How to Plan a Romantic Trip to NYC for Couples

There’s a good reason why so many romantic novels, romcoms, and TV dramas with fairytale endings are set in New York City. It’s one of the most romantic places in the world! From walking through Central Park in the fall, ice skating at Rockefeller Center in the winter, or sipping Manhattans with a view of Manhattan, there are so many things to do in NYC for couples.

How to Plan a Romantic NYC Getaway

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Whether you’re planning a couples’ trip to the Big Apple to celebrate a special occasion or you’re native New Yorkers looking for exciting date ideas, this is the guide for you. Let’s dive into all of the most romantic things to do in NYC including the top iconic spots, where to eat, and where to stay so you have an unforgettable time!

How To Get Around NYC 

Bus, train, ferry, car, and bike are all forms of transportation in NYC, but the best ways to get around are to walk, take a taxi, or hop on the subway.

Although New York City is huge, every road has sidewalks and many of the top places to visit are close. Walking around leafy Greenwich Village could be a great low-key first date idea! 

New York’s yellow cabs are not only a top local experience, but they’re a great way to get around. These are the only taxis you can hail off the street. They charge a standard metered fare, but you can pay in cash or card. Download the Yellow Taxi app if you’d rather call, know the cost, and pay upfront for your journey. Uber and Lyft are also options.

Let’s not forget about the New York City subway. If you want to travel from Lower Manhattan to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, taking the subway will be far cheaper and faster than a taxi!

Metro cards used to be the best way for visitors to pay for subway rides, but they are being fazed out. You can use a contactless card to tap the OMNY payment reader to enter the gate. Weekly fares are capped so you won’t spend a small fortune on the subway (currently the cap is $34).

Top Things To Do in NYC for Couples

1. Visit NYC’s World-Class Museums

Checking out New York’s finest museums and galleries is a great date idea and something you can do over a long romantic weekend.

Some of the best museums in NYC line Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, making it super easy to visit more than one in a tight time limit:

Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC

The Frick is currently closed but will re-open in late 2024. The Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History (some might find gazing at stars in the Hayden Planetarium romantic!) are also some favorite spots for couples.

Two lesser-visited, but still world-class, museums are The Met Cloisters and the Morgan Library & Museum. The Met Cloisters displays medieval art with beautiful views of the Hudson River. Any avid reader will find the old tomes and dark wooden bookshelves in the Morgan Library very romantic!

2. View New York City’s Skyline

One of the best things to do in NYC for couples is to gaze out at New York City’s famous skyline. Maybe you have seen impressive skyscrapers like the iconic Chrysler Building in movies, but it’s an overwhelming sight when you see them during the day or twinkling at night.

View NYC skyline

There are five top observation decks to choose from in NYC for the best views:

Visiting the top of the Empire State Building is a must for fans of Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember. Otherwise, observation decks like Edge and SUMMIT are the best places so the more famous buildings are in your itinerary.

3. Walk the High Line to Chelsea Market

The High Line is an elevated, former historic rail line converted into a 1.45-mile-long beautiful park and walkway. It’s a great place for a romantic stroll before checking out Chelsea Market.

Whether you want to buy cute souvenirs, vintage clothes, or a bite to eat, you will find it all at Chelsea Market. This indoor market with neon signs and exposed brick is super cool and will satisfy your cravings for Korean street food, Jamaican cuisine, or whatever your heart desires.

4. Watch a Broadway Show

Catching a Broadway show is a super fun date night idea in NYC. There are few things more romantic than dressing in your best threads, walking down the red carpet, and witnessing a mindblowing live performance together in a city unrivaled for theater. 

Moulin Rouge theatre

Great new shows pop up on Broadway all the time. But if you haven’t seen long-running musicals like WickedThe Lion King, or Chicago, put them at the top of your list! Book in advance or source last-minute tickets on the day by visiting the TKTS Live booth in Times Square.

