While New York isn’t known as the city of love, there’s certainly no shortage of romantic things to do in NYC. Maybe we’re just a bunch of passionate, biased Gothamites, but we have plenty of fairy-tale date ideas to make your significant other swoon as proof. Once you decide your next dating app contestant deserves better than dodgy hookup bars, our list of romantic things to do comprising dreamy cocktail bars to fun rock-climbing adventures will have you crooning and whistling love songs before your date even begins. That's the power of love, baby, breathe it in.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Valentine's Day NYC
Romantic things to do in NYC
Pull a Marvin Gaye and prepare to get it on (or, at least, think about it) at the MoSex, which showcases tastefully erotic and downright outlandish art and artifacts. Peep the latest exhibitions and jump inside a tantalizing bounce house to shake off those date-night jitters. Make a pit stop at the gift shop, which is stocked with books, sex toys and aphrodisiac elixirs, and continue the romancing at home.
Fancy dinner and a movie? Yeah, it’s the most over-used date-night routine in the book. But at Syndicated—Bushwick’s premiere dine-in movie theatre—you can grab cocktails, a delicious meal and catch a flick without ever leaving the premises. This is monumental for any couple that has ever argued over missing the first 15 minutes of a film due to train delays. And with gourmet flavored popcorn and $3 movie tickets, how could you resist such a gloriously cheap date? Answer: You can’t.
Be reminded of all the summer lovin’ you experienced at summer camp inside this Boerum Hill bar that looks like a romantic cabin in the woods. Get cozy by the fireplace and play Jenga, Connect 4 and other classic board games while eating s’mores and sipping s’more martinis.
Before you lovebirds get your rocks off, spend a few hours climbing over some boulders first. At this 25,000-square-feet rock-climbing gym, you and bae can take turns playing the role of belayer (or use the auto-belay) to ascend the 22-foot-tall rock wall. Who will fall for whom first?
The only way to win the heart of another is through a glass (or multiple pours) of wine, right? It’s worth a shot—or, er, a flight. Most wine bars in New York are bursting with charm, but this dimly-lit watering hole in Williamsburg is especially enticing with its romantic outdoor seating area equipped with those dreamy string lights. Turn up for $1 oysters served all night, every night—they’re an aphrodisiac, duh!
Repairing your semi-rocky relationship may be the only thing that concerns you right now, which means it’s time to bring out the big guns! That’s right, keep your relationship goals strong by treating your S.O. to a kick-ass (slightly pricey) yacht party on the Hudson ($150 per person). The delicious three-course meal, stunning skyline views and busting your sick moves on the dance floor will surely impress.
Hang out with bae inside mid-1800s tunnels while nibbling on fromage and listening to live music. The curd makers host a bimonthly concert series in which local musicians perform amid the echoing and, might we say, downright romantic ambience.
Pioneers of the cocktail world, Joseph Schwartz & Vito Dieterle have teamed up with luxury boutique hotel The Roxy to provide couples with expertly-crafted cocktails, delectable small plates, and live jazz in a sexy and evocative space. Enjoy a night of mischief, mystery and libations five nights a week (Tue–Sat) at this speakeasy in the heart of Tribeca.
End your date on a good note with a nightcap at, er, Nitecap? Oh, yes—the candle-lit drinking den is perfectly dark and romantic with a cavalcade of cocktail killers at its helm. (This is a must-stop make out spot. Y’know, if PDA is your thing). Slip into one of the leather booths and order a “Making Love at Midnight” (a fruity rum cocktail) and be prepared to adhere to its Cupid-esque power.
If you and your beau are into roleplay (not just the kinky kind), travel back in time to roarin’ dance party at this old-fashioned joint. Here’s a brief history lesson: Opened in 1908 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home, the 14-story landmark was a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, of the Bowery and the Maritime, took it over. If entering the hotel feels like stepping on to a film set, there’s good reason: Inspiration came from various celluloid sources, including Barton Fink’s Hotel Earle for the lobby. The "ballroom," decorated with mismatched chairs, oriental rugs and a fireplace topped with a stuffed ram, evokes an eccentric mansion and is perfect for a night of dancing.