Read on for 25 ideas of things to do in NYC that will make any teenage birthday bash a success.
How to Celebrate a Teenage Birthday in NYC
The best ways to celebrate a teenage birthday in NYC are simple. For one, you can pick indoor activities that keep your teen and their friends toasty warm, active and entertained.
If the fun to be had is outdoors, you can still make it happen – just be mindful of aspects like the weather conditions and temperatures. Some venues only happen in warm months, so you may have to check with the locations in advance.
Places to Go for Your Teenager’s Birthday in NYC
Whether planning a small gathering or a large bash, these 25 ideas will inspire you to find the perfect spot for your teen’s birthday celebration in the Big Apple.
1. Take a Trip to the Museum of Natural History
Museums are fun places to celebrate birthdays in NYC, and the city has slews of them. The American Museum of Natural History is a blast to attend. Their exhibitions will keep your teen and their friends entertained all day long, especially if you plan on attending the IMAX theater or special programs.
2. Have Fun at an Arcade
Head over to Dave & Buster’s in Times Square or the Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center for a day of games, prizes, food and drinks! Their arcades have all the latest video games as well as classic old-school favorites like Pacman and pinball machines.
3. Take in a Broadway Show
There are plenty of shows that teens would love on Broadway. From classics like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Wicked” to newer productions such as “Bad Cinderella” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” there’s a show for every teen.
4. Take a Hot Tub Boat Tour
No one can pass up a hot tub boat tour, especially during the cold winter months! Sea The City offers a fantastic way to explore NYC, and the boats are equipped with everything you need for a day (or night) on the water. Teens will take in all of the city’s iconic sights from a brand-new perspective. The tour is BYOHC, which stands for bring your own hot cocoa!
5. Go Bowling
NYC has no shortage of great bowling alleys, including Frames in Midtown. There, teenagers can play not only a few sets of ten pins but also enjoy the alley’s billiards, ping-pong area and karaoke bar. On the other hand, there is Bowlmor at Times Square. Bowlmor is one of the most popular bowling alleys in NYC, offering glow-in-the-dark lanes, a jukebox with over 500 songs, karaoke and more.
6. Visit an Escape Room
Solving puzzles and riddles is a fun way to pass the time and make a birthday even more special. New York has plenty of options, including Escape the Room NYC, which is only a stone’s throw away from Madison Square Park
7. Jump at a Trampoline Park
Enjoy an afternoon of trampoline fun at Launch Trampoline Park in Queens — Fun for all ages, this is a great place to spend a birthday. Teens can get their adrenaline pumping with trampoline basketball, dodgeball and more.
8. Immerse Yourself at VR World NYC
Just a two-minute walk from the Empire State Building is VR World NYC. The park is an awesome option for tech-savvy teens looking for something totally unique and different. Plus, it has over 50 interactive games and experiences!
9. Have Lunch and Explore the High Line
This elevated park offers some of the best views in NYC. The park features several magical spots like the Diller-Von Furstenberg Sundeck and the Rail Yards, so make sure to explore them all. Afterward, you can grab lunch together at one of their food vendors.
10. Check Out the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium
This world-famous zoo is home to over 10,000 animals, making it a great outing for any animal-loving teen. Plus, it’s open year-round! The New York Aquarium is also a great spot to visit if you and your teen are looking for something more aquatic.
11. Indulge in Some Retail Therapy
From 5th Avenue to Union Square, there’s no shortage of shopping options in NYC. Young shoppers will particularly enjoy the teen-friendly stores at the massive Westfield World Trade Center and trendy shops in SoHo.
12. Spend an Evening at Top of the Rock
This observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza offers amazing views of NYC that never get old. There is indoor and outdoor viewing and an elevator ride to the top that is worth the price of admission.
13. Go Paintballing
Fun and exciting, paintball is a great way to let off some energy. Places to check out in NYC include Area 53 NYC in Williamsburg (indoor) and Cousins Paintball on Staten Island (outdoor).
14. Take a Walking Tour of Dumbo
A walking tour of Dumbo in Brooklyn is a great way to sightsee. Stops include Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jane’s Carousel, Grimaldi’s Pizza and more. The picturesque area is perfect for Instagram postings, so don’t forget your camera!
15. Get Funky at a Dance Party
Dance parties are always a hit with teens, and NYC has some unique options for the under 18 crowd, such as the 40/40 Club in Chelsea and the Bowery Ballroom on the Lower East Side.
16. Catch a Comedy Show
If your teen is into stand-up comedy, but a little too young for the raucous clubs in the city, consider checking Kids ‘N Comedy at the Gotham Comedy Club. Older teens can check out The Stand NYC, which has a strict 16-and-up policy.
17. Climb at The Cliffs
The Cliffs is an indoor rock-climbing center in Gowanus with walls of up to 50 feet and dozens of climbing routes for all skill levels. They offer 2-hour group events with a dedicated area and private climbing walls, allowing climbers can take on the walls with their friends.
18. Lose Yourself in the Catacombs
If your teen group is daring, a walking tour of the NYC catacombs is tailor-made for them. Explore underground tunnels, abandoned city streets and forgotten subway stations by candlelight. The adventure is fun and educational.
19. Explore the Wonders of Wax at Madame Tussauds
Get up close and personal with wax figures of celebrities from past and present. Fun for all ages, Madame Tussauds offers plenty of interactive activities that let you experience the magic of moviemaking and learn about the creative process.
20. Host a Game Night
Teens can get together and play their favorite board games or video game consoles. Additionally, there are plenty of game cafes and venues in NYC, like Waypoint Cafe and Hex & Company, that offer interesting gaming experiences for all ages.
21. Visit Central Park
Take a stroll through Central Park and explore NYC. From ice skating to sledding, there’s plenty to do in this 843-acre park. Activities to check out at this world-renowned park include the recently restored Belvedere Castle and the Conservatory Garden.
22. Have Dinner at One of NYC’s Unique Eateries
From classic New York-style pizza to trendy ramen restaurants, there’s something for everyone. A few standout favorites for teenagers include the Halal Guys, Shake Shack and Joe’s Pizza.
23. Have a Movie Marathon
Whether teens want to watch their favorite films or explore some new releases, there’s no better way to spend the day indoors than with a movie marathon! Order some takeout from one of the hundreds of local eating establishments, or gather some snacks from the pantry to make the experience even more fun.
24. Have a Spa Day
Who says you can’t enjoy some pampering? Teens can get mani-pedis or facials at one of NYC’s many spas and salons. A few local favorites include Haven Spa in SoHo and Tenoverten in the Financial District.
25. Take in an NBA Game
An afternoon or evening spent rooting for the Knicks, Nets, or Liberty will be a hit with any teen basketball fan. For teens that want to play some sports themselves, there are plenty of outdoor parks or indoor courts they can rent to play with their friends.
Book a Hot Tub Boat Tour with Sea the City
No matter what activity teens choose, New York City offers plenty of fun and unique options for celebrating a birthday. Whether they’re looking to explore the outdoors or stay cozy indoors, there are lots of great activities to choose from! Plus, if you’re looking for something truly unique and magical, don’t forget to book Sea the City’s hot tub boat tour! It’s the perfect way for teens to explore New York City in style.