With options including parks, restaurants, rooftops, theaters, bars and neighborhood strolls, there are lots of romantic things to do in NYC. The city is filled with adventure, fun and a contagious energy and is the perfect setting for everything from a low key first date to a grand romantic gesture. Having spent a few years living and dating in New York, this is our guide to the most romantic things to do in NYC!
17 Most Romantic things to do in NYC
From picnics in Central Park to sunset strolls across the Brooklyn Bridge and helicopter rides over the city, here are our 17 most romantic things to do in NYC. We dare you not to fall in love with each other and New York City just a little bit more!
1. Sunset strolls across the Brooklyn Bridge
As the sun sets across the city there is nothing more romantic than following the path of the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
The views of downtown Manhattan are spectacular and many of New York’s most famous landmarks are visible. One World Trade in the Financial District to the Chrysler building and the Empire State in Midtown are visible from the iconic bridge.
Among the hustle and bustle of commuters, cyclists and runners, stroller hand in hand across the Brooklyn Bridge is romantic and awe inspiring.
2. Row boats in Central Park
A boat ride in Central Park is one of our favorite romantic things to do in NYC! A fleet of 100 boats are available to rent at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park and it’s the perfect activity for a sunny New York afternoon date.
The Lake offers amazing views of the New York skyline and, at 22 acres, there’s plenty of water to explore! Best of all, the rowboats only cost $15 an hour, a bargain by New York standards! If you prefer to pay full attention to each other, there are also Venetian Gondola’s which can be rented for a guided tour!
Most romantic things to do in NYC tip: the Loeb Boathouse is a lovely setting for a post row boat cocktail or lunch.
3. Walk the High Line
The High Line is an elevated public park and walkway which meanders up the West Side of Manhattan. It begins in the Meatpacking District, passes through Chelsea and finishes up at Hudson Yards and the Vessel, a recent addition to New York’s iconic landmarks.
Some of the best views of the New York skyline can be seen from along the walkway. There are lots of quirky seating areas and creative landscapes with fun art installations dotted along the walk.
Most romantic things to do in NYC tip: the High Line has lots of access points along its route. Pop down and explore the art galleries of Chelsea, shop and eat at Gansevoort and Chelsea Markets, take pics at the Vessel or stop for a drink in the Standard.
4. Step into the world of Immersive Theater
Compelling and highly charged, immersive theater shows are a great date option.
Based on audience interaction and sprawling sets, immersive shows tend to have no stage or seating. They’re often filled with high emotion, heighten the senses and, as it’s a mostly individual experience, are a great talking point post show.
Sleep No More: Sleep no more, the original NYC immersive show, will always be our date night favourite. Set in the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea, Sleep No More is based an interpretation of Macbeth. It’s charming rooftop bar/restaurant, Gallow Green, is a great place for pre dinner food and drink while its jazz speak easy, Manderley is an awesome spot to debrief after the nights events. Klook is often a hidden gem for last minute tickets – check prices here!
Then She Fell: For a more intimate theatre experience, Then She Fell in Brooklyn, restricts shows to only 15 audience members. It is based on the writings of Lewis Carroll and performed in the eerie setting of a hospital ward.
5. Picnic in Central Park
When the sun is shining in New York City make sure to schedule a park date. Central Park is one of the best parks in NYC for a picnic. Food, drinks and a picnic blanket are all you need for a romantic afternoon of fun. Or let someone else do all the preparation and combine a bike ride with a picnic – check prices here!
Our favourite spots for a Central Park picnic are Sheep’s Meadow and the Great Lawn. Both are packed with city dwellers and visitors and are the perfect spot to indulge against the stunning backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.
Most romantic spots in NYC: for some extra romance, schedule a date to coincide with one of the New York Philharmonic’s annual Concerts in the Park. The series of free outdoor concerts are held on the Great Lawn.
6. Cocktails at a Speakeasy
New York cocktails are among the best in the world and the city is dotted with charming Speakeasy style establishments. Once the setting for elicit drinking during the Prohibition era, NYC speakeasy’s are characterized by hidden entrances, neon signs, vintage decor and a delicious selection of cocktails from days gone by.
Our date night favorites include PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a long standing NYC speakeasy. It’s accessed through a phone box and the Crif hotdogs are as good as the cocktails. Little Branch, a basement speakeasy where the trains rumble overhead, and Bathtub Gin with, you guessed it, a bathtub centerpiece, are also awesome.
Most romantic spots in NYC: Angel’s Share speakeasy in the East Village always captures my heart. A small portion of whiskey evaporates as a barrel matures and angels were considered responsible for drinking it. The delicious cocktails and its view of Stuyvesant Triangle add to the allure.
7. Broadway Show
Broadway shows are incredible theatrical productions and, with their contagious energy, it is impossible not to get caught up in the moment. Whether it is you first or hundredth time watching a show on Broadway, it is still an awesome date night setting.
