We’re going to make a bold statement: Dumbo is the most family-friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn. Yes, even more so than Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. And darn it if you won’t take the best family selfies on the charming cobblestone streets there.
LUNCH: On Chips and Guac at Gran Electrica
Mexican is one cuisine that most kids and adults can agree on—and this lively gem with a pretty backyard does it right. Order a few rounds of chips and guacamole, tortas, and tacos to share. Gran Electrica (5 Front Street) is only open for lunch on the weekends; if you visit Dumbo on a weekday, stop by neighborhood favorite Superfine (126 Front Street) instead.
STRATEGIZE: At Beat the Bomb
After lunch, walk 10 minutes through the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets to this escape room–paintball mashup venue. You and the kids (10 and up only, sorry) don hazmat suits and goggles and enter a series of rooms where you must collaboratively solve puzzles in order to defuse a paint bomb. If you can’t break the codes in time, messy hilarity ensues. It’s a (colorful) blast. 247 Water Street, #106
PLAY: At Main Street Park
This darling riverside park is the main reason many young families move to Dumbo—you might want to relocate here, too, after a visit. Kids of all ages can climb and commandeer a giant ship in the nautically themed playground; skip stones at Pebble Beach; play tag on the lawn; marvel at the trains overhead; and learn to scale walls at the Cliffs of Dumbo, an outdoor bouldering facility. Raining? Bring the littles to Recess, a fantastic indoor play space, instead. 99 Plymouth Street
SNACK: Cookies and Cocoa at Jacques Torres
We swear by the monstrous ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies and the lip-smackingly rich hot chocolate here. Bonus: You can watch the chocolate being made on-site! 66 Water Street
SPIN: On Jane’s Carousel
You don’t need to know who Jane is—but you can; this beauty was built in 1922 and bought at an auction by Jane and David Walentas, of the real estate empire, in 1984—to hop aboard a painted steed and take in one of the best views of Manhattan from the waterfront ride. Open year-round but not every day, so check here for hours. Brooklyn Bridge Park, between Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges
SHOP: For Books at PowerHouse Books and Toys at Two Kids and a Dog
Load up on reading material at PowerHouse (28 Adams Street), a beautiful indie shop with high ceilings and a well-stocked kids’ corner. Then splurge on a stuffed reading buddy at the supercharming Two Kids (65 Pearl Street), where Monchichi dolls are sold. Remember those?
DINE: On Pasta and Fish at AlMar
End your day with well-earned carbs at this hip but homey Italian spot (111 Front Street). If it’s too crowded when you go, try Love & Dough (57 Pearl Street) for yummy thin-crust pizzas just two blocks away.