7 Things to do in NYC With Teenagers

Are you a parent looking for things to do in New York City with teenagers on a family trip, or maybe you’re a teen hanging with some friends and looking for ways to pass some time? Either way, here are some ideas of the things you’ll be able to do in NYC that will appeal to teens.

Here are some fun things to do in NYC for teens, from stuff you can do on your own, with friends, or with the family. There are a lot of things for teens in NYC, it really comes down to what you’re interested in, and obviously, the stuff that interests a 13 year old probably won’t be as interesting to a 19 year old, so keep the age range in mind too, when choosing an activity.

Ether way, NYC is a world-class city with so many awesome things to do and see. Here are 7, which of these NYC activities appeals the most to you? Let us know.

Visit the Empire State Building Observatory

Things to do in NYC With Teenagers

The Observatory on top of the Empire State Building has appeared in plenty of movies and TV shows. You might recognize it from The Mindy Project, King Kong, and plenty of other pieces of media.

The Observatory gives you an incredible view of the city. It can get busy at times, so if you can manage to go during off-hours, you’ll have a better time with fewer crowds.

Visit Madam Tussauds in NYC

Madame Tussaud’s wax museums are famous “tourist trap” types of places, but can still be pretty fun to visit with a family. You’ll recognize the younger max statues, and your parents will be able to tell you about some of the older references.

If you enjoy vacationing or doing things off the beaten path and love adventures, this probably won’t be your favorite stop on the trip, but if seeing wax sculptures of pop culture and cultural icons, this is one of the better instances of a Madame Tussaud museum you’ll find.

Pay Respects at the 9/11 Memorial

There are no teens that were born before 9/11 anymore, and it’s a very significant moment in American history that didn’t take place very long ago. The 9/11 memorial is a very somber experience, but it can be an opportunity to learn and better understand a moment that had a profound impact on the country.

Many brave Americans lost their lives as first responders in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and many lost their lives in the attack itself. Beyond that, many would go on to lose their lives in the subsequent fights and the impact that’s still felt today.

There were so many negative ripples that spurred from the initial event on that morning of September 11th. From the loss of life, the suffering that many first responders are still dealing with to this day, the xenophobia that was targeted towards members of various communities, and much more. Learning about these things can help you to better understand the world today. There’s a lot to be learned by anyone who is willing to listen with an open heart.

It was also a time where America really came together, if even for a short time. People were a little friendlier to eachother, had a little more empathy, and got a long a little better – at least for a while.

Visit the Bull in the Financial District

You can visit the world-famous bull and get your picture taken with. The stock market bull is iconic, whether it inspires positive imagery in your mind, or it makes you think of some of the negative aspects of our culture and financial systems, it’s still an iconic statue that you can visit, up close and personal.

Regardless of the symbology and how you feel about it, this is still a very famous feature of NYC. Visiting Wall Street is fascinating for people who are interested in the markets, and still an interesting sight to behold for everyone else.

Things to do in Manhattan for Teenagers: Tours

A guided tour around Manhattan is a great way to spend an afternoon. Manhattan is home to many recognizable scenes from pop culture that everyone in the family can enjoy seeing in person.

You can probably find some good apps on your phone too, if you would rather do a walking tour around Manhattan at your own pace.

A guided tour of Manhattan is a good way to explore and learn about the area, but one of the best ways is to just go for it – pull up a map, see what sounds interesting to you, do a few minutes of research, and just go for it. You can hope from slice to slice as you explore all of the great pizza joints or book stores, or museums, cafes, and whatever else interests you. Sometimes, the best way to get to know an area is to just dive in…

But if you want to learn specific details and have someone else steering things, then a tour of Manhattan, or any other borough, might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Take a walk down Time’s Square

Time’s Square is another iconic area to visit. It’s often very crowded, with all sorts of tourist-y stuff, and is it really a legit trip to NYC unless you feel like you’ve accidently gotten in the way of a grumpy local at least once?

You can end up spending a lot of money here, or you can end up spending nothing at all. It doesn’t hurt to have a little budget in case you come across something cool, since you will almost certainly come across something cool that catches your eye that you’ll want to purchase on your trip to NYC.

Visit Central Park

There’s a carousel that you can ride in Central Park, and more to see and do, especially if you enjoy people-watching. Be careful, parts of the area can get a little dicey afterdark, so make sure you’re staying aware of your surroundings, don’t go out of your way to bother anyone, and be safe.

Central Park has fountains and ponds, amazing scenery, a zoo, and even a castle. Have you ever visited a castle, before?

More Things to do With Teens in New York City

Visit a lot of restaurants, go for a lot of walks, or even just taking a taxi/Uber through certain areas – there’s so much to see and you might not have time to soak it all in, but it’s still fun to pass through. Enjoy the street food as much as a Michelin Star restaurant. Enjoy the touristy things, but spend some time off the beaten path, too.

There’s no right or wrong way to experience NYC, and whatever you’re into, you’ll be able to find a piece of it in the city that never sleeps. The problem isn’t finding things for teens to do in NYC, it’s finding the time to experience everything this city has for you to see and do.

Mat Woods

Author Information

Mat Woods is the lead writer at TeenWire.org. He works tirelessly alongside the rest of the team to create useful, well-researched, trustworthy articles to help parents and their teens.