5. Ice Skate at Rockefeller Center

Are you visiting New York over the festive holiday season? One of the most romantic things to do in NYC with your significant other is ice skating at Rockefeller Center. The skating rink is usually open in the first week of November but if you can’t wait, Bryant Park Winter Village is open before Halloween!

For an extra special experience, visit between Thanksgiving and Christmas so you can see the magnificent 75 ft tall Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center too. Ice skating tickets are popular so book in advance.

6. Catch a Live Taping, Comedy, or Rockettes Show

Los Angeles might be ground zero for the production of movies and TV shows with live tapings, but many shows are taped in New York City. If you would prefer to watch a stand-up comedy set or another live show then you can have your pick.

Enter the lottery for Saturday Night Live and you might get super lucky! Reserve tickets in advance for talk shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon or Late Night with Seth Meyers. 

Some of the best comedy clubs are in Lower Manhattan. Check out the program for The Stand NYC or Comedy Cellar. If you’d rather watch a certified New York institution, The Rockettes performing at Radio City Music Hall is a unique experience you will always remember.

7. Wander or Ride Through Central Park

Wandering along The Mall and Literary Walk in Central Park is the perfect place for a romantic walk. Trees line the path, and it’s such a scenic place to enjoy fall foliage! 

Carriage ride NYC for couples

Measuring 843 acres, Central Park is easily the largest public park in the city. If you want to explore a good chunk of it together, do it on wheels. Taking a quintessential horse and carriage ride through the park is one of the most romantic ways to explore the best spots from Bethesda Terrace to Belvedere Castle. 

8. Enjoy a Helicopter Tour

When celebrating a milestone anniversary or honeymoon, why not plan the most extravagant and memorable romantic things to do in NYC?! 

Taking a helicopter tour will allow you both to see everywhere in New York from Long Island to Roosevelt Island, to Governors Island, and beyond to New Jersey. This is a memorable experience indeed!

9. Explore the New York Botanical Garden

Because the New York Botanical Garden is a little bit far away from the central Manhattan neighborhoods, many couples will skip it. But it’s a must-visit for any couple visiting NYC in spring and summer!

This botanic garden is made up of 50 separate gardens and covers 250 acres of blooms. Some of the highlights are the rainforest and the stunning ornate glasshouse. 

10. Visit NYC’s Instagrammable Spots

You can’t spend 15 minutes scrolling through social media without seeing photos and videos of loved-up couples in New York.

Statue of Liberty

Here are some of the most Instagrammable spots in NYC so you can create some lasting memories:

If you’re on a budget, hop on the free Staten Island ferry which sails right past the Statue of Liberty. Don’t forget to try the Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal so you can whisper sweet nothings to your partner from across the foyer.

11. Check out NYC’s Markets

Browsing flea markets and farmer’s markets on a Sunday morning is a classic couples activity. New York City has some amazing markets, and visiting them is one of the top things to do in NYC for couples.

Head to Fulton Stall Market, Grand Central Market, and Essex Market for fresh produce and a delicious, casual lunch.

12. Sail on a Sunset Dinner Cruise

There is only one better place for viewing New York City’s skyline at night than from the top of a skyscraper, and that’s from a sunset dinner cruise. Whether you are sailing on the East River or the Hudson River, one of the most romantic things to do in NYC is to dine with a view of the whole city with a glass of champagne and the one you love.

The Bateaux New York Dinner Cruise sails underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and serves an incredible three-course meal on their sunset boat ride.

13. Book a Romantic City or Food Tour

New York City has so many amazing food tours and cooking classes. Not only will you be able to taste more dishes, but you can learn how to make them and you will reminisce about your trip every time you cook that dish at home!

Learn how to make a classic New York breakfast staple at this Bagel Cooking Class with an award-winning baker. Secret Food Tours runs a bumper three-hour NYC food walking tour around Greenwich Village, Chinatown, or Little Italy. Arrive hungry!

Chelsea Market food tour

Dig a little deeper into one of the many personalities of New York City by booking a Harlem Jazz Tour led by a passionate, expert guide. You will visit at least two jazz clubs and learn more about the history of jazz in NYC.

