If you’re planning a trip to NYC with teens in the near future, don’t worry that they’ll get bored or roll their eyes at your lame ideas for things to do. There are tons of attractions in NYC that are perfectly suited for teens
, and you can ensure that your trip is one that appeals to everyone in your family. Here are some of the attractions in NYC that your teens are sure to love.
Museums and Attractions in NYC for Teens
Museums aren’t just about history and art. Here are some that your teenager will find fascinating.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Harry Potter: a History of Magic
is a show that the New York Historical Society will display until January 27, 2019. The show explores the folklore and traditions that inspired the book. It has rare books, old manuscripts, material from J.K. Rowling’s own archives, and more. Your teen will love visiting as they get to learn the history behind the Sorcerer’s Stone, examine a steamer like the ones the Hogwarts students pack in for school, and check out some original book cover art up close. This is a great exhibit for wizards and muggles alike.
To explore some natural wonder, wander through the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History
. The exhibition is open until May 27, 2019, and it takes place in the Whitney Hall of Oceanic Birds. At the exhibit, you can wander through a space that’s filled with more than 500 living butterflies and tropical flowers. Admission is by timed entry only, so make sure you get your tickets and plan in advance.
Shows That Teens Will Enjoy
One of the most famous attractions in NYC is Broadway. Take your teen to one of the following shows and get them to fall in love
with the magic of live theater. You can see a straight play or a musical, or you can go somewhere that is not a Broadway theater to see other outstanding live performing arts.
Dear Evan Hansen
This Tony-Award winning musical tells the story of an outcast teen and how a case of mistaken identity gets him into loads of unexpected trouble. Dear Evan Hansen
features a very catchy pop music score, and its relatable storyline will mean a lot to your teens. Also, the show explores some very relevant themes, including social media, bullying, teen suicide, young relationships, and more. Dear Evan Hansen
is a great first Broadway musical for anyone who is brand-new to theater.
If your teen loves the movie Mean Girls (who doesn’t), then they are going to love the Mean Girls musical on Broadway. The book of the musical was written by Tina Fey, and the show has been lauded as a high-energy, hilarious work that honors the beloved teen comedy. Even if your teen hasn’t seen Mean Girls the movie, they’ll love this pop score and energetic show.
Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
One great venue for comedy in New York City is Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). For some great laughs, take your whole family to an improv show at UCB Theatre. The shows there range in levels of age-appropriateness, so make sure you do research before you get tickets. However, once you find a show that looks like it’s suitable for teens, head to the theater, and get ready to laugh. One great thing about UCB Theatre is that some of the shows are free (and others are very cheap), so it’s an affordable way to be entertained for an evening.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter continues to be all the rage for audiences of all ages, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play currently on Broadway, is no exception. This play debuted in London, then moved across the Pond to NYC and audiences have been raving ever since. The play takes place in two parts, and you can choose to see either part or get tickets to see both. The story is focused on Harry Potter as a grown-up, and it explores how his child (and the children of his friends) are now ready to attend Hogwarts. This play won nearly every acclaimed theater award you can win, so don’t think it’s just a kids’ show. You’ll love catching up with your favorite wizarding friends, but you’ll also be impressed by one of the best artistic attractions in NYC. It has impressive writing, great actors, stunning stagecraft, and an intriguing plot.
Restaurants and Sweets: Culinary Attractions in NYC
There’s no doubt about it: NYC is a culinary destination and is home to a number of the world’s best restaurants. Your teen probably loves to eat, so take them to some of the city’s best dining spots
. Here are some that are sure to please any picky or hard-to-impress teenager.
Who doesn’t love dessert? Let your kid sample some of NYC’s best desserts by eating Junior’s Cheesecake. The restaurant’s menu has all sorts of diner-style classics, so even the pickiest of people can find something to eat like a hamburger or grilled cheese. Once you’ve eaten your entree, make sure you don’t miss any of the best dessert options—namely, the cheesecake! There are tons of cheesecake flavors that you can choose from and enjoy by the slice. So, let your teen pick from one of the following cheesecake flavors: plain, strawberry, cherry, blueberry, pineapple, three fruit, chocolate swirl, raspberry swirl, red velvet, devils food, chocolate mousse, carrot cake, sugar-free, apple crumb, brownie explosion, and tiramisu. There are lots of other desserts at Junior’s for teens who decide that they want something else sweet. Try red velvet layer cake, a cupcake sampler, or strawberry shortcake.
Max Brenner: A Chocolate Bar
Another great spot to satisfy your teen’s sweet tooth is Max Brenner: A Chocolate Bar. This dessert-focused eatery is located near Union Square, and it has a menu of regular food, in addition to its selection of sweets. Order a salad, sandwich or pizza to start. But save room, because you’ll want to order some of the dessert specialties, which include things like milkshakes, chocolate fondue that you can heat and dip at the table, s’mores you can make at the table, and a selection of waffles that are topped with candy, ice cream, and more. Max Brenner also has a menu of sweet crepes and dessert pizzas, as well as ice cream sundaes (and a lot of other delicious stuff!)
