75+ Cool Things To Do with Teens in NYC [Post-Shutdown]


cool-things-to-do-with-teens-in-nyc

There are many cool things to do with teens in New York City. As natives of this wonderful city, we have been fortunate to enjoy a fair amount of them with our 17-year-old teenage daughter, Alicia. We are looking to fit in some more time with her before she heads off to college in the Fall.

Whether you are visiting NYC with a teenager or you are New Yorkers like us, I think you will find the list I am sharing with you below a very valuable resource. It encompasses extreme sports activities, dine-in movie theatres, teen appropriate shows, and even museums. Please let me know your thoughts on what I’ve shared with you at the end.

Contents show

Ride “The Beast” Speedboat

The Beast NYC

I’m kicking off this long list with an extreme ride.

These kinds of lists usually start out with the same old run of the mill touristic NYC sites. Nope. That’s not how I’ve put this list together.

If your teenager is a THRILL SEEKER and has a NEED FOR SPEED then they will enjoy taming this BEAST!

The Beast is like a rollercoaster on the water. This speedboat rockets through the New York Harbor at 45 mph and offers great views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. It also offers several opportunities for cool pics and social media bragging selfies.

Please Note:

  • Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure time
  • You must be 40″ inches (102 cm) or taller to ride
  • Kids must be able to sit in their own seat without assistance
  • The Beast does not go out in the rain
  • It is an extreme ride so it’s not recommended for those who are pregnant, have heart conditions or back injuries.

Pier 83, W. 42nd Street at West Side Highway | 212-563-3200 | Website


Go Zip Lining

Continuing along the lines of thrill-seeking experiences we move onto zip lining.

I realize most visitors don’t think about ziplining in NYC but trust me, your teens will LOVE you more for thinking outside the touristic box.

You won’t go wrong by choosing any of my suggestions listed below.

Flywire Zipline at Governor’s Island

teenagers on ZipLine at Governor's Island
Photo Credit| Govisland.com

Just imagine you and your teen zipping through 300 feet at speeds of 21 mph. All while taking in the picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, and the New York Harbor.

Or

Maybe you don’t really want to imagine zipping along at those heights and speeds. I get it. LOL! Don’t stop reading though, I promise to give you some more outstanding options ahead.

Related article:

IS GOVERNOR’S ISLAND WORTH A FAMILY VISIT?


Bronx Treetop Adventures

Here’s another opportunity to leave the concrete jungle behind. Even if it’s just for a few hours.

These adventures can be found inside the Bronx Zoo. You can zip along 400 feet while catching a bird’s eye view of the trees and the Bronx River.

If zip-lining is not enough of an adventure for your teen then they can opt for a tree climbing course. There are 7 different courses to choose from ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert.

Can we say Adrenaline Rush!

Bronx River Parkway at Boston Road BX, NY 10460 | (347) 308-9021 | Website

Please Note:

  • Must enter via the Bronx River entrance (B)
  • Must be 7 years old and up
  • Between 50 and 275 lbs
  • Able to reach 5′ 6″ with feet flat on the ground

Shoot at an Archery Range

It has been a long time since our family last visited an Archery Range. If I remember correctly my daughter and her mom struck the targets more often than me. I still believe there was something wrong with the bows and arrows I used (shrug).

If you are looking to create some fun memories with your teenagers then I highly recommend carving out some time to visit one of these Archery Ranges.

Gotham Archery (Manhattan)

This indoor range is located in a newly renovated 2,500 Sq Ft. facility in lower Manhattan near Canal Street.

You will have your choice of 45 lanes to shoot from. They offer classes, host a number of shooting leagues and tournaments, including a monthly 3D-Hunt. Equipment is available for rent or purchase at their pro shop.

73 Allen St, NY, NY 10002 | 212-775-0010 | Website

Gotham Archery (Brooklyn)

This location is much bigger at 7,500 Sq. Ft. It’s located in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. Here archers can choose from 43 lanes. If you commute via bike then you will love to hear that bike racks are conveniently located inside this location.

480 Baltic St, BK, NY 11217 | 718-858-5060 | Website

Oops… I almost forgot to mention that Gotham Archery offers Axe and Knife Throwing classes at both of their locations.

Pro-line Archery Lanes (Queens)

This is the place where my wife and daughter put me to shame on several occasions.

Founded in 1994 this indoor range boasts a modern 30 lanes for year-round fun. Pro-Line offers youth programs, mixed target leagues, bowhunter leagues, and open shooting.

Equipment is available for rent or purchase, which you can find with the assistance of their helpful and experienced staff. Each staff member averages 25+ years of archery experience.

95-11 101st Ave, Ozone Park, NY 11416 | 718-845-9280 | Website


Explore the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

If I had to personally choose my favorite museum in New York City, the Intrepid would be at the top of the list. If your teen is into science, aviation, or military history then this museum is the place to visit.

To better help prepare your family for a visit to the Intrepid I’ve linked out to a brief video from fellow New York City Vlogger John Barr from Here Be Barr. Check out his extensive coverage of the Intrepid below.

