Unique Summer Date Ideas In NYC + Romantic New York City Hotel Suggestions

31 Unique Summer Date Ideas In NYC + Romantic Hotel Suggestions

Charlotte DowBronx, Discover NYC, Explore Brooklyn, Manhattan, Outdoors, Queens, Romance, Staten Island Leave a Comment

By Charlotte Dow. This post on romantic summer dates in New York City contains affiliate links to trusted parters!

In need of some summer date ideas in NYC as the weather warms up?

Cue the Grease soundtrack — the temperatures are rising and it’s time for some summer lovin’!

If you live in New York City, your ideal summer date may just be sitting in front of the air conditioner together, trying to cool off in the city’s frequent heatwaves.

But the city has so much to offer once summer comes around, from outdoor dance parties to rooftop wineries to sightseeing by kayak. 

If you’re looking for romance in NYC this summer, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite summer date ideas in the five boroughs, with activities for every kind of couple. Whether you just matched on Tinder, met last week on a tour, or you’ve been happily married for years, you’re sure to find the perfect summer date on this list.  

Table of Contents

Best Summer Date Ideas In NYC (Citywide)

summer date ideas in nyc private photo tour
A couple having a romantic moment on a private NYC Photo Journey. Click here to learn more and book!

1. Book a private NYC photo tour

Do you ever wish you could explore the city with your partner, and leave with beautiful photographs to keep?

Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get on a private NYC Photo Journey. Part tour, part photo shoot, you can visit popular New York attractions like Times Square, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge, or even add in unique stops like the Bushwick street art gallery, SoHo’s Cast Iron District, and the DUMBO waterfront in Brooklyn.

The best part?

Within a week of your tour, you’ll receive a digital downloadable folder of print-worthy images from the experience.

Feeling camera shy?

Here is some advice on how to practice being yourself on camera, though your photographer will also help you with posing and feeling comfortable.

a private photoshoot is one of the most unique summer date ideas in NYC
Couple on a private photoshoot with NYC Photo Journeys

2. Strike a pose on a private NYC photoshoot

Want to maximize how many photos, poses, and looks you get, and don’t necessarily care about the tour aspect? Then a Professional NYC Photoshoot may be a better fit!

You and your sweetheart will hop on a pre-shoot call to discuss your goals for the shoot, whether it’s to celebrate a milestone like an anniversary or just to get beautiful shots in romantic places around New York.

One itinerary idea for a summer date in NYC is the World Trade Center (for street art), the Brooklyn Bridge, and DUMBO for epic skyline shots, though your shoot is 100% customizable.

Getting married soon? We also offer New York Engagement Photography!

Best Summer Dates Ideas In Manhattan

3. See your favorite movies under the stars 

Every Monday night from June through August, Bryant Park hosts free outdoor movie nights on their central lawn. 

Bring a blanket and cuddle up with your cutie while you take in everything from classics to new releases. 

By the way, Bryant Park is a popular spot on our private NYC Photo Journeys.

Summer Date Ideas In NYC on the High Line
The High Line is a perfect (and inexpensive) spot for a date any time of day, but it’s even more magical when the sun goes down. Photo via Dansnguyen.

4. Take an evening stroll and do some stargazing in Chelsea 

No USA travel guide would be complete without mentioning NYC, and no NYC travel guide would be complete without mentioning the elevated High Line Park.

Every Tuesday night from April through October, the Amateur Astronomers Association sets up high-powered telescopes along the High Line, providing some of the best views of the night sky in the city. 

These evening events are also totally free, making them some of the best cheap dates in NYC. Plus, you can take in an incredible New York City night view.

5. Go on an artistic adventure out of the city (without leaving the city) 

Take a quick ferry ride to Governors Island, which should be on every New York City itinerary. Here you’ll find rows of old houses and barracks that are now home to some of the best up-and-coming artists in the area. 

Additionally, there are numerous pop-up art attractions, historic sites, and spots to take in gorgeous vistas — like Picnic Point, which showcases an epic view of the Statue of Liberty.

By the way, if you’re looking for fun things to do for a birthday in NYC, you can rent a grill at Picnic Point for $26 for the day. Bring a cooler of food and drinks and enjoy the beautiful vista.

Need help capturing the best of NYC — with you in the photos? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

6. Enjoy some al fresco fare and a few margaritas in the East Village 

Love NYC Instagram spots that also serve up delicious eats?

With great patio seating and a menu of delicious Mexican faves, Rosie’s is one of the best places to enjoy a summer evening with your date. 

Split an order of tacos and a pitcher of margaritas while you enjoy the warm weather — and each other’s company, of course!

7. Split a bottle of wine while you learn some new culinary skills 

Looking for non-touristy things to do in NYC?

Taste Buds Kitchen in NoMad offers adult BYOB cooking classes throughout the week on everything from handmade pasta to sushi. 

The relaxed, fun-forward atmosphere at Taste Buds, and the BYOB element, make it one of the best couples cooking classes in NYC. 

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include Kayaking on the Hudson River, New York City
Two rowers in a kayak are better than one! Photo courtesy of JR Cordiero at Manhattan Kayak Company

8. Share a kayak