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Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

The best first-date ideas for New Yorkers

Your crush said yes (congrats!), now take a peek at these brilliant and fun first-date ideas to really woo them

Annalise Mantz
Written by
David Goldberg
Annalise Mantz

Joy of joy, wonder of wonders: The object of your affection agreed to go out with you, but now you need first-date ideas. NYC has plenty of options for that all-important first rendezvous. We've put together a list of your best options. From romantic things to do in the city to artistic movie screenings and honest-to-goodness cool stuff to do at museums, your perfect date is here. (Some of them are even super-cheap date ideas!)

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to date ideas in NYC

Best first-date ideas for New Yorkers

  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

If you’re too nervous to make first-date conversation, just don’t bother! With cushy seats and a stacked menu served to you during the movie, Nitehawk condenses “dinner and a movie” into one seamless event. Niche favorites like In Bruges, Ginger Snaps and Princess Mononoke ensure a game audience and let you gauge your date’s taste.

Show off your vinyl-collector credentials at B.Y.O.V.
  • Things to do
  • Quirky events

The Garret East provides you with an excellent opportunity to impress your date. You can bring your own classy records (yeah, you have a record player, natch) and show the crowd how it’s done at this chill hipster-jukebox night. Just leave your Phantom of the Opera OBC vinyl at home, at least for the first round.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

No need for a movie or a show after dinner here; you’ll have all the spectacle you can handle for one night at this legendary cheese restaurant. Waiters will carve heated, dripping blocks of gooey Swiss raclette cheese onto your full dish of potatoes and arugula salad while you and your date watch in astonishment. Even if you don’t hit it off, you’ll have had a legendary dinner and your Instagram will be in great shape.

  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Midtown West
  • price 1 of 4

Any child of the ’90s can attest that the best way to get to know people is over several (dozen) rounds of Mario Kart. So step off the couch and show your date a free night of fun as you play games on the brand-new store’s colossal 15-foot screen, reminisce about your favorite childhood games and bond over favorite Nintendo characters from Link to Princess Peach.

Party in headphones at a silent disco
Photograph: Courtesy Kevin Yatarola

Party in headphones at a silent disco

If you’re too intimidated to participate in small talk, strap on a set of headphones and get to know each other on the dance floor, with nobody but the DJ to show you the way. NYC has an endless supply of silent discos—or headphone parties—in museums, clubs and even cemeteries. Check out Lincoln Center Local: Silent Disco, The Guggenheim’s Art After Dark series or Quiet Clubbing to find upcoming events.

  • Bars
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • price 2 of 4

Don’t be tempted to ease those first-date jitters by tossing back a few shots beforehand. Instead, tour this Brooklyn Navy Yard distillery and tasting room to imbibe some liquid courage with your date. You’ll learn the history and science behind whiskey and get to sample some of their inventive alcohols, like chocolate whiskey, peated bourbon and strawberry-ginger moonshine.

Looking for a romantic restaurant?

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