Please Note:

  • Entry to the museum is FREE on select Fridays from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M.
  • I suggest you carve out 2 to 3 hours to cover the entire museum.

Pier 86, W 46th St, NY, NY 10036 | 212-245-0072 | Website


Roam Times Square

Everyone should visit Times Square at least once in their lifetime. It is known as the “Crossroads of the world” for a reason. The energy and vibes while roaming this section of Manhattan is indescribable and unlike any other place in the world.

I recommend taking the family for a stroll around Times Square in the evenings after sunset. This way you can admire the glamorous lights and giant billboards this area is famous for.

Enjoy your time in Times Square by visiting some of the attractions, shops, and eateries listed below.

Native New Yorker Tip: If you pose with the costumed characters walking around Times Square they will expect a tip.   They tend to be a little aggressive but no worries, there is usually a large police presence in the area just in case.


M&M’S World Times Square

M&MsStoreBroadwayNYC

This store is massive at about 25,000 Square Feet over a couple of floors. It’s nice to walk through and check out the extensive variety of M&M candies, toys, and merchandise.

1600 Broadway NY, NY 10019 | 212-295-3850 | Website

Cool Fact: The biggest M&Ms Store is located in Leicester Square in London. It boasts 35,000 Square Feet over 4 Floors. Now that’s Huge!

Native New Yorker Tip: The prices are a little on the high side so bring extra cash (and plastic).


Dave and Buster’s

Your teenagers will never get bored at this family-friendly sports bar. There are hundreds of video games to enjoy and several virtual reality games to experience. Their food is pretty tasty as well. You can even book space to celebrate your teenager’s birthday while you’re here.

234 W. 42nd Street, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10036 | 646-495-2015 | Website


NBA STORE NYC

If you are in the Times Square area and are a basketball fan then you definitely should visit this 25,000 Sq. ft store. Make your way through 3 floors and pick up everything from your favorite jerseys, footwear, hats, and collectibles.

545 5th Avenue at 45th Street NY, NY 10017 | Website


Madame Tussauds NYC

This is a fun place to hang out for a couple of hours. Have fun taking pictures with life-size wax replicas of your favorite musical artists, movie stars, world leaders, and many more. There is something here for everyone in your family.

234 W 42nd St, NY, NY 10036 | 212-512-9600 | Website


Ripley’s Believe it or not

If your teens are into the weird, wacky, and strange then this attraction is for them. Check out over 500 artifacts and mind-bending displays throughout this attraction. Click the button below for a discount on your admission tickets.

234 W 42nd St, NY, NY 10036 | 212-398-3133


National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

This experience walks visitors through an adventure across the Pacific Ocean where they will see, hear, and feel what it’s like to live under the sea.

226 W 44th Street NY, NY 10036 | 646-308-1337 | Website


Junior’s Cheesecake

Not going to say much on this list item.

If you haven’t had Junior’s Cheesecake have you really had cheesecake?

No other cheesecake compares to Junior’s!

Visit this Times Square location for a slice of heaven before or after a Broadway show.

1515 Broadway (at 45th Street), NY, NY 10019 | 212-302-2000 | Website


Still Craving Sweets?

Dylan’s Candy Bar (Flagship)

If so, then I definitely recommend you head over to Dylan’s. I would describe this store as a cross between Disney World and Willy Wonka.

It’s every candy lover’s dream.

Purchase all types of candy from Gummy bears to Chocolate and everything in between.

Our family especially loves the vintage candies they sell.

1011 Third Ave, NY, NY 10065 | 646-735-0078 | Website

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar & Restaurant

Feed your passion for chocolate at this chocolate bar and restaurant located in Union Square, Manhattan. Chocoholics who visit have a myriad menu of delicious chocolate to choose from. Stop by and pick up a piece of chocolatie heaven.

841 Broadway NY, NY 10003 | 646-467-8803 | Website


Catch a Broadway or Off-Broadway Show

You have undoubtedly heard that seeing a Broadway show is a must if you are visiting the Big Apple. I couldn’t agree more. Shows like Wicked, The Lion King, and Phantom of the Opera are amazing shows and definitely a must-watch. We’ve caught all these three and they remain in our top 5.

The sets, casts, and characters of these shows are stunning. They are all well worth the money spent on tickets. I’m confident that you will find a show fitting for you and your teens.

I ask, however, that you not discount the myriad of off-broadway shows available. They offer great values and high caliber entertainment. I recommend watching the Blue Man Group and Stomp. Both are high energy and teen-friendly shows.

Taking in a show is definitely one of our favorite things to do in NYC with our teenage daughter, Alicia (pictured below).

Dad enjoying WICKED on Broadway with our teenage Daughter Alicia

Learn how we regularly save money when buying broadway and off-broadway show tickets by reading my blog post below.

11 BEST BROADWAY SHOWS TO WATCH WITH YOUR FAMILY


Spyscape

This is one of the most fun things to do with your teenager in NYC. Your teens will have a chance to immerse themselves in the world of spies, espionage, and secret agents. Do they have what it takes? Visit and find out.

