Disclosure – There are affiliate links within this post allowing you to quickly purchase tickets and save money! I also partnered with Big Bus Tours and CityPass. All opinions are my own.
Visiting New York City has been one of our most favorite vacations as a family. We loved getting to experience so much in this lovely city. I’m sharing our favorite places to visit in New York City with teens. I’m also sharing some money & time saving tips!
Empire State Building
One of the best ways to see the city is at the top of the Empire State Building. The views from the top are incredible and you can pretty much see the entire island! They have a restaurant at the top if you are hungry and bring your quarters to use the scopes!
Statue of Liberty
This one is definitely a classic must-see. You can also see Ellis Island where some of your ancestors may have come when arriving in the USA! If you come here, I’d say it could be a good half day visit. The tours are all audio so you can move at your own pace. Before you go, you’ll want to make your reservations. To go inside the statue I recommend making those reservations at least a few months before your trip! Just to visit the island, they usually have same day visits available.
There are benches where you can enjoy a picnic and they also have scopes so you can see Manhattan.
The ferry itself is also a treat because you get a full view of southern Manhattan.
Cost- We recommend the CityPass (see below)
This is a great place to go on a low key day. We took some fruit and had a picnic on one of the big rocks. Afterward, we walked around and found ourselves at the lake. We saw street performers and even the Imagine memorial for John Lennon (put in Strawberry Fields in Google Maps to find it). You can also find ice cream trucks along the perimeter of the park. I recommend visiting Central Park on a day you have a museum planned since many are near here. We enjoyed some at Columbus Circle where the fountain is.
Cost is FREE!
Did you know that Central Park is over 2 miles long and it has everything from playgrounds to a zoo?! You could definitely spend a whole day here.
New York Public Library
This is a beautiful building both inside and out. We loved seeing all of the artwork here and of course the architecture. This one is probably only going to be appealing to those with older kids.
Cost is FREE!
This one is a must, especially at night! The lights are bright and there are plenty of street performers to view. Just a reminder to be aware of your surroundings here. It’s very crowded, it’s very easy for someone to get lost in the shuffle.
Cost – FREE!
Top Of The Rock
Another great place to see at night in NYC is the top of Rockefeller Center. You get a great view of the lights that light up the night in the city that never sleeps!
Cost – We recommend using CityPass (see below).
Museum of Natural History
New York has museums for everyone. One I picked for the family was the Museum of Natural History. You could easily spend all day here! Plus it reminded us of the Night At The Museum Movie!
Cost – We recommend the CityPass (see below)
9/11 Memorial & One World Tower
We loved visiting this memorial. I would recommend at least a few hours here and I would only bring older kids. Younger kids may not understand and it may be hard to keep them still. Just a note that it was very emotional for us to get through and we had a hard time completing it all.
Cost – We recommend CityPass (see below)
Ride The Subway
The subway is such an economical way to get around the city. It’s also much faster as the traffic in New Y
Cost – Budget friendly!
OKay so this is more of an obvious one but we loved getting to experience places throughout NYC to eat! Yelp is your friend for eating your way around the city so you can check out the reviews of places in the area. Every area we went we pulled this up! We did pizza, ice cream, cupcakes, and more!
Cost – It’s whatever you budget! Another good reason to use Yelp.
Other fun and FREE places to see in NYC
Macys– Check out where Buddy The Elf learned how to ride an escalator!
- M&M store at Time Square!
- Flat Iron Building
- The bull on wallstreet
Using New York City Pass
Okay, you heard me talking about using the NYC City Pass to save money. I feel like this is the best way to save money and experience the city! Not only will it save you money, but you also save time and stress by not having to buy tickets when you get there!
- Empire State Building
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum
- Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
By purchasing the CityPass, you’ll save almost $100! If you have a limited amount of time, you can also purchase a CityPass where you pick 3 places to visit.
Other benefits include –
- One simple purchase.
- Nine consecutive days of validity, including the first day of use.
- Expedited entry at many attractions.
- Instant delivery with convenient mobile or printable ticket options.
If you have followed us for a while, you know we love using CityPass in other big cities like San Francisco!
Big Bus New York Tours
Only have a limited amount of time in the city but you still want to see the Big Apple? Check out Big Bus Tours! This is a great way to see the city and you can get on and off at popular destinations! You’re provided
Cost – save 20% and buy your tickets online before you go!
Other Tips for Visiting New York City With Teens
- If flying into JFK or Laguardia seems too expensive, look at a surrounding city. We actually flew into Detroit so we could do a Northeastern road trip!
- Use a website like Hotels.com to find the best prices on hotels. Sometimes you may find a better deal during the weekend than the week or vice versa, depending on what part of the city you are in!
- Be sure to speak with your teens about being aware in NYC. The city is full of great people but remember, there are unfortunately bad people wherever you go. It’s important to stay together and alert at all times.
- While Uber or Lyft may be convenient, in high traffic times it can cost a fortune. We recommend using the subway when possible to save money.
- Bring a backpack that includes snacks and water to save money along with some sunblock.