How to Have Fun in NYC if You’re Underage
New York City is often called the city that never sleeps because of the insane party scene and nightlife here. So if you’re not 21 (and don’t have a fake…) you might be at a loss when it comes to what to do in New York City.
Well, guess what? There’s tons of stuff to do in NYC for people of all ages and you don’t even have to get arrested doing it.
Pro tip: if you hang out in one neighborhood for the day instead of trying to go to the West Village AND Little Italy AND Central Park, you’ll get to see so much more. So here are a few super fun things you can do in each neighborhood that don’t require a fake.
1. Meatpacking District
The Meatpacking District used to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city because of the high crime rates, but now thanks to gentrification, the area has completely flipped around. It’s now home to some of the most chic restaurants, but one that would be really fun to go to with all of your friends is The Sugar Factory. They have some of the craziest dishes that are, like the name suggests, almost completely sugar. Order one of their goblet drinks. You’ll thank me later.
The High Line is also fun to walk during the day, and the the views of the Hudson are absolutely stellar. It used to be an old railroad track that has been converted into a lush walkway with greenery and random ass water features.
Also, right next to the High Line is a museum called The Whitney that has a lot of really contemporary pieces and decks that look out over the NYC skyline. The location makes for a perfect photo op.
And speaking of photo ops, if you don’t mind waiting in line for the ‘gram, you should go to Black Tap and get one of their Insta-friendly milkshakes. Like I said, you’ll be waiting in line 4e, but our editor confirms their burgers and shakes really are incredible.
2. Upper East Side
There’s not much to do on the Upper East Side aside from the fancy and pricey af restaurants, but the area does happen to home to some of the best museums in the city. My personal favorite is The MET, which, if you’ve seen “Gossip Girl,” you’re well aware of how iconic their steps are. They have the greatest collection of art in the city. It’s also super cheap because the admission price is “suggested” — a.k.a. you can basically pay anything. A friend of mine paid a dime once.
Another is The Guggenheim, which changes its exhibitions pretty regularly so almost every time I go, I see something different. It is kind of expensive though; the student ticket is $18, but it’s completely worth it honestly.
A super famous Upper East Side eatery is Serendipity 3, known for it’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and that really insane $10,000 desert with real gold flakes in it! Obviously, please don’t order that, but we hear the FHC is bangin’.
3. Greenwich Village
A favorite hangout spot of mine is St. Mark’s Place. It’s a street bordering Greenwich Village and the East Village that’s lined with fun yet cheesy shops and ramen restaurants that are all decently cheap. The Guardian even called St. Mark’s one of the coolest streets in America, and there are also a couple of really kickass vintage shops and karaoke. If you go late enough, you’ll be sure to catch a few displays of public intoxication or street performers, but that’s the best part honestly. Why come to NYC if you can’t people watch?
There are also a bunch of great music venues in the Village. Webster Hall is one of the largest, and they often have dance parties late at night that you don’t have to be 18 to go to.
Also, go chill in Washington Square Park. All the hotties from NYU are either reading on the benches or chatting up their friends with about something interesting
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Aside from the main and obvious attraction of Soho (the shopping on Broadway), there are a bunch of awesome food places. A celeb fave is Ladurée, a French macaron shop that is so cute and chic and french that it only makes sense that society’s elite chills there.
Another fun thing to do in Soho is to go into all the really fucking expensive stores, like Acne or Moschino, and try on the clothes just for shits and giggles. Pretend like you actually have the money to afford them and no one will ask any questions.
If you find yourself nervous about trying on all those fancy clothes, you can always hit up TopShop on Broadway. That store is massive, and sometimes they even hire a DJ to spin music. And then if you’re feeling like standing in line for some odd reason, go get in line a Dominique Ansel Bakery for one of its world famous cronuts.
Also head to Little Italy. The most gorgeous lights decorate the entire street, and although they have a bunch of cheesy af and touristy stores, it’s worth it for the most lit cannolis in the city.
5. The West Village
Most of the well known things to do in the West Village are for those that are over 21 unfortunately, but there’s still shit to do for you.
The West Village, like Soho, is a great spot for shopping. Most of the stores in the West Village are boutiques and tend to be kind of pricey, but there are a few fun spots to hang out. Another celeb favorite spot is The Spotted Pig. It’s a little pricey but fun if you want a really delish meal and an almost guaranteed celeb sighting.
West 4th is a street that has a lot to fun places to check out, as well as food trucks. A really random restaurant that’s really fun to check out is the Jekyll and Hyde Club. It’s super spooky, and kind of like a dinner-theater type thing, but shockingly, it’s not lame.
After dinner, you should hit up Magnolia Bakery and get a bomb ass cupcake. That’s also where our editor once saw Suri Cruise and Katie Holmes, and you can also lurk near Sant Ambroeus to see if Jay and Beyonce come out.
Brooklyn is fucking massive, and if you’re going to hang out there at all, it’s best to know where you’re going. One neighborhood that has a fuck ton to do is Williamsburg. It’s a hipster paradise plagued with fedoras and artsy coffee shops. If you take the L to Bedford Avenue, you’ll enter a cornucopia record shops and vintage clothing stores that have somehow survived the ridic amount of gentrification.
If you want to check out a really cute jewelry store, Catbird has some of the trendiest pieces out there. This is the perfect place to get some of those adorbs knuckle rings.
One of the newer record stores that is so Instagram-worthy is Rough Trade NYC. They have the best selection of vinyl in the city, from new to old and almost any genre you can think of. After searching through their diverse collection, head to my favorite pizza joint in the city: Vinnie’s. They have regular pizza as well as delish af vegan slices that don’t taste like cardboard.
While I would normally advise anyone coming to the city to avoid Midtown because of its touristy nature and slow-walkers, the area does have a few hidden gems. One off-Broadway play you could go see is “Katdashians,” a mix between “Cats” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” It’s a hilarious parody of the Kardashians, and we know because we saw it! They make fun of the Kardashians obviously, but they do it in a loving way. So if you’re a Kardash-mega-fan, this is definitely the thing for you.
Another fun thing to do in Midtown is ice-skating. The first rink that probs comes to mind is the one at Rockefeller Center, but don’t go there. It’s overpriced, touristy, and way too fucking crowded. There are several other rinks, but the best one in my opinion is the one at Bryant Park. They also have a whole winter village there with cutesy shops and perfectly cliché photo ops.
If you want to go somewhere super retro, Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a 50s themed restaurant that also has singing waitresses. It’s cheesy and in Times Square, but it’s also you’ll feel like you really stepped right into a movie!