250 West 55th Street, NY, NY 10019 | 212-549-1941 | Website


Empire State Building

Although it no longer ranks numero uno as the tallest building in the U.S., it’s definitely still worth a visit. Located in Midtown Manhattan, this iconic skyscraper offers stunning views of the city. Take your family up to the 86th and 102nd floor for views they will never forget.

350 Fifth Avenue (34th St.) NY, NY 10118 | Website

Native New Yorker Tip: The wait time is the longest during the summer months and major holidays. Expect 45 mins to an hour wait. The shortest wait times are between 8-10 A.M. and after 10 P.M.


GO VIRTUAL

VR World NYC

This virtual reality experience is located in Midtown Manhattan and spread out over three floors. It is the biggest venue of its kind in the nation.

Your teenage son or daughter will love putting on an Oculus headset at this futuristic arcade which boasts over 50 leading-edge and immersive “games”. The VR experiences range from gaming to art and film.

Be sure to check out the popular Orion’s Nebula, save the earth from zombies in Arizona Sunshine, or soar through the skies in the only VR Jet Pak simulator in the country.

Yes, it can be a little pricey but the face on your teenager after a FULL day of virtual reality can be… PRICELESS.

8 E 34th St, NY, NY 10016 | 646-578-9630 | Website

Escape Virtuality

This is another nearby option for going virtual. Escape rooms meet virtual reality at this place. Choose from a wide variety of immersive & full-motion Escape Rooms.

130 W 29th St, NY, NY 10001 | 212-300-1075 | Website

VR BAR

This virtual reality arcade is located in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. You can try to Escape the Lost Pyramid or head to Greece and look for the missing ship Beyond Medusa’s Gate.

No matter which games or experiences you choose you will be glad you stopped in.

65 Jay Street BK, NY 11201 | Website


Share some Pizza

I’ve never met a teenager, nor adult for that matter, that didn’t like Pizza.

I’m sure you have probably debated on who makes the best pizza or which toppings to have

BUT there’s no doubt that NYC is the Pizza capital of the world. Eating pizza here is like a rite of passage.

There are countless pizzerias in NYC for me to list here. I recommend going on any of Scott’s Pizza Tours so you can try a few famous and drool-worthy pizza joints throughout our five boroughs.


Top of The Rock

TopoftherockNYC

Every teen who visits NYC, especially for the first time, must go to the top of very tall buildings. Why? Teenagers think it’s cool!

Sources? you ask.

Well….

I surveyed our teenage daughter, her cousins, and a few of her friends.

All teens of course.

AND that was the unanimous response I received. LOL.

So yeah, there you go. That’s that. Now let’s get back to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Even though it’s not as tall as the other observation decks in NYC, it’s less crowded and offers the best views of the Empire Stae Building and Central Park.

Rockefeller Center also happens to be home to many hit NBC shows including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, and Saturday Night Live.

To learn how to win FREE tickets to these and other shows around NYC click here.


Lego Stores

Chances are that your teenagers love Legos or at some point during their childhood loved them.

Hell, chances are greater that you – the adults- love them even more. LOL.

Either way, you won’t regret visiting any of the two Lego stores I’ve listed below. The store in the Flatiron District is the Flagship location.

In Rockefeller Center

620 5th Avenue | 212-245-5973 | Website

Flatiron District

200 5th Avenue (near Madison Square Park) | 212-255-3217 | Website

Native New Yorker Tip: In my opinion, the flagship location in the Flatiron District is best. It’s bigger and has a wider selection than the Rockefeller Center location.


Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral

You do not have to be the religious type to appreciate the history and architecture of this beautiful Cathedral. Surely your teen will appreciate it too. Public tours are available for a small suggested donation. Click the link below for dates and tour times.

5th Avenue between 50 & 51 Sts,  NY, NY 10022 | 212-753-2261 | Website


Lace-up Those Ice-Skates

A cool thing to do in NYC with your teenager during the winter season is ice skating. There are many ice skating rinks throughout NYC to choose from.

So lace up those skates and head to any of my three favorite rinks listed below.

Wollman Rink (Central Park)

This rink is located in the southern part of Central Park and is open for ice skating from late October through early April. It then operates as Victoria Gardens, an amusement park for children during the months of May through September.

Monday - Thursday  
Adults$12.00
Youth(11 and under) $6.00
Seniors$5.00
Friday-Sunday & Holidays
Adults$19.00
Youth$6.00
Seniors$9.00
Skate Rentals$10.00 (tax included)
Lock Rentals$5.00+$6.00 REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT (Tax included)
Spectator$5.00

830 5th Ave, NY, NY 10065 | 212-439-6900 | Website

Aviator Sports (Brooklyn)

Aviator Sports and Events Center is a massive recreational complex located in Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn. Throughout the year they offer a wide variety of sports and league play including ice hockey, gymnastics, football, and many more. Activities such as camps, field trips, and birthday celebrations are also held at this facility.

