There are endless best things to do with teens in NYC, but since they’re going to be buzzing with excitement, you’ll want to have a plan in place. From shopping the latest trends to exploring iconic landmarks and indulging in delicious eats, New York unlocks a world of possibilities for both tourists and residents. Check out our guide to ensure your trip to New York with your teens is filled with unforgettable experiences!
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Tips for traveling with teens in NYC
Before you start exploring things to do in NYC with teens, you need to know how to go around the city:
Plan your trip in advance
Decide your destinations, sights to see, and transportation options. Use online and library resources for help. New York is busy and moving fast, you need to catch the pace to ensure everyone makes the most of every minute.
Prepare for lines at attractions, restaurants, and public transport, especially if you are navigating the place during weekends or holidays.
NYC is generally safe, but be cautious about pickpocketing. Keep valuables close and avoid walking alone at night. If you are out with growing girls, it is best to keep the touring hours up to early eve to maximize safety.
Use public transport
Get a MetroCard for affordable access to the subway, bus, and the Staten Island Ferry.
NYC is diverse, so mind your noise level and don’t intrude anyone’s personal space.
Carry a portable charger
Keep your phone charged for photos, navigation, and staying connected.
Wear comfy shoes
Expect lots of walking and choose comfortable footwear to assist the same.
Bring a water bottle:
Stay hydrated, especially in summer. Use a refillable water bottle to save money.
Things to do with teens in NYC
Now that you have the basics prepared, it is time to figure what to do when in NYC with traveling with growing kids:
1. Visit world-class museums
New York City is enriched with plenty of world-renowned institutions. Among them, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History stand out as prime destinations.
These museums don’t just offer a mere glimpse into the world of art, history, and science, they also provide immersive experiences that cater to the diverse interests of studious teenagers.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts an extensive collection spanning centuries and continents, while the Museum of Modern Art showcases the cutting edge of contemporary art. Meanwhile, the American Museum of Natural History offers a fascinating journey through the wonders of the natural world.
Whether it’s a teenager’s passion for ancient civilizations, contemporary art trends, or the mysteries of the cosmos, these institutions offer captivating exhibits and engaging programs that are sure to inspire young minds.
2. Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge offers breathtaking vistas of the city’s magnificent skyline. Walking or biking across this historic structure is an immersive experience in itself, allowing you to soak in the stunning architectural marvels surrounding you.
It is an ideal spot for people-watching, as teens will encounter a diverse mix of locals and tourists, all absorbed in the bridge’s charm.
For a more adventurous outing, you can rent a bike and pedal your way across the bridge, feeling the wind in your hair as you enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape.
Alternatively, you can opt for a ferry ride to Brooklyn, where a treasure trove of shops, restaurants, and attractions await your exploration.
3. See a Broadway show
Attending shows can be one of the most entertaining things to do in NYC with teens. It stands as a global epicenter for theater, boasting an array of world-class productions like musicals, plays, and comedies.
Whether the kids are a fan of captivating musicals, exciting dramas, or hilarious comedies, the Big Apple’s stages have it all.
What’s even more enticing is that many Broadway shows extend a welcoming hand to students, offering special discounts and deals that make attending these performances more accessible.
As a theater enthusiast or a curious newcomer, it’s worth keeping an eye out for these student-friendly offers, allowing you to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of New York City’s theater without breaking the bank.
4. Visit Central Park
Central Park is a renowned retreat within the heart of the bustling city, offering a perfect escape for those seeking a tranquil outdoor experience. You can rent bikes, engage in sports, or simply unwind on a park bench while observing people pass by.
Additionally, Central Park boasts various attractions like the Central Park Zoo, the charming Belvedere Castle, and the touching Strawberry Fields memorial, ensuring that people of all ages can find something captivating to explore within its vast and scenic landscape.
5. Take a ferry to Staten Island
Embarking on a ferry ride to Staten Island is also among the best things to do in NYC with teens. The best part? It won’t cost you a dime!
As you sail across the harbor, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas of two of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the majestic Statue of Liberty and the glittering Manhattan skyline.
It’s not just a boat ride; it’s an unforgettable experience that lets you capture postcard-worthy photos and get a real sense of the city’s grandeur. This free ferry voyage is a fantastic way to kickstart your NYC adventure with teens.
6. Visit the High Line
The High Line is a remarkable elevated park created from an old railway line, providing one-of-a-kind perspectives of the city.
It’s a fantastic spot to go for a stroll, ride a bicycle, or relax and observe the bustling city life below.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just seeking a tranquil urban escape, the High Line has something for everyone to enjoy in the heart of the city.
7. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a special place where teens can go to learn about what happened during the September 11 attacks in the United States. These attacks were a very significant and sad event in history.
When you visit the memorial and museum, you’ll see things like pictures, artifacts, and stories that help explain what happened that day. It’s a place where you can remember and pay tribute to the people who were affected by these events.
