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20 Fun First Date Ideas: New York City

Updated on June 15, 2011

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


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.


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    • profile image

      Lauren 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      BringYourDate 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      datemapps 5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Simon 5 years ago

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

    • becauseilive profile image

      becauseilive 5 years ago from N.J.

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

    • profile image

      Jon 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      michael jackson 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      MrWorldFAMOUS 5 years ago from Atlanta, Ga.

      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

    • profile image

      Diva 5 years ago

      Sounds like a good idea....

    • profile image

      ali 6 years ago


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      THIS SUCKS 6 years ago

      terrible list

    • profile image

      Kasey Casey 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Tango with Jon 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      jt 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Skaag 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Julia G 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      brian 7 years ago

      These are the worst ideas, ever.

    • profile image

      Ashley 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      asian5 7 years ago


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      ccheu 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Fun Date Ideas 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Msk 7 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      BT 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Anuj 7 years ago


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      dumbfounded 7 years ago

      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.

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      guy767986579 7 years ago

      Go to PJ Clarkes, you'll thank me later

    • profile image

      Jenn K. 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      New York Walking Tours 7 years ago

      "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.

    • profile image

      New York Walking Tours 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Good Date Ideas 7 years ago

      Nice Hub !

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

      For more good date ideas check out

    • profile image

      zadoro 7 years ago

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

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      Firstdateideas 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jennifer 987 7 years ago

      Some great tips! Look at for additional ideas!

    • profile image

      mat  8 years ago

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

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      seriously? 8 years ago

      bad ideas. what are you sectetly from jersey?

    • profile image

      manny nyc 8 years ago

      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.

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      Sweets 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Nataliya 8 years ago

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

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      jeff 8 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Rachel 8 years ago

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

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      Shannon (male) 8 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      ui 8 years ago


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      polly 8 years ago

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

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      jesus  8 years ago

      coooooooooooooooo i love NYC

    • profile image

      teleassistĂȘncia 9 years ago

      Great tips!

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      orionsky60403 9 years ago

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

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      Katie 9 years ago

      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...

    • profile image

      poo 9 years ago

      these are dates for people visiting =/

    • reedkorach profile image

      reedkorach 9 years ago from NEW YORK CITY

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

    • Jetes profile image

      Brooke Saul 9 years ago from Seattle

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

    • Eyes2YourSoul profile image

      Eyes2YourSoul 9 years ago from World Wide

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

    • Amber90 profile image

      Amber90 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      Grumppa50 9 years ago from Canada

      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.

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      anna 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      glasses4boomers 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      josephdiego 9 years ago from Eastern Long Island , New York

      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 profile image

      Len Cannon 9 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      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.

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      Dr. R. 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      NYLady 9 years ago from White Plains, NY

      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!

    • profile image

      Eliot 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      adelaide 9 years ago from Irvine, CA

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

    • profile image

      adel 9 years ago

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

    • joblot profile image

      joblot 9 years ago from Ringwood

      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 profile image

      abowie 9 years ago from San Francisco

      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 profile image

      Sandilyn 9 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      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 profile image

      Serenity Live 9 years ago from Midwest

      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 profile image

      desert blondie 9 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      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.!

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      celina 9 years ago

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

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      6 pack abs 9 years ago

      Great hub!

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      Mike Geary 9 years ago

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

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      jenrider 9 years ago

      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)!

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      jenrider 9 years ago

      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)!

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      daysie.may 10 years ago

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

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 10 years ago from london

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

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      Medical Alert Calling Systems 10 years ago

      Nice picks! Thanks.

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      voyager 10 years ago

      i love NY and i can not forget central park ,

    • profile image

      Cheap Music Downloads 10 years ago

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

    • arrow sheds profile image

      arrow sheds 10 years ago

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

    • blerim profile image

      blerim 10 years ago from BOSTON

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

    • profile image

      fefe 10 years ago

      they are soooooooo good

    • becauseilive profile image

      becauseilive 10 years ago from N.J.

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

    • helenathegreat profile image

      helenathegreat 10 years ago from Manhattan

      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 profile image

      ulises 10 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      kYLE 10 years ago


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      dan 10 years ago

      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 profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

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