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Photograph: Joseph O. HolmesBrooklyn Botanic Garden

The best date ideas in NYC

Woo your crush by embarking on one of these amazing date ideas in NYC, which range from classic to quirky

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Written by
Tolly Wright
&
Adam Goldman
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Whether you’re trying to impress someone new or looking to rekindle the flames with your longtime love, you could probably use a little help coming up with date ideas in NYC. There are so many things to do in New York it can be hard to choose the perfect activity for a date. We’re here to help, with a curated list of cool things to do whatever your type, whether you’re into eating, drinking, nature, art or something out of the ordinary.

Sure, you can take your date to one of the best restaurants in New York — especially the romantic ones — but sometimes you have to get a little creative. Take a stroll around a romantic spot in New York to get things started, then check out these date-worthy itineraries and watch the sparks fly. If you’re watching your wallet, we can also recommend these cheap date ideas in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: The most romantic getaways in New York

Best date ideas in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

A West Village institution with classy decor, Minetta Tavern serves up that famous burger that’s on your bucket list. After your splurge, turn things up a notch at Marie’s Crisis Café, the iconic piano bar down the street. You can listen to some show tunes and join in the singing once you’ve got a few drinks in you. Who knows, maybe you and your date will harmonize!

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife
  • Lower East Side

Drop your inhibitions at this seductive, throwback lounge. Cheeky performers will leave you and your date laughing, curious and maybe a bit aroused. From your table by the stage (the space is small enough that there’s not really a bad seat in the house) expect the unexpected as aerial performers, singers, comedians, dancers and sexily clad lads and laddies perform circus and sideshow tricks. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything like it in the Lower East Side—or anywhere else.

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  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Midtown East

New York is brimming with unique, exciting activities. But if you’re pining for something truly cutting-edge, explore another city—or another planet, for that matter—by bringing your date to VR World, a theme park that proffers 50 mind-bending interactive experiences.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Brooklyn Heights

Versatility is a key quality in a date spot: somewhere you want to stay but can still bolt if need be. If that’s what you’re seeking, get thee to Jared Braithwaite’s bar Pips, which sports an impressive wine selection alongside small plates inspired by coastal Italian cuisine. Plus, it’s right on Atlantic Avenue, so your subway escape-route options are plentiful. 

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Prospect Park

You and your special someone don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in an idyllic pastoral paradise with this century-old Kings County NYC park. Nestled away by Prospect Park, you’ll find over 50 acres of cherry blossoms, rose gardens and the bright flora of the tropics in the balmy conservatory. No matter the season, you’ll be sure to see beautiful plant life.

  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Williamsburg

Why bother going to two separate places when you can combine this classic date at one fantastic eat-in cinema? Grab one of the luxurious, big comfy chairs and take advantage of the table with the seats. Chow down on tacos, burgers, charcuterie or small plates as you take in buzzworthy indie films and retro re-releases. And be sure to take advantage of the sweet cocktail and beer menu. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

No one foresees anything good (with the possible exception of a Broadway show) to come out of Times Square. But consider Bugis Street Brasserie’s laksa: Comprising rice vermicelli, shrimp, chicken, fish cake and bean sprouts, this super-spicy noodle soup is sure to heat up your night. Your date might give you some side-eye as they’re guided into a hotel lobby packed with tourists, but sometimes great things emerge from unexpected places.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Broke, huh? Well, it sounds like you’re craving a space so bucolic, you love birds will forget it’s free of charge! Everyone appreciates a hidden urban oasis, and the St. Luke in the Fields Gardens—just off Hudson Street, between Barrow and Christopher Streets in the West Village—are up there with the best of them.

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