It is one of the most important things to do in NYC with teens to teach them about history and what’s happening in the world today. It can help kids understand more about this vital part of history and its impact on our world.
8. Go shopping in Soho or Williamsburg
Soho and Williamsburg are hip neighborhoods where you can find unique stores. Think of them as places where you can discover all sorts of things like stylish clothes, shoes, cool accessories, and even cool stuff for your room.
In Soho and Williamsburg, there are fancy shops, as well as places where you can find second-hand treasures. Whether you’re into fashion, music, or decorating your space, you’re likely to find something that catches your eye.
9. Catch a comedy show
If you are looking for fun things to do in NYC with teens, catching a comedy show at places like the Comedy Cellar or the Stand is a fantastic idea!
These places are like notable theaters where really funny people stand on a stage and make jokes. The Comedy Cellar and the Stand are particularly famous for having some of the most well-known and talented comedians perform there.
Going to a live comedy show can be a delightful experience. It’s a great way to have a good laugh and enjoy some entertainment.
10. Take a food tour
Taking a food tour is one of the essential things to do in NYC with teens. The city has a lot of different types of food from all around the world. So, you can go on a unique food tour where you get to try specific kinds of food.
For example, you can go on a pizza tour, where you’ll get to taste some of the best pizzas in the city. You can go on a bagel tour to try out different kinds of bagels, which are like round bread with a hole in the middle, and they’re trendy in New York.
And if you have a sweet tooth, you can go on a tour of the city’s best chocolate shops. You’ll get to taste yummy chocolates from different places.
11. Don’t forget to enjoy bowling
Going bowling at Chelsea Piers or Brooklyn Bowl is a relaxed and fun activity for teenagers. These are not your typical bowling places; they’re unique and exciting.
At Chelsea Piers and Brooklyn Bowl, you can play bowling while also having some tasty food and drinks. Plus, at Brooklyn Bowl, they often have live music, so you can enjoy awesome tunes while you bowl. It’s like having a mini-concert and a bowling game all in one place!
You can have a blast rolling those heavy balls and trying to knock down all the pins while enjoying good food, drinks, and even live music at the Brooklyn Bowl. It’s a great way to have a memorable time in New York City.
12. Play arcade games
Barcade and 1984 are the ultimate destinations for arcade enthusiasts of all ages. Both arcades offer a diverse selection of classic and contemporary arcade games, providing a nostalgic trip down memory lane while introducing modern gaming experiences.
Teens will find themselves immersed in a world of excitement as they challenge their friends to iconic games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Street Fighter II. These arcades not only provide a thrilling gaming atmosphere but also offer a fantastic opportunity for social interaction and friendly competition.
13. Go ice skating
Going ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park is a really cool thing to do, especially if you’re a teenager. These places are famous and have big ice skating rinks. So, you can put on your ice skates and glide around on the ice.
The best part is, while you’re skating, you get to see the fantastic views of the city skyline. It’s like you’re skating in the middle of the city, and it’s beautiful, especially in the wintertime when everything is all festive and snowy.
You’ll hear the laughter and cheers of fellow skaters, creating a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for teens looking for a good time. You might even want to challenge your friends to a race or practice some fancy moves together.
And don’t worry if you’re not an expert skater; both places offer rentals and lessons, so even if you’re a beginner, you can still have a blast.
Visiting New York City with teens can be an incredible experience filled with diverse and exciting activities.
As there are so many things to do in NYC with teens – from exploring world-class museums to taking in the city’s iconic skyline views, attending Broadway shows, and enjoying delicious food, there’s something for everyone.
Don’t forget to stay safe, plan ahead, and make the most of your time in the city. With these 13 fun things to do in NYC with teens, your trip is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for both teenagers and adults alike.
1. What is the best time to visit New York City?
The best time is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November). The weather is pleasant and the crowds are less.
2. How do I get around NYC?
NYC has an extensive subway and bus system. Consider getting a MetroCard for affordable and convenient public transportation.
3. Are there any free attractions in NYC?
Yes, many attractions like Central Park, the Staten Island Ferry, and the High Line are free to visit.
4. Can I see the Statue of Liberty for free?
You can view the Statue of Liberty for free by taking the Staten Island Ferry. This place offers excellent views as it passes by.
5. What should I pack for a trip to NYC?
Pack comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, a portable charger, and a reusable water bottle for a smooth trip.
6. What can you do at 18 near New York NY?
Explore nearby cities and towns, visit museums, see shows, and go shopping.
7. Can 18 year olds go into bars in NYC?
No, 18-year-olds cannot go into bars in NYC.
8. Can a 16 year old serve alcohol in NY?
No, 16-year-olds cannot serve alcohol in NY.
9. Can you book a hotel at 18 in New York City?
Yes, you can book a hotel at 18 in New York City.
10. What should a 14 year old do for fun in NYC?
Visit museums, zoos, parks, and other family-friendly attractions.