8. Sunset Cruise
It’s always a magical moment watching the sun set in New York City. As darkness takes hold, the city twinkles in anticipation of the night ahead and everything seems possible.
The New York skyline and its sunsets are especially magical from the water. One of our most memorable date nights was sipping champagne on a sunset yacht cruise on the Hudson – check prices here!
9. Ballet at Lincoln Center
The Lincoln Center is the home of the New York City Ballet. The enchanting performances and beautiful choreography are incredible to witness.
Most romantic things to do in NYC: Every year during the holiday season the New York City Ballet performs George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. It’s a magical festive treat.
10. Wine Tasting in Long Island/ Hudson Valley
Wine and romance go hand in hand so we have to recommend a trip to the wine country! Rolling vineyards, beautiful wine and delicious nibbles make for a great day.
Most romantic things to do in NYC: it’s easiest to travel by bus and enjoy the grapes! There are tours which leave Manhattan and stop at some of the best wineries for tastings – check prices here!
11. Skyline Views
New York City boasts one of the world’s most iconic skylines and gazing at its iconic buildings and soaring skyscrapers is the perfect romantic setting.
Our favourte vantage points for views and romance are:
The Empire State Building: there’s nowhere quite like the dizzying heights of the open air 86th floor viewing platform of the towering Empire State Building to appreciate the beauty of New York City. From Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, all of the city’s finest landmarks are visible – reserve passes for the Empire State Building here!
Rainbow Room: Sipping a cocktail in a panoramic rooftop bar is my idea of date night bliss and the Rainbow Room, on the 65th floor of the Rockefeller Center, is the dream! The views are incredible and there’s even an outdoor terrace for extra special views.
Rockefeller Center: the Rockefeller Center boasts the best views of midtown and Central Park head the top of the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan.
The 67th floor viewing platform is surrounded by glass panels and the views from the top are simply breathtaking both north to Central Park and south along the Manhattan skyline – click here to buy Top of the Rock tickets!
River Cafe: reserve a coveted window seat at Brooklyn’s River Cafe nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge for a truly romantic evening. With its breathtaking skyline views, the River Cafe exudes romance and, with with a Michelin Star to its name, the dining experience is also outstanding.
12. Movie Night
New York boasts some really unique movie theaters which are perfect for a romantic date night in the city.
The recently closed Paris Theater was one of our favorites. It was immortalized in Sex and the City when Carrie declared that ‘The most amazing thing about living in a city like New York is that any night of the week you can go to Paris’
The Village East Cinema is a charming alternative. Once a theater, it has Broadway style seating, red velvet seats and a stunning ornate ceiling and chandelier.
If you want to watch a movie in the open air, the Rooftop Cinema Club in the Embassy Suites is an awesome setting for a romantic movie night. Movie goers relax on deck chairs, indulge in cocktails and breathe in the city air while enjoying classics like Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Stand by Me.
13. Grand Central Station
Train Stations don’t typically conjure up romantic thoughts but the Grand Central is unique in this respect! During World War II, it was where returning soldiers were reunited with their loved ones. The majestic station feels like a movie set, understandably so given it was the setting for movies like the Avengers and Superman.
Grand Central’s romantic highlights include the Whispering Galleries and the Campbell Apartment.
Whispering Galleries: The Whispering Galleries, where couples can stand at opposite corners of the concourse and whisper sweeting nothings across the hallway, is a quirky talking point.
Campbell Apartment: The Campbell Apartment is hidden in the corner of the station and the speakeasy serves concoctions such as Prohibition Punch. It’s also the setting of the famous Gossip Girl Scene where Serena and Nate acquaint themselves on the bar!
The Grand Romantic Gestures!
Sometimes romantic moments require a grand gesture!
14. Helicopter over NYC
The thrill of the ride, the breathtaking views and the unique experience of soaring over the city’s iconic landmarks make a helicopter ride one of the most romantic things to do in NYC – click here to reserve!
15. Take a day trip to Niagara Falls
It’s hard to believe the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls are so close to the chaos of New York City! The power and noise of the majestic Niagara Falls have to be experienced to be believed and it’s mesmerizing watching the turquoise waters plummet over the edge of the Falls – click here for prices
Most romantic things to do in NYC tip: a visit to Niagara Falls is a long but rewarding day trip from NYC. We opted to travel by air but, if you’re happy to make the journey by coach, it is considerably less expensive – check prices here!
16. Dinner Cruise
For special occasions, the Bateaux NYC dinner cruise is remarkable. Dinner, drinks and music while sailing under the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline is truly romantic – check prices here!
Most romantic things to do in NYC tip: after getting engaged under Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro we celebrated our engagement on the Bateaux NYC Dinner cruise when we returned home to New York!
17. Fine Dining
75 NYC restaurants were awarded Michelin Stars in 2019 and many of them set the scene for a romantic meal.
If you want to go all out, the 3 Michelin Star Per Se is an incredible, albeit very expensive, experience. Overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, the meals are incredible, the courses endless and the traditional dining room sets the scene perfectly.