Inside: Not sure what to buy the teen that has everything or too much clutter? Here are 50+ experience gift ideas for teens.
As the mom to three teens myself, holiday gift-giving can be quite the challenge.
Either their gifts are ridiculously expensive (Can I have the new iPhone 47?) or impractical (I said no to the hoverboard) or they just shrug their shoulders when I ask them if there is anything they want or need this year.
Couple this with the fact that I really don’t want to see one more thing on their bedroom floor, and buying a ton of stuff just to have gifts under the tree seems a bit crazy.
The truth is, however, I want to see my kids face light up when they open that special package. I’d love to give them something that they would enjoy, and an added bonus would be if it was something we could do together.
Enter Experience Gifts
Purchasing something for your teen to do instead of for them to have can bring back the joy to your holidays.
It can be an opportunity to learn a new skill, travel to a new place, or if you are especially lucky, make an awesome memory with your teen.
It can cut down on the clutter in their already-messy rooms.
It can help the grandparents or other special people in your family’s life contribute to the awesomeness of an experience gift. OR, they can supplement the experience with something to make it more enjoyable if they’d rather give something tangible.
Not sure where to start? No worries, we got you covered.
*This post contains affiliate links where we may earn a small commission for purchases you make from our site.
Here Are Some of Our Favorite Experience Gift Ideas for Teens
We’re providing ideas below and hope you may find some inspiration for experience gifts that will create meaningful and long-lasting memories sure to outlast any toy.
While some of these may only be relevant depending upon your location, there are so many experience gifts that also can be done virtually or remote as well.
For Teens Who Want to Learn Something New
Guitar or other music lessons: what teen doesn’t see themselves rocking out in their own band? If you can’t find a local teacher for lessons, there are some great virtual options, and there are many affordable starter guitars available that could make a fun gift to open under the tree.
Cooking classes: Have a teen that loves to cook? Find some local classes and put a cute apron under the tree.
Sewing/Fashion: Many crafting/hobby stores often offer sewing or clothes making classes. Don’t have a machine? We like this Singer travel sewing maching.
Photography courses. We even heard of a great one for learning to take great photos from your iPhone
Personal trainer sessions
Cake decorating or other baking classes. And make sure you get to do the taste testing.
Sports lessons like tennis or golf.
Learning a language for a study abroad opportunity. Rosetta Stone can be an awesome gift for someone who wants to learn a language quick.
Gaming/Coding classes like the ones offered at Code Academy.
Pottery or Painting classes
Gift Ideas for Teens Who Love the Outdoors or Adventures
Canoe or kayak excursions
Whitewater rafting or tubing
Pass to local parks for hiking: Check out these 10 Epic Day Hikes in U.S. National Parks
Jet ski or parasailing on your next beach trip.
Beach or pool pass for the summer: maybe give some new swim gear as a companion present.
Ski/snowboarding passes to your local mountain. Of course new gear would always be appreciated.
Ropes course gift certificate: One of our favorite places is Go Ape which has locations throughout the country.
Rock climbing (indoor or outdoor)
Axe throwing: this is a new, fun way to hurl axes at a target in a safe setting.
Masterclass Membership: We love this idea! If you’re not sure what your teen wants to do, get them a masterclass membership so they can pick and choose based on their interest and availability. There are so many options from cooking with Gordon Ramsey to basketball skills with Steph Curry to acting lessons with Natalie Portman.
Also, don’t forget to check out our Gift Ideas for Teens that Love the Outdoors.
Experience Gifts for Teens Who Like to Do Stuff
Concert tickets to their favorite artists. Bonus if you like the same music as your teen!
Broadway or other theater events: consider making a playlist of their favorite tunes to help get them excited.
Water Park or Amusement Park passes
Gift cards to their favorite restaurants (bonus if you let them take their friends)
Money for summer camp
Movie theater gift cards
Top Golf or batting cage gift cards
Trampoline Park Passes
Laser Tag/Paintball: We also love this laser tag set for teens and adults.
Escape Rooms: An escape room is an immersive, 60-minute, real-life adventure game. People who love escape rooms, REALLY love escape rooms.
Bowling passes for a rainy day.
Experience Gift Ideas for Teens Who Like to Travel
There are so many great reasons you should travel with your teen. You’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
VRBO/AirBnB or hotel gift cards
Money to go towards airline or other travel expenses. Also check out FlightGift, where one gift card can be used on nearly any airline in the world.
Tinggly experience box. Tingly is interesting because you get to choose the price and the gift recipient can choose the experience that suits them based on desire and location.
Airbnb Experience Gifts. You may only know AirBnB as an accommodations provider, but they also offer locally-led and virtual tours all over the world, The virtual experiences are especially ideal if you want to gift someone living in another country and also do it with them!
Membership Pass to museums, art galleries, planetariums, zoos or other attractions.
EcoAdventures: An ecoadventure is responsible travel to natural areas which helps conserve the environment or sustains the well-being of local people. Animal watching (ethical whale or dolphin tours), hiking, spelunking, and kayaking are all eco-friendly if done with the right tour group.
CityPass helps travelers see the most famous attractions in America while saving them time and money by creating a pay-one-price discounted bundle of tickets. You can purchase a CityPass as a gift simply by knowing the recipients email.
Fun and Practical Experience Gift Ideas for Teens
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that someone really wants or needs.
Photoshoot. A lot of teens love to document their lives and an opportunity for a professional photo shoot could be a lot of fun for them.
Streaming Service Subscriptions: Teens love their shows, so giving an additional streaming service such as Amazon Prime video, Netflix, or Disney+ could be a gift that everyone loves.
Charitable Donation: For the giving teen, a donation in their name to a charity of their choosing could melt hearts.
Gift cards: We know, it’s not sexy, but teens love to purchase what they want. Gift cards to coffee shops, music streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify or Amazon Music, gaming gift cards,, Audible, or even DoorDash and Uber (particularly appreciated by college students.)
Hopefully, these ideas have sparked your imagination and made you think about giving lifetime memories with experience gifts. If your teen lets you do them together, than even better!