Fun Things to Do in NYC for Teens

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Explore America's Campgrounds

New York City has a lot to offer for everyone, including teens. Because Manhattan is a small island, filled with different activities on every corner, teenagers can tour around the city on their own and get a good deal of exercise from walking. Seeing the city from hundreds of feet in the air, or face to face with a street performer, New York City will never tire for any teen.

Times Square

Times Square is the tourist center of Manhattan. It is filled with restaurants and stores to browse through. Whether teenagers want to relive their childhood by playing with toys in Toys R Us, or sample candy in the M&M store there is plenty to keep them occupied. Each day is different in Times Square, because so many people visit. Entertainment-wise, there are always people on the streets selling cheap tickets to different theater events, and the Naked Cowboy often shows up to sing and play his guitar in just his underwear. Snack vendors are on ever corner selling pretzels, hot dogs, nuts and drinks. The perfect souveneir can also be found at the sidewalk shops.


The observation decks at the Empire State Building and 30 Rockefeller Plaza give views from above of New York City and the surrounding area. Teenagers can go up 1,050 feet and stand inside or outside at the Empire State Building, the highest spot in Manhattan. The observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is also known as the Top of the Rock. It is 850 feet high and offers views directly into Central Park. Teenagers that plan to explore all of New York City should consider buying the New York CityPASS, which not only covers the admission to both observation decks, but also other attractions, including several major museums. The pass is available online, and is also sold at any of the locations where it is accepted, including both of these buildings. It is $79 for those over 17 and $59 for anyone aged 6 to 17, as of 2010. Without the pass, entry is $20 to the Empire State Building and $21 to the "Top of the Rock."


New York City has many different neighborhoods, including Soho, the Upper West Side, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy and those are just in Manhattan. Many other neighborhoods remain in the other boroughs. Teenagers can get exercise walking throughout the city and learning about what each section has to offer. For cheap clothes, DVDs and other accessories, visit Canal Street, where items are sold on the street, both legitimately and illegitimately. Purses, sunglasses and watches look authentic and can be bought for much less than in a store. Teenagers can grab some Italian food in Little Italy or Chinese food in Chinatown.

Brooklyn Bridge

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is a tradition in which many take part. Teenagers can explore the cities neighborhoods and venture into another borough of the city, Brooklyn. The Bridge is accessible from the Brooklyn Bridge City Hall subway stop, which is serviced by the 4,5,6 lines. The Bridge is about a mile long and will take 25 to 45 minutes to cross. From the Brooklyn Bridge, you can see the cars crossing, the boats going under the bridge, and the many buildings of Manhattan, along with the Statue of Liberty. Brooklyn Bridge Park is on the other side of the bridge.

Union Square

Union Square is close to New York University and is filled, based on the day, with street performers, markets, people playing chess and people relaxing. It is accessible on the subway at Union Sq. - 14th Street on the 4,5,6 and L,N,Q,R,W lines. Teenagers can shop and browse, watch people and also visit the many stores surrounding the Square, including a Virgin Music store, Whole Foods and a few Starbucks. This scene is perfect for teenagers who want to get away from the touristy nature of Times Square. Since NYU is so close by, and the neighborhood tends to be more trendy, there are many other young people as well.