Empire State Building, visit the Empire State Building, New York

12 Best Things to Do in NYC as a Couple

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Even if you’ve been to NYC before, experiencing it with a loved one can help you see the city in a new light, and I’ve got some fun New York City date ideas to inspire you.

This lively metropolis is full of attractions and activities you can do with your partner. You might want to visit some of New York’s most iconic landmarks and museums, or maybe you prefer a low-key outdoor date in NYC at one of the parks.

If you want to splash out on a romantic dinner in NYC, there are all kinds of delicious restaurants to choose from, as well as fun rooftop bars where you can enjoy live music and after-dinner drinks. The Big Apple is also a great place for shows and entertainment, so if you’ve always wanted to see a Broadway production, now’s the time!

In this guide, I’ll share the 12 best things to do in NYC as a couple, from flashy helicopter tours and sunset boat rides to relaxing spa days and free activities.

1. Go to Central Park, a fun thing to do in NYC as a couple

Central Park is one of the best places in New York City, and it makes for the perfect outdoor date spot in NYC. So, if you’re looking for a cheap day out with your partner, taking a stroll through this massive park is a wonderful way to spend some time together in a beautiful place.

As one of NYC’s biggest parks and a centerpiece of Midtown Manhattan, you can easily spend hours at this urban green space. Central Park offers a nice balance of nature and tranquility mixed with city sightseeing, so it’s a fun place to explore with your partner, especially if you’re new to the Big Apple.

Central Park, fun couple things to do in nyc

1. Go to Central Park, a fun thing to do in NYC as a couple

Be sure to check out Belvedere Castle, a beautiful example of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. The castle is one of the highest points in the park and has an observation deck offering views of Turtle Pond and the Great Lawn. It’s also worth visiting The Lake, where you can admire the scenic views and rent a boat from the Loeb Boathouse.

To add some entertainment to your daytime date, take a ride on the Central Park Carousel or, if you’re visiting during winter, go ice skating at Wollman Rink. That said, the park is lovely in the spring and summer when you can enjoy the weather and have a picnic on the Great Lawn or in the North Meadow.

Also, since there is so much to see here, consider doing this bike tour through Central Park (it’s included in the New York Pass), or renting a bike and exploring on your own.

2. Take a sunset cruise, the most romantic thing to do in NYC

Without a doubt, this sunset cruise is one of the most romantic things to do in NYC as a couple. As you board the 1800s-style Schooner America 2.0., you can take in the magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline at golden hour. Your ticket also includes a complimentary drink, so you’ll be in a pure state of bliss while you glide across New York Harbor.

This 2-hour cruise is the perfect way to spend quality time together while getting a unique perspective of the city. As you sail down the Hudson River and into the Harbor, you’ll be able to spot popular landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower.

Sunset cruise, fun date ideas new york city

2. Take a sunset cruise, the most romantic thing to do in NYC

Then, as you continue your journey, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty bathed in the warm yellow and orange tones of sunset. Marvel at the romantic glow over Ellis Island, Governors Island, and the Lower West Side while sipping elegant cocktails with your sweetheart. This will be one of the best NYC date nights you ever have!

While this sunset cruise is one of the best boat rides in New York City for couples, you can find other boat tours in our guide.

3. Walk the High Line, one of the top couples things to do in NYC

If you’re looking for a free date idea in NYC, consider a leisurely stroll along the High Line. This elevated greenway is one of the most interesting parks in the city and extends from the Meatpacking District in Chelsea all the way to Harlem.

The High Line is actually a set of refurbished train tracks, but through a meticulous design process, it became a lovely park and elevated walkway. Besides the landscaping and public art, there are several lookout points where you can get nice views of the neighborhood. Take your time doing some sightseeing of Chelsea, Hudson Yards, the Standard Hotel, the IAC building, and other landmarks.

The High Line, fun date ideas nyc

3. Walk the High Line, one of the top couples things to do in NYC

The greenway also goes past The Vessel, an avant-garde observatory comprised of undulating staircases. The Vessel’s various platforms offer different views of the city, so if you’d like to experience it, I recommend reserving a free ticket here.

