Traveling with teens in New York City or anywhere is simply like travelling with other adults. They eat as much as adults, cost as much as adults at many attractions, need their own beds/ space and want to be a part of the planning and respected on a trip. It’s been wonderful traveling with our teens and actually a bit of a relief for me, as the main travel planner. New York City is a wonderful place for teens! They LOVE figuring out how to navigate the Subway System, eating street food, can walk for hours and stay up late! This means you can squeeze in a lot more fun in NYC!
We flew in to New York on a Friday night and it was really fun seeing the city all lit up as we traveled in a taxi to our hotel. A taxi seemed like the easiest way to get to our hotel in Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport, as we really didn’t want to figure out the transit system after a long day of travel. We booked the Arthouse Hotel on Expedia because it was a great price, had 2 queen size beds in a large room, came with free breakfast, was a block from a Subway stop and 2 blocks from Central Park. We didn’t end up with a room with a view but there was a common balcony we could go to, to see Central Park. You can definitely upgrade your room price to get a room with a view but do it in advance as they’re very busy. We really liked the hotel although the free breakfast wasn’t great. It was only a coffee and a croissant.
HOTEL TIP FOR TEENS: If you want 3 beds in a room, which is really hard to find in New York, purchase an inflatable bed on Amazon Prime and have it delivered to the hotel. We did this and then left it there when we flew home. For a total cost of $20 it got us an extra bed so our teens didn’t have to sleep together and cost less than a cot (which the hotel also didn’t have).
DAY 1: We wanted to have a nice relaxing first day of vacation so we walked to Central Park. If you want to fall in love with New York City the second you arrive head to Central Park. It’s magical with statues, castles, archways and absolutely beautiful greenery. everywhere It’s also filled with families enjoying it on a Saturday and we LOVED IT! The girls brought sketch books and we just wandered and sat on part benches and relaxed.
Our next stop was perfectly planned. We all were so excited to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) and have no time limit to explore! I had been once before but forgot how utterly fabulous this museum is. If you’ve read any of my posts before you know our family LOVES history and museum but this one truly BLEW THE OTHERS OUT OF THE WATER!
TOP EXHIBITS AT THE MET: We loved seeing original paintings by Monat, Manet, Cezanne, Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh and Degas, original drawings by Rembrant, sculptures by Rodin and the incredible huge assortment of Egyptian artifacts. There was even an entire Italian 3 story house in the museum that made you feel like you were in Italy.
DAY 2: Today we were ready to hop on that Subway and travel as far around Manhattan as we could! The Subway system in New York is incredibly easy to navigate and cheap! Later on our trip we went to the UK and Paris and let me tell you that their systems are far more expensive and complicated! We traveled to Battery Park where you can take a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. It was beautiful and we were very surprised to see that there were incredibly clean public toilets as well! What a surprise!
We then decided we wanted to walk to Brooklyn Bridge and then to an ice cream spot the girls had found on Instagram. It was about a half hour walk and lots of fun to see all the activity along the waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge in person!
After Brooklyn Bridge it was about another 15 minutes to Eggloo the ice cream shop in China Town. They make huge fluffy, big, waffle cones with ice cream and toppings. Delicious and they fill you up enough to keep sight seeing!
Now my girls really wanted to shop in New York City so I thought I’d google them a really cool used clothing store to go to. We’re big fans of re-using clothing and shopping vintage. I found Buffalo Exchange in Noho and we took an Uber to get there because by this time we were getting tired. Uber in NYC was absolutely fabulous. Safe fast and cheap! We had our fun at Buffalo Exchange and then took the Subway to Times Square to wander, shop some more and go to Hard Rock Cafe for supper. Hard Rock Cafe’s are reliable for their consistency with food choices and are a lot of fun for teens with the blasting music and memorabilia. I remember loving them when I was young and was more than happy to indulge my teens.
HOTEL TIP: Don’t forget that you can almost always leave your bags with the hotel if you’re flight is leaving late and you want to squeeze in some more sightseeing or if you arrive early and your room isn’t quite ready. We love using this tool to extend our vacation time in each city and not have to sit around waiting for rooms or in airports!
On our last day in New York we packed up our bags and stored them with the hotel concierge so we could go to one more museum close by before leaving for our flight to Dublin. We walked to the Museum of Natural History, only 2 blocks from our hotel. We wanted to be there at least a half hour before opening because we knew it would be busy in the summer.
Unfortunately we were a bit disappointed by this museum. It has fabulous dinosaur displays and of course the famous Easter Island statue from the movie Night at the Museum, however the hallways and rooms were very confusing and difficult to navigate. There was not enough air conditioning or even air movement at all and we were very hot inside the museum. Some displays (a traveling one on dinosaurs) had an additional cost but no one manning the booth at the entrance who could figure out the computer so you had to go all the way back to the front desk to buy a ticket (because no one asked me when I entered if I wanted to add it on!) We did enjoy the exhibits but these issues made it less enjoyable overall.
We definitely have a plan to go back to New York City again to see more of the sights that we missed like the Empire State Building and do more shopping. If you’re planning a weekend or longer in New York and planning on seeing at least 4 attractions I highly recommend buying a CityPass. With a New York Citypass you can see the following attractions:
A CityPass saves you 43% on these attractions and you gain access to the museums very quickly! We used it while we were in New York and were pleased with how easy it was to just show the pass on our cell phones at each location!
Disclosure: I received CityPasses for my husband and I in order to cover the attractions in this post and write about CityPass, however all opinions in this post are my own.