New York City with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

New York City with Teens: A Family Vacation


The famous adage "Rome wasn't built in a day" applies to New York City as well. As difficult as it is to pare down the metropolis's offerings to a one-day tour of essentials, it can be done. Of course, the resulting plan offers a mere taste of what New York City has to offer a curious teen, focusing particularly on the Borough of Manhattan (experiencing all five boroughs would be impossible in the span of a single day). The following itinerary covers several epicurean and cultural landmarks, evoking the literal and figurative flavors of the "Big Apple" for your family vacation in New York City with teens.


The first thing you should do on your day in the city is head out for breakfast at Sarabeth's West (423 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-496-6280). The recipient of the 2010 Diner's Choice Award, Sarabeth's may not be a bargain for breakfast, but it is the perfect way to start a family adventure in New York City with teens. Most breakfast choices are in the $7-$15 range. The Fat and Fluffy French Toast with Strawberries and Bananas is to die for, as are the egg dishes, and the fresh chicken-apple sausage and home fries will leave you pining for breakfast throughout the day. The atmosphere is cozy, and the service is excellent. Reservations can be made and are recommended, especially when you only have one day in the city.

Hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-10:30PM, Sat 8AM-4PM, 5PM-10:30PM, and Sun 8AM-4PM, 5PM-10PM.

After breakfast, continue your New York City family travel at the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th Street, 212-769-5100). The suggested price for admission to all 45 museum halls and the Rose Center for Earth and Space is $12 for students over 12 years old (with ID) and $16 for adults. One may pay a different amount at any ticket desk, however. Special ticketing packages, which include the Hayden Planetarium and admission to special exhibits and the IMAX Theater, are also available. The museum's 45 halls, however, provide more than enough to look at for an entire day. The budget-conscious, as well as those with limited time, are advised to choose general admission. Spend 2-3 hours visiting the Human Origin Hall, Fossil Hall and famed dinosaurs, as well as the Grand Gallery and Hall of Ocean Life, all guaranteed to fascinate you and your teens.

Hours: Daily 10AM-5:45PM


Take the "B" train downtown to the 50th Street station. Walk west to 7th Avenue and then north to the famous Stage Deli (834 7th Avenue, 212-245-7850). Come hungry and expect any sandwich ordered to be piled high with deli meat. A hot pastrami on rye with mustard and a half sour pickle with a side of potato salad will stay in your dreams forever! A fat deli sandwich is best with an ice-cold black cherry soda, so be sure to try it.

Hours: Daily 6AM-2AM

Take a short stroll to 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, making sure to window shop along the way. Your next family adventure spot in New York City is Rockefeller Center (212-332-6868), a Big Apple icon that has renowned shopping and an ice-skating rink. There is also a huge NBC Studios store offering all kinds of souvenirs from various television shows, sure to delight teens. Your family can also take a tour of NBC Studios, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at production and even allows you to watch live shows as they are filmed. Tickets cost $15-$19. The tour leaves from 30 Rockefeller Center every 15 minutes and lasts about an hour and 10 minutes.

Rockefeller Center Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30AM-5:30PM and Sun 9:30AM-4:30PM
NBC Studios Tour Hours: Mon-Thu 8:30AM-5:30PM, Fri-Sat 8:30AM-6:30PM, and Sun 8:30AM-4:30PM

At the conclusion of the NBC Studios tour, walk downtown on 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, taking in the sights and browsing in the many souvenir shops along the way. What better thing to do in New York City with teens than to see Times Square? Once at 42nd Street and Broadway, take lots of pictures and admire the scenery-all for free! Take an hour or two to wander around the area. Times Square shops have a plethora of t-shirts and kitschy, affordable souvenirs with high appeal to teenagers.


Eat dinner a short walk away at John's (260 West 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212-391-7560), one of the best pizzerias in New York City. With teens in tow, you will be grateful for the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to recharge a bit. John's only sells whole pies, which cost about $15-$19 for a large. Try the delicious whole-wheat crust version, which will be a welcome relief after the afternoon's heavy deli lunch. After dinner, look forward to a night tour of New York City on a double-decker bus!

Hours: Daily 11:30AM-11:30PM

Last on the itinerary of a jam-packed family day in New York City is a wonderful City Sights NY (lobby of Madame Tussaud's at 234 West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212-812-2700) night tour of the city. Taking this tour will allow you a glimpse of many New York City attractions, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, Soho, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, the Lower East Side and Chinatown, along with several landmark bridges. The tour also includes a photo opportunity at the Brooklyn Fulton Ferry Landing, where your pictures will have the sparkling New York City skyline as a backdrop. Tickets for this tour are $44 each. The tour lasts approximately two and a half hours and will return you to Manhattan's West Side.

After your family adventure in New York City with your teens, it's time to get some rest. This is just a sampling of all the city has to offer. Take a few more days and explore the rest of the Big Apple – you won't ever want to leave!

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