New York may not be known as the “city of love”–in fact, it has a reputation as being one of the toughest places for singles who are trying to find relationships– but even the most jilted daters can’t deny that there are tons of romantic things to do in New York City. Whether you are making last-minute plans for Valentine’s Day or looking for something extra special to do with that special someone, here are ten romantic NYC date ideas for you to try.
1. Frolic through a botanic garden: Whether it’s at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Crown Heights, being surrounded by flowers is sure to put you in a romantic mood. Surprisingly, this isn’t just a warm weather date idea: in the colder months, visit the tropical plants in the botanic gardens’ greenhouses for a steamy date.
2. Dine like royalty at a dine-in movie theater: Dinner and a movie is a classic date idea, but have you ever tried dining at the movie theater? (No, that time you snuck a whole chicken dinner into the movies doesn’t count.) Dine-in movie theaters make dinner and a movie a combo experience by allowing you order and enjoy a full meal while never taking your eyes away from the big screen. Some of NYC’s best dine-in theaters include Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, Syndicated in Williamsburg, and iPic Theater in the Fulton Market.
3. Feel on top of the world at a rooftop bar: Do long lines and airport-level security sound like your idea of romance? So why go through all the hassle it takes to get to the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building when you and your sweetheart can enjoy mesmerizing views of the city, plus a few drinks, at a rooftop bar? Pod 39 has excellent views of Midtown Manhattan, while at Fornino in Brooklyn Heights, you can enjoy the skyline while dining on their freshly made pizza.
4. Take a sunset stroll along Brooklyn’s waterfront: The colors of sunset mixed with the twinkling lights from the lower Manhattan skyscrapers and the sound of water lapping the coastline will have you and your date feeling like the stars of a romantic movie. For added pizzazz from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, take your date to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Or if you’re aiming for originality, head to Sunset Park with its breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty.
5. Walk across a bridge (but not necessarily the Brooklyn Bridge): There are over 2,000 bridges in NYC and many of them would make a memorable setting for a date. Of course, the go-to bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge, but unless your idea of romance involves jockeying for space among crowds of pedestrians and cyclists, I would avoid taking a date here. (If your dead set on crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, I recommend doing it really early in the day or really late at night to avoid the foot traffic.) For a more relaxed walk, take your sweetheart across the bright pink Williamsburg Bridge, the historic High Bridge, or the Ocean Avenue Footbridge, which is home to dozens of swans.
6. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Staten Island Ferry: Sure, it’s not the Circle Line, but it’ll get you a lot closer to Lady Liberty than any normal dinner cruise. You and your date can nibble on soft pretzels and beer on the ride across New York Harbor, then cuddle up at the North Shore Waterfront Esplanade as the sun sets.
7. Hike up to Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park: If you’re looking for a more active date, then Fort Tryon is the spot for you. The park’s 3.7 miles of trails not only offer a good workout, but also stunning views of the New Jersey Palisades. Once you make it to the top of the park, stop and smell the colorful flowers of Heather Garden and then go explore the Met Cloisters, a medieval art museum set in an imported European monastery.
8. Drown out the noise of the world at a Midtown waterfall parks: Yes, you’ve read right: there are waterfalls in Midtown. These man-made marvels are located in Paley Park and Greenacre Park, and they are the places to go if want a combination of intimacy and excitement. Since the waterfalls are loud enough to drown out the sounds of the city, you and your date will have to get real close if you want to whisper sweet nothings.
9. Imagine what your lives would be like if you were rich enough to live on Block Beautiful: New York has plenty of covetable houses, but East 19th Street between Third Ave and Irving Place in Gramercy Park is home to the funkiest set of townhouses in the city. These houses, nicknamed Block Beautiful, were built in the 1850s but remodeled in the early 1900s by architect Frederick Sterner, who hoped his additions of playful colors and unique details would make the townhouses chic again. His whimsical additions attracted artists to the block, who in turn added their own touches. As you and you lover walk along the block, try to decide which facade you like the best.
10. Climb up the Vessel and admire the view from the top: Are you and your date looking to take a walk to remember? Then try walking up the 2500 stairs to the top of the Vessel at Hudson Yards. Once you finish the 15-minute ascent to the top, you can look out onto the city, but most people agree that it’s much more interesting to look down at the Vessel itself.
What’s the most unique romantic NYC date you’ve been on? Which one of these ideas would you like to try? Let me know in the comments!
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