Things to do in New York City with Teenagers

A bite of the Big Apple is just as much a thrill for teenagers as it is for their parents. New York City is brimming with action, with enough things to do in New York City with teenagers to keep the young set hopping and their parents panting to keep up with them. A good place to start as you hit the ground running is Times Square.

15 seconds of fame on Times Square

American Eagle Outfitters' flagship store on the west side of Times Square is easy to find – just look for the 25-foot tall LED billboard. It's the largest animated picture in the world. After your teenagers have made their first New York City purchases of some highly desirable item of clothing, they can go to a photo booth in the basement, where they will be photographed and asked to write a short personal message. Now go outside. Watch the sign carefully. Get your camera ready and be prepared to scream (or for your teenager's squeal) when your child's picture appears. This is their 15 seconds of fame, right in the heart of a city where fame is fact of life.

Give teenagers their technology fix

Take a very short walk from Times Square to Madison Avenue and 56th Street to experience the Sony Wonder Technology Lab. It is immensely popular, so you are advised to reserve your free admission tickets in advance. Sometimes same day tickets are available.

The state-of-the-art, interactive, entertainment center begins with a hands-on experience of a wall of sensi-tile that creates intricate reflections in response to touch. Further on there is a fascinating word map displaying global internet traffic. It's a real eye-opener for perpetual texters and downloaders. Teenagers can learn how the electronic devices they use every day actually work by engaging in an interactive 3D exploded view of a camera, cell phone or Sony PSP.

Other enticing youth-oriented displays focus on nanotechnology, virtual surgery, robots, animation and – most popular of all – dance motion capture that reveals how film and video games achieve such high levels of realism and personality. Visitors are videoed dancing, and the images are manipulated and shown as animated shorts.

Plentiful shopping

The problem with shopping in New York City is knowing where to begin. For the budget conscious, starting with the high-end fashion shops on 5th Avenue is not advised. Most of them do not really cater to teenage fashionistas, and it could cost you a mint. A better bet is to go to the very popular Century 21 Department Store just beside Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. There shopping is a genuine hunt and gather procedure where your teenager will dash about squeezing through crowds in search of the finest fashions at cut-rate prices.

For a further adventure in budget shopping, take a stroll through the mobs along Canal Street. The stores on Canal have just about anything your kids might want from sunglasses to souvenirs but be prepared: They are distinctly low-end operations, and the salespeople are sometimes quite aggressive. Nevertheless, the bargains are endless.

Unusual things to do in New York City

The Tenement Museum on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side offers an experience that will stick in your teenager's mind. The museum consists of several buildings where 19th century immigrants to America first lived in cramped and primitive conditions.

A number of tours take you up to the dingy tiny apartments in this neighborhood that once was the most densely populated in the world. Here you will experience the stories, songs and traditions of the tenants from whom so many Americans are descended.

New York City food at Grand Central Station

The best food court by far in Manhattan is on the lower floor of Grand Central Station. The selection here is incredibly broad but delightfully does not include the standard brands of fast food. The choices are much more exciting. They range from Sushi to Indian, from Caribbean to Chinese and from BBQ to Pizza. The seating is plentiful, the prices are low and the court is, surprisingly, not crowded. Convince your teenager to try one of the savory Jamaican patties at the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery for a new taste sensation.

Take a New York Pizza Tour

Another eating experience seems like one of the tailor-made things to do in New York City with teenagers: Scott's Pizza Tours. One of their tours on the NYC Pizza Bus gives you a complete course in the history of pizza and fresh slices from what are billed as the "best pizzerias on the planet." Scott's also offers a Greenwich Village Pizza Walk that takes you to three pizzerias to sample three distinct pies, each coming from a different stage in the evolution of the great American pizza.

*Banner image from caruba

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