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20 Fun First Date Ideas: New York City

A first date should be a memorable experience. It is a starting point, a jump off into eternity, and a day that might just determine your destiny. A first date can lead to fifty years of bliss, or it can end after five hours of togetherness. Either way, a first date is your chance to show her what you're made of. If you're fortunate enough to live in or near New York City, consider yourself lucky. Manhattan has something for everyone, and is literally bursting with possibilities. Of course, it goes without saying that nothing beats a genuine personality, self confidence, and courtesy, but the right blend of romance in a fun or unusual location can be the extra icing on the cake of deliciousness that is YOU.

Visit the polar bears at the Central Park Zoo

Visit the polar bears at the Central Park Zoo

Rent a rowboat on the Central Park Lake

Rent a rowboat on the Central Park Lake

End the day with dinner at Tavern on the Green

End the day with dinner at Tavern on the Green


1.) Pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and a thermos of wine, grab a blanket and enjoy lunch on the beautifully manicured lawns of Central Park.

2.) The zoo at Central Park is open every day from 10:00am-5:00pm. Take a walk through the habitats of monkeys, polar bears, parrots, pandas and more.

3.) From April through November, rowboats can be rented at the Central Park Lake for as low as $10 for the first hour. If you don't feel like rowing, glide lazily through this idyllic sanctuary on a gondola ride, available during the summer for $30 per half hour. When you're done, check out the Boathouse Restaurant for a romantic dinner on the lake.

4.) Want something sportier? If neither of you are afraid of heights, try wall climbing, held at the North Meadow Recreation Center every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the year. Cost is $7 per person for a one day pass.

5.) Summerstage holds afternoon and evening concerts in the park (some of which are free!) Located at Rumsey Playfield, 70th St. at mid park. Finish out the night with dinner at the world famous restaurant Tavern on the Green.

The exhibits at Ripley's Believe It or Not! are fascinating, but not for the weak-stomached

The exhibits at Ripley's Believe It or Not! are fascinating, but not for the weak-stomached

Madame Tussaud's wax replicas look like the real thing

Madame Tussaud's wax replicas look like the real thing

The MoMA features four floors of contemporary art

The MoMA features four floors of contemporary art


6.) Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Times Square has a collection of over 500 strange and unusual artifacts from around the world. Open every day from 9:00am to 1:00am, and not for the faint of heart.

7.) Madame Tussaud's wax museum, also in Times Square, has wax replicas of famous celebrities. Get your pictures taken with A-list celebrities, interact with the singing, dancing and talking statue of Jennifer Lopez, or audition for "American Idol" in front of Simon Cowell.

8.) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) features over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, books, photographs and films. You'll spend hours navigating your way through several floors of modern art and design.

9.) The American Museum of Natural History is four floors of mammals, lizards, birds, prehistoric peoples and dinosaurs. The IMAX theater presents large-scale presentations like "Dinosaurs Alive!" and the Hayden Planetarium is currently featuring a digitally animated alternative music escapade called SonicVision.

10.) If you're willing to trek across the river into New Jersey, the Liberty Science Center has the largest IMAX theater in the nation and a plethora of hands-on, please-touch exhibits enjoyable for all ages.

The creatures at Jekyll & Hyde are just plain freaky

The creatures at Jekyll & Hyde are just plain freaky

Music memorabilia lines the walls at the Hard Rock Cafe

Music memorabilia lines the walls at the Hard Rock Cafe

The atmosphere at Mars 2112 imitates the red planet, complete with Martians

The atmosphere at Mars 2112 imitates the red planet, complete with Martians

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11.) Jekyll & Hyde in Greenwich Village offers an unusual dining experience with bizarre characters and special effects. Great live music, but don't be surprised when the characters lined against the walls start coming to life.

12.) Hard Rock Cafe, which also features live music and AMAZING food, has walls lined with memorabilia from decades of musical accomplishments. The waitresses wear outfits straight out of 50's diners, and if you can pry your eyes away from your date, you'll always have something interesting to look at!

13.) Mars 2112, located in the heart of Times Square is an intergalactic bar and restaurant that serves Martian cuisine. Crystal Crater contains a three-story tree complete with 300-square foot "Window to Mars" offering views of the restaurant below.

14.) Biny is a stylish Japanese restaurant with state-of-the-art, fully computerized private karaoke bars. Their advanced sound system will make even the worst crooners sound American Idol-worthy; just be sure to make your reservations ahead of time.

15.) Caroline's on Broadwayis a popular comedy nightclub. They book comedians for every night of the week and during the afternoons on Sundays. Tickets start around $16.00.

