Anniversaries, birthdays, first dates, Saturday nights: Whatever the occasion, these over-the-top date ideas in NYC are guaranteed to wow your special someone. You can’t beat the classics, like an extravagant dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants or the royal treatment at one of the most romantic bars. Of course, thinking outside the box can be fun, too—they’ll never expect you to whisk them away on a helicopter tour or private yacht. Picking up some roses from one of the best flower shops in NYC probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to date ideas in NYC
Over-the-top date ideas in NYC
Soar over New York City on a helicopter tour
Shock and awe your date with a bird’s eye view of all five boroughs on this helicopter tour of the Big Apple. You’ll spy the Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and countless other iconic landmarks. It’s an adrenaline rush that will only bring the two of you closer.
Settle into the plush leather seats at this Flatiron lounge and prepare to be spoiled. Once you’ve made your selection from the list of classic cocktails, just press a button on the wall for service. To make the experience all the more romantic, just lower the sheer, veil-like curtains around your candlelit booth. Pro tip: There's usually a wait at this exclusive spot, so make sure to snag a reservation if you really want to impress your date.
You’ve seen the countless horse-drawn carriages in Central Park, but bet you didn’t know there’s another way for equestrians to explore the park. Set off on a guided trot along the 2.5-mile Bridle Path for an outdoorsy afternoon date. No riding experience? No problem—your guide will show you the basics before you saddle up.
There’s a reason why horror films make excellent date movies: Getting a little freaked out is the perfect excuse to put your arms around someone special. Take that concept to the next level and book a session at Escape Games for your next date. You’ll have to put your heads together to find the way out of a mysterious laboratory, out-of-control spaceship or criminal underworld, depending on which scenario you choose. Nothing like a little adrenaline to help you bond!
Watch the sunset from a private cruise along the Hudson River
See what yacht ownership must be like on this private sunset cruise. It’s just you two, the crew and spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. Bring a picnic basket full of nibbles and a bottle of Champagne on board so you can raise a glass to your bright future together.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anthony Quintano
Treat your S.O. like the VIP he or she really is with an EmptyMet Tour. This small group tour gives you exclusive access to the museum before it opens for the day. The early morning light streaming into the deserted galleries is truly incredible to behold, and spending a quiet moment in front of the Temple of Dendur is so worth the early wake-up call.
There’s something undeniably romantic about cooking a gourmet meal at home for your S.O. If, like most New Yorkers, your idea of home cooking is heating up a frozen entree from Trader Joe’s, it’s time to step your game up with a class at the Institute of Culinary Education. ICE hosts dedicated cooking workshops for couples in everything from homemade pizza to sushi. Plus, most classes come with unlimited beer or wine!
Though it’s probably best not to attempt this one for a first date, adventuresome couples looking for a more risque activity might want to check out Babeland’s adult classes. Join a lecture on the art of the blow job, rope bondage or dirty talk to take things up a notch in the bedroom. Don’t forget to poke around the shop’s collection of adult toys before you leave.
Cross skydiving off your bucket list
Would you go to the ends of the earth for your love? How about jump out of a plane? Book two one-way tickets to 10,000 feet above New York City for your first skydives as a couple. After half an hour of training on the ground, you take off and get ready for your tandem dive with a North East Skydive instructor. There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of your first freefall!
Take your environmentally conscious sweetie on a day trip to Pocantico Hills, New York for a dining experience they’ll never forget. Located on a massive working farm, Dan Barber’s restaurant features produce and meat that comes right from the surrounding fields. You can’t order a la carte here: The only option is the $238 seasonal tasting menu. Though the price tag might seem a bit steep, it’s worth it: Blue Hill at Stone Barns just climbed to No. 11 on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Be sure to save some time after your meal to say hi to the pigs, geese, sheep and turkeys that call the 80-acre farm home.