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Top 10 Romantic Things To Do in NYC (For Any Budget!)

Romance is in the air! For couples looking for an exciting weekend getaway destination or a place to hang out for a few days, there are endless romantic things to do in NYC.

by Caitlin J

New York City, the Big Apple, the world’s belly button. There’s truly no place like New York! NYC might be a hectic and bustling city, but it’s also one of the most romantic destinations in the world. 

New York City is on everyone traveler’s bucket list, and for a good reason, the city is magical. For couples looking for an exciting weekend getaway destination or a place to hang out for a few days, there are endless romantic things to do in New York City. Romance is in the air!

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Jason and I got engaged in Central Park when we visited during Christmas 2021!

So, what should couples do in NYC? Read on and discover our favorite romantic things to do in NYC. From indulgent meals to date night on the prettiest rooftops, from prohibition-era cocktails to Broadway performances — you’re in for a lovely trip!

What to Expect in NYC? 

Yes, New York City is beautiful, but it’s also a fast-paced city with big-city problems. Places get crowded and expect to wait in line for the most touristy attractions. Fear not, though; visiting NYC is an adventure!

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Times Square gets a lot of hate, but to us, it was spectacular! A must visit either before or after your broadway show!
  • Weather and Climate: New York has an oceanic climate with 234 days of sunshine. Expect chilly and damp winters with temperatures as low as 10°F in January. Summers can be awkwardly humid and hot, with average highs of 25°F. Rain is spread across the calendar, so be prepared, always. 
  • Getting Around NYC: If you stay in Manhattan, you can probably walk your way around, discovering exciting places in every other corner. The subway is efficient and will help you move around as well. Taxis, though, might not be your best bet, especially on weekday rush hours. 
  • Best NYC Neighborhoods: You’ll find the most romantic things to do and most touristic activities in Manhattan. The Low East Side, Greenwich Village, Midtown and the Upper East Side are must-visits and great places to stay in NYC. You don’t want to miss the ever-trendy Brooklyn either. 

Where to Stay in New York City: Moxy NYC East Village

There are hundreds if not thousands of places to stay in NYC. Still, for a romantic getaway, we recommend Moxy at East Village. The rooms are cozy, and the Cathédrale Restaurant and its vaulted ceilings are truly a remarkable sight. Drinks at the hotel’s rooftop bar might be one of the most romantic things you can do in the city. This is by far amongst the best hotels in NYC for couples for its high energy and foodie feel. 

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Moxy NYC East Village has a fitness center, a lovely restaurant, a rooftop bar and a bar lounge. Enjoy 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi, and 286 high-tech rooms with comfy beds and rain showers. Pro Tip: ask for a retro turntable at the front desk and pick up a few vinyl LPs from the hotel’s collection. Now, isn’t that romantic?

Most Romantic Things To Do in NYC

In NYC, there are plenty of romantic things that you can do with your partner. From exploring the city together to indulging in a luxurious meal at one of NYC’s top restaurants, here are some ideas for romantic things to do in New York City.

1. Get the Best View of NYC at Rockefeller Center Plaza

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The one thing in NYC that causes more impact on first-time visitors is the heights. New York has the most skyscrapers in the country, including the awe-inspiring Rockefeller Plaza. Work your way up 67 stories to the Top of the Rock for a picture-perfect postcard of the city’s skyline. Things might get windy, but this is still one of the most romantic spots in the city. If you were looking for a spot to pop the big question, this might be it. 

Are you afraid of heights? Visit the Rockefeller Center for the lobby alone. The hall, its Champlain gray marble and bronze moldings, are the reason the famous lobby is an official USA landmark. 

And you know what? The Rockefeller Center is within walking distance of our next stop on our list of romantic things to do in NYC, the Grand Central Station. 

2. People Watch at Grand Central Station

Officially called the Grand Central Terminal of GCT, this landmark is a commuter rail terminal in Midtown. You already know this one, as the grand terminal has been featured in dozens of movies, including Men in Black, The Avengers and John Wick. The station’s high ceilings are more than a cool stage for action movies, though, this is as romantic as New York gets. 

You’ll find a few eateries and bars in the station itself but expect a crowd. The Grand Central Station is one of the ten most visited attractions worldwide, and it’s easy to see why — the 1900s architectural masterpiece is exquisitely Instagrammable. 

Now, let’s talk about a few romantic things to do in NYC that are a bit quieter. How does a thick steak and a show sound? When was the last time you experienced ballet? Or how about movie night at a historical theater?

3. Have a Fancy Dinner and a Broadway Show

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You can’t say you visited New York without experiencing its musical and theatrical scene. Broadway shows are amongst the most romantic things to do in NYC, and the ballet at the Lincoln Center is on another level. New York is known for its world-class ballet schools, after all. 

Of course, you can’t enjoy a proper show on an empty stomach, and if there’s something New York is good at is at serving fantastic food in restaurants and bars. Hit any restaurant near you — there’s one in every other corner in Manhattan — and enjoy the city’s culinary diversity. New York represents world cuisines like no other city. From a spicy curry to fish tacos, there’s something on New York’s menu for you.

Small, cozy eateries are your best bet in NYC for couples. We highly recommend Becco for Italian! Enjoying dinner and a show in New York City is a tradition even locals enjoy from time to time, especially if they want to get in the mood for romance. 

4. Walk the The High Line

Make your way to the west side of Manhattan just to walk the 1.45 miles of elevated railways, now called the Brooklyn Highline. The authentic garden offers an extraordinary view and a delightful experience, and it’s free!  

