Planning days out with teens is not always easy.
When Flea was younger we were spoiled for activities. Perhaps we’d go to soft play centres, adventure playgrounds, nature walks, bowling, swimming pool. Basically, there were endless opportunities to do fun things together.
Now Flea is a teenager, much of her free time is spent asleep or with her friends. When she’s not doing those things there’s homework and hockey.
If I try and suggest a day out, we seem to always end up going to the cinema, or shopping. I’m not sure my patience or my wallet can take it!
So I asked my followers for their favourite days out with teens. Today I’m sharing the best recommendations with you, along with some of our favourite days out with teens, including some that we enjoy in Lancashire.
If you’re looking for days out with teens, I hope you’ll find this list helpful!
Best Days Out with Teens, 2020
It’s not the cheapest option for a teen-friendly family activity but bowling is always a treat for Flea. As an added bonus, Flea loves any activity where there’s a good chance she can beat me. Our local bowling alley is really pretty and to play two games costs us £30.
I keep an eye out for Groupon offers or the cheapest days to go bowling. Also since the fees are often per-lane, we’ll team up with friends to make a bigger group.
Going to the theatre is one of Flea’s favourite things to do with her Dad. Theatre is one of our favourite days out for teenagers, since it plays into their love of drama, and it’s a chance to be inspired creatively. It can also help support their GCSE studies, in some cases.
Over the past year Flea has seen big productions like Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but equally she loved Fiddler on the Roof, Ulysses and Young Marx. As part of her Christmas present, I’ve bought Flea tickets to see Evan Hansen: the Musical.
Remember lots of shows will have weekly lotteries, which can be a great way to pick up tickets cheap. Try return stands on the day, too, if you’re not too worried about seeing a specific show.
There are some great days out with teens built around virtual experiences. This is a cross between live theatre and virtual reality, where actors bring a virtual experience to life.
Flea was recently given complimentary tickets to visit the War of the Worlds experience in London and completely LOVED it.
The show puts guests into the middle of an alien invasion and without giving too many spoilers, Flea said the acting and effects were brilliant and, on occasion, genuinely quite scary. It’s a combination of VR, live actors, pyrotechnics and music that creates a truly immersive experience.
It’s a great day out for teens who love theatre, music or sci-fi. There’s even an on-site Steampunk-themed restaurant and bar so you can add a meal to your experience. Check out the website for more details.
If you’re looking for relaxing days out with teens, what about a spa day? Lots of spas will only offer treatments to adults, but if you look around, you may find spas that include teen treatments on their menu.
Our local YMCA has an attached spa that will give select treatments to children aged 14 and upwards. I like to treat Flea to a facial and a manicure every few months, as it boosts her confidence and gives us a nice chance to spend quality time together.
One of our big successes this year has been giving Flea a gym membership so that she can now come to our local health club with me.
My teen will often go to the gym while I have a swim, or she goes to a spinning class with her Dad. Our local gym does a YA membership, so Flea can attend 90% of the adult exercise classes, and use the cardio area of the gym.
The big plus of doing a sport or class together is that it is likely your teen will beat you, which they find very pleasing! It’s also going to boost those endorphins and leave both of you feeling much better afterwards!
Learn to Ski/Snowboard
Indoor snow centres like Chill Factore make for brilliant days out with teenagers.
Earlier this year Flea had the opportunity to take snowboarding lessons at Chill Factore with her Dad. Flea loved finding her balance and by the end of her first lessons could snowboard down the slope, turn, and stop safely. It was really exhilarating, and I think there’s something special about parents and teens learning a new skill together.
One of the great things about your children getting older is that their idea of culture doesn’t start and end with Peppa Pig.
Flea is currently studying GCSE photography, and she loves visiting photography exhibitions. We recently had a day out in Manchester to see a Martin Parr photography show, and Flea’s Dad has taken her to Manga exhibitions in London.
Talk to your teenager about their interests, and join the mailing lists for local art organisations to see what’s coming up in your area.
Video Games and Pool Halls
One of the US chains that I wish would make its way to the UK is Dave & Buster. These are video arcades with restaurants that are found all over the US and during the day make a brilliant day out for families.
The nearest equivalent to us is Arcade Club in Bury (Manchester). There’s another branch opening in Leeds and one in Blackpool, too!
This place is a brilliant day out for families with teens. Admission costs £12 for adults and £6 for kids, and for that you get unlimited free play on a range of arcade machines, including classics like Osman, Frogger and Pac Man. There’s a snack bar so you can get drinks, and a lounge with old consoles to play on. If your teen is aged 16, they can also visit the adult floor, which has a pinball arcade and bigger, more modern games.
I’ve a sneaky feeling that many water parks are just a slightly cooler (and colder) version of soft play. But who cares? They’re big and splashy and an amazing day out with teens.
Word to the wise: these courses look innocuous but they’re ridiculously hard. Invite your teen to bring friends while you man the flasks of cocoa is my advice.
In Lancashire, there’s an outdoor water park at Blackpool Wake Park during the warmer months, and you can also take teens for a wake boarding lesson pretty much year round.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate that old classic, a movie night.
One of my favourite things to do with Flea is pack up for an evening trip to the cinema. It still feels thrillingly grown-up to be out after dark, and it’s a nice chance to see a movie without younger kids chatting and ruining the experience. Our local Vue cinema just got a US-style makeover with reclining seats and tables, which makes it a fab day out (or evening) with teens.
Don’t want to spend the night at the cinema? We also invested in an amazing portable projector from Amazon for movie nights in the garden. Our projector can stream content from Netflix and Amazon Prime, and makes for a fun night if the weather is good. It’s a great way for teens to spend time with friends, or perhaps another family member during lockdown?
Do you have a favourite day out idea for teens? I’d love to hear about your best days out with your teenagers!