"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.
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.
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.'"
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.
Check out the current exhibits and permanent collections at NYC's second-largest museum.
Home to more than 700 species!
What parents say: "What about those bus tours to spot famous NYC sites from TV and movies."
Brooklyn Cat Cafe is a volunteer-run adoption center and community space.
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."
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 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!"
Vital is one local climbing gym in Williamsburg.
What parents say: "Compleat Strategist near the Empire State if he likes games."
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.
NYC's oldest retail candy shop.
Beat the Bomb is one in Brooklyn.
- Farmers Market at Grand Army Plaza
- "Real NYC pizza! (look for Original Ray's pizza!!)"
- "Take them to Puglia's for Italian food, Ferrara for cannoli, dim sum in Chinatown, Indian food and window shopping in Jackson Heights."
One of the nation’s most prominent collections of fire related art, artifacts, gear, and apparatus from the late 18th century to the present.
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.
Explore the shops, grab a snack, or take a self-guided audio tour of the station.
What parents say: "High Line! Only been once but I'd say the earlier the better."
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 smartsave.com. 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."
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.
Catch a music, dance, or theater performance.
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.
What parents say: "Walking around Little Italy esp at night is fun."
What parents say: "Big lego store at Rockefeller Center if he is still into Lego."
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.
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"
What parents say: "Wander around NYU."
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.
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.
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: "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."
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."
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."
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.