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NYC with Teenagers

We're taking our teenage sons to NYC for their fourth visit soon. We've done lots of the typical touristy things (Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, MMoA, Natural History Museum, Top of the Rock, High Line), and would love suggestions to help us explore the city a little deeper. We'll see a show and a baseball game, and walk around a couple neighborhoods. Thinking of doing a walking food tour of China Town and/or Little Italy. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by
5618 posts

Museum of the Moving Image was a huge favorite of our grandsons. In Queens, a short subway ride away.

Posted by
8906 posts

There are two new Spy museums that have opened.
-Spyscape, is a modern interactive museum geared more for teenagers, but most adults will like to too.
-KGB Espionage Museum, is more for adults. A small pop-up museum with a focus on the Soviet spy craft. With display cases full of gadgets, and the added bonus of actual retired KGB agents as tour guides.

Also don't forget about the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier/museum. As a bonus the Space Shuttle Enterprise is now also on the flight deck. Adjacent there is also a nuclear submarine which you can walk inside of.

Posted by
1030 posts

Explore the area around Brooklyn Bridge Park. I took the subway to Clark St and walked west to the Brooklyn promenade. Walked along there back to the bridge and park. Fabulous views or lower Manhattan and the bridge.

Have you been to the Tenement Museum? Fun informative tours. You may want to book in advance as some sell out by the day of.

Posted by
773 posts

You didn't mention the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Gugghenheim, the Frick or the Neue Gallerie (Klimt's painting of Adele Bloch, there's a movie about it). Of course, that's if you like art (which I love). Tourists go to all of those, but so do New Yorkers. Also, in the lower east side, the Tenement Museum cannot in my opinion be beat. There are many different tours you can take there.

Some things that I have done, more in other cities, not so much New York: check local event listings for, well, local events. You may find some great neighborhood food or music festivals. (Several years ago we went to a mirliton festival, with awesome live music, in New Orleans.) Do you all like movies? Investigate and visit locations of movies set in New York. For example, the firehouse used in Ghost Busters is still there, as is the street and the brownstone where Scarface lived. (There are plenty of websites that list those locations.) If there are any books that you like that are set in New York, go to those locations.

For a change of pace (not so much a locals sort of thing), there's actually a colonial-era house in Manhattan - the Mount Vernon house, at 421 E. 61st.

Enjoy!

Posted by
1826 posts

One of my favorite museums is the museum of the city of New York which I believe right now has exhibit in Jackie Robinson. I think you can get Groupon tickets for it.

Posted by
3134 posts

What time of year?

Visit the Tenement Museum. That will be eye-opening to your teens. Before or after, go to Katz's for pastrami. Go to the counter instead of waitress service and go to any line at the counter, not the just first one. Your teens will love it. Ask for tastes too! Whichever baseball team is in town, go to a ballgame. I recommend that highly. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge with them toward Manhattan and have either lunch or dinner in Chinatown. Just go where you see the restaurant is crowded and that will be a good choice for a restaurant. Visit the Intrepid. Your sons will love it!

Posted by
3354 posts

Hi, we just flew back from NYC yesterday and had a wonderful time in both Newport, Rhode Island and NYC!

For food tours, we used www.foodsofny.com
We signed up for their “Heart & Soul of Greenwich Village” tour and had so much fun that we signed up for their “NOLITA” Italian tour for another day. Both of them were fun, informative and had excellent food.

Posted by
123 posts

On one trip to NYC we asked our (then) teenaged twin sons what they wanted to do in NYC. We asked them to plan one day of the trip for the family...doing the research, bookings or reservations. Forced research skills upon them!

We were a little surprised by their choices but it turned out to be one of our very favorite vacation days. Entire day was walkable.
They wanted to go clothes shopping (we live in a rural area about 2 hours drive from nearest mall) and planned a lunch in a swanky rooftop restaurant atop a hotel. Walked to Times Square. Then in late afternoon walked to Empire State Building to watch the sunset. Stayed up there until all of the city lights came on. We were up there a long time but wow it was amazing! Walked around some more to find a light take out dinner on a side street as we wandered.
Walked to Rockefeller Plaza (beautiful at night). On way back to hotel, stopped intermittently along way to buy snacks for all nighter. Went back to hotel room and together all binged watched a Ken Burns series and let the kids pig out on the munchies.
Not necessarily the day we would plan as adults but turned out to be an amazing experience for the entire family. Dragging us parents around for once I swear was half the fun even though sometimes we were wondering what we were in for. Especially after receiving the lunch bill.
They still talk about the experience planning and launching the actual day for the entire family. The pictures we have from the Empire State Building are beautiful.

Feedback from our sons: this was one of their first experiences in trip planning, and the process taught them some great skills, and lessons.

Posted by
433 posts

I recommend the new observation deck at ground zero, a great elevator ride and awesome views. We had a clear day and you could see forever, past the Statue and out to sea, north past Central Park - stunning 360 degrees. See website.

And it’s worth a visit to the 9/11 memorial and museum. See website. It’s directly next to the observation deck. We went last month and it is well done and very moving.

Then walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Enjoy the Brooklyn side and walk back when Manhattan is lit up.

Eat dinner in China town then walk around and have dessert in Little Italy.

A very full day!

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all so much for the thoughtful suggestions! I have some reading to do about your fantastic ideas :)