It can be difficult to keep teenagers entertained while on vacation. Here are some ideas on amping the excitement levels while on a trip to New York City.
Eat real NYC food
Eating doesn't have to rip a hole in your budget. On any street corner you can find a stand selling hot dogs and pretzels for a song. Or, you can visit the 24-hour Gray’s Papaya on 8th St. and 6th Ave, if you're looking for a genuine NY hangout. Another cheap food idea is sandwiches at any of the deli in the city. Try a pastrami on rye or a bagel with one of dozens of fillings. For more ethnic food, try some Chinese food in New York's Chinatown.
Ultimately, there's also New York style pizza, which you can try out at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge or Joe’s in Greenwich Village on7 Carmine Street. New York pizza is legendary for a reason, and if your kids haven't had any before, you'll hear them sing its praise for a very long time.
Stroll across Brooklyn Bridge, which takes about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world's most iconic bridges and your teens will know it from many movies. There is a separate path for walkers and bikers, so you aren’t breathing car fumes. Keep out of the cycle lane though, as you'll get smacked and cursed at! From the Brooklyn Bridge, you'll see the Statue of Liberty. If you take the subway out to Brooklyn and walk towards Manhattan, you won't have to bend your neck the whole time to take in the Manhattan skyline.
Pick only a few museums
New York has many of the world's best museums, but you don't have to drag your teens to all of them. Try the Guggenheim for a range of interesting exhibits, and if you visit on a Friday evening, it's pay-what-you-want for admission. Most locals won't pay anything, so feel free to spare the wallet. If your teenager is the artistic type, visit MoMA for a modern art infusion.
Visit Central Park
Manhattan's Central Park is a great destination for any New York visitor. This huge green space provides some peace from the pace of Manhattan at any time of year, but is probably most inviting in Spring and Fall. You can read more about Central Park's history and see some photos from my latest visit to Central Park and then head over to the Central Park interactive map to plan your own visit.
Get high (above the city)
The classic choice for a view over New York City is the Empire State Building, and your teens will definitely know the building already. The other choices are the visitor deck in the Rockefeller Center, the Top of the Rock. Both of these are outstanding as the sun goes down, giving a colorful view over the city.
Make it a learning experience
Visit the New York Hall of Science for a hands-on science and technology outing. The hall has more than 400 hands-on exhibits covering exciting biology, chemistry and physics experiments. You can also teach them a bit more about the finance markets with a visit to NASDAQ. You don't need to join a specific tour for this, as the NASDAQ studio, like those of the national morning shows such as Good Morning America, are visible to the public through large plate-glass windows.
Share your New York tips
If you've got some ideas on what to do in New York with teenagers, please share in the comments below.
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