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The best date ideas in NYC

These amazing date ideas in NYC are a surefire way to woo your latest crush

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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With so many things to do in New York, you’d be hard-pressed to come up empty handed when devising date plans. On the other hand, too many choices can be overwhelming. We’re here to help with the best date ideas in NYC, options that are sure to woo your current crush or rekindle the flames with your longtime love.

Among the best restaurants in New York, several are exceptionally romantic, and always a good choice. Taking a stroll around any of these romantic spots in New York is a great way to get things started. After that, try one of 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, and if you’re looking for something really different, these unique date ideas will ensure your next rendezvous is anything but ordinary..

RECOMMENDED: The most romantic getaways in New York

Best date ideas in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Taste great whiskey and tour the new Great Jones Distilling Co., which opened to the public in 2021 as Manhattan's first and only legal whiskey distillery in over 100 years. Over six years in the making, the 28,000 square-foot venue is a fully functioning distillery with a tasting room and several drinking and dining venues, including an underground speakeasy and a full restaurant. Couples can book several different experiences, including a tour detailing the whiskey-making process ($35), a culinary cocktail pairing experience ($145) and a hands-on mixology class ($110). 

  • Restaurants
  • Lower East Side

Ye’s Apothecary, which opened in June, is New York City’s best new date place. It is exceedingly pretty and has an air of speakeasy about it with ideally authored menus to turn "getting to know you" into a little more. Descend and make a sharp right: a cinematic bar is over your shoulder, set with gleaming emerald tiles and a few seats facing illuminated shelves as studied as a still life. The expanse of the long, jewel-toned venue is to the left, where elegant light fixtures float above banquettes and candlelit, marbled tables. It’s all very intimate, both as a euphemism for manageably tight and as a mood. Ye’s Apothecary has as venerable and varied a dinner menu as any more languid destination. The excellently calibrated options are equally suited to order one or a few, or strain bear hug-sized two-tops with veritable banquets...

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  • Sex and dating
  • Sex & Dating

How about a date that has been set up for you? The Metropolitan Museum of Art's new "Date Nights" give visitors an opportunity to become acquainted with artwork with informal drop-in gallery chats, the chance to listen in on gorgeous live music and sip on yummy cocktails. These "Date Nights" are held every Friday and Saturday nights in the American Wing Café from 5pm to 9pm. Even better, the date nights come with museum admission, which is always pay-what-you-wish for New York State residents and NY, NJ, and CT students with valid ID. And this time, advance tickets are not required. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Board the Classic Harbor Line's for a romantic evening jazz cruise on the '20s-style Yacht Manhattan—made extra cozy with ample pillows and corner tables—and order a glass of champagne. You'll pass the imposing One World Trade tower, sailboats gliding peacefully and Jersey City's many high rises. As the sun gets lower in the sky, the light bounces off different buildings, especially the Empire State Building, which seem to glow like a torch in the sky. The band plays jazz standards and more contemporary tunes as you make your way to the Statue of Liberty. You can reserve your trip at classicharborline.com or call the Classic Harbor Line NYC phone number (212) 627-1825.

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  • 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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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Get to know your date by performing a bank heist, a science experiment gone wrong or escaping from an ancient Egyptian tomb—that is, by solving an escape room! Since most escape rooms are blessedly climate controlled, these games are also an excellent thing to do on a rainy day. Take a look at best puzzle games and escape rooms in NYC below and get ready to put your wits to the test. 

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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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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops

From basic culinary skills to cooking with wine to rolling sushi, these couples cooking classes aim to entertain and educate. You’re sure to grow closer as you mix ingredients with your special someone. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a kitchen competition — these classes contain knives!

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the best New York attractions for a reason—it has a 50-acre forest, a palace modeled after Spain’s Alhambra, a rose garden, an observatory and plenty of spots to hideaway from it all. Plus, it hosts plenty of beloved events like winter's Holiday Train Show and the Orchid Show. During the fall, its collection of pumpkins is epic. This kind of date is for those who want to escape from the city without actually leaving.

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  • 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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  • Things to do

Stop and smell the roses (or the tulips) with your date at one of these incredible gardens inside NYC parks like Central Park or visit New York's various conservatories (like the one at the New York Botanical Garden), or at secret gardens in NYC that provide rare moments of solitude in a city packed with eight million people. Note that most of the stunning botanical gardens are requiring pre-reserved tickets at this time, so check their websites before heading out.

  • Things to do
  • Downtown Brooklyn

The seasonal Dreamland Roller Disco in Prospect Park provides a modern twist on a retro date. Besides, isn’t there something cute about falling on your butts together? What makes Dreamland special are its themed nights. From Gaga vs Madonna to Soul Train to Y2K Disco, you're bound to find the perfect theme that will get you going regardless of your skating skills.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Coby Club is a subterranean lounge on Seventh Ave that’s inspired by 1960s San Francisco nightlife. The lush space pays homage to San Francisco Chinatown nightlife in the 1960s and one woman in particular who was at the heart of it: Miss Coby Yee, the glamorous dancer and owner of the iconic club Forbidden City. With black velvet banquettes and red, silk-shaded lighting, this is the spot to kindle romance.

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