You may not think of the Lower East Side as a place for kids. After all, it’s already pretty crowded with Ludlow Street hipsters, Chinese immigrants and longtime Latino and Jewish residents. But LES is more. From East Houston Street, down the Bowery to the Manhattan Bridge and rounding out along the East River, the Lower East Side – one of NYC’s oldest neighborhoods – is a fun place for our youngest residents. But navigating the Lower East Side can be confusing, so start with Red Tricycle’s top 10 spots for kids to explore and learn about this vital neighborhood.

Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Don’t let this park’s skinny width deceive you. Sara D. Roosevelt Park is only a block wide, but it stretches from East Houston all the way down to Canal Street. And within those solid seven blocks, you and your kids will find a surprise wonderland: two playgrounds, a splash park, badminton courts, a soccer field, a basketball court and lots of nooks and crannies for new discoveries.

The Hua Mei Bird Garden is a magical little section of the park directly below Delancey Street. Operated by the Forsyth Garden Conservancy, this bird sanctuary is a place for local Chinese residents to bring their song birds to gather and sing their little hearts out. Although you must be a member to enter the community garden, you can still get close to the birds housed in intricate bamboo cages and hear their sweet songs.

The park also regularly scheduled fun family events like the Annual Dumpling Eating Contest or skateboard art with local artists.

Sara D. Roosevelt Park
East Houston Street to Canal Street between Chrystie Street and Forsyth Street
Phone: 212-219-0258
Hours: Sunrise to 1:00 am. Playgrounds: 8:00 am to dusk.
Cost: Free
Ages: All ages.
Need to Know: Don’t even think about driving your car.
 
Image courtesy of Alice Perry
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What’s your favorite spot to visit with kids on the Lower East Side?
 
–Alice Perry