It’s true that visiting the High Line is one of the top free things to do in NYC, but if you’re willing to spend some money, you can do this walking tour through the High Line and Chelsea Market. Over the course of two hours, you’ll peruse the food stalls at Chelsea Market and walk along the High Line while learning more about the park and the surrounding neighborhood. Plus, you’ll get pretty views of Manhattan’s West Side and the Hudson River, so it’s a fun NYC date idea.

4. See the Brooklyn Bridge, a cheap date spot in NYC

The Brooklyn Bridge is another free attraction and can make for a fun date activity in NYC. At over 130 years old, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, and it provides pedestrians with some of the most incredible views of the East River.

Walking across the bridge is quite an experience, as you’ll get a sprawling overview of Brooklyn borough’s cityscape and green spaces. Underneath the bridge is Brooklyn Bridge Park, a popular waterfront park with concession stands, scenic viewpoints, and lots of greenery where you can lay out and have a picnic. It’s also one of the best places to go in NYC with kids if you happen to be traveling with family.

Brooklyn Bridge, best date night nyc

4. See the Brooklyn Bridge, a cheap date spot in NYC

It’s definitely worth crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, but if you’d like to see it from a unique perspective, check out the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This walkway runs along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, so you’ll be able to see the bridge, New York Harbor, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

Another option is this walking tour over the Brooklyn Bridge and through the DUMBO neighborhood. The 2.5-hour guided tour includes lots of photo ops of DUMBO’s cobblestone streets, old trolley tracks, and historical architecture.

5. Have a romantic dinner in NYC at a Michelin Star restaurant

Most date nights include food, so treat your partner to one of the best dinner date spots in NYC. We have a whole article on the best restaurants in New York City, but I’ll tell you about some of the top establishments here.

First, if you and your sweetheart aren’t too adventurous when it comes to cuisine, the Gramercy Tavern has some of the best contemporary American food in NYC. Dine on tavern burgers and pot pie or branch out and try a new spin on an old classic. For a mouth-watering steak, Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg is the place to go.

Le Bernardin, romantic dinner nyc

5. Have a romantic dinner in NYC at a Michelin Star restaurant

For fancy French food, you have plenty of options, including Le Bernardin and The Modern. Enjoy an elegant dinner of foie gras, Montauk sea bass, lobster, and black truffle taglioni paired with a signature wine. If you prefer Italian food, Marea serves house-made pasta and risotto as well as delectable desserts like gelato and tiramisu.

Splashing out on a romantic dinner is a great date idea in NYC since you can relax, eat incredible food, and converse over cocktails. Besides, you can find any type of cuisine in the Big Apple, be it fried squid and Korean bibimbap at Jungsik or traditional Gujarati cooking at Dhamaka.

6. Visit the Cloisters at The Met, another nice thing to do as a couple in NYC

Another good NYC activity for couples is visiting a museum or exhibit, and The Met Cloisters is one of the best museums in NYC. The Cloisters are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although they’re at the institute’s secondary site in Washington Heights.

There are four main cloisters here, and the covered outdoor walkways, gardens, and French-style courtyards create a beautiful scene. The medieval architecture transports you to the Middle Ages, so you may forget that you’re in one of the busiest metropolises in the country.

The Met Cloisters, fun couple things to do in nyc

6. Visit the Cloisters at The Met, another nice thing to do as a couple in NYC

You’ll instantly sense a feeling of peace as you walk through the monastery’s Gothic chapel and Fuentidueña apse and admire the artwork memorializing old monks and saints. The church’s Boppard Room is enclosed by gorgeous stained-glass windows, while the castle portion of the Cloisters contains fine tapestries, most notably The Unicorn Tapestries.

There are over 5,000 works at the Cloisters, including medieval paintings and sculptures. Plus, the museum is in Fort Tryon Park, a beautiful area with landscaped lawns, a large garden, and walking paths along the Hudson River. Spending a few hours at the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park makes for a lovely outdoor date in NYC, especially in the spring or fall.

7. See a Broadway show, another fun date idea in New York City

Visiting the Broadway Theatre District and seeing a show is one of the best things to do in NYC at night, and makes for a great date night in Manhattan.

