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Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonThe Cloisters
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Photograph: Virginia RollisonNew Leaf Restaurant and Bar
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Photograph: Paul WagtouiczRed Rooster Harlem
 (Photograph: Adam Reich)4/4
Photograph: Adam ReichThe Studio Museum in Harlem

Best date spots: Harlem and Upper Manhattan

Fun, original and cheap date spots—including bars, restaurants and activities—in Harlem and Upper Manhattan, NYC.

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The Cloisters

Museums Art and design Washington Heights

Few spots in the city are quite as idyllic as this museum devoted to medieval art and architecture. A path winds through the peaceful grounds to a monastery that appears to have survived from the Middle Ages. (It was actually built in the 1930s, using pieces of five medieval French cloisters.) Don’t miss the famed Unicorn Tapestries, or the stained-glass windows, taken from the Ebreichsdorf castle in Austria.

New Leaf Restaurant & Bar

Restaurants American Downtown

Follow a stroll through Fort Tryon Park with a bite at this rustic eatery, situated inside a restored cobblestone building that dates back to the 1930s. Executive chef Scott Campbell’s Greenmarket-inspired menu features seasonal fare. Kick off the weekend with a romantic jazz soundtrack courtesy of the restaurant’s Friday Night Music series, which hosts local bands. You can feel good about dropping cash here, too: All profits from the operation go directly to maintaining the park.

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Red Rooster Harlem

Restaurants Soul and southern American Harlem

Plan a night out at this eatery from celeb chef Marcus Samuelsson. The restaurant’s global soul food, a “We Are the World” mix of Southern-fried, East African, Scandinavian and French, is a good honest value. But it’s outshone here by the venue itself, with its hobnobbing bar scrum, potent cocktails and lively jazz.

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Photograph: Adam Reich

Studio Museum in Harlem

Museums Art and design Harlem

Founded in 1968, this uptown institution is the place to see both classical and contemporary art from the African-American community and the African diaspora. The permanent collection includes pieces by great black artists including Romare Bearden, Gordon Parks and Dawoud Bey. If you’re strapped for cash, you and your date should time your visit for Sunday, when admission is gratis.

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