Tourist Activities for Tweens & Teenagers

So you have a teenager (or tween) coming to visit or you are looking for something fun to do with your own energetic young adult.  What are some fun, slightly more grown up and erm, "cooler" things you can do with them?  Here are some suggestions from local parents.



General advice:

"I think with teens it really depends on the teen. When I was a teen I really loved going to art museums, off broadway shows and for exotic ethnic food. Others teens visit NYC and want to go shopping and eat pizza. So you need to get a feel for them."

"In addition to the normal stuff, think outside the box and show them the city most tourists never see. Teens love to feel like they got the inside scoop."


Attractions, activities, and things to check out (in alphabetical order)

Accomplice The Show
Accomplice is a blend of walking tour, scavenger hunt and immersive, adventure theater.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema 
Get a meal with your movie! 

American Museum of Natural History
Visit the NYC institution dedicated to exploring human cultures, the natural world, and the known universe.

Artists & Fleas

What parents say: "My niece is 19 ... She also really likes Smorgasburg and Artists and Fleas."

The New York Aquarium is based on the beach at Coney Island and is dedicated to practicing conservation locally.

"Day trip to Fire Island or Robert Moses Beach."
Read more PSP member reviews about nearby beaches here.

Blossom Ice Cream
Rolled ice cream!

Blue Man Group

Catch a performance by the iconic ensemble.

Broadway Shows

What parents say: "If they want to see a Broadway show 'The Prom' is great for teens and a really fun show for everyone (but the baby). Teens are also wild about 'Be More Chill' (I didn't really love it but everyone under the age of 18 was SCREAMING with joy.)"

Brooklyn Bridge Piers

What parents say: "Great green space, ice cream, playground at Pier 6, and/or take the ferry to Governor's Island from Pier 6 and rent bikes there."
"They could walk the Brooklyn Bridge and then do a taste test of the pizza places on the Brooklyn side to determine which one they think is 'the best.'"

Brooklyn Boulders
What parents say: "it's the largest climbing gym on eastern seaboard!

Brooklyn Flea Market

The flea market is located in Fort Greene and Dumbo on certain days. Check website for details.

Brooklyn Museum

Check out the current exhibits and permanent collections at NYC's second-largest museum.

Brooklyn Robot Foundry

What parents say: "Maybe contact fun local activities (School of Rock, Brooklyn Robot Foundry) and ask if they'd let him visit for an hour or two for a fee?"

Bronx Zoo

Home to more than 700 species!

Botanic Garden

New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or Brooklyn Botanic Garden right here in Prospect Park.

Bus tours

What parents say: "What about those bus tours to spot famous NYC sites from TV and movies."

Cat Cafe

Brooklyn Cat Cafe is a volunteer-run adoption center and community space.

Central Park

What parents say: "In Central Park the Conservatory Garden is beautiful and very uniqe. Enter at East 104th St. But it's not for lounging on a towel. They would probably like the scene in Sheeps Meadow too."
"Central Park, maybe have a caricature drawn"
"I would say definitely Central Park.  Check out the artists on the streets - can get a fun portrait done. I have always wanted to do that. And walk around and see the street performers there. Check the website - there might be a free concert. There is also a little pond where you can rent RC boats. Museum of Natural History has a cool section with armor and weapons (yay!) and of course dinosaurs but he probably over that (Met has those too). The armor is pretty cool."

Chelsea Piers

What parents say: "If he likes golf, you can go to the Chelsea Piers and they have a driving range that overlooks the water which is pretty cool."

Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is a food hall, shopping mall, office building and television production facility located in Chelsea.


What parents say: "Chinatown is interesting to walk through too. Find things to eat like black sesame ice cream or wasabi ice cream!"

Climbing gym

Vital is one local climbing gym in Williamsburg.

Compleat Strategist
What parents say: "Compleat Strategist near the Empire State if he likes games."

Coney Island

Read a review of Coney Island from a real tween!

Cyclones Game in Coney Island
Catch a baseball game!

DeKalb Market Hall
BIGGEST FOOD HALL IN NYC, showcasing 40 vendors who reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the borough.

DUMBO & the Brooklyn Bridge
What parents say: "Just walked the bridge and had Juliana's pizza with visitors. It was a cold day, and we got there when it opened, so no lines. There's a shake shack down the block as well, and Jacques Torres chocolate." 
"Walk around DUMBO.  Your kids can run around- vistors love the view and being right on the water.  Stop by Jacques Torres for a treat."

Dylan's Candy Bar
Fun Wonka-style candy shop. 

Economy Candy

NYC's oldest retail candy shop.

Escape room

Beat the Bomb is one in Brooklyn.


Fire Museum
One of the nation’s most prominent collections of fire related art, artifacts, gear, and apparatus from the late 18th century to the present.

Forbidden Planet

What parents say: "Forbidden Planet if he likes comics."

Freedom Tower
(aka One World Observatory)

What parents say: My nephew just turned 15 [and we] did the Freedom Tower with him - the observation deck - and it's an incredible view and a neat experience. My girls are 3 and 6 so we steered clear of the 9/11 Museum, which I think is only recommended for kids over 12. AMNH is always good and Ellis/Liberty Island is on our list. Have fun!

Governor's Island
& South Street Seaport

What parents say: "Free ferry leaves from Pier 6. You can rent bikes on the island. There is also an outdoor trapeze school there. Think you have to sign up ahead of time."
"You can always go down to South Street Seaport and take a boat ride out to Governor's island and back.  You can get off at Govs island or just go back and forth. OR the SI Ferry, goes right by the Statue of Liberty. That's a fun ride."
Note: this activity is SEASONAL. It closed winter months and opens sometime in May.