Not to be confused with Highland Park, another verdant park worth visiting, The High Line re-imagines public places, as the park is built over historic elevated rail lines from 1934. After decades of disuse, the not-so-pretty rails are now a state-of-the-art space dotted with sculptures and gardens — you can find over 500 species of plants and trees in the narrow park, which make you forget you’re in one of the largest cities on the planet!

Few spots in NYC for couples are as relaxing as The High Line, and if you’re in luck, you might catch a street performance or two. The futuristic park brims with creativity!

5. Get Close and Cozy at a Speakeasy Bar

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The Constitution’s 18th amendment of 1919 wreaked havoc on the bar industry nationwide and was particularly tough in New York. Still, the prohibition led to the exciting creation of speakeasy bars, hidden in plain sight or actually hidden in basements and back alleys. Speakeasies are now part of New York’s history, and they were revived during the city’s cocktail revolution of the 90s and early 2000s. 

Today, there’s nothing more thrilling than enjoying a craft cocktail with your significant other in a speakeasy. Dim lit and jazzy, these bars are romantic spots in their own right, and the cocktails are often alluring and sexy. 

Employees Only in the West Village is one of the popular bars in the category, along with neighboring The Garret. The Back Room in Lower East Side also offers an authentic speakeasy experience and is one of my fiance and I’s personal favorites. Don’t worry; most of the bars’ “hidden entrances” are easy to spot for the long lines of cocktail enthusiasts waiting for a stool.

6. Stroll Through Central Park (Or Ride in a Carriage!)

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Of course, Central Park is a must-visit when in NYC. Walking the 843 acres of verdant landscape at the heart of the city is more than an afterthought; the park is not just something to do in Manhattan — it might just be the highlight of your trip!

You and your partner will have a blast holding hands while riding on a horse carriage around the park, an experience tailored by the good folks at NYC for couples. Still, you can also walk around mindlessly, and you should. Find your way to the rowboats on the Central Park Lake, have drinks at Loeb Boathouse or visit the famous New York City Zoo. 

What to do in Central Park? The authentic oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle is not all that about doing things, but about taking a break — you deserve it after all that shopping!

7. Walk The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan with Brooklyn, and it’s been a city landmark since it opened in 1883. These are 1595 feet of fresh air, a saline breeze and a beautiful view of both Manhattan and Brooklyn. And although many New Yorkers use the toll-free bridge every day to get to work, walking it is popular with visitors.

A dedicated pedestrian walkway above the car traffic makes the stroll enjoyable even during rush hour; the walkway is also bike-friendly! Walk or ride your way into Brooklyn, have a bite and head back into the city — you won’t regret it! 

Keep in mind the breeze can be strong and chilly, especially in the coldest months, but that’s just another opportunity to hold your couple tight. Cuddle your way into Brooklyn!

8. Get Inspired at the MET

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, AKA the MET, is the largest museum in the city and one of the largest fine art museums in the world! The MET is home to some of the most extraordinary works of art ever crafted. 

Be here early. The museum opens at 10 am and closes at 5 pm, but it’s simply impossible to explore it all. Museums are more romantic than you think, especially the MET — there’s something for everyone, and temporary exhibitions every season keep it interesting! Hold hands and walk the museum’s hallways and exhibition rooms. 

Friday and Saturday, the museum hosts the “Date Night at the Met,” there’s a buy-one-get-one drink special and live music!

9. Drink Up at a Rooftop Bar

romantic things to do in nyc

If you’re staying at Moxy NYC East Village, you need not look for an awesome rooftop bar. If you aren’t, there are many rooftop bars in every borough, and enjoying their views as the sun goes down is one of the most romantic things to do in NYC.

Westlight, on the 22nd floor of the William Vale, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has the best view of Manhattan. The Arlo Roof Top in SoHo is also a must-visit, especially for the creative drink’s menu. And for sunny days, visit the 230 Fifth in Flatiron — this is where you want to take those perfect pictures of the Empire State. 

Romance is in the air in these and many other rooftops. Enjoy the thin air with a colorful cocktail in hand — that’s what couples do in NYC; they just chill up in the sky.

10. The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center

romantic things to do in nyc

Ok, this is a seasonal thing, as the famous ice rink just below the Rockefeller Center opens from October to April. Still, skating round and round the historical and world-famous ice rink is one of the most romantic things to do in NYC, even if you don’t know how to skate. 

You’ll probably have to wait in line but skating under one of the biggest and most sparkling Christmas trees in the city is a dream come true and an experience you want to share with someone special. Here’s a pro tip: purchase your tickets online and skip the lines. 

If you’re really into skating, there are several other ice rinks in New York, including a free ice rink in Bryant Park and the beautiful Wollman Rink in Central Park. 

Looking for More Romantic Adventures and Vacations? Check Out These Posts!

New York might be one of the most exciting destinations for couples. With dozens of romantic things to do in NYC, it’s hard to beat the real-life Gotham. Still, there are romantic things to do in any city in the country if you know where to look. 

Discover 10 Northern Virginia Breweries That Will Knock Your Socks Off or Treat yourself in The Best Places to Fill Up on Chicken Wings in Austin, Texas! In fact, here are a few romantic Airbnbs in Texas for you

Traveling is a great way to bring back some passion into your relationship, don’t you agree?

And if you do visit New York with your significant other, let us know about your own most romantic things to do in NYC. After all, any place can be romantic when you are with the right person.

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