Things to do with teens in NYC

Our guide to the best things to do with teens in NYC has sweet recommendations for kids interested in the city's coolest offerings!

Photograph: Courtesy Nolan McKew

If you're searching for the best things to do with teens in NYC, you've come to the right place! With our list, you'll find everything from cool underground activities to only-in-New-York–tours and hot spots even your toughest-to-impress–kids will adore. Looking for things to do with tweens in NYC too? Most of the picks on our list are flexible enough for other members of the family to enjoy as well.

If this wasn't enough, plan a day trip to one of our favorite local kids' amusement parks, indoor water parks near NYC and cool underrated attractions in town.

Best things to do with teens

Photograph: Courtesy Pedro Feria Pino
Movie theaters, Independent

Nitehawk Cinema

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Okay, okay, so Williamsburg’s premiere destination for under-the-radar and cult-classic horror films may not seem like your first stop with teens. However, if you’re into sharing off-the-beaten-path experiences with your PG-13+ crew, there’s plenty to enjoy at this theater, now with an additional location in Park Slope. Arrive early to grab good seats, and don’t forget to order snacks off the menu from your seat (or an adult beverage, if you happen to be the of-age chaperone). Ages 13 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Things to do

Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure

icon-location-pin The Bronx

The Bronx Zoo is lauded as one of the most impressive zoos in the world, and one thing it boasts (that possibly no other zoo can) is its magnificent zip line and elevated adventure course for fearless kids. Try out seven different ropes courses like you’re Tarzan, or fly across a 400-foot-long zip line! Ages 7 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Modern Pinball NYC
Things to do, Birthday parties

Modern Pinball

icon-location-pin Kips Bay

Brooding teens and tweens akin to Stranger Things’ fiery young “Madmax” will delight in this arcade’s array of classic games (including Pac-Man and Street Fighter) and wall-to-wall collection of pinball machines. Don’t worry about bringing change, since the venue sells bracelets that allow you unlimited play for a set number of hours. All ages.

Brooklyn Bowl
Things to do, Concerts

Brooklyn Bowl

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Aim for a strike at the coolest bowling venue in Brooklyn. Not only does the urban oasis offer 16 lanes for great games, but players have the opportunity snack on bites from Blue Ribbon and catch live music in between turns. Make sure you check the times before visiting—late hours require visitors to be 21+, but doors open on the weekends for all ages. Various ages; see website for details.

Attractions, Theme parks

Luna Park

icon-location-pin Brooklyn

Every year, the rides at Coney Island open for another season of rollicking good times. In addition to the dozens of attractions and games at Luna, including the famous wooden coaster Clyclone, you'll also want to check out the adjacent beach and Nathan's Famous for a loaded hot dog. All ages.

6 stadium.jpg
Sports and fitness, Stadiums

Yankee Stadium

icon-location-pin The Bronx

Learn about the 27-time World Series Champions with a behind-the-scenes tour of Yankee Stadium that lasts one hour. You’ll get to see super cool historic baseball artifacts, learn about the history of the stadium and see locations that are only open to the insiders. While you’re at it, buy tickets for a home game. All ages.

Time Out says

Mission Escape Games

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

With four rooms to escape from (each puzzle must be solved in 60 minutes), Mission Escape Games is perfect for families in need of a challenge. If you work together, you'll be able to use clues around the room to free yourselves, but you'll have to work quickly before time's up. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Nolan McKew
Things to do

Trapeze School New York

icon-location-pin Bedford-Stuyvesant

You don’t need to head to Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building to catch some spectacular views of NYC—or conquer your fear of heights. Trapeze School New York in Hudson River Park is an adventurous way for teens to swing, twirl, jump and fly with the greatest city in the world as their backdrop. There is also an indoor Brooklyn location at 30 Tompkins Ave. Ages 6 and up. 

Shopping, Gifts and stationery

The Evolution Store

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

If it's skeletons, fossils, pendants and other earthy-yet-unusual accessories you're after, Evolution is certainly a must-visit. Wall-to-wall decor—everything from insects and arrowheads to handmade jewelry and taxidermy—make this unique spot feel just like a visit to a natural history museum. All ages.

Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

icon-location-pin Carroll Gardens

Tasty treats don’t get any sweeter than those on the menu at the Brooklyn Farmacy. Once operating as an actual pharmacy, the Carroll Gardens soda fountain sports an old-school '20s vibe while customers sit at the counter sipping the best egg creams in town. Feeling really hungry? There are plenty of sundaes that require two people to clean the plate. All ages.

"Behind the Screen" at the Museum of the Moving Image
Museums, Movies and TV

Museum of the Moving Image

icon-location-pin Astoria

The Museum of the Moving Image is a playground for film buffs of all ages. Thanks to the venue’s Teen Digital Media Lab, NYC kids can get comfy on two Friday afternoons out of the month and let their imaginations run wild. Young visitors will receive exclusive museum access and work with tools to help their designs reach Oscar-worthy status. Ages 14 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Things to do

Extreme Sleepovers at Ripley’s

icon-location-pin Midtown West

We can’t believe it, either—here, teens can swap their bedroom for a quirky museum. Rather than a night home watching movies, your crew can head to Ripley’s to explore Egyptian mummies and get up-close-and-personal with live hissing cockroaches. In between unusual events, visitors will receive a guided tour, have the opportunity to participate in a scavenger hunt and enjoy dinner and snacks. To enjoy the adventure, book with 25 (or more) attendees for a birthday party or group event. Ages 6–17.

Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Foster
Things to do

The Muse

icon-location-pin Bushwick

Teens can relieve their Ringling Brothers days with this tribute to immersive circus events, only this time, they’re not in the audience—they’re the main act. From aerial acro and the German Wheel (picture a real-life hamster wheel) to ballet barre and tumbling, these stunts will appeal to the circus performer in everyone. Ages 18 and up (kids' classes also available).

Photograph: Courtesy A Slice of Brooklyn

Chocolate Bus Tour

Should you and your teen sign up for the ever-so-delightful chocolate bus tour? Yes or yes? While participating in the journey, you will make your way throughout Brooklyn while enjoying the best artisanal chocolate NYC has to offer. Added bonus? You’ll have the opportunity to snap photos from the gorgeous Valentino Pier in Red Hook. Don’t forget your appetite! All ages.

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