Admission – Per Session

  • Non-members: ­Adults $12 and Children (ages 11 and under) $10
  • Members: ­Adults $10.80, Children (ages 11 and under): $9

Skate Rentals: ­$6.00/pair +tax
*Free lockers available: Bring your own lock*

Floyd Bennett Field 3159 Flatbush Ave BK, NY 11234 | 718-758-7500 | Website

Lefrak Center at Prospect Park

This 26-acre activity center in the southeastern section of Prospect Park is home to seasonal & year-round activities. During the winter season, you can see people enjoying ice and figure skating, curling, hockey, or broomball on ice. Alternatively, when the weather heats up visitors are usually roller skating, biking, and boating.

Ice skating Admission : $7.50 weekdays $11 weekends (Fri at 4 pm-Sun) + holidays

Skate Rental : $8.00

171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225 | 718-462-0010 | Website


The Ride NYC

Once you go on this RIDE you will never want to go on any other bus tour in New York City.

This bus is like a party room on wheels.

Tour-goers will see many iconic areas of NYC while enjoying stadium seating and entertainment by a hilariously funny host.

Check out the brief video below for a quick peek into this special bus tour.

The Ride NYC

259 W 42nd St & 8th Ave, NY, NY 10036 | 212-221-0853 | Website

Please Note:

  • It is currently $35.00 per ticket year-round.
  • The ride lasts for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom and democracy in the United States. I recommend taking a guided tour of Lady Liberty and learning all about her deep history.

If you wish to skip the guided tour and catch the great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island instead, then hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry.

The ferry is FREE and departs from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan.

For up to date ferry schedules click here.

Click here for more information on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


9/11 Memorial & Museum

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is located at the World Trade Center. It’s a short walking distance from my office and so, over the last 5 years, I have been able to visit several times and pay my respects.

It is always a somber moment and takes me back to one of my darkest days as a New Yorker.

I believe that everyone including our children should visit the 9/11 Memorial and honor the lives lost on that unforgettable day.

Entry to the Memorial is FREE and open to all.  It’s open daily from 7:30 A.M. to 9 P.M.

The 9/11 Museum tells the story of this tragic day through media, narratives, and a collection of memorabilia devoted to 9/11. Click here to purchase tickets to the museum.


Shop & Eat at The Oculus

The Oculus is at the center of the World Trade Center transportation hub. It cost 4 billion dollars to build and was created to rival Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.

There are many things to do at this attraction. Shop at any of the 100 stores located inside including the Apple store, H&M, and Pandora.

Then when you and your teen have worked up an appetite you can dine at one of the numerous restaurants including Eataly and Shake Shack.

Lastly, you can explore art and attend special events inside and outside of the Oculus.


Discount Shopping @ Century 21

Did someone say discount shopping?

Yes! I said it!

I mean who doesn’t like hunting for deals right? Especially in an expensive town like NYC.

Head over to Century 21 steps away from the Oculus where they sell designer merchandise at deeply discounted rates (up to 65% off!).

My wife and I have been devout shoppers at Century 21 for the longest time.

They sell clothing, footwear, outerwear, fashion accessories (including handbags), and many other items.

22 Cortlandt Street, NY, NY 10007 | 212-227-9092 | Website


Chinatown Fair Arcade

This world-famous arcade has been around for about five decades making it one of the oldest still around in New York City.

If your teenager loves playing video games then they will enjoy this old school arcade in Chinatown.

8 Mott Street, NY, NY 10013 | 212-964-1001 | Website


Pose with the Wall Street Bull

Wall-Street-Bull

This NYC Landmark was created by Arturo Di Modica in 1989 and is located on Broadway and Morris Street NY, NY 10004. 

There’s not much to physically see. So why visit? This is what Di Modica said after creating it:

The sculpture was in response to the 1987 stock market crash, calling it a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people.” He has also said it represents America and New York’s “can-do spirit,” where anyone can become successful with hard work and determination.

Source: Business Insider

Don’t forget to rub the bull for good luck before heading out.


Go on a Hip-Hop Tour

Hush Tours

If your teens are into Hip Hop then they will be stoked on this one. New York City is the undisputed birthplace of Hip Hop and there’s no better way to experience this vibrant culture than going on a Hush Tour.

Hush tour operators have been providing authentic insights into NYC and the Hip Hop world for over 17 years. If your teen wants to see our city’s hidden gems through hip hop lens then book a tour by clicking the button below.

Address: Depends on which tour you purchase

Phone: 212-714-3527

Website: www.hushtours.com


Visit a Book Store

Is your teenager a bookworm? If so, then they will enjoy a visit to any of the following three book stores. Read on.

Strand

One cannot begin to discuss the best book stores in NYC without mentioning Strand. The Strand Book Store has been around for over 90 years. This independent, family-owned bookstore is reported to contain 18 miles of books.

Book lovers can purchase new, used, and rare books. Check the website for the calendar of special literary events.

828 Broadway, NY, NY 10003 | 212-473-1452 | Website

Greenlight

Greenlight operates two small and independent bookstores in Brooklyn, NY. They have a great selection of books from both large and small publishing houses.

