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The most romantic things to do in NYC

Impress your next Tinder date with a blissful, starry-eyed night on the town with the most romantic things to do in NYC

By Shaye Weaver

In the din and dirt of the city streets, New York City isn't the easiest place to have a romantic moment, but call us hopeless romantics (or saps) because we believe our boroughs are full of romantic opportunities. Whether its a significant other or a Tinder date, we have ways to make them swoon so long as your heart is open to new experiences. If you're past dodgy hookup bars, our list of romantic things to do includes dreamy bars and restaurants, fun adventures and beautiful places that will have you whistling love songs before your date even begins. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Valentine's Day NYC

Romantic things to do in NYC

TWA Hotel JFk Airport
Photograph: Ali Garber

1. Spend an evening at the Swinging Sixties-themed TWA Hotel

Things to do Queens

Get gussied up in your fab 1960s duds and head over to the new TWA Hotel at JFK to step into a Mad Men-esque atmosphere. The interior of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 building exudes 60s chic with 512 guest rooms that offer views of JFK’s runways, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, a rooftop jacuzzi and an observation deck. Over the next few months, bar adjacent to the jacuzzi will be a "Runway Chalet," a 1960s après ski-themed winter hideaway that’s both heated and tented. This unique stay puts a fun spin on a weekend away with your S.O.

Museum of Sex
Photograph: Igor Khodzinskiy

2. Get into frisky business at Museum of Sex

Museums Special interest Flatiron

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. Don't miss Super Funland, the erotic carnival within in the museum. There you'll find a 4-D immersive "Tunnel of Love" ride, an erotic fortune-telling machine (modeled as RuPaul), a kissing booth, and a lit-up climbing structure. Make a pit stop at the gift shop, which is stocked with books, sex toys and aphrodisiac elixirs, and continue the romancing at home.


3. Impress at Il Buco

Restaurants Italian Noho

Dine with your darling in what feels like an Italian farmhouse. The old-world charm of well-worn communal tables, dangling copper cookware and flickering lamps may help explain why this  20-year-old restaurant is still tough to get into on a Saturday night. Seasonal produce shapes the Italian and Iberian-inflected menu of house-made pastas, hearty rissotos, and roasts. Dunk the warm country bread in Umbrian olive oils produced exclusively for Il Buco. You’ll have no trouble finding a wine to match your meal; Il Buco’s list is one of the city’s best, which will be sure to impress your date.

Brooklyn Boulders
Photograph: Courtesy Rory Moon

4. Get physical at Brooklyn Boulders

Sports and fitness Yoga & Pilates Gowanus

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?


5. Enjoy a tart at Café Lalo

Restaurants Cafés Upper West Side

If you want to tap into the hopeless romanticism of your partner, stop at Café Lalo on the Upper West Side. The café is known for its display cases packed with more than 100 kinds of cookies, brownies, cakes, and pies, but it's also the site of a very important scene in You've Got Mail, the romantic comedy with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Its Art Nouveau posters, exposed-brick walls and French windows also add to the spot's romantic ambiance.

Hornblower cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Hornblower New York

6. Dine and dance on a Hornblower cruise

Things to do Event spaces West Village

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 ($160 per person). The delicious three-course meal, stunning skyline views and busting your sick moves on the dance floor will surely impress.

The Jane Ballroom
Photograph: Courtesy The Jane Ballroom

7. Party like it’s 1908 at The Jane Ballroom

Bars Lounges Downtown

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 drinks and discussion.

8. Take the tram to Roosevelt Island

Attractions Public spaces Roosevelt Island

Get your heart racing a bit with a lofty, three-minute ride to Roosevelt Island (and across the East River) with 360-degree views of the city before heading to the island's tree-lined esplanade. Walk along here for incredible views of the Manhattan skyline and, if you time it right, the sunset.


9. Ride the gorgeous SeaGlass Carousel at The Battery

News City Life

Take a psychedelic, three-and-a-half-minute trip while sitting inside color-changing, LED fiberglass fish and cruising to Mozart. The SeaGlass Carousel is a kitschy but romantic way to have fun before or after dinner (just make sure you've brought the kind of date who'd be down for a few go-arounds). One ride is $5 and its open daily from 10am to 8pm.

Photograph: Alan Melconian

10. Win them over at One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Restaurants American West Village

Often lauded as one of the most romantic restaurants in the country, this candle-lit, brick-walled den with floor-to-ceiling windows and a grand dark-wood staircase serves a delightfully modern menu to swooning couples and hosts elegant, traditional weddings. Choose from prix-fixe plates like miso-marinated quail, classic beef Wellington, and ginger-spiced lobster. End your whimsical night with the epitome of romantic sweets: dedcadent, fluffy chocolate soufflé.  

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