By Jonathan W. Gray
Updated August 28, 2012 at 12:39 PM EDT

Living in New York is challenging. Being a parent is challenging. And willingly combining the two demands an explanation. There are many reasons why one might choose city over suburb, and one of them is the event culture inherent to city living.

We are currently in the dog days of summer, which, from a parenting standpoint, means the torpid weeks between the end of most summer camps and the first day of school. These are the times that try parents’ souls.

But, with NYC as my backyard last week was a snap! I took the kids to the Sony Wondertech lab where we played around with gadgets and also watched the heartbreaking mini-documentary Eye See Tohoku that detailed the aftermath of the Fukishima tsunami.

My wife took my daughter to see Wicked, and while the ladies were there I took the twin boys to my favorite comic shop and then to a fabulous outdoor taqueria. We also spent a day lounging by the wonderful McCarren Pool. (To be fair, there was that one day when the kids just goofed off around the house with iPods and DS while I readied syllabi for the fall semester, but still.)

And we weren’t done! On Sunday I took my kids to the Afro Punk festival, where they looked forward to skating and listening to the awesome Janelle Monae, TV on the Radio, and others. The day before that we went to Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open for fun activities and a concert. My daughter was excited because one of the acts was Carly Rae Jepson (groan!). The sacrifices we make for our kids…

Please note that aside from Wicked, these are free events. This is event culture, the cornucopia of things that are cheap and easy to get to. This is, I contend, increasingly why parents choose to raise children in major metropolitan areas rather than suburbs. We can talk all we want with other parents about wanting to expose our children to diverse cultures, but what we really mean is that we enjoy taking our kids to fun places and exposing them to things that we also enjoy.

Follow Jonathan @elmcitytree. And tell us what kinds of things you love to take your kids to.