish any visit with disco dancing at PlasterLand. Pick out produce for the week from the Greenmarket on Saturday or grab a smoothie at Ono Bowls all in the Staten Island Mall. Turn dinner into a show at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse, where your family can practice shrimp-catching skills—plus, kids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays! Or try Potato Croquettes, BBQ Chicken Pie, and Shrimp Parmigiana at Giuseppe’s Pizza.
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Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes