Minimum Age in New York

Minimum Age in New York

Minimum ages in New York are strictly enforced for a variety of things in New York. It is necessary to have proof of identity with you at all times to show when requested. In addition, minimum ages apply. You must be at least 21 to drink or check into most hotels in the United States, and therefore also New York. This page tells you what you can and cannot do at what age during your trip to New York.

Minimum age in New York

Different rules apply in New York than in Canada when it comes to minimum ages. An 18-year-old is considered an adult in the United States, but despite this, not everything is possible in the Big Apple that is possible in Canada.

Eric’s Tip: “It is necessary to carry official proof of identity with you at all times. For most cases, you will need your passport for this. A driving licence is sometimes valid, but at a club you may be refused entry. An ID card is not considered official proof, but in some cases you can try. Regardless of your age (including 40+), you should always be able to identify yourself. If you cannot, you may be refused entry or banned from drinking alcohol, for example.”

Restaurants and bars

Anyone can enter a restaurant in New York. Luxury restaurants, such as in the Meatpacking District, only allow people aged 21 and over in after 9 p.m.
As alcohol is served in bars, people under 21 are often not allowed to enter regardless of the time of day.

Rooftop bars in New York are for people aged 21 and over. During the day on weekdays, it is possible to get into a rooftop bar as a 20-year-old or younger. On weekends, this becomes more difficult. Be aware that there are strict checks for clubs; someone who is 20 or younger has no chance of getting into a club.

Don’t want to worry about getting in? Most sightseeing cruises are suitable for all ages. Take an evening boat tour or a dinner cruise and relax while admiring the Manhattan skyline glistening in the dark. It’s a sight you won’t forget!


Hotels in New York may require the person checking in to be over 21. Not all hotels do this. For example, you can check in at age 18 at Pod 39, Pod Times Square, Moxy NYC East Village and Moxy NYC Times Square, among others.
On, you can often see what the hotel’s age restriction is and whether you can stay there.

Cigarettes and smoking

Buying cigarettes under the age of 21 is prohibited in America. This also applies to e-cigarettes, i.e. vapes, and weed. As with alcohol, your age is often checked when buying smokes. In addition to the age limit, there are several other restrictions on smoking in New York.


From the age of 18, gambling is allowed in New York State. It is therefore possible to visit a casino when you are 18 or older. There are no casinos to be found in Manhattan itself. If you want to visit one, you can head towards Queens or upstate New York.
The state next to New York, New Jersey, includes Atlantic City. Here, the minimum age is 21.

Shooting range

I often get questions about shooting at a shooting range. Everyone pays the adult price for this, but children as young as 8 years old are allowed on the range. However, they are given different weapons than people aged 21 or over. Of course, they must be accompanied by an adult.

New York MetroCard

MetroCards in New York have no minimum age requirement, but a minimum height requirement. Children smaller than 44 inches (112cm) may travel free on public transport. Otherwise, it is necessary to have a MetroCard.

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