When I first moved to NYC my younger sister was still a teenager when she visited me for the first time. So I had to come up with a bunch of fun things to do in NYC for teens to keep her happy and occupied. But what are the most fun things to do in New York City with a teenager?
Now you’re probably wondering what kind of fun activities in NYC for teens I planned out when my sister came to visit me. In this article, I’ll share my favorite activities for a teenager in New York, as well as a few tricks with you, so that you can make sure that your teens are going to have a blast in the city that never sleeps.
Top 9 Fun Things To Do In New York City For Teens
Rent a bike and explore Central Park
Even though there is a fine line between physical activity and teenagers, renting a bike in Central Park to explore the area will be fun. There are a lot of places in the park, where you can take a break for photos and rest as well. Central Park is one of the main attractions in NYC, completely free of charge and one of my absolute favorite fun things to do in NYC with a teenager.
I know that teenagers do not like to walk too much, which is why I recommend exploring this magical place by bike. Check out our friend from Unlimited Biking in NYC for great bikes, fair pricing, and maps where to go in the park.
Milkshakes at Black Tap NYC
Famous for their giant Milkshakes, Black Tap NYC is my next tip for fun activities in NYC for teens. Close to Central Park (136 W 55th Street), there is one of their three locations in New York.
You can order one of their classic shakes which are available in several flavors or go right for the “Crazy Shakes” which are giant milkshakes stuffed with cakes, cookies, or any other candy depending on the flavor. My favorite is the Bam Bam Shake. Your teenager will love it.
Go to the movies
AMC Lowes at Lincoln Square has the largest screen in the city
Teenagers love going to the movies. If it’s raining out, or it’s super hot in the summer, take a break and enjoy a good movie in IMAX at one of the best and biggest screens in NYC. Besides the screen inside the American Museum of Natural History the only legit IMAX screen you can find in the city is the one at the AMC Lowes at Lincoln Square at 68th and Broadway.
Of course, there are many other movie theatres in the city, but if you want to impress your teen with one of our fun things to do for teens in NYC, take them to the Upper West Side.
Take a street art tour in NYC
Street art in NYC belongs to the city like yellow cabs and the Empire State Building. It is also super cool to find the best murals in town, take great photos in front of them and then share those with your friends and your followers on social media according to my younger sister back then.
So, I got us on a street art walking tour that took us around Brooklyn to find the best street art around Bushwick and the surrounding neighborhoods. It is a really fun activity in NYC for teens and the street art will most likely amaze you as much as them.
Ping Pong at Spin
Get your ping pong game on and enjoy fun things to do with teenagers in NYC at Spin in Flatiron District. There are a lot of ping pong tables, so you never really have to wait long for your game, if you come during the week, there is music and it is really so much fun.
Sightseeing can be exhausting and especially for our sometimes moody teenagers a little boring as well. Something so simple as ping pong can raise the mood and excite them so much that after, there will be more energy for the sightseeing tour again.
Go shopping at Herald Square and Macy’s
One thing my sister really enjoyed was shopping. Her energy would last for hours when it came down to finding the best sneakers, jeans or souvenirs for her friends back home.
My favorite fun things to do in New York for teenagers is shopping at Herald Square and at the world’s largest store Macy’s. The options are endless and the stores are exactly what teens love to wear. Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Zara, Foot Locker and many more are only a few shops to mention in the area. Make sure to come early to avoid the crowds.
Have Shake Shack Burgers
Since we covered the best milkshakes in town, we have to get your teens to taste the best burgers in town as well. Walk your way down from Herald Square to Madison Square Park. Inside the small park next to the famous Flatiron Building, you’ll find one of the many Shake Shack locations.
You can sit outside in the park and enjoy the view of the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building. Finding the most fun things to do in New York City with a teenager doesn’t have to be complicated. A Shake Shack burger is always a great idea.
Get the best views of the city at One World Observatory
By visiting the 9/11 Memorial you can find a great way to educate your teenagers about the events back in 2001 and then change their perspective by taking them up on the One World Observatory where they will learn more about the attacks, but also how New York City came back stronger after the tragedy.
Observation decks are fun activities in NYC for teens and One World Trade Center is a great opportunity to do both educating your kids about the history of the city of New York and swirl in some fun with great views and fun all the way up on top of the One World Trade Center.
Take the free ferry to Staten Island
Only a couple of minutes walking distance from the One World Trade Center away, you’ll reach the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Catch a ferry to Staten Island (for free) and take a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. As one of the most fun things to do in NYC as a teenager, riding the Staten Island Ferry has to be on your to-do-list when traveling with teens.
They can take as many photos they want, will get to see the Statue of Liberty as well as the Manhattan skyline and does not have to walk, ride a bike or move in any other way to experience all of the above. If you find your teenager further interested in the Statue of Liberty, check out this tour, that will take you to the actual island where Miss Liberty is located.
My Personal Best Fun Activities In New York City With Teenagers
I really enjoyed exploring the city with my teenage sister a few years ago. Even though teens can be a pain due to their mood swings, they can also be the most fun and exciting humans to be around while visiting New York. My absolute favorite and very personal fun activities in New York City with teenagers are any kinds of walking tours or sightseeing tours in general. There are so many that are perfectly shaped for this age group that we really enjoyed checking out a bunch of different ones.
Besides the street art tour that I mentioned earlier, we attended a few more. Check out my favorite walking tours to do with your teens in NYC. I hope you will have a great time in NYC as a family. If you find yourself doing more fun things to do in NYC with a teenager, please leave the ideas in the comments.
Best neighborhoods to check out with teens in NYC
More Fun Things to Do in New York City
New York City has so much more to offer than its must-sees. In order to inspire you with not so typical activities, we’ve compiled a list of the top fun things to do in NYC for you. Also, you’ll find the most fun activities in New York City in different categories on this overview page. We made sure there’s more than enough fun stuff to discover for everyone!
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!