reiNowhere is REI SoHo’s commitment to families more evident than at the snack food section, where you can stock up for a family camping trip. You will find beef jerky, dried salmon, trail mix, and pouches of organic baby food. And there is no need to exclude a baby from one of the store’s family hiking trips; just carry him in a backpack.

New York’s latest outdoor adventure store is yet another way New Yorkers are modeling themselves after residents of Seattle and Portland (see the proliferation of Starbucks and artisanal coffee bars).


kidsbikesAlthough this REI doesn’t have a climbing wall, it has other cool features that make it worthy of a family outing. First, it may inspire couch potato kids – and parents – to pick up some outdoor gear and explore. You can get skis and snowboards, bikes, tents, and all the clothes and accessories for each activity.

The first time we took our kids skiing, we had trouble finding real snow pants, not the cheap nylon ones you usually see. And tiny ski socks. You can get these here.

You can sign up for one of the REI outings, which include intro to cross country skiing and into to snowshoeing. The store’s Manager for Outdoor Programs is planning geo-caching, standup paddleboarding and sea kayaking for warmer weather, and says that REI is partnering with Brooklyn Boulders to offer rock climbing.

Be sure to check out the huge flywheels from the building’s steam power plant and stone printing tablets from the original tenant, a lithographic company.