Central Park Lake and Boathouse. Photo: Christopher Postlewaite
Riverside strolls, gourmet picnics and beach getaways are just a few of the romantic dates couples visiting New York City can try this summer. The rich culture and diverse topography mean that every pair can sneak in a little summer lovin’ once the weather heats up. We’ve picked a wide range of activities so the two of you can mix and match (but together, of course); read on to find swoon-worthy NYC summer dates for every type of couple.
Free kayaking: Grab a paddle at Tribeca’s Pier 26 Boathouse and get out on the Hudson River for roughly 20 minutes. In Queens, check out the Long Island City Community Boathouse and row on the East River.
Courtesy, New York Mets
Shake Shack: If you want to do something more low key (first date, maybe?), the original Shake Shack is a good bet. Grab the famous burgers and shakes and eat under the twinkly lights in Madison Square Park.
Smorgasburg: In Brooklyn, Smorgasburg and summer are almost synonymous. Over the years, the weekly outdoor food festival has expanded in its home borough to two locations (Williamsburg and Prospect Park), plus one in Lower Manhattan at the Seaport. Try dishes from several different food trucks and create your own gourmet picnic. After all, studies have shown that trying new things together helps relationships thrive.
Consider as well these places to eat outside.
Photo: Doug Lyle Thompson
Brooklyn Heights Promenade: Stunning views of Lower Manhattan serve as the backdrop here, while blooming flowers, trees and the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights serve as the, um…frontdrop? Park yourselves on a bench and watch all the other heart-eyes-emoji couples walk by. Or just recreate moments from romantic comedies like Moonstruck, which filmed scenes here.
The High Line: This elevated garden and pathway is always picturesque, but you’ll get extra points from your sweetie if you catch the sunset over the Hudson River. Plus, most of the crowds should have cleared out by then.
Rowboat in Central Park: Did you really think we could leave this off the list? Up the dreaminess by dining at the Central Park Boathouse and crossing over Bow Bridge.
Wave Hill: Check out this beautiful green space—which includes a garden, park and art gallery—that overlooks the Hudson River in the Bronx.
Photo: Tagger Yancey IV
Frick Collection: Immerse yourself in the romance of the rococo Fragonard Room, home to the French painter’s Progress of Love cycle—and lavish period decor to match.
The Met Roof Garden Bar: After strolling through the behemoth Met Fifth Avenue museum, head up to the rooftop bar and garden to see views of Central Park and this year’s art exhibit, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) by Cornelia Parker. While you’re there, sip on themed drinks like the Red Barn sangria and the Corpse Reviver.
The Met Cloisters: The historic arches and central garden of the Met Cloisters almost upstage the medieval art that fills up this museum in Fort Tryon Park.
Stuart Davis: In spring 2015 the new, glass-paned Whitney opened in the Meatpacking District. It’s still a hot spot. One of the biggest exhibits this summer is Stuart Davis’ jazzy In Full Swing. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat at Danny Meyer’s Untitled, the lobby-level restaurant, or sip cocktails outside on the eighth-floor Studio Café balcony.
Photo: Christopher Postlewaite
Celebrate Brooklyn: Check out this series in the Prospect Park Bandshell. In addition to the bands, the food menu is pretty great.
MoMA PS1 Warm-Up: This alternative concert series includes sets by experimental musicians and DJs in the courtyard and admission to the museum; you can also buy food and drink from M. Wells Dinette.
SummerStage: Catch (mostly) free concerts in virtually every genre at this five-borough summer series.
Photo: Will Steacy
Jazz Age Lawn Party: The first weekend of the 1920s fest has passed, but you have plenty of time to style your bob and work on your Charleston for August 13–14 on Governors Island.
Midsummer Night Swing: Lincoln Center throws footloose and fancy-free lessons focused on swing, ballroom and jazz dancing.
Photo: Kate Glicksberg
Coney Island: Get some sun on the beach and Boardwalk, cling to each other on the rides in Luna Park and scarf down hot dogs at Nathan’s (and please stick to that order—hot dogs followed by a roller-coaster ride may have decidedly non-romantic results).
Photo: Julienne Schaer
Cool down at the Syndicated, Metrograph or Nitehawk theaters: these are not your Regals or AMCs. The newish hybrids pack in charming decor, full menus and bar offerings along with curated movie pickings.
Watch free outdoor movies: See the full list here.
Photo: Michael Tulipan
Mini Golf at Pier 25: If you want to feel like you’re visiting a campy beach town within NYC, head to Pier 25 in Tribeca.
Royal Palms Shuffleboard: OK, you might imagine this Florida-inspired bar to be more for the old at heart—but it will bring out your childlike competitive side with shuffleboard lanes, Connect Four and oversize Jenga (plus there are DJs and food trucks).
Summer Streets: The roads of NYC turn into a giant playground for three Saturdays in the summer. Bring your paramour zip-lining, rock climbing or water sliding along roughly seven miles of open pavement.
Photo: Alex Lopez
Broadway in Bryant Park: Get free front-row seats to musical numbers from shows like Waitress, Fun Home and Something Rotten on Thursdays in Bryant Park. Savings are romantic, right?
Governors Island: Sound of Music geeks can twirl with arms wide open on the island’s new hills and even ride their vintage bicycles under tree-lined streets. Wearing outfits made out of window curtains is up to you.
Photo: Kate Glicksberg