In this guest post, Natalie of A Pair of Travel Pants shares the most romantic things to do in NYC.
Despite a reputation for being expensive, New York City can be a place for travelers of all budgets—even those looking for a special night out with a special someone.
As someone who has dated, loved, and is now married in NYC, I think of this place as a wonderland of opportunity for romantic days and nights out.
Whether you want to team up and double-date or go with just the two of you, there are so many great choices in the city.
I am suggesting ideas for all budgets, day or night, and in different seasons and locations around the city. I know it’s not realistic to think that all romance happens at the top of the Empire State Building or popping the question in Times Square: New York City is a romance-filled playground.
Don’t miss some of our other romantic travel guides:
- 27 Incredibly Romantic Places in the USA that Couples Will Love
- 9 Romantic Things to Do in Washington, DC
- 20 Romantic Getaways in New England: Love & Luxury for Couples
- 21 Incredibly Romantic Airbnbs Around the World
Best Time to Come for Romance:
If you were to come to New York City at any time of the year and seek the most romantic scenery possible, I’d recommend December.
December is when New York comes alive with Christmas lights. Although the days are short and cold, that nippy wind creates rosy cheeks, an opportunity to snuggle, and reasons to retreat into cozy restaurants and cafes.
December is also party month in New York. Every year it seems that the opportunities to go to holiday parties only increase as everyone wants a reason to stay inside and warm up, but still look fabulous doing it.
Yet no matter what time of year you come, there are plenty of romantic activities in NYC for couples.
PS: Check out this post if you’re looking for things to do for your first time in NYC.
The Most Romantic Things to Do in New York City
Walk through Central Park
This can be done at any time of year, however, if you are in New York in December and get the opportunity to walk through Central Park in a snowfall, you are in for a treat.
Not only are the pictures of Central Park in snow going to be awesome, but the many iconic bridges, ponds, statues and points of interest will be dusted in a light white coating that looks just magical.
I’d recommend going to see Belvedere Castle as a destination before leaving the park and warming up in a local café over a hot chocolate. Belvedere is romantic as hell (and free to see!).
The Harlem Meer, located in the Northeast corner of the Park, is also a really nice area to visit. NYC in autumn is also a lovely time of year to be in Central Park.
Sit on a bench in Gantry Plaza State Park
I wouldn’t recommend doing this is the dead of winter, but if it’s a nice day this is a great place to go. Gantry is home to some iconic landmarks in New York City and gives the visitor beautiful panoramic views of New York’s skyline from Queens.
Gantry Plaza is not on the beaten path in New York City and you won’t need to battle out a place to sit with other tourists.
In the warmer months there is a local weekend market where you can walk through stalls and sample delicious locals treats.
It’s a great reason to go with someone who wants to try something new and then sit on a bench looking at the most iconic skyline in the world.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge at Night
I recommend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night because there are far fewer tourists then.
Admittedly, the views are not as spectacular because you can’t see the bridge as well, but the lights are utterly romantic and the city creates a beautiful glow.
If you want to go during daylight (which is a great idea, but will be VERY crowded) I’d go at dawn. You can watch the sunrise and get opportunities to snap selfies of you kissing under the famous arches of the bridge.
Find a Cozy Corner of a Speakeasy and Listen to Jazz
Listening to live Jazz is very New York. Most jazz venues will offer the visitor a cozy, dark space to snuggle up to someone special and listen to some of the best musicians in the world play classic or cutting-edge music.
I would recommend going to the Cornelia Street Café, the Village Vanguard or Dizzy’s to get that experience. Order a cocktail and sneak a kiss if you feel bold…
Go to the Top of a Tall Building and Enjoy the Views at Sunset
Looking at New York from the top of the world is awesome and very romantic. I would recommend going at sunset and watching the sky put on its daily light show while the city turns the lights on.
My favorite building to go see New York from is the Top of the Rock, but the Empire State Building is a more classic choice.
The Freedom Tower is another mega-skyscraper you can go to the top of.
Ride the Cyclone at Coney Island
Riding the Cyclone is a classic. Walking the boardwalk at Coney Island and eating a Nathan’s Hotdog is a great date choice.
If you go in the summer, you can watch the weekly firework show every Friday evening.
Watching fireworks in New York is romantic as all hell. Plus, who doesn’t love a good picture of screaming on a roller coaster?
Walk the Bronx Botanical Gardens
Often overlooked, the Bronx has a sprawling park that boasts lovely gardens, sculptures and opportunities to kiss near some flowers. I love this area because the architecture is beautiful and the park is not too crowded.
Psst: Check out more off the beaten path NYC sites here!
If you go on Wednesdays the park is free! When my sister got married, we went up there to take photos.
Although there is a fee to take wedding photos in the park, you can dress up and take photos of yourselves without paying a premium (just don’t show up in a wedding dress because they are super serious about charging you for anything wedding related!).
I would not recommend going in the winter, the best time to go to the Botanical gardens would be in the Spring or Summer because the flowers will be out in full force.
About the Author: Natalie is a New Yorker married to a Kiwi named Jackson. They currently live in New York City and write for A Pair of Travel Pants, a travel blog dedicated to their love of off the beaten path travel, hiking, and road tripping around the world. Find them on their blog or on Instagram.