Glow-in-the-dark bowling at 300 New York sets the mood with it's intimate lighting

Glow-in-the-dark bowling at 300 New York sets the mood with it's intimate lighting

Skee-ball at Dave & Buster's is a fun after-dinner activity

Skee-ball at Dave & Buster's is a fun after-dinner activity

A trip out to Brooklyn's Coney Island is a perfect way to spend the day

A trip out to Brooklyn's Coney Island is a perfect way to spend the day

End the evening on a high note with a visit to Rockefeller's Center rooftop observation deck

End the evening on a high note with a visit to Rockefeller's Center rooftop observation deck


16.) Check out Chelsea Piers along the Hudson river for a bowling experience like no other. Looking more like a high class VIP lounge than a bowling alley, 300 New York has a restaurant, billiards and in-the-dark bowling to set the mood. $8.75 per person, per game.

17.) Dave & Buster's in Times Square is the perfect place to eat, drink and be merry on a first date. Once you've digested, you can head over to the games section to play skee-ball, drive a racecar or pilot an airplane in one of the many simulators. Test your compatibility by pairing up to compete against six other people in a trivia competition.

18.) Catch the subway into Brooklyn to visit one of the happiest (and oldest) places on earth: Coney Island. Whether you feel like traversing the boardwalk, taking a ride on the infamous Cyclone rollercoaster, or visiting the Coney Island aquarium, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself at this staple of New York culture. During the summer months, catch a burlesque show on the beach or fireworks on Fridays.

19.) Take in a Broadway show. The bigger shows like "Legally Blonde", "Wicked" or "The Lion King" require tickets to be purchased in advance, but tickets for off-Broadway shows like "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" can be bought with just a few days notice.

20.) End the night on a high note with a visit to Rockefeller Center's "Top of the Rock". The pre-show area on the mezzanine level offers a theater exhibit detailing the history of the Rockefeller legacy, but you'll be more interested in holding hands on the rooftop, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of New York City lit up at night.


Timeo Kubler on July 05, 2019:

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i am executing my three months project with Eni Spa oil and Gas Refinery.

Lauren on July 11, 2013:

Rooftop bars are my favorite NYC dates. Check out these suggestions:

BringYourDate on January 14, 2013:

A fantastic website for date ideas and places to go in NYC is "Plan Your Date, Buy Tickets & Find Fun Ideas"

All the best suggests for a romantic date to casual 1st date. Know the best date places to go in NYC: Restaurants, Bars, Shows, Cafes, Comedy Clubs, Jazz Clubs, Dancing, Movies and much more. Have Fun!

datemapps on November 19, 2012:

You're basically suggesting native NYC daters to go to chain restaurants and tourist-trap spots. Having surveyed NYC daters, almost none would never even consider going to such places. NYC daters want something new and exciting on each and every date they go to. And who can blame them.

Our app, DateMapps, provides city daters with the ability to plan out their next date from beginning to end while making sure it's exciting at the same time.


Founder, DateMapps

Simon on September 26, 2012:

Best date idea — Don't date in New York.

Jaclyn Popola (author) from Florida on July 17, 2012:

@Jon - I'm open to any suggestions from native New Yorkers.

Jon on July 17, 2012:

Um...those are all very touristy - this is a bad date list. It should be called things to see when visiting NY.

michael jackson on June 27, 2012:

Everything on this page is swell!!!!!!! ;P

MrWorldFAMOUS from Atlanta, Ga. on June 11, 2012:

Looks like this was posted over 4 years ago (according to when the comments begin. So I don't know how much of this is still relevant.

Either way, where do I go to meet New York women at!? I'm a southern boy who is ready for them, lol. ( hey fellas If you need help meeting women, read this blog )

But other than that, there were a few fun places mentioned I would like to take my date to. (hopefully it's not super expensive)

Stanley Specks

Diva on June 08, 2012:

Sounds like a good idea....

ali on March 28, 2012:


THIS SUCKS on December 06, 2011:

terrible list

Kasey Casey on November 19, 2011:

i think that this is the very best ever hub i have ever seen omg i like love love love it guna go do all that stuff right on on my way watch out for me ok here I go

Tango with Jon on November 08, 2011:

I'd like to add another great date night option

Tango Date For Couples. Our next event is this Saturday November 12th. Check our website for more info.

