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A couple relaxing | © picjumbo.com / Pexels
A couple relaxing | © picjumbo.com / Pexels
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17 Unusual Date Ideas to Try in New York City

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 4 October 2017
Never have a bad date again (really) with our guide to the best nontraditional date ideas in New York City. Go to a daytime rave, dine at a secret supper club, or get your auras photographed—just don’t take them to the Met.

Break a sweat, not hearts

Do you want a sure way to raise your mate’s heart rate? Join them for a scenic run or free fitness class. Congratulations, you’ve now earned that post-dinner date dessert!

Learn something new together

Discover a shared passion (or at the very least, create a great “first date” story) at one of Bryant Park’s unique programs, which include free language classes, photography workshops, and beekeeping talks.

Catch an underground concert

Book two tickets (and earn major cool cred in the process) to a Sofar Sounds show, where a secret lineup of musicians take over unexpected locations around New York City.

Get your aura photographed at Magic Jewelry

Find out if you’re fated to be together at Magic Jewelry, a cult-favorite Chinatown spot providing aura photography, readings, and plenty to ponder over date-night dim sum.

Embark on a self-guided walking tour

Whether you and your partner are fans of frights, superheroes, or history, New York has a walking tour for you. With a little pre-date research, you can explore a common interest and the city at once.

Couple walking
Couple walking | © Free-Photos / Pixabay

See an off- (or for a more daring date, off-off) Broadway show

There’s more to theater in New York City than the Great White Way. Take a gamble on one of the city’s off- or off-off-Broadway shows. (It will either be a pleasant surprise or excellent post-show conversation material.)

Play tourists for a day

See your city in a brand new light by playing tourists for a day. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, ascend the Empire State Building, or tour the Rink at Rockefeller Center. Go on—we won’t tell.

Girl on Brooklyn Bridge
Girl on Brooklyn Bridge | © GLady / Pixabay

Explore New York’s hidden corners

Have you dared to sample Chinatown’s smelliest fruit? Schlepped to south Brooklyn for the most iconic Italian food in New York City? Turn date night into an adventure by exploring New York’s hidden corners.

Take your date on an island getaway

Roosevelt Island, that is. Hop aboard the Roosevelt Island Tram, which provides stunning aerial views of Manhattan, Queens, and more before depositing riders on Roosevelt Island, the ideal New York City site for a picturesque picnic.

The Roosevelt Island Tram
The Roosevelt Island Tram | © m01229 / Flickr

Visit an alternative museum

Chances are that you’ve both already meandered around the Met (likely on previous dates). Venture beyond Museum Mile in favor of fresher entertainment, such as the Museum of Sex, the Met Cloisters, or the Brooklyn Museum.

Go to a daytime rave

Combining a fitness class, dance party, and intention-setting session, Daybreaker will earn you a second date before most people have even snoozed their morning alarm.

Courtesy of Daybreaker, credit: Luis Ruiz
Courtesy of Daybreaker, credit: Luis Ruiz

Feast for two at Smorgasburg

They say the path to a lover’s heart is through their stomach. If that’s the case (and even if it isn’t), Smorgasburg is an ideal destination for your next day date. Satisfy your appetite for amor and adventure with out-there eats such as ramen burgers, churro ice cream sandwiches, and banana coffee.

Escape to an urban oasis

Find out why city-meets-country entertainment is all the rage right now in New York at elevated escapes such as Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farms and the High Line, as well as “floating food forest” Swale.

Image courtesy of Friends of the High Line, credit: Iwan Baan
Image courtesy of Friends of the High Line, credit: Iwan Baan | Courtesy of Friends of the High Line, credit: Iwan Baan

Elevate the standard “dinner and a movie” date

It’s a classic for a reason! Reinvigorate a traditional date-night formula with help from dine-in theaters such as Syndicated and Nitehawk Cinema, where gourmet entrées, beers, wines, and liquors, and screenings of your favorite films are all on the menu.

Dine at an underground supper club

In a food-obsessed city like New York, the hottest ticket in town isn’t to any show, but to one of the many local supper club events. From 17-course dinners to five-figure price tags, your best dinner-date destination yet is one you’ve never heard of.

Image courtesy of Wednesdays NYC, credit: Nanette Wong
Image courtesy of Wednesdays NYC, credit: Nanette Wong | Courtesy of Wednesdays NYC, credit: Nanette Wong

Go on a thrift crawl

Style-savvy duos will get a kick (or a pair of kicks) by embarking on a thrift shopping crawl around New York City. Choose a neighborhood such as Williamsburg or Manhattan’s East Village, and let the fashion show—and romance—begin.

Girl shopping
Girl shopping | © StockSnap / Pixabay

Go to a comedy show

A couple who laughs lasts. This date night, put the pressure to be funny on someone else at one of the city’s most side-splitting comedy shows.

Comedy show
Comedy show | © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock