A parent’s guide to New York City with teenagers

Some of the most fun we have planning trips is the vacations we plan for our families. We get so excited to put our skills to the test trying to impress our toughest clients: our own families. When we encounter these challenges, we turn to our colleagues for advice. So when one of our colleagues sought advice for taking teenage boys to New York City, we all rallied together to contribute advice for the ultimate NYC weekend.

Museums


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We know what you’re thinking. All this great advice and your first tip are to take teenagers to museums? Well, this is New York City, and there are all kinds of museums. First stop is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, built around the World War II aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Alongside it is the Growler, the only American guided missile submarine open to the public. Going from the seas to the skies, the museum is also home to the Concorde, which used to cross the Atlantic in less than 3 hours, and the NASA space shuttle Enterprise. A few blocks away is the Skyscape Spy Museum. Learn all about the secret world of codes, hackers and special ops. Channel your inner 007 in the James Bond experience, and even tinker with all the gadgets Q creates for Bond to use in the field.

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For a deeper dive into the American experience, head to the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. There, the story of the immigrants who came to the city seeking a new life is told through the living conditions they dealt with and the neighborhoods they built that were something of a cross between their Old World homes and the vibrant new country they were helping to create. For a more somber but just as important lesson in history, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum faithfully tells the story of the city’s darkest day and how New York has worked to overcome the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, to rise again.

Treats

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For one thing, a full day of touring is bound to work up an appetite, especially in teenagers. For another, New York is one of the all-time great food cities. Urbanspace @ Vanderbilt offers a smorgasbord of options from gumbo to Korean barbecue. Even the pickiest eaters will find something to satisfy their palates. For more traditional New York City fare, grab a hotdog at Nathan’s on Coney Island -- preferably after you ride the Cyclone -- or taste your way through Brooklyn with a pizza tour. For dessert, choose from among the many flavors at Doughnut Plant, including the world’s first creme brûlée donut. If their sweet tooth need more satisfaction, take them over to the Sugar Factory, which makes drinks in just about any candy flavor you can imagine and offers a little something to soothe a weary parent who’s been chasing teenagers around New York City all day. One treat you can only find at Serendipity 3 is the frozen hot chocolate, but trust us, it’s well worth the trek.

Getting around

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There are many ways to get around New York, and some are a lot more fun than a crowded subway car. A walk along the High Line will showcase greenery and art in the concrete jungle, and a rowboat experience in Central Park will do the same. See the whole city from a different perspective with a boat tour around Manhattan Island, or take to the air on a helicopter tour and get to know all the buildings that make up the most famous skyline in the world. For a slightly more earthbound experience, check out the panoramic views from the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

The trip was a success, and rest assured, we’ll treat every trip of yours like it’s one we’re planning for our families.