Tango Date For Couples

An exquisitely-planned candlelit evening of romance and seduction awaits you and your partner on this special for-couples-only tango date. First, you'll enjoy a taste of Argentine wine, fruit, chocolate and cheese to get you in the mood. Then, the dance instructors take over and guide you through the basic steps of the sultry Argentine Tango, in a one-hour class designed to stoke the fires between you. Finally, you get a chance to put what you've learned into action with a practice session and a steamy performance by the pros. This one-of-a-kind night is sure to provide a sizzling memory.

jt on October 12, 2011:

Try a BYOB Painting Class at Painting Lounge in Brooklyn. Recreate a famous work of art in 2-3 hours while enjoying some wine or other beverage of choice. All supplies are included, so no need to make a trip to the art supply store. It's stress free and a great way to make a memorable night, best of all you get a fantastic painting to take home and proudly display to friends and family.

Skaag on August 01, 2011:

Never listen to the locals in NYC - They are jaded, hollow people who never even saw the sites themselves ("Yah, it's close, I'll see it one day"... sounds familiar?).

The magic happens between people who meet on their first few dates. What you want is a place that is not too noisy (NYC Restaurants are criminally noisy, and will actually render you deaf after a few dozen visits).

One of my favorite date ideas, is a picnic in Central Park, either on the grass under a tree, or on a rowing boat which you can rent by the hour from the boat house. That's extremely romantic, and you can eat on the boat. Wine, some good bread, cheese, fruits, brownies, and you can feed your date. Now that's fun!

Julia G on April 21, 2011:

Trivia night is a great date... conversation flows easily cause of questions so there's less pressure and interests naturally come out, so you can see quickly if you're compatible.

Trivia Tryst runs good ones as they're about 2 hrs, have music btwn the questions and have great hosts at places all over the city.

brian on April 21, 2011:

These are the worst ideas, ever.

Ashley on February 11, 2011:

I am going to NYC for spring break and we wanted some ideas this gave us some ideas.

asian5 on January 28, 2011:


ccheu on December 03, 2010:

Jaclyn, brilliant list you have here! Have you been to all of these places?

Fun Date Ideas on October 13, 2010:

This is a good list if you live in New York. Good job adding to new york ideas!

Msk on October 08, 2010:

Wow, this is the worst date list I have ever seen. Like half of your suggestions are in Times Square. What is wrong with you?

BT on October 08, 2010:

These are awful suggestions and tourist traps. No one who actually lives in New York would ever do any of these things except to go Central Park

Anuj on September 26, 2010:


dumbfounded on September 09, 2010:

This is perhaps the worst there is to do in NYC. You are def not a local. good luck on your next bus tour trip to the city.

guy767986579 on September 08, 2010:

Go to PJ Clarkes, you'll thank me later

Jenn K. on September 01, 2010:

I want to suggest an awesome date idea. I recently went on a date to trivia night at a bar and it was great! My date knew about this company TriviaTryst that hosts games in almost every neighborhood, so we picked a time and place that worked well for us, in a place near where we could get dinner. The game was not only interesting and fun, but we learned a lot about each other in a very natural, easy conversation by talking about how we knew the answers we knew. There is just a default conversation right there, nursing you along the date. Also, they have "Tryst" rounds where groups work together and people socialize around the bar. I was thinking that would be a great way to check out new guys, if you're date isn't going so well. Ya know, for later. Anyway, I've since been back for other dates as it's also an effective way to judge the date's intelligence.

New York Walking Tours on August 21, 2010:

"rowboats can be rented at the Central Park Lake" - well this one is a little ""forced" cos i don't want to see sky high buildings while i'm slowly gliding on the lake with my girl.

New York Walking Tours on August 21, 2010:

this hub was a superb read for my lazy summer afternoon. I love the tourist feeling i get every time i take a walking tour around this city

Good Date Ideas on August 10, 2010:

Nice Hub !

Some really Good date ideas I need to get myself over to NYC.

For more good date ideas check out

zadoro on August 03, 2010:

No offense, but all of these things sound like first-date ideas for tourists... What are the real first-date spots?

Firstdateideas on June 14, 2010:

Yeah pretty cool ideas. I would just add the Ellis Island Museum. That is a pretty awesome time for a first or seconf date

Jennifer 987 on May 15, 2010:

Some great tips! Look at for additional ideas!

mat on January 29, 2010:

these are the worst date ideas ever. are you 14, a tourist, and totally uninspired??

seriously? on January 27, 2010:

bad ideas. what are you sectetly from jersey?

manny nyc on January 13, 2010:

Wow, I can't imagine a first date being impressed with being taken to Times Square or Dave n' Busters! What a terrible list. First date??? If you're from out of town why would your first date be in NYC? These are just general commercial tourist attractions.