Their brightly lit shops are conducive to general browsing and serve as comfortable backdrops for special events.

Visitors will undoubtedly find something new and exciting at any of the two Greenlight stores.

686 Fulton Street, BK, NY 11217 | 718-246-0200 | Website

632 Flatbush Avenue, BK, NY 11225 | 718-246-0200 | Website

Mysterious Book Shop

If your teen enjoys curling up with whodunit novels then this place is for them. This shop is small but well-stocked from floor to ceiling with new, used, rare & collectible crime & suspense titles.

This book shop is located in the trendy neighborhood of Tribeca. Be sure to stop by if you are in the area.

58 Warren St, New York, NY | 212-587-1011 | Website


Enjoy Tea Time

Founded in 2001 Alice’s Tea Cup was created to provide a magical and whimsical take on the Alice in Wonderland fairy tale.

Patrons will find an extensive selection of teas from around the world, kick-butt scones, and tasty finger sandwiches.

What are you waiting for? Jump down the rabbit hole and visit any of their locations below.

Alice’s Tea Cup (Chapter 1)

102 West 73rd Street NY, NY 10023 | 212-799-3006 | Website

Alice’s Tea Cup (Chapter 2)

156 East 64th Street NY, NY 10065 | 212-486-9200 | Website

Alice’s To Go

43 Hicks Street BK, NY 11201 | 347-223-4830 | Website


Central Park

Central Park

I wouldn’t dare leave out another one of the most renowned places in NYC. There is a wide variety of things to do at this 843-acre urban oasis.

Park-goers can go for a bike ride, a jog, or catch some rays on the great lawn during the spring and summer months.

I highly suggest your teenager look into going on a Central Park Movie and TV Tour.

Central Park has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood hits including:

  • The Avengers
  • Ghostbusters
  • Enchanted
  • Home Alone 2
  • Wall Street
  • When Harry Met Sally

and TV shows including:

  • Sex and the City
  • Gossip Girl
  • Law and Order
  • Disney Series Jesse
  • Liv and Maddie

I recommend scheduling a tour with Free Tours By Foot.


Apollo Theater

As a teen, I recall staying up late on Saturday nights to watch the classic competition- Amateur Night at the Apollo on TV.

It was hosted by the beautiful Kiki Shepard and attracted performers from around the world.

The audience did the judging and boy were they tough on the amateur performers. If the performers were good they were shown lots of love with loud claps and standing ovations.

Alternatively, if the audience didn’t appreciate the performance they booed loudly, prompting a clown to come onto the stage to usher them off before they could finish their performance.

Amateur nights at the Apollo still take place today. Your kids will have fun cheering and booing performers during a live show. Click the link below to learn more about the historic Apollo Theater and purchase show tickets.

Cool Facts: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Ella Fitzgerald performed at Amateur Night.

253 W 125th St, NY, NY 10027 | 212-531-5305 | Website


Union Square Park

If your teens are into skateboarding they will enjoy showing off a few stunts and tricks at this park.

I believe that this park is also a nice place to wander around and people watch when the weather is warm. There are numerous community events including the Farmer’s Greenmarket and the internationally recognized Holiday Market.

Visit the Union Square Partnership for a calendar of special events.


Comics at Forbidden Planet

No better store for your teenager to visit if they are into collecting comic books than this long-standing shop. Forbidden Planet has been around since 1981 and is one of the world’s largest sellers of comic books, graphic novels, and toys.

332 Broadway New York, NY 10003 | 212-473-1576 | Website


Eat your way through the Chelsea Market

The Chelsea Market is one of our favorite food halls in New York City. If you visit I’m sure it will become one of your favorites as well.

Foodies have a wide range of options to choose from during their visit. Satisfy your palette with a delicious taco from Los Tacos No.1, fresh seafood from The Lobster Place, or a hot dog from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats.

To satisfy your sugar cravings I recommend a dozen hot and sugared mini donuts from Doughnuttery, a freshly baked brownie from Fat Witch Bakery, or a moist piece of chocolate cake from Sarabeth’s Bakery.

Aside from all the delicious eateries at the Chelsea Market visitors will also find cute shops selling awesome merchandise.

Cool Facts: This building once housed the Nabisco Factory and was where my favorite Oreo Cookie was invented.

75 9th Ave, NY, NY 10011 | 212-652-2111 | Website


Walk the Highline

After stuffing yourselves at the Chelsea Market discussed above, you can burn off some of those calories by walking the Highline.

If you haven’t heard about the Highline before it’s a public park created from an abandoned stretch of elevated railroad track.  The park stretches about 1.5 miles long and offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.

Visit Friends of the High Line for a listing of special events.


Climb The Vessel at Hudson Yards

The-Vessel-in-New-York-City
The Vessel in New York City

At the end of the High Line near 34th Street, you will arrive at the Hudson Yards Complex. The revamped Hudson Yards includes several residential buildings, office towers, public spaces, an arts center, a variety of retail shops, and numerous restaurants.

