Teens and hangouts go together like peanut butter and jelly — it’s what they do. As children get older, spending time with their friends becomes more and more important. And playdates and playgrounds just don’t cut it (oh yeah, and PB & J isn’t cool anymore either).
Fortunately, Northeast Ohio offers a variety of places where tweens and teens can hang out, have fun and stay safe.
Your Local Library
Libraries have undergone a makeover in the last few years. No longer are they the hushed book stacks where bespectacled librarians wag a finger at you if you speak above a whisper. Today’s libraries are vibrant community gathering places where teens can kick back with friends, volunteer to help others, and more. Many libraries throughout the region sponsor regular teen programming like movie nights, book groups, classes and volunteer programs. Check the nearest branch for activities just for teens. They’re welcome to spend time with friends anywhere in a library, but many even have a dedicated teen section — and while whispering isn’t necessary anymore, they should probably still keep their voices down.
Work out and hang out — that’s the idea behind many neighborhood recreation centers and YMCAs. While most recreation centers have organized activities available for teens, they also open their doors for teens and tweens who want to come play basketball, try their hand at ping pong, or chat in the lobby.
Check out the Park
While the park systems might not make for a good nighttime hangout, getting out on the trails during the day is a great way for teens to unwind outdoors. Check with your nearest park for events that might be of interest for teens. They also can check out the trails on the park’s website before donning hiking shoes and heading out. Some parks, such as Cleveland Metroparks, have apps to find a nearby park, a list of trails, and directions to each trail.
Museum of Art
Your tween can explore the local art museum. For example, at the Cleveland Museum of Art they can start at Gallery One, which has interactive exhibits just begging for teens to touch and become part of the art. Another idea? Let your teen bring a sketchpad and pencils and spend an afternoon drawing one of their favorite sculptures or paintings. Live in the Akron area? See what’s happening at the Akron Art Museum.
Fun N’ Stuff
Part arcade, part mini amusement park in Macedonia, it has the expected — like laser tag, bowling and roller skating — along with some unique games. Adventurous teens will like the Cannon Ball Blasters, where players shoot foam balls at targets. Afterward, they might want to try out the Eurobongy (you’re strapped in kind of like a human yo-yo) and Medieval Madness Crazy Cars (think oversized bumper cars).
|Ways to Hang out at Home
Your tweens and teens don’t always have to go out to have a good time. Suggest they hang out at home by hosting a special activity to which they can invite their friends. Here are a few ideas to get you started:Cult Classic
Hold a movie night with a familiar film like “Princess Bride,” “Avengers” or “Star Wars.” Encourage teen guests to come dressed as characters from the movie. Let the teens recite lines from the movie as it plays while they’re eating popcorn, sipping on sodas and enjoying each other’s company.