Alice’s Tea Cup
For a themed restaurant that’s sure to delight any member of the family, check out Alice’s Tea Cup. This restaurant pays tribute to Alice in Wonderland (and her crazy tea party adventures). You can go to Alice’s Tea Cup at meal time and order off of their menu of food. The menu includes items like eggs, omelets, scones, pancakes, hashes, hamburgers, tuna melts, and more. You can also go to Alice’s Tea Cup for a proper tea, which includes a pot of tea, scones, clotted cream, and preserves. There are two locations of Alice’s Tea Cup now: one of the NYC’s East Side and one on the West Side. So, choose the location that is closest to where you’ll be staying or hanging out.
Who doesn’t like to cook over an open flame? Do it safely at your table with your teen at one of the locations of Gyu-Kaku in NYC. Gyu-Kaku is a Japanese BBQ place, and you can order raw meat, which you then cook over a small grill at the center of your table. Let your teen choose which meat or vegetables they want to eat, then let them grill them and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Gyu-Kaku is a great interactive dining experience and it’s a fun way to ensure that your kid gets a chance to try food from different cultures and countries.
One more sweet treat that teens won’t want to miss in NYC is at Serendipity. This restaurant, made famous in the movie of the same name, features one house specialty: the frozen hot chocolate. Come here to order a frozen hot chocolate, or choose from any of the incredible ice cream concoctions that they have listed. There’s a menu of real food here, too, so you can eat something nutritious before everyone indulges in the over-the-top sweets.
Parks and Outdoor Attractions in NYC
NYC is a concrete jungle, but there are plenty of excellent ways to spend time here outside. Here are some of the best outdoor activities where your teen is sure to have a blast.
Luna Park at Coney Island
Head all the way down to the southern tip of Brooklyn and check out Coney Island
. This classic boardwalk spot has an unforgettable classic theme park, Luna Park, where your teen can ride rides and play games. Take a spin on the Cyclone, the classic roller coaster. Or hop aboard the gigantic Ferris wheel. There’s more to do at Coney Island than just Luna Park, including the New York Aquarium, recently reopened and dedicated to studying and conserving sea life and wildlife.
Credit: Kamira / Shutterstock
The High Line
The High Line is a raised walkway on the Hudson River in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea that offers fun attractions, great views, and awesome people-watching. Take your teen on the High Line and you can see free art installations and a host of cool architectural features. Make sure your teen brings their camera because there will be plenty of unforgettable images to capture. Once you’re done with the High Line, go down and explore the Meatpacking District, a historic district now packed with nightlife and restaurants—but still lined with the original street cobblestones from when the city was initially built. Walking the High Line
with your teen is a great way to introduce them to the history of the city, its thriving culture, and some of the trendiest shopping and eating spots.
The High Line Park in New York
The Brooklyn Bridge
It’s unquestionable that the Brooklyn Bridge is the most iconic of the bridges in NYC. It may also be one of the most iconic in the world. Go on an unforgettable walk across the bridge to see the architecture up close, and to take a gander at the skylines of both Brooklyn and Manhattan. The bridge crosses the East River, and it has a pedestrian path away from cars, so it’s very safe. Stop and take photos on the bridge, or wander around Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights once you get off on the Brooklyn side. You can either walk back if you’re staying in Manhattan, or take the ferry back from DUMBO if you’re up for exploring.
Do you have a teen that loves sports? Don’t miss out one of the most famous stadiums and teams of all time. Get tickets to a Yankees game, then take the subway all the way up to the Bronx and enjoy the game at Yankees Stadium. While you’re there, enjoy a classic beer and hot dog combo, then cheer on your team. Be careful if you like the Mets or the Red Sox, though, since rival fans aren’t warmly welcomed here!
Movies in Bryant Park
When the weather’s nice, you can head to Bryant Park and watch a free movie once a week. The selection contains tons of movies that are friendly for teens, so you don’t have to worry about whether it’ll be appropriate or not. Pack a blanket and some picnic items, then sit out under the stars and enjoy the scene. The park is one of the most beautifu outdoor attractions in NYC, and if you visit in winter, you can actually enjoy ice skating there, instead of going to the rink at Rockefeller Center.
Bryant Park Summer Film Festival | Credit: Shutterstock
An Endless To-Do List of Attractions in NYC for Teens
At the end of the day, NYC is a city for people of all ages, including teens who may seem easily bored or unimpressed. Visit any of the attractions above to ensure your teen has a great time, or simply wander the streets and take in the beauty and awe of the Big Apple. There is an endless amount to see and do when you’re in the big city, and your teen will be energized by all of the sights and sounds while they’re there.