There’s no doubt that The Vessel is the star of the show. It is definitely a must-see attraction in NYC. This landmark is comprised of an elaborate honeycomb-like structure rising 16 stories and consisting of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb. Climbers of the Vessel are rewarded with remarkable views of the city and the Hudson River.

It is FREE to visit The Vessel but tickets are required. They are offered daily on a first-come, first-serve basis at several kiosks around Hudson Yards.

Advanced tickets are available online but quantities are limited. Click here for more information on visiting Hudson Yards.


New York Public Library

This flagship location of the NYC public library system was established in 1895 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It is easily recognizable by the two lion statues situated on either side of the entrance.

The library houses approximately 125 miles of stacked books, about 53 million items, and many exhibits including the original Declaration of Independence.

Tours of the library are provided FREE of charge. Click on the button below for tour schedules and library operating times.

476 Fifth Avenue NY, NY, 10018 | 917-275-6975 | Website


Board Game Cafes

Board Games are in style once again. Send your kids to one of these cafes so that they can unplug from the digital world for a little bit.

There are many of these types of cafes throughout our five boroughs. I’ve listed three of my favorites for your consideration below.

The Uncommons Cafe

The Uncommons Cafe was Manhattan’s first board game cafe. It is home to all kinds of tabletop games. They offer seating for about 65 players, a private party room, and plenty of food and drink options.

75 9th Ave, NY, NY 10011 | 212-652-2111 | Website

Hex & Company

Hex & Company has two locations in Manhattan (listed below). They both provide a place where friends and families can unplug and connect over board games. Hex also offers many programs for kids including after-school enrichment programs, school breaks, and summer camps.

2871 Broadway NY, NY 10025 | 212-439-1008 | Website

1462 1st Avenue NY, NY 10075 | 646-833-7574 | Website

Sip N’ Play

This board game cafe is one of the coolest hangout places in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s a perfect spot for caffeine addicts and board game enthusiasts. Sip N’ Play is well stocked with over 200+ games and sells an assortment of coffees, espressos, sandwiches and snacks.

471 5th Avenue BK, NY 11228 | 718-971-1684 | Website


Trapeze School New York

This activity is great for that teen who always aspired to become a circus performer. They now have a chance to live out their dreams!

Trapeze School New York offers classes in flying trapeze, trampoline, static trapeze, silks, and more. They also offer parties, special events & team-building workshops.

You can visit any of their two locations. Their year-round facility is located in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn (at the intersection of Tompkins and Flushing Avenues).

Their seasonal outdoor facility is located in lower Manhattan on top of Pier 40 in Hudson River Park (West St at Houston St).

Please visit their website for more information.


Mini-Golf at Pier 25 Hudson River Park

Photo Credit: Stephen Yang | NY POST

Looking to hit the mini-links? Then look no further than this 18 hole miniature golf course. At 13,000 square feet, it’s the only course of its kind in NYC. This place usually opens on April 15 and hours are extended as the weather warms up.

Cost : $8.00 for Adults & $5.00 for Children

225 West St, NY, NY 10013 | 347-756-5813 | Website


Rock Climbing

The sport of rock climbing has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years in New York City. Here are three indoor places where your teens can have fun climbing.

The Cliffs (Long Island City)

This is one of the largest rock-climbing gyms in the U.S. They have more than enough walls to climb for varying skill levels. If your teen is not into heights they can give bouldering a shot.

11-11 44th Dr. LIC, NY 11101 | 718-729-7625 | Website

Steep Rock Bouldering

Steep Rock Bouldering has two locations in Manhattan. They offer group classes, after-school programs, and youth classes. Climbing routes are routinely changed so that boredom never sets in. Visit their website below for more information.

1506 Lexington Ave., NY, NY 10029 | 212-410-7070 | Website

3225 Broadway NY, NY 10027 | 212-410-7070 | Website

Chelsea Piers Sports Center

This facility in Chelsea offers some of the most challenging walls in the country. Climbers have 11,000 square feet to work with. No worries though, if you are new to this sport they offer one-on-one lessons.

250 West 55th St., NY, NY 10019 | 212-549-1941 | Website


Catch A Game

New York Yankees

I’m a self proclaimed sports junkie.

Soo…I’m totally biased on these recommendations.

If you are in town during Baseball Season I recommend catching a game at Yankee Stadium.

You and your baseball-loving teens should also take a tour of the stadium. The tour starts in the Yankee Museum, where all of the team’s World Series Rings and trophies are on display. Guests then head over to Monument Park, where Yankees whose numbers have been retired are honored. Lastly, guests visit the Press Box for awesome views of the ballpark.

I have included a list of important things you need to know about New York’s Sports teams below.

