10 Things to Do in New York City with Teens

Things to Do in New York City With Teens

Things to Do in New York City with Teens

Recently, my teenage daughter and I took a weekend trip to New York City to see a show. I loved the flexibility that traveling as a twosome provided (as opposed to traveling with the whole family). This experience allowed me to consider various activities that teenagers can enjoy in the city. Take a look at 10 fun things to do in New York City with your teens.

1. Take a Movie Tour. Hop on a tour bus with On Location Tours to get up close and personal with all those famous locations you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. The tour guides are all local actors and actresses who share fun stories about the movie scene in New York. I was lucky enough to be on a bus as a chaperone with a group of high school drama students so my tour was even more exciting!

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2. Shop Your Way Through Times Square. So many places to shop, but with teenage girls, you can’t go wrong with Forever 21 and the world’s largest H&M. Both are located in or near Times Square and we were fortunate to be there just after the H&M grand opening. Also, stop in at American Eagle to see if a purchase still qualifies you to have your 15 seconds of fame on a billboard in Times Square.

3. Sample Pizza While on Tour. Take the New York Pizza Tour offered by Free Tours by Foot (a real highlight for me). New York is one of at least eight cities in the U.S. with a Free Tours by Foot franchise. Visit three pizzerias as part of a historic tour of Greenwich Village and SoHo. Food is available for purchase at each location. At the end of the tour, you can decide how much the tour was worth.

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4. See A Show. Stay for Autographs. The best part about seeing a show in New York is that you have a really good chance of getting autographs, either before or after a show. Most theaters have one main stage entrance door and, as I found out recently after seeing Of Mice and Men, if you wait long enough the stars will eventually come out. Most will sign autographs and take photos with the crowd.

5. Visit Madame Tussauds. I always thought wax museums were a bit cheesy, but I have to admit that walking through Madame Tussauds really was great fun. The New York attraction boasts over 200 wax figures in rooms such as the Opening Night Gallery, Pop Culture, and The Sports Zone. Visit the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience, and be sure to check online for discount tickets before you go.

New York CityPASS

6. Head to the Top of the Rock. Make your way to the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center to the Top of the Rock for an amazing 360-degree view from the observation deck. You can buy various combination tickets that include this experience as well as other attractions, like the Museum of Modern Art.   

7. Sing Your Way Through Dinner. Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square is staffed with up and coming stars of screen and stage that will keep you entertained while you eat. It’s an experience like no other restaurant experience, so be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner. Teens may also enjoy the delicious diner breakfast menu (singing is also included at breakfast).

Related: 20 Things You Must Do with Kids in New York City

8. Stroll Through a Street Market. Shopping on the streets is a great way to teach kids how to bargain for something they really want. During our recent visit, we stumbled upon a street market that stretched for blocks on our way to Central Park. Through January 4, head to the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park’s Winter Village for an outdoor shopping experience. Ice skate on the adjacent rink when you’re done.

9. Bike through Central Park. Cruise around the park in about two hours, taking in some of the famous sights such as The Great Meadow and the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. You can find highly rated tours through companies such as Central Park Bike Tour. Or, look for Citi Bike locations all over town to grab a bike right off the rack and go.

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10. Stop in at Dylan’s Candy Bar. No matter what age my kids are, they always want to go into the candy shops, and Dylan’s Candy Bar is worth the visit. Aside from two levels of candy, you can indulge in Dessert Pizzas with names like “Monkey Business” and “Cookie Butter” at the on-site Candy Café. Located on 3rd Avenue near 60th Street, it’s also convenient to the subway.

To save money while in New York, I recommend a New York CityPASS. It’s a multi-attraction pass that combines entry to up to six attractions, including the Empire State Building, Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History. You can save up to 44% compared to buying tickets to individual attractions. When traveling as a family, the savings can be huge. 

Have fun and enjoy some special time with your teenagers. Before you know it they will be filling out college applications and heading out on their next great adventure. What are some things to do in New York City that you’ve enjoyed with your family?

About the Author: Kath Race and her husband, Rick, live in Northern Virginia with their three teenage children. She shares her road trip adventures at familyTravelsUSA. Kath and her family have visited many national parks, big cities and small towns over the years. She hopes to inspire others to do the same.