Family Fun

A Tween/Teen Day on the Lower East Side

Spend a day with the family redefining reality, broadening horizons, and eating your way through Manhattan’s hip Lower East Side.

Photo courtesy of Jump Into the Light

Tweens and teens are notoriously hard to please. But we’ve put together a full day in Nolita and on the Lower East Side—centered around a virtual reality experience—that we’re pretty sure they’ll love. 

Stop 1: Climb the Alps

At Jump Into the Light, a VR cinema and play-lab studio on the Lower East Side, you can scale mountains in the Alps, parachute into the Grand Canyon, race cars, and take a trip around the world via a curated collection of stunning 360-degree films. A crowd-favorite experience is “Full Immersion,” in which you choose your own adventure: fight off zombies, walk the plank off of a 40-story building—it’s your VR choice! 180 Orchard Street (between Houston and Stanton Streets)

Full immersion VR / Photo courtesy of Jump Into the Light

Stop 2: Hot Chocolate With a Kick

Après-climb, get steaming mugs of Mexican hot chocolate and teen-favorite brunch plates (huevos rancheros, a Cuban sandwich, quesadillas) at the counter inside Café Habana. Tell your eco-friendly kids how owner Sean Meenan gives back to the community through his nonprofit, Habana Works, which focuses on urban environmentalism. 17 Prince Street (between Elizabeth and Mott Streets)

Chicken Diablo Sandwich / Photo courtesy of Café Habana

Stop 3: Art With a Message

If your kids are into photography, visit the incredible International Center of Photography Museum. One of its current exhibitions is “Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died,” a powerful show exploring how the U.S. has responded to international terrorism. It is sure to resonate with your kids’ budding social consciousness. 250 Bowery (between East Houston and Prince Streets)

Entrance to ICP / Photo courtesy of the International Center of Photography

Stop 4: Try a New Flavor

You’re never too old or too cool for ice cream. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream specializes in the unexpected: burnt sage, strawberry rhubarb crisp, rose vanilla, and banana curry, among dozens of other gorgeous flavors made in small batches. Rivington Street (between Bowery and Chrystie Street)

Lychee Raspberry  sorbet / Photo courtesy of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Stop 5: Bring Home a Goodie Bag

No trip to the LES is complete with a stop at Economy Candy. Open since 1937, this old-school joint carries all the nostalgic brands from your kids’ younger years—as well as yours. Fill up a bag! 108 Rivington Street (between Essex and Ludlow Streets)

Selection of candies at Economy Candy / Photo by Amy Hoppy

Get inspired by—or curate your own—Lower East Side day. Chat with a planner!