Located in Midtown, Broadway has dozens of theaters where you can see an acclaimed play or musical, such as Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Hamilton, or The Book of Mormon. If you aren’t a huge theater fan, you can find other performances like the Blue Man Group, Stomp, and celebrity-inspired shows like MJ and TINA.

Broadway, places to take your girlfriend in nyc

7. See a Broadway show, another fun date idea in New York City

That said, few people regret seeing a Broadway show in New York City since the best of the best come here to grace the stage. We’ve seen Aladdin, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked, and each performance was spectacular.

Plus, the Theatre District is an exciting area full of movie theaters, recording and TV studios, and restaurants, so there is a lot to do there. You can find tickets to other shows here, or visit the TKTS Pavilion in Times Square to snag discounted Broadway tickets (although you can’t choose which show you’ll see).

Without a doubt, enjoying a professional Broadway show is the ideal date idea for a rainy day in NYC. It’s also worth mentioning the Lincoln Center next to Central Park, which hosts lesser-known productions, but of the same high quality.

8. Take a helicopter tour, an amazing thing to do in NYC as a couple

For couples who are celebrating an anniversary or some other special event, this couples flight is one of the most unique NYC date ideas.

Helicopter tour, active date ideas nyc

8. Take a helicopter tour, an amazing thing to do in NYC as a couple

This is a private flight over the Big Apple with just you and your sweetheart (and the pilot, of course!) The flight itself lasts 30-45 minutes, during which you’ll see the expansive city all lit up at night. We have an article on the best helicopter tours in NYC, although I think this couples package is the perfect one for date night. Not only will you get to enjoy a private air tour, but you’ll get amazing nighttime panoramas of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Your pilot will point out famous places like the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the bridges along the East River, so be sure to bring your camera! This is one of the best things to do as a couple in NYC, especially for a special occasion, so if you’re on the fence about it, don’t overthink it!

9. Go to the top of the Empire State Building

If you want sweeping views of Manhattan but don’t want to do a helicopter tour, then I recommend visiting one of the best observation decks in NYC. More specifically, the observatories at the Empire State Building offer some of the most incredible views of New York City.

This Art Deco-style skyscraper is already an impressive NYC landmark and one of the most famous examples of human engineering and design. It rises 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, and its tallest observatory is 1,250 feet above the ground.

Empire State Building, fun date activities in nyc

9. Go to the top of the Empire State Building

Going inside this famous building in New York and visiting its observation decks is a fun couples activity in NYC, so grab your partner and toss any fear of heights behind. Your observatory ticket, which is included in the New York Pass, grants you access to the viewing platforms on the 80th and 86th floors. The first deck is completely indoors and has exhibits and galleries detailing the building’s history. Meanwhile, the 86th floor has indoor and outdoor areas where you can get panoramic views of Manhattan, the East and Hudson Rivers, and other NYC attractions.

The 102nd-floor observatory is a more intimate indoor deck that you can access for an additional fee. It’s 1,250 feet high and has floor-to-ceiling windows that grant you 360° views for miles. Alternatively, you may also want to check out One World Observatory at One World Trade Center. This deck takes up the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors and is 1,268 feet high, so the views are equally amazing.

10. Have drinks at a rooftop bar or speakeasy

New York City has a fabulous nightlife scene, so if you’re looking for late-night date ideas in NYC, hit up one of the best rooftops in New York City.

Our favorite NYC rooftop is 230 Fifth, which has one of the largest outdoor event spaces in the city. The restaurant/bar hosts incredible dance parties with live DJs, an igloo bar, and sweeping views from 20 stories up. It also has one of the most memorable viewpoints of the Empire State Building.

Another great rooftop is Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side, which features a rooftop pool and a fresh menu with local products and craft cocktails. Nearby, JIMMY at Modernhaus SoHo is an artsy, intimate venue with a full bar, a fireplace, and a pool deck overlooking the Hudson River and Midtown Manhattan.

Manhattan speakeasy, things to do in nyc as a couple

10. Have drinks at a rooftop bar or speakeasy

Over in Brooklyn, Westlight is a swanky rooftop at the William Vale that serves specialty cocktails and small plates. If you’ll be in Chelsea, check out Somewhere Nowhere at the Renaissance NY Chelsea Hotel, a multi-level lounge with a magical garden theme.