Sweets on December 15, 2009:

This is a wonderful list and I want to do them all! Thank you :)

Nataliya on November 09, 2009:

What a nice hub! I wish to visit New York one day

jeff on October 23, 2009:

If you are looking for a romantic meal with your sweetheart in ny you can go Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar. One of the best romantic date spots in nyc. COUPLE's NIGHT OUT takes place at AYZA every SUNDAY evening.Simply make resarvation through OpenTable and type the code (Romantic Sunday Special) to receive decadent truffles by DECADENT TRUFFLES BY JACQUES TORRES FREE at the end of your romantic meal.It's an easy to light that spark of romance or keep the fire burning.

Rachel on September 13, 2009:

I took the Circle Line around NYC. Beautiful, relaxing... More romantic if you get the sunset cruise.

Shannon (male) on August 14, 2009:

Ditto to Polly. These are very "regular" dates for NYers, but if you're from out of town and would like one, just pick and let me know :-P

ui on June 30, 2009:


polly on June 15, 2009:

If you're a tourist, I guess. I live in NYC and would be horrified if someone took me on one of these dates.

jesus on May 14, 2009:

coooooooooooooooo i love NYC

teleassistência on March 07, 2009:

Great tips!

orionsky60403 on February 26, 2009:

I just got back from NYC mid December. It's such a fun place. Times Square is sooo lively I love it.

Katie on February 25, 2009:

A great date option is to book a semi-private rock climbing lesson at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. My (now) boyfriend did that for our first date and it was awesome - we were doing something fun so things never got awkward. Oh yeah, the instructor we had was great too! After we went to the Chelsea Brewing Company for a meal...

poo on February 20, 2009:

these are dates for people visiting =/

reedkorach from NEW YORK CITY on February 19, 2009:

These are all good ideas. However, Coney Island is closed forever! They are re-developing it.

Brooke Saul from Seattle on January 22, 2009:

Thanks! I am headed to New York next week and will keep in mind the zoo date. :)

Eyes2YourSoul from World Wide on January 14, 2009:

Wow I love this hub.. I plan on moving to NYC in March and I truly will be checking out the spots!

Amber90 on December 23, 2008:

hah. you have just got some guys in quite a bit of trouble. any girl that reads this and has been to even a handful of the places you have listed now have set standards. You have found a nice balance by listing places to go that people who are looking for fun, romance, and even the scarey (close encounters) can find gold here. A nice reference for the second and third dates as well. These def beat my dinner and a movie routines that I have been so thoughfully* treated to.

Grumppa50 from Canada on December 18, 2008:

Yes this is all fun and games as first impressions go. I never have been to NYC.I bet it's a great place if you know where to go.I'd hate like hell to impress the one I love with a wrong turn and get lost in a city I cant navigate.LOL.I like watching KIng of Queens.I think it's a great first impression of what NYC can be but when I watch the news or cops I get a very different impression.It's a great blog but I think dinner and a movie or maybe even a comedy club is fun.

anna on December 12, 2008:

just an FYI, this list was pretty terrible for those of you who want to avoid the overpriced tourist traps. I will have to post a list of my own for things that are a little more uniquely romantic and thoughtful. Thanks for the posting anyway. I see many others were able to appreciate it.

glasses4boomers on November 17, 2008:

Don't forget Ballfields cfe in central Park April-October. It's my favorite, you can get anything from a brat to a chopped salad, wine to beer. Its beatiful!

josephdiego from Eastern Long Island , New York on November 09, 2008:

Being born and raised in the Bronx, NYC will always be home to me, I now live in Eastern Long Island, However I still work in the city most of the time. Being in the construction field I have had the pleasure of either restoring " The Plaza Hotel, The Planetarium" or working in new buildings, "7 Time square, the new Yankee stadium, Many of Trumps Towers" Even though I go to the city on a regular basis, I still get a Thrill every time. I love and Always will Love New York

Hope to meet one day in NY..... JosephDiego

Len Cannon from Brooklyn, NY on September 26, 2008:

This is an interesting list, and it has some good sugesstions. Still, those of you reading this, I BEG you not to take a date to the Hard Rock. It is strictly for tourists. Broadway seem pretty expensive for a first date, but an off-broadway drama and dinner seems nice.

And Coney Island is fabulous for a first date, as long as you both have a good sense of humor about how run down it is.

Dr. R. on September 17, 2008:

Great suggestions! I've only been to NYC one time for 4 days. It was a blast. I happened to accomplish #1, #19, and #20. What a great city!

NYLady from White Plains, NY on September 17, 2008:

I enjoyed reading this hub, since I'm a New Yorker. Great ideas. I just spent a few days dragging my 75-year-old Mom around the city -- among our visits, "Avenue Q" with half-price tickets, "Mary Poppins," dinner at The View at the Marriott Marquis, the Gray Line bus tour, and the Circle Line boat tour. I'm exhausted! I write a lot about NYC for eHow, in case you want to check it out for ideas. Just search with my user name, NYLady. Take care!

