New York City with a lover… is there any prospect that gets the heart beating faster?
If you haven’t done any actual planning beyond getting your suitcase out yet, there’s still time to make this romantic New York holiday one of the best chapters in your Instagram story.
From dazzling views to candlelit date venues, plan a few of these ideas in advance, and live out your Sex and the City dreams in New York.
1. Say I Love You With a View
Get up to the One World Observatory early if you want the sky-high 360° views of New York from the Freedom Tower (mostly) to yourselves – keep in mind you won’t be the only couple to decide on this course of action. Set your eyes on the crawling lines of yellow cabs, glittering skyscrapers, and smoking chimneys. It’s worth it, even if you’re not alone. It’s also a less cringy place to propose than the top of the Empire State Building, or outside Tiffanys.
2. Get Art and About
No couple’s trip to New York is complete without a visit to the Guggenheim. This veritable mothership of modern art features a world-leading collection, as well as regular exhibitions from major players in the international art scene. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the building itself is a romantic work of art. Take a couple’s selfie on the spiraling interior ramp, which was supposedly inspired by the lines of a seashell.
3. Hold Hands on the Brooklyn Bridge
Here’s one bridge you should definitely cross when you get to it. Link your lover’s hand in yours, and stroll the wooden walkway that stretches from Lower Manhattan into Brooklyn. At dusk, it’s even more romantic as the city lights flicker into nighttime across the water. Reserve a coveted window seat at Brooklyn’s Michelin-starred restaurant, River Cafe, under the bridge for guaranteed bonus points on your date!
4. Sail Into the Night on a Cruise
If you can stand to look away from your lover’s eyes for a minute, you might as well make the view worthwhile. Feast your eyes on the Manhattan skyline from a different perspective – on the water. The Alive After Five New York Cruise is a great way to sail into the sunset, surrounded by other happy couples during happy hour. Make it a date and enjoy drinks, snacks, top tunes, and Big Apple views.
5. Check Out a Show on Broadway
If you want to see a phantom swinging from a chandelier, a man dressed as a lion cub, or a bright green, gravity-defying witch, you’ll find it all on a date on Broadway. A night at the theatre is invariably one of the best things to do for couples in New York. Who doesn’t love a bit of drama? Book your tickets ahead of time to Wicked, New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Dear Evan Hansen, and Chicago.
For something a bit more off the beaten path, look up Sleep No More, the original NYC immersive show that takes a film noir look at Hamlet. There’s also Then She Fell, a show for an audience of 15 people only, performed in the eerie setting of a hospital ward.
6. Fly a Helicopter Over Manhattan
Better find out fast if your partner has a fear of flying. This helicopter flight over New York City would be a nice romantic gesture for someone you know wouldn’t scream throughout the experience. It would also be a really interesting first date activity that would make you appear very rich and generous. (No need to say you found it online at a discount.) Enjoy the sweeping views from up high, and whip out the champagne!
7. Make a Central Park Plan
Central Park will make your arms ache from getting the selfie-stick out so much (put it away). Get fruity in Strawberry Fields, or let your culture vultures out of the cage at the bafflingly huge Metropolitan Museum of Art. In winter, recreate a movie-moment and fall into your lover by “accident” on the ice-skating rink. From Sheep Meadow to Tavern on the Green, Central Park is the romantic backdrop from a hundred movies set in New York.
8. Elevate Your Romance on The High Line
Spanning the distance from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to Midtown’s West 34th Street, the High Line offers a bird’s-eye perspective on Manhattan. Romantic hanging lights and wooden decking elevate your mood as you walk the the abandoned railroad while eating pretentiously priced snacks from boutique vendors. You can also stargaze together, thanks to the telescope graciously erected by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. It’s high class, all the way.
9. Window Shop on Fifth Avenue
The Upper East Side is the epitme of Sex and the City. What could be sexier than taking a five-star stroll together one morning, like Carrie and Mr. Big on Fifth Avenue? Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks, and Barneys have amazing Christmas displays at night. A Christmas shopping trip is probably one of the most fun things for couples to do in New York City. (You can save money in New York, too, you know?).
10. Cosy Up in the Cloisters
The Hudson River and Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park wind around the four-acre Cloisters, and there’s a picture-perfect scene everywhere you look. Head to the Metropolitan Museum’s Washington Heights branch to peer at strange Gothic sculptures. You can also join the debate surrounding the ancient tapestry that appears to depict the death of a unicorn. That’s a conversation every couple should be having.
Looking for more ideas for your NYC itinerary? Check out our full New York city guide and fill up your calendar!
Bonus Tips: Romantic Places to Eat in NYC
5 Most Romantic Restaurants in New York
Make the sparks fly by booking one of these romantic restaurants. Seriously, don’t forget to book, New York is crazy busy all the time. You wouldn’t want to miss out!
- Milk and Roses
There’s a cosy candle-lit interior lined with bookshelves. A garden full of twinkling fairy lights. The menu is indulgent and you deserve it. If you don’t know where to take them, Greenpoint’s Milk and Roses has it all.
- Black Mountain Wine House
Warm your hands together by the fireplace, and sneak an arm around their chair as you sip one one of 30 wines, sherries, and ports. Just a block away from Brooklyn’s busy Smith Street, this cozy cabin is going to be your new little New York secret.
- One if by land, Two if by Sea
This 16th-century carriage house has been serving candlelit dinners in Greenwich Village since 1973. There’s a six-course vegetarian menu, and a seven-course meaty menu. There’s squishy chairs and vintage wallpaper. But best of all, there’s good wine.
Cozy, hipster-chic is the name of the game in this romantic restaurant at the end of a secret alley in the Lower East Side. The cocktails and the brunch menu are excellent, while the old art, taxidermy, and plant collection give it a sexy, date night vibe.
- Cafe Lalo
As the Upper West meet-up spot from the movie You’ve Got Mail, Cafe Lalo is romantic by default. You can drool over hundreds of cakes and make googly Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan eyes at each other over a Danish pastry. Pucker up!