New York City Date Night Ideas
There is always so much to do in New York City. With Broadway shows, new restaurant openings, and sprawling parks, it’s hard to get bored in the five boroughs. But, if you’re trying to impress that special someone, it can be tough to plan a perfect evening. Choice-paralysis will hit you hard, here. So, where do you even start?
In our second NYC Summer Series article, we’ll look at 10 of the best date night ideas. Whether you’re trying out the famous NYC dating scene or want to treat your lover, these ideas will ignite the spark (without clearing your purse).
Soon, you’re going to understand why so many rom-coms are set in NYC.
Rowboat & Picnic in Central Park
What is more romantic than a rowboat ride? Cue The Notebook feels.
You can rent rowboats from the Loeb Boathouse and spend a relaxed afternoon on the water. Ride under bridges, past the Bethesda Terrace and back to the dock. There is just something so sweet about being on the water.
The date doesn’t need to end after your boating excursion. Plan ahead and pack a picnic. Or grab some snacks from the food carts around the park. Head to Sheep Meadow for a leisurely picnic and stunning view of Midtown high rises.
Museum + Cocktails
Head to a museum and bond with your date over a discussion of art or dinosaur bones.
To make your date night a bit more affordable, visit a museum on a free night. Many of NYC’s best spots are discounted at certain times. Check out the following museums:
MoMA: Free on Fridays from 4-8pm
Guggenheim: Pay what you wish on Saturdays from 4-8pm
Museum of Natural History: Always pay what you wish
The Intrepid: Free select Fridays in the summer
The Frick: Free first Friday of the month (except January & September) from 6-9pm
Rubin Museum of Art: Free Fridays from 6-10pm
Whitney Museum of American Art: Pay what you wish on Fridays from 7-9:30pm
Morgan Library & Museum: Free on Fridays from 7-9pm
After exploring one (or more) of these oh-so-New York museums, grab a drink to continue the discussion. Many of the places listed have an onsite bar or cafe. On Friday nights, the cafe at Rubin Museum of Art turns into a lounge complete with a DJ and a happy hour from 6-7pm. The Morgan Library features a cafe in a glass-enclosed court where you can listen to a light band and sip wine.
Take a Cooking Class
Why not learn a new skill together? And, surprise your love on a date night in, one time. Cooking classes are a fun alternative dinner date. Instead of sitting across from each other trying to make small talk, dive into the cooking process together.
The Brooklyn Kitchen in Greenwood Heights offers date night specific classes. During the class, you and your date will help create a dinner party. You can meet other couples, try a new skill, and pick up some techniques. Break the NYC stereotypes once in awhile, and actually cook.
Let your inner child, out, with these playful date ideas. He (or she) won’t be able to refuse your adorable-ness. Say goodbye to the classic movie night and hello to mini golf, arcade games, or ping pong.
Pier 25 Mini Golf- This 18-hole mini golf course boasts impressive views of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson. Plus, for only $7, it is a cheap date night option.
SPIN- Challenge your date to a round of ping pong on one of the 19 tables. This sleek lounge also features a full bar and a menu of small plates.
The Cliffs at DUMBO- No experience is required to try bouldering in DUMBO. Buy a day pass and race your date up the climbing wall. After, you can enjoy views of the Manhattan Bridge or grab drinks at the TimeOut Market.
Barcade- At this bar, you can play classic arcade games while enjoying beer and pub food.
Royal Palms Shuffleboard- Who knew shuffleboarding was a thing outside of cruise ships and retirement homes. This club in Brooklyn is likely not what you are thinking when you think shuffleboard. Grab a bite from the food trucks and compete with your date at this surprisingly fun game.
Root for the Home Team(s)
Take your date out to a ball-game. Enjoy a Nathan’s famous and cheer for the home team. In NYC, you have a few options. The Yankees and Mets are, of course, the classics. If you’re looking for something a bit different, head to Coney Island to watch the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones.
If things are going well, you can always stretch out the date by spending some time in Coney Island before the game starts. Relax at the beach, ride the iconic Cyclone roller-coaster, or visit the Coney Island Brewery for a pre-game flight.
Dinner and a Show
Instead of dinner and a movie, try dinner and a comedy show. Great comedy is offered throughout the city, but Upright Citizen’s Brigade is one of our favorite venues. UCB hosts improv and sketch shows every night of the week. Impress your date with this fun fact: UCB started as a comedy group that included Amy Poehler.
Before the show, grab dinner at the nearby Gothem West Market. This food hall features a variety of options so you and your date don’t have to agree on the same style of food for dinner.
In the summertime, NYC gets HOT. Remember those days in winter when the snow kept you inside? It helps us New Yorkers appreciate June through September.
NYC puts on free movie nights and outdoor concerts in parks across the five boroughs. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and enjoy an evening outside.
Check out the SummerStage lineup for some of the best free concerts in NYC this summer. These concerts are held until September and feature artists in many different genres, including Latin, jazz, and hip hop.
Some of the most romantic movie nights are held in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Curl up with your date while enjoying a movie set to the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and East River. NYC Parks also offers the Movies Under the Stars series. There are more than 150 outdoor movie nights included in this schedule, so you should be able to find a film you and your date can both agree on.
Escape to Governor’s Island
Governor’s Island is a small island less than a 10-minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan. This car-free island is the perfect day trip from the city. Here you can rent bikes, relax in hammocks, or enjoy a picnic.
But, if you are not looking for an all-day date, this island is also a great spot for dinner and a drink. On Friday and Saturday nights this summer, it stays open until 10 pm. You and your honey can watch the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline from the deck of Island Oyster or one of the other eateries on the island.
Stargaze on the High Line
For a weeknight date, walk on the High Line (and feel a burst of ‘happy’ endorphins, to help set the mood). On Tuesday nights this summer, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York sets up telescopes so you can get a better view of the night sky. Stroll with your date through the elevated park and gaze at the stars.
Afterward, stop by Chelsea Market for a relaxed meal. This market offers a little something for all budgets. Enjoy some of NYC’s best street tacos from Los Tacos No.1 or sit down for a delicious meal at Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant.
Stop by Smorgasburg
Date run into Saturday morning? Or, maybe, you prefer to get together in the day. It wouldn’t be summer in NYC without a visit to Smorgasburg. This food festival features some of the best eateries in the city.
You can find Smorgasburg in 4 spots around NYC. The original Williamsburgh location is joined by festivals in Prospect Park, Hudson Yards, and WTC. You and your date can eat around the festival, trying Instagram-worthy dishes like the ramen burger and kombucha popsicles.
And, we’re just getting started. They say you wouldn’t even get through all the restaurants in New York, even if you ate out every night. Well, now you have us to help you navigate where to start.
Netflix and chill? No way. Not in New York City!