Another fun date idea in New York City is finding the hidden speakeasies. Please Don’t Tell is a dimly-lit bar with a James Beard Award, whose entrance is through the phone booth in Crif Dogs hot dog shop. The Back Room has a distinct Prohibition-era atmosphere and serves cocktails in teacups and beer in paper bags.

Angel’s Share pours exotic Japanese-inspired drinks, while Blue Quarter can be found behind the blue key-shaped door at Local 92 Mediterranean Restaurant. Sunshine Laundromat & Pinball is hidden in Brooklyn, masquerading as the laundromat’s storage room.

11. Indulge at a spa, a relaxing couples activity in NYC

With all the walking, sightseeing, and partying you’ll do in NYC, it’s not a bad idea to treat you and your lover to a couples spa day. There are several amazing day spas in the city where you can indulge in a massage, facial, or couples package, and it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

For example, AIRE Ancient Baths in TriBeCa is a unique day spa in a repurposed textile factory dating back to 1883. Its luxurious facilities mimic the relaxing atmosphere of the traditional Greek and Roman baths. Here, you can do one of the thermal water experiences, a wine bath, or a Himalayan salt treatment.

AIRE Ancient Baths, things to do in nyc as a couple

11. Indulge at a spa, a relaxing couples activity in NYC

Haven Spa in SoHo also has pristine facilities and a hammam where you can fully pamper yourself, and the spa offers couples packages. Destress with a deep tissue, hot stone, or Swedish massage, or try a body scrub or wrap. Haven Spa also does hand and foot massages, manicures and pedicures, and body therapies.

Finally, the Oasis Day Spa is at One Park Avenue near the Empire State Building and offers everything from facials and massages to body treatments and reiki. You can book a couples package with a side-by-side massage and a signature facial or opt for one of the organic salt and sugar scrubs. The spa can even soothe your sore muscles with a specialized massage or rejuvenating Vichy shower.

Whichever spa you choose, treating yourself and your partner to some self-care is the perfect way to end a romantic weekend in NYC.

12. Visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a lovely outdoor date spot in NYC

Last but not least, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the most romantic places to visit in New York City. It’s actually made up of several gardens covering 52 acres, as well as the Steinhardt Conservatory, which contains a bonsai museum, themed plant pavilions, a glass aquatic plant house, and an art gallery.

You can find over 12,000 species of flora here, including tropical plants, cacti, and cherry trees. In fact, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has one of the most-viewed cherry blossom sites outside of Japan, so if you’re visiting in the spring, check it out.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, cheap dates nyc

12. Visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a lovely outdoor date spot in NYC

As for the specialty gardens, one of the most popular ones is the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, which features a Shinto shrine, a torii gateway, wooden bridges, stone lanterns, and pavilions. It’s also worth visiting the Cranford Rose Garden, the Native Flora Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, and the Water Garden.

This place is perfect for an outdoor date in NYC, and it’s a tranquil venue where you can get away from the noise and traffic. Enjoy the aromatic Herb Garden, the scenic Rock Garden, and the peaceful Lily Pool Terrace overlooking a koi pond. As you can imagine, visiting this place is a lovely experience, and it’s even better with a loved one. Plus, it’s included in the New York Pass, so don’t miss it!

Best hotels in NYC for couples

To round out your romantic getaway in the Big Apple, I recommend staying in one of the best couples hotels in NYC:

  • The Dominick Hotel in SoHo features a full-service spa and rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, Italian marble bathrooms, and a stocked mini-bar. Plus, it’s close to Washington Square Park.
  • The Ludlow Hotel is an elegantly decorated hotel on the Lower East Side. The rooms feature Moroccan lamps and handmade silk rugs as well as private marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and rain showers.
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown is in TriBeCa, just minutes away from the Brooklyn Bridge. Among the amenities and facilities are a lap pool, a gym, a spa, and a restaurant owned by chef Wolfgang Puck.

For other romantic hotels in NYC, check our guide to the top places to stay in New York City. And with that, I hope you found some couples’ activities in NYC that you’d like to do the next time you’re here. You can download this tourist map of NYC to plan your outing and see how far each attraction is from your hotel.

If you have any questions or something you’d like to add to this list, leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to hear from you. Have a great date night in NYC!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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