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The best summer date ideas in NYC

Hit the town with your sweetie, and enjoy all that Gotham has to offer in the deliciously warm weather

By Sophie Harris

Is there any city more romantic than New York? We're gonna go ahead and say no, and show you the most romantic spots in NYC to prove it. But prepare yourself for swoon-city overload now that summer is here and New York is transformed into a balmy, fragrant dating paradise—at least, if you get it right and take your honey on one of our picks of great summer dates (including plenty of cheap date ideas).

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC

Photograph: Tia Ryan

1. Go boating in Central Park

Restaurants American Central Park

Grabbing a tiny boat and rowing around the lake in Central Park has to be the OG of New York romance. A classic date if ever there was one, this waterbound adventure from the Loeb Boathouse will set you back $12 for the first hour, $2.50 each additional 15 minutes (with a $20 cash deposit). True players can opt for a ride on a gondola commandeered by Andres Garcia, $30 per half hour, and hit the Boathouse Restaurant afterward.

Habana Outpost Outdoor Movie Screenings
Photograph: Jamel Toppin

2. Watch an outdoor movie at Habana Outpost

Restaurants Cuban Fort Greene

Nothing says summer romance like perfect magaritas, tacos and a beloved movie on a balmy evening—and in this respect, Habana Outpost in Fort Greene has you covered. Movies being screened for free this year include Top Gun (July 5), Purple Rain (Aug 9) and Jackie Brown (Oct 11).

Brooklyn Bridge
Photograph: Michael Kirby

3. Stroll the Brooklyn Bridge

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Manhattan

There are so many reasons to amble from Manhattan to Brooklyn on New York's prettiest bridge—from the breathtaking view to the fact that you can ride the horses at Jane's Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park, then stuff your face with pizza from Grimaldi's. In fact, we challenge you to think of a reason why not to walk the bridge!

50 free events, Stargazing, The High Line
Photograph: Courtesy Liz Ligon/Friends of the High Line

4. Go stargazing on the High Line

Attractions Parks and gardens Chelsea

Twinkling stars, the sweet smell of wildflowers in the evening and a bunch of astronomers with massive telescopes? Sounds like a dream date to us. Every Tuesday evening in warm weather, you can look at the stars through one of those 'scopes, chat with astronomers about the planets and stars, then gaze up at the night sky (or into each other's eyes) on one of the High Line recliners. Oh, and stargazing is completely free.

Cranford Rose Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Chris Polinksy, courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

5. Smell the roses at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Parks and gardens Prospect Park

Roses may be the most romantic flower, but they're so much sweeter when you get to take in the sights and smells in as pretty a spot as the Cranford Rose Garden. There are (literally) tens of thousands of roses here, whether climbing wildly up trellises or in neat flower beds. There's even a special bower where you can take each other's photograph (and proclaim your love on Instagram). Note: June is rose month, so expect the garden to be particularly spectacular.

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

6. Stuff your face at Smorgasburg

Shopping Markets and fairs Williamsburg

If food be the, er, food of love—then let's go to Smorgasburg! The ever-popular outdoor munchfest continues this summer, with Saturdays in East River State Park and Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with a newly opened pop-up outpost at Coney Island. Love at first bite?


9. Bike to the beach

Attractions Beaches Rockaways

Working up a sweat with someone you're crazy about rules, and biking to the beach will get you guys all hot under the collar perfectly—then you can arrive at the beach, jump in the freezing cold sea and eat some ice cream. Or whatever it is you were thinking about on the ride out… Check out our roundup of the best beaches in New York, including Rockaway Beach, and decide your destination.

Brooklen Heights promenade and views of Manhattan
Photograph: Michael Kirby

10. See the lights from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Attractions Parks and gardens Brooklyn Heights

We all know that the Manhattan skyline is a thing of wonder—but there are some views of it that are more majestic, sweeping and romantic than others. This is one of them. The Brooklyn Heights promenade has flashed its winning views in Annie Hall and Moonstruck, and you can gaze out at the Statue of Liberty, or just take in the fancy townhouses in this Historic Preservation District.


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