Best things to do with teens
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teens love dining out, and thanks to Smorgasburg’s delectable options—fried cookie dough, Frico Italia three-cheese pies, Szechuan rice noodles and so much more—every palate will feel satisfied. Visitors get to enjoy the best treats in the city and wander around the best venues in Brooklyn. All ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.