Since high school, I've always been the friend to go to whenever someone needed date ideas. Having planned my own first date in New York City, my hopeless romantic side ventured out to find some of the best places that I could take my partner at the time. Here are 20 places I've found that could surely impress this upcoming Valentine's Day.
1. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
At nighttime, this promenade offers some of the most stunning views of Manhattan, making a picture perfect background to complete a date. With the Brooklyn Bridge right next door, you can then end your night with a long walk.
Restaurant Suggestion: Juliana's Pizza.
2. The High Line
While touristy, The High Line offers views of both Manhattan and New Jersey over the Hudson. The new expansion recently opened at the 30th St. entrance, allowing you to actually walk out towards the river. The old railroad tracks are also pretty neat.
Restaurant Suggestion: Los Tacos No. 1.
3. Four Freedoms Park
The trip to Four Freedoms Park requires a ride on the Roosevelt Island tram, which costs the same amount as subway fare! This park is pretty secluded, and offers a perfect place for a picnic. Head over to the north end of the island and you can see Lighthouse Park, where a small red lighthouse is located at the very tip.
Restaurant Suggestions: Sutton Inn.
4. Staten Island Ferry
If you want a free boat ride, check out the Staten Island Ferry. You can get some stunning views of the city as you ride away, but also Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. There's also a bar on deck, if that's your style. Did I mention that it's free?
Restaurant Suggestion: Gatsby's On The Bay.
5. Hudson River Park Mini Golf
Throwing it back to your childhood dates, try taking your partner for a game of mini golf. Located on Pier 25, you have a great view of the Hudson River while you attempt to beat each other. Take a stroll along Hudson River Park after and perhaps find a grassy area to people watch.
Restaurant Suggestion: The Greek.
6. Poets House
A museum and a library, this spot is perfect for the bookworm in your life. Spend the day reading books and looking out the window with a view of the Hudson. It's a low key date, but perhaps you can learn a thing or two while reading some love poetry.
Restaurant Suggestion: El Vez NYC
7. Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Looking for inexpensive, live entertainment? Check out this live poetry reading spot in the Lower East Side! With famous writers coming often, you can guarantee an enlightening and cultured night after experiencing performance poetry.
Restaurant Suggestion: Pardon My French.
8. Economy Candy Market
Have a sweet tooth or a love for feeling nostalgic? Economy Candy Market is your place to go. With hundreds of varieties from old school to present day sweets, you can be assured that you will walk out with a bag full of goodies for only a pretty penny.
Restaurant Suggestion: La Contenta.
9. One World Trade Center
Now the tallest building in the city, One World Trade Center can provide you with amazing views all day long. Come for sunrise or sunset, and you will certainly wow anyone you bring.
Restaurant Suggestion: Da Claudio
10. New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is great if you're looking for an all-day trip. Head up to the Bronx, and you can spend your whole day exploring the 28 gardens. The architecture is also really cool.
Restaurant Suggestion: Hudson Garden Grill.
11. Prospect Park Horseback Riding
If you're like me, you're probably shocked to find out that you can go horseback riding in the city. Head out to this park in Brooklyn, and you can take a 3.5 mile trip. Lessons are also provided along this scenic trail.
Restaurant Suggestions: Barboncino.
12. The Whitney Museum
Focusing on American art, the Whitney Museum recently relocated and moved to the Meatpacking District. With a range of styles provided in this contemporary space, it's a great museum to explore away from the tourists at the MET and MOMA. Be sure to also check out one of the outdoor decks!
Restaurant Suggestions: L'Artusi.
13. The Strand
Stocked with over 2.5 million books, you can spend hours walking around The Strand. One of the most famous bookstores in the nation, be sure to look at the $1 racks outside. Head to a nearby cafe afterwards to read together, too (I recommend Coffee Project and their deconstructed latte).
Restaurant Suggestion: Ippudo.
14. Governors Island
With a free ferry ride as well, Governors Island provides a great trip away from the city without actually leaving it. Have a picnic on any of the green areas, and be sure to check out the hammock park together. They fit two!
Restaurant Suggestion: None.
15. Brooklyn Bowl
Can't decide between bowling and live music? How about both? Brooklyn Bowl is known for being a bowling alley, but also an amazing venue for music performers. Get sweaty dancing and trying to beat your date in a game on your special night.
Restaurant Suggestion: Cafe Mogador.
16. Bushwick Collective
If you're both fans of street art, look no further than a trip to Bushwick. Since 5Pointz closed, artists have been flocking over to this gentrifying neighborhood and filling the walls of each block with their works. Take a walking tour or just go and appreciate the art yourselves.
Restaurant Suggestion: Montana's Trail House.
17. Black Tap Milkshakes
The current buzz food in NYC right now, take a trip to South Village to indulge on one of these concoctions. It's the perfect place for two, since they are huge and made to share for two.
Restaurant Suggestions: Right here. Their burgers are pretty great, too.
An alternative to the High Line, the Lowline is an underground park located in the Lower East Side. With its "lab" gardens, you can see the city in an entirely different light. Come quick, as news of its recent opening is now spreading and making this spot a whole lot more popular.
Restaurant Suggestion: Spaghetti Incident.
19. Modern Pinball
If we're talking about old-school dates, an arcade is what you need. Modern Pinball is located in Kips Bay and is entirely full of various pinball machines. It's an inexpensive date, and you can spend hours here if you don't drop the ball.
Restaurant Suggestion: The Royal Munkey.
20. Jane's Carousel
Merry-go-rounds are always a cute idea. One that's in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges? Even better. Take a stroll from Main Street Park on the cobblestone paths over to this enclosed building, and you can have a ride with your date with, in my opinion, the best view in the city. It's definitely for an old soul, and a date idea that will surely make a heart swoon.
Restaurant Suggestion: Sushi Gallery.