Alternatively, take a Gangsters and Ghosts Walking Tour of the city after dark to learn about New York’s most haunted buildings and famous criminals.

14. Eat a Perfect Picnic in Central Park

Central Park is a great spot for so many romantic activities. You can take a stroll, hop on a carriage ride, and even enjoy a picnic!

Avoid the hassle of buying the food and supplies yourself. Perfect Picnic NYC is a full-service picnic company where you can choose from a range of picnic options to suit you. Afterward, hire a rowboat and sail on The Lake with views of the Central Park Boat House.

15. Afternoon tea at The Plaza or The Whitby

You don’t have to be a guest at the most iconic hotels in New York City to enjoy a decadent afternoon tea experience. 

The Plaza’s Palm Court is a relaxing setting for traditional patisserie, tea, and bubbly beverages. For a classic English-style afternoon tea menu that changes with the season head to The Whitby.

16. Relax at a Couples’ Day Spa

With so many other top things to do in NYC for couples, many miss out on all the amazing spas in this city! 

AIRE Ancient Baths is a Roman Baths-style spa with candle-lit pools and 60-minute couples massages. Ritz-Carlton Nomad Spa is another great option with steam rooms, facials, and wellness treatments for men and women.

17. Go for Drinks at NYC’s Best Bars

NYC has a variety of great bars, many of which are perfect for a couples’ break. Raines Law Room has two locations with dark, speakeasy-style decor serving incredible craft cocktails. 

George Bang Bang offers a similar cocktail lounge vibe, while The Campbell is the perfect spot for live music. Dating back to the 1920s, this bar has jazz performers every Friday and Saturday at 9 pm and Sunday at 6 pm.

18. Book a Photoshoot with Flytographer

The best way to remember this incredible getaway is also one of the most romantic things to do in NYC. Book a couples’ photoshoot!

Flytographer has a database of vacation photographers who know all the best photo spots in the city you’re visiting. They will help you feel relaxed and capture the best shots of you and your partner so you can share them on social media or frame them in your home.

Romantic Restaurants in NYC

White tablecloths, tapered candles, and a view across Midtown Manhattan, what more could you want? Located on the 101st floor serving classic American cuisine, Peak is one of the best restaurants to for a romantic night in NYC.

Romantic dinner NYC

Restaurant Daniel is an elegant French restaurant near Central Park where you can enjoy the most romantic dinner you’ve ever had. Don’t forget to dress in your finest outfits (jackets are required) and at least four figures in your bank account for the tasting menu and wine pairings for two. Don’t worry, it’s worth it!

Spend a fun date night at Jungsik, a high-end Korean restaurant in Tribeca. Book far in advance if you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day or another romantic holiday at any of these restaurants.

Romantic Hotels in NYC

The five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel is in a great location next to the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. Enjoy park views, a sleek modern design, and a bathtub in your suite as big as a hot tub.

Another great place to stay for a luxurious getaway is The Peninsula. Mere steps away from Rockefeller Center, this five-star hotel boasts a rooftop terrace and an indoor pool. Some rooms even have fireplaces!

If you’re willing to sacrifice Central Park views and opulent amenities, you can make your money go further by staying in less central neighborhoods.

The Beekman is still a five-star establishment, but one-fifth of the average room rate. Standing at the edge of the Financial District, this moody, dark wooden hideaway is perfect for a romantic break.

Another option is Archer Hotel, a four-star Midtown hotel with industrial chic decor and a rooftop bar with Empire State Building views.

Enjoy These Romantic Things To Do in NYC for Couples

While there are many great places to visit on a trip with your loved one in the US, the sheer number of romantic things to do in NYC for couples is unbeatable.

Whether you like fine dining in candlelit restaurants or picnics in the park, watching a Broadway play, or a live show taping, there is plenty to enjoy for all couples. To top it off, New York City has a mystique and history making it the perfect place for a romantic experience with the person you love.