Yankee Stadium
Sports TeamWhere they PlayRegular SeasonAddressWebsite
New York YankeesYankee StadiumEnd of March thru end of September1 E 161 St, The Bronx, NY 10451LEARN MORE
New York MetsCitifieldEnd of March thru end of September126th St and Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11368LEARN MORE
New York KnicksMadison Square Garden (MSG)End of October thru Mid-March4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001LEARN MORE
Brooklyn NetsBarclays CenterEnd of October thru Mid-March620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217LEARN MORE
New York LibertyMadison Square GardenMid-May thru Mid-September
4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001LEARN MORE
New York GiantsMetLife StadiumEarly September thru end of December1 MetLife Stadium Dr, East Rutherford, NJ 07073LEARN MORE
New York JetsMetLife StadiumEarly September thru end of December1 MetLife Stadium Dr, East Rutherford, NJ 07073LEARN MORE
Buffalo BillsNew Era FieldEarly September thru end of December1 Bills Dr, Orchard Park, NY 14127LEARN MORE
New York RangersMadison Square Garden (MSG)Early October thru Mid-March4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001LEARN MORE
New York IslandersBarclaysEarly October thru Mid-March620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217LEARN MORE
New York City FCYankee StadiumMid- February thru Early October
1 E 161 St, The Bronx, NY 10451LEARN MORE

Knock down some Pins

Lucky Strike

This bowling alley in times square offers a wide collection of activities to satisfy any picky teenager. Besides bowling, guests can opt to play Pool, Ping Pong, or Darts. All of this while jamming to live music from local DJs and sharing some good food and drinks.

660 W. 42nd Street, NY, NY 10036 | 646-829-0170 | Website

Bowlmor Times Square

This place is ginormous! It has about 90,000 square feet to keep your family entertained for hours. They have 48 bowling lanes, a well-stocked arcade with carnival games, classic pinball machines, air hockey, and pool tables. Their food and drinks are also HUGE. Try washing down one of their 6-pound burgers or a two-foot hot dog with a giant-sized lemonade guzzler.

222 W. 44th St. NY, NY 10036 | 212-680-0012 | Website

Brooklyn Bowl

It’s game on when heading over to this bowling spot in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Brooklyn Bowl is probably more famous for its large music venue and restaurant. Whether you are coming to Bowl or enjoy a show you’re guaranteed to have a fun time.

61 Wythe Avenue BK, NY 11249 | 718-963-3369 | Website


Dine-in Movies

If it’s raining or the summer heat is unbearable during your visit to New York City I recommend stepping out to enjoy a good movie.

I’m not suggesting any old standard movie theater. If you want to impress your teens then a Dine-in Movie theater is the way to go.

Kids and adults alike love going to these types of theaters because of the overall experience. I mean who doesn’t like to be served food while watching a newly released blockbuster movie on an oversized leather reclining sofa?

IPIC theaters

This movie theater near the South Street Seaport in Manhattan is an upscale experience. It will set you back a pretty penny but in my opinion, it’s worth the splurge. The plush seating is like flying inside an airline’s first-class section. Moviegoers will feel like royalty with the provided pillows and blankets, unlimited popcorn, gourmet food and cocktails, and in-theater service.

11 Fulton St, NY, NY 10038 | 212-776-8272 | Website

NiteHawk Cinema

Nitehawk is a locally based independent business. They were the first cinema in New York to get a liquor license and first in NYC to offer dining while watching a movie. There are two locations, the original one in Williamsburg Brooklyn and the latest one in Park Slope. So next time you want to have a unique movie-watching experience while supporting a local business head over to Nitehawk.

136 Metropolitan Ave, BK, NY 11249 | 718-513-2547 | Website

188 Prospect Park W., BK, NY 11215 | 929-282-4300 | Website

Alamo DraftHouse Downtown Brooklyn

Filmaholics will love catching a flick at this Brooklyn outlet of the Austin based chain. It’s located inside the recently developed City Point Center in Downtown Brooklyn. The entire family can watch current movie hits as well as random cult classics. All of this while ordering drinks and meals from the comfort of stylish leather recliners.

What’s even better about this theatre is that you can also fit in some shopping time without having to leave the building. You can stop at Target, Century 21, and Trader Joe’s to name a few. If you still want to grab a bite to eat head down to the basement where you will find the Dekalb Market Food Hall. There are so many food options to satisfy your palettes.

445 Albee Square W. 4th Flr BK, NY 11201 | 718-513-2547 | Website


Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

MOMA is known as the largest and most influential museum of modern art in the world. It is a must-visit while in NYC.

Museum Admission:

Please note that MOMA no longer accepts suggested donations.

$25 adults (18+)
$18 senior citizens (65+) $18 visitors with disabilities
$14 students (Full-time with ID)
FREE for children (16 and under)
FREE for Museum members

11 W 53rd St, NY, NY 10019 | 212-708-9400 | Website

Native New Yorker Tips: Admission to the museum is FREE every Friday evening from 5:30-9 P.M.


Enjoy Coney Island

Head over to Coney Island’s Luna Park and ride the iconic wooden roller coaster the Cyclone. I dare you to ride at the head of the first car.

After some time on the amusement rides, you can stroll the historic boardwalk where you can enjoy the cool breeze, people watch and take a dip in the ocean.

During the summer months, Luna Park hosts a FREE fireworks show on Friday nights starting at 9:30 P.M.

