The Most Non-Cliché Romantic Spots Across New York City

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden | © Teri Tynes / Flickr
Photo of Cailey Rizzo
29 May 2017

New York City is a place where dreams come true—and for many people, that means dreams of romance. But if the idea of going to the top of the Empire State Building to declare your love seems just a bit too cheesy, there are plenty of other equally romantic destinations around town. From a ferry with the best views of Manhattan to an ancient Egyptian temple, here are some of the most romantic spots in New York City where you won’t have to fight tourists to get a private moment together.

Temple of Dendur

Temple of Dendur
Temple of Dendur | Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art
This impressive Egyptian temple has survived since Augustus Caesar’s rule. Plus, it was featured in New York’s favorite rom-com When Harry Met Sally, so you know it’s got romantic potential.

The Campbell

Bar, American, $$$
The Campbell Apartment
The Campbell Apartment | Courtesy of The Campbell
Bar none, this establishment is one of the sexiest bars in Manhattan. Sneak your date through the main concourse at Grand Central and then up to the hidden bar at The Campbell. For bonus points, sit on the balcony and stare down at everybody else in the bar below.

The Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry | mgendelman/Flickr
Staten Island Ferry | mgendelman/Flickr
Money can’t buy love, and it can’t buy the superb views from this boat ride. The 25-minute ferry ride over to Staten Island is completely free and has some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline anywhere.

Little Branch

Bar, Pub Grub, American, $$$
The Little Branch is a speakeasy in the West Village and home to some of the city’s best jazz. Guide your date through the unmarked door and into a booth to win ultimate points. (Plus, the cocktails here are really great too.)

The Ramble at Central Park

The Ramble at Central Park
The Ramble at Central Park | © Teri Tynes / Flickr
Everybody has their favorite part of Central Park, but The Ramble just might be the most romantic of all. It’s well off the beaten path, so it will never be crowded with people, and the twists and turns in the lanes make for an incredibly romantic stroll.

Brooklyn Promenade

Park, Bridge
Brooklyn Promenade
Brooklyn Promenade | Howard Brier/Flickr
On one side you’ve got the beautiful old brownstones of Brooklyn Heights, and on the other side, there’s nothing but magnificent Manhattan skyline. It only takes one long stroll through at sunset to realize why this is one of the most romantic spots in the city.

The Strand

Bookstore, Store, Library, Park, School
Strand Books, New York, USA.
Strand Books in New York has over 18 miles of books | © Strand Books
For book lovers, no place will ever be more romantic than the basement of The Strand. The smell of the old books, plus tons of nooks and crannies and aisles to get lost in, makes for a fairytale meet-cute.

The Cloisters

Building, Monastery, Museum, Park
Step back in time and escape the noise of the city at this Met satellite. The garden at the old medieval architecture is one of the best spots in New York for impressing your date.

Film Forum

Movie Theater
Is there anything more romantic than old film? Duck into this West Village old-school cinema for some of the finest (and most romantic) film screenings in the city.

Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza
Grand Army Plaza | mike/Flickr
Those looking for the majesty of Washington Square Park without any of the crowds will find its more romantic twin sister in Brooklyn. Located right across from Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Library, this magnificent arch is best viewed at night when it’s all lit up.

Gallow Green

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Patisserie, Pub Grub, $$$
Gallow Green
Gallow Green | Courtesy of the McKittrick Hotel
While most rooftops boast their views of the city, Gallow Green is one of the only roofs in the city where it’s possible to forget you’re in New York. From the abundance of greenery to the twinkling lights, this entire bar is enchanting. But, of course, if you just step to the perimeter, there’s a fantastic view of the Empire State Building.

The High Line

The High Line
The High Line | © joevare / Flickr
Look out over the Hudson River to Jersey from this romantic elevated park. Culture Trip recommends finding a bench, setting up shop and staying until the sun sets for an unforgettable view. Then take a stroll around the park and experience the oasis-within-the-city vibes.

The River Café

Restaurant, Cafe, American, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$

Although dinner at The River Café will set you back a pretty penny, there’s nothing quite like sitting down to a candlelit al fresco dinner while the lights of Manhattan twinkle on the other side of the river.

Revson Fountain at the Lincoln Center

Revson Fountain at Lincoln Center
Revson Fountain at Lincoln Center | © John Wisniewski / Flickr
The water show at the Revson Fountain at the Lincoln Center will never cease to amaze. You could watch it for 20 minutes and never get bored. If you take your date there during certain times in the summer, there may even be free open-air dancing; therefore, you can get a free two-for-one deal.

The Wonder Wheel

Amusement Park
Wonder Wheel
Wonder Wheel | Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
For couples who are willing to take a bit of a field trip, board the train and ride it all the way to Coney Island. Once you’re there, meander up and down the boardwalk. But then be sure to wait in line for the Wonder Wheel and look out over the whole neighborhood while you’re at the top (or make out—whatever feels right).

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Botanical Garden, Museum, Park, Forest
Bonsai and rock display in glass roofed Steinhardt Conservatory of Brooklyn Botanic Botanical Garden in Brooklyn, New York.
Bonsai and a rock display are on view in the glass-roofed Steinhardt Conservatory of the Brooklyn Botanic Botanical Garden in Brooklyn, New York | © Dorothy Alexander / Alamy Stock Photo
There are plenty of winding alleys, charming gardens and greenhouses to get lost in at this expansive park. The Japanese Garden is especially romantic (whenever it’s not crowded), and the greenhouses, especially the heated rooms with tropical plants, are also incredible.

The Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park

Bridge, Park
George Washington Bride | olekinderhook/WikiCommons
George Washington Bride | olekinderhook/WikiCommons
Wander up to Fort Washington Park and take a few minutes to relax underneath the George Washington Bridge. The red lighthouse has become an iconic staple of uptown New York life and is a pretty excellent backdrop for any couple’s photos you may wish to take.

Freemans Restaurant

Restaurant, Diner, American, $$$
Freemans | Photography by Daniel Krieger, 2015
Freemans is a hidden restaurant that remains one of New York’s coolest secrets. When you wander upon the tiny little restaurant terrace (hidden in an alleyway), you’ll wonder how you ever walked past it before. And when you’re sharing dinner with your other half, you’ll be glad that everybody else walking by is missing this charming little spot.

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