Eliot on September 17, 2008:

These are good first date ideas for tourists. Most people going on first dates in New York, however, are New Yorkers who wouldn't dare do any of the above on a first date. Consequently, this list is not so useful.

adelaide from Irvine, CA on July 25, 2008:

Great Hub! Planning a trip to NY, we'll definitely try some of these out.

adel on July 25, 2008:

Thanks! Sounds like fun, would love to know how much the entrance fee's and associated costs are...hehe...

joblot from Ringwood on July 24, 2008:

I'm just imagining how great it would be to take my wife on a date there - from the UK! She'd be quite impressed!!!

New York is on my list of must-visit places and I'll be bookmarking this for tips on things to do. Thanks.

abowie from San Francisco on June 25, 2008:

I went to the zoo on my first date with my boyfriend. Not only was it nice to be able to walk around, but it also let me see how he does in family friendly environments. Since family is such a big part of my life this was a big deal for me. I recommend the zoo every time!

Sandilyn from Port Orange, FL on June 16, 2008:

I liked your hub. I have not been to NYC in a long time. It was great when I went. With so many things to see and do. I am amazed at all of the new things that there are to do.

I am impressed at the diversity that you have given here and the low cost ways to have fun as well.

I myself would love to go back to the museums. They are something that we don't have much of here in FL. At least not enough for me and the shows I really miss!

Anyone that is going to NYC needs to print out your hub and check out your list.

Serenity Live on June 09, 2008:

I love this hub. I just wrote a similar one on places in NY that were featured in some of my favorite films. There is so much in New York - we need ideas for it put into bite-sized lists. Lumping them into first date ideas was smart and well done!

desert blondie from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen on June 07, 2008:

Hey, Celina...back off...most tourists want those "commercial" spots AND, as a tourist who loves NYC, I enjoyed the budget minded aspect of many of these suggestions! New to me, #16 and the gondolas part of #3. Thanks for great, fun, info.!

celina on June 01, 2008:

Are you kidding?  This site can't suggest dates less commerical for a first date? Why not add the Manhattan Mall and Century 21?  

6 pack abs on May 26, 2008:

Great hub!

Mike Geary on May 24, 2008:

Thanks for the tips! Great hub! I love NYC.

jenrider on May 06, 2008:

NYC is great! There are so many fun places to see and experience in the Big Apple. We love it. You have some good ideas for visits (or dates)!

jenrider on May 06, 2008:

NYC is great! There are so many fun places to see and experience in the Big Apple. We love it. You have some good ideas for visits (or dates)!

daysie.may on April 16, 2008:

another great one is to take them to a broadway show! i got my tickets at

solarshingles from london on April 15, 2008:

I like your hub and I am going to test it soon in real, as well

Medical Alert Calling Systems on April 15, 2008:

Nice picks! Thanks.

voyager on March 13, 2008:

i love NY and i can not forget central park ,

Cheap Music Downloads on February 22, 2008:

Great Infor than Travel Book Guide. Good for me since i planning to go honeymoon Here,thanks

arrow sheds on January 22, 2008:

I think it's time to take my wife on a date. Nice suggestions!

blerim from BOSTON on January 20, 2008:

If you like the thrill dates I suggest the open racing sessions are the perfect fuel for the first date.

fefe on December 14, 2007:

they are soooooooo good

Jaclyn Popola (author) from Florida on December 07, 2007:

Hey helenathegreat -- that would be awesome! I'd love to see it whenever it's done :)

helenathegreat on December 05, 2007:

Great recommendations. I've been most of these places (except some of the more touristy restaurants :) ) and would recommend all of them! Top of the Rock is my favorite thing to do at night. Even though it seems a little expensive for an elevator ride, it's SO worth it.

I was actually planning on writing a similar hub. When I do, mind if I link to this one?

ulises on November 24, 2007:

NICE, this is going to help me next time i go to NYC

check my hub, my hub, my lovely manly hub! check it out!

kYLE on November 13, 2007:


dan on November 13, 2007:

becauseilive - your list is great. I'm a particular fan of zoos and the one in Central Park is a nice, small-ish, managable one.

I found this channel on Socialight for people to tell stories about where they had their first dates. Could be a good way to collect new spots. I just shared mine.

Stacie Naczelnik from Seattle on November 08, 2007:

I love New York and would enjoy doing all of these things on a date. Thanks!

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