Planning vacations with activities that interest adolescents can be difficult, but there are plenty of things to do in New York City for teenagers.
Guests of all ages love visiting the Empire State Building, one of the nation’s most famous landmarks. As long as you’re not afraid of heights, you can travel right up to the top of the building and see New York City like never before. The building is open to visitors from 8am to 2am daily, so you should plan to go as it opens or as it closes to avoid crowds and lines.
Teenagers will also love seeing film locations for their favorite movies and television shows. Guided tours are available for locations for shows like Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty and movies like Spiderman and The Devil Wears Prada. On Location Tours, the city’s only official movie/television location tour, offer these exciting showings to thousands of people every week. Tours are also available in Spanish, Italian and German.
Speaking of TV, a trip to the legendary “30 Rock” (30 Rockefeller Center, home of NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall) is another great idea for traveling with teens. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is open from 8am to midnight every day. Though the 67th and 69th floors have outdoor terraces, the 70th floor of the building has an open air 360-degree view. There are GPS-activated audio/visual guides to tell you the names of the places you see. 30 Rock also has many shops and restaurants for before or after your visit.
If your teenagers like theater, you should think about taking them to a Broadway show. 42nd Street, Hairspray, Rent and The Lion King are staples in the theater district. Whether you see a musical, a comedy or a family play, it’s sure to be a world-class performance. Check out newyorkcitytheatre.com in advance for show listings and information. Or, if you’re looking for a show that’s not a Broadway play, grab tickets to live music performances like Blue Man Group or Stomp.
Museums aren’t typically places for teens to hang out, but New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are three they will love. The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMa, features works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Rousseau. Even the most reluctant teens will be astonished by the works on display there.
The Natural History Museum includes a Planetarium, amazing dinosaur skeletons and impressive exhibits on the human brain, space and more. You can catch an IMAX movie, see a space show and shop at the Museum store. On your way out, take a stroll through neighboring Central Park to enjoy the city scenery.
Located in the heart of Times Square, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is home to lifelike wax replicas of celebrities, politicians, musicians and more. See the incredible craftsmanship on models of J.Lo, Michael Jackson, Gandhi, Derek Jeter, Captain Jack Sparrow and Justin Bieber. Teenagers will definitely love taking photos standing next to the likes of Robert Pattinson, Princess Diana, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie!
If your teenager loves music, they’ll love Hush Tours, a sightseeing tour that educates visitors on the evolution of hip hop. Hosted by celebrity tour guides like DJ Red Alert, Grandmaster Caz and Reggie Reg, Hush will bring you back in time to see how and where hip hop began. As you travel from the Empire State Building to Yankee Stadium, you’ll see relevant places to hip hop culture, including important nightclubs, streets and other landmarks.
For teens who love pop culture, make sure you take a trip to the famous Times Square. The area is filled with shops, restaurants and incredible glowing signs. Your teenager will certainly love seeing MTV Studios, the location of the New Years Eve ball drop and the New York Hard Rock Café! Spend a few hours in Times Square- grab a bite to eat at Planet Hollywood, shop in the massive Forever 21 and (if you’re lucky) snag a photo with the Naked Cowboy.
There are so many things to do in New York that you can easily tailor the experience to your teen’s interests. The only tricky part may be trying to get them to leave!