Grand Central

Explore the shops, grab a snack, or take a self-guided audio tour of the station.

High Line

What parents say: "High Line! Only been once but I'd say the earlier the better."

Ice skating

What parents say: "Ice Skating at either Rockefeller Center or Central Park for sure."


What parents say: "My nephew just turned 15 and has always liked the Intrepid. It's pricey but you can get a 20% off coupon from They have a newish pavilion that houses one of the space shuttles, which is really cool, as well as a submarine you can climb into and a ton of other stuff."

Japan Village
Experience Japanese culture, community, and cuisine.


What parents say: Take them to a jazz club at night (many are perfectly happy to have children and teens attend as long as they don't sit at the bar)."

Jekyll & Hyde Club
Enjoy continuous live entertainment and spooky special effects. The creatures and memorabilia come to life and interact with you while you enjoy your meal.


Walk around K-town and grab BBQ and dessert.

Lincoln Center

Catch a music, dance, or theater performance.

Little Island

Little Island is a new public park, located in Hudson River Park and featuring rolling hills, winding pathways, and programming that includes music, dance, theater, poetry, comedy and arts workshops for all ages.

Little Italy

What parents say: "Walking around Little Italy esp at night is fun."

Lego Store
What parents say: "Big lego store at Rockefeller Center if he is still into Lego."

Luna Park

Home of the Cyclone and Thunderbolt roller coasters, attractions, dining, shops, and more

The Math Museum
MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics, highlights the role of mathematics in illuminating the patterns and structures all around us.

The Met

What parents say: "The Met has good family tours if they like art."

Museum of Arts and Design
What parents say: "If they are open to culturey things consider the Museum of Art & Design."

Museum of Illusions

Exhibits to deceive the eye including kaleidoscopes & holograms, plus tilted & reverse rooms.

Museum of the City of New York

Learn about the distinct character and history of NYC.

Museum of the Moving Image

Media museum located in a former building of the historic Astoria Studios.

New York Public Library

What parents say: "Get a picture taken with the 'lions' on the public library"

NYU campus

What parents say: "Wander around NYU."

Pier 25

What parents say: "Pier 25 in tribeca – mini golf, skate park, playground (if 12 yo’s still do that I don’t know), ice cream, and a block up the street wait for the free kayaking and kayak for 20 minutes.  I’ve done this with my 4 y.o and my 16 y.o niece and everyone was happy."
"The playground at Pier 25 that has a fun water feature & mini golf (along the Hudson River on West St @ N. Moore)."

The Hayden Planetarium at AMNH blends scientific scholarship with public outreach.

Prospect Park

What parents say: "Rent bikes and bike the loop in Prospect Park."
"Get a geocaching app on your phone and geocache Prospect Park."


RiseNY includes a film, galleries, and a soaring ride that suspends you 30 feet in the air.

Roosevelt Island Tram

Take the tram from Manhattan and then do a lap around the island.

School of Rock

What parents say: "Maybe contact fun local activities (School of Rock, Brooklyn Robot Foundry) and ask if they'd let him visit for an hour or two for a fee?"


What parents say: "My niece is 19 and since about 17 has been obsessed with consignment store shopping in Brooklyn. We hit the places on 5th Ave and also go over to Williamsburg."
"Take them shopping at Brooklyn Industries."

"Serendipity for giant sundaes."


What parents say: "Skateboarding park under Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan side, or the one at Chelsea Piers."


What parents say: "Smorgasburg (the all food market) on Saturday."
"My niece is 19 ... She also really likes Smorgasburg and Artists and Fleas."


What parents say: "A Cyclones, Mets, Nets or Yankees sports game."


This high-tech museum in Manhattan showcases extraordinary gadgets with stories and experiences that bring them to life.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

New observation deck by Grand Central.

Superhero Supply Co.

What parents say: "She can be 'De-villain-ized'; ask the staff to show her the secret back room (if you don't know, this is a Dave Eggger's shop that supports literacy, on 5th Ave)."

Tannen's Magic Shop

Tannen's Magic Shop is the oldest operating magic shop in New York City.


What parents say: "If the weather is crummy or they need a down day, they could check out the Uncommons, a board game cafe near Washington Square Park."

Tenement Museum

What parents say: "The Tenement Museum is absolutely fantastic and is not the museum most tourists flock to. There are lots of tours to choose from, including one that centers around foods from the LES. Seeing the old tenements has been interesting for even the most museum skeptic of teens who has come to visit us. Bonus: so much good food and shopping to check out after the museum.


What parents say: "A light, funny bit of theater."
"See if you can get tickets for something at the Victory Theater."

Top of the Rock

What parents say: "Top of the Rock is fun as well as Empire State building. TOR is easier usually bc of crowds at ESB."

Water Taxi

Take the Water Taxi from Dumbo to Manhattan.

Washington Square Park

What parents say: "Washington Square Park in the village. Good people watching and I think kids skateboard and stuff."

The Whitney

What parents say: "My teen and her friends love to go to The Whitney because it's so beautiful - lots of cool outdoor space and many wild exhibits. Also, it's great for selfies... School IDs get teens in for free at lots of NYC museums, so tell them to bring their school IDs if they have them."


More ideas from PSP parents:

Join the Tween Group to see if any parents have shared events that are going on in the 'hood - and feel free to ask!

Check out if any Places that offer Classes for Tweens/Teens have one-day workshops.


More ideas from around the web:

Things To Do With Teenagers in NYC