Do not leave until you have enjoyed a Nathan’s Famous hot dog along with some crinkly cheesy fries. 

Visit the Coney Island Fun Guide for more info.

Native New Yorker Tips: While in Coney Island you and your teens can take in a Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU Park. The Cyclones are the Class A minor league affiliate of the New York Mets. Tickets typically range from $10 to $19 dollars and they usually host a post-game fireworks show which is pretty cool. 


Walk through Street Fairs and Festivals

Visitors to New York City and locals alike can usually find a street fair or festival happening throughout the city during the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons.  

A few of our favorite street fairs and festivals include:

  • Great July 4th Festival (near the South Street Seaport)
  • 5th Avenue Street Fair (Park Slope Brooklyn)
  • 7th Avenue Street Fair (Park Slope, Brooklyn)
  • Atlantic Antic (Downtown Brooklyn)
  • San Gennaro Feast (Little Italy, NYC)

They are FREE to attend but don’t forget to budget for food and souvenirs!

To find the dates of all fairs and festivals happening throughout NYC you can visit NYCGO for up to date information.


Brooklyn Bridge

One of my favorite bridges to cross is the Brooklyn Bridge. Everyone should walk this bridge at least once in their lifetime. This is a cool activity for your family to do together. Choose from walking, jogging, or biking your way across. 

Native New Yorker Tip: Please stay on the correct path when crossing the bridge.  If you don’t, you risk getting snarls, evil looks, and even being cursed at by bicyclists and walkers alike.


Brooklyn Museum

Throughout the year, the Brooklyn Museum (BkM) Teen Night Planning Committee plans, promotes and hosts a variety of FREE events for fellow teens.

Teen nights usually take place on certain Friday nights from 5-7:30 P.M. These events are so much fun as your kids can see and make art, hear music, dance, and meet new people.

FREE entrance to the Brooklyn Museum is available on the first Saturday of every month (except in September).  Doors open from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M. 

You can choose to take part in family activities, live music, and gallery talks. 

200 Eastern Pkwy, BK, NY 11238 | 718-635-5000 | Website

Native New Yorker Tips: The museum is right next door to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Prospect Park so you can plan to fit all three in on the same day.


Museum of Food & Drink (MOFAD)

Curious foodies will enjoy this new kind of museum that brings the world of food to life. Head down to MOFAD to experience exhibits via taste, touch, and smell.

Museum Admission: $14 per adult (with one food tasting) or $25 (with additional food tastings)

62 Bayard St, BK, NY 11222 | 718-387-2845 | Website


New York Transit Museum

You and your teens will not only learn the history of our massive NYC Transit system but will also get a sneak peek at the future of mass transit.

The museum is located in a 1936 underground train station in Downtown Brooklyn. We especially love the vintage train cars you can step aboard, the restored buses, and the countless interactive exhibits.

99 Schermerhorn St, BK, NY 11201 | 718-694-1600 | Website


Museum of Moving Image

If your kid is a film and television enthusiast then this museum is for them. Museum of the Moving Image is the country’s only museum dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms.

Museum Admission:

$15 adults (18+)
$11 senior citizens (65+)
$11 students with valid ID (18+)
$9 youth (3-17)
Free for Museum members and children under 3

Screenings & Events:

Tickets are required for each individual screening. 

Please check the website below for more info on costs for screenings and specials events.

36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106 | 718-777-6800 | Website

Native New Yorker Tips: Admission to the museum is FREE every Friday from 4-8 P.M.


Jet Skiing

Rockaway Jet Ski

Is your teenager into water sports? If the answer is yes then take them over to Rockaway Jet Ski. They have several aquatic adventures including the following:

  • Jet Ski rentals
  • Jet Ski Tours
  • Stand-up Paddleboard
  • Kayaking

Please Note:

  • A valid government I.D is required for all activities.
  • Must be at least 18 years old with valid photo I. D and Credit Card to operate a Jet Ski

375 Beach 92nd St, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 | 718-318-0111 | Website


Surfing Lessons

Locals Surf School

Surfing in NYC?

I know.

It’s not a sport or activity that comes to mind in the Big Apple but believe it or not there are some serious waves in New York.

At Locals Surf School there are no age limits and surfing beginners are welcome.

Beach 69th St Arverne, NY 11692 | 347-752-2728 | Website


Bonus idea

iFly

I’m calling this a bonus because this experience is just outside of New York City. If your kids wish to fly or skydive without the hazardous risks then take them over to this thrilling indoor skydiving experience.

iFly has two locations that are just outside our city limits. One is located in Westchester, New York, and the other in Paramus, New Jersey.

Visit the iFly website to learn more.


Conclusion

So there you have it! Kudos for making it to the end of 75+ cool things to do with teens in NYC. I hope you and your teenagers have an amazing time while visiting the Big Apple. Don’t forget to inquire with each location about current hours of operation before your planned visit. Finally, if there’s an attraction or activity you think should be added to this list please make sure to share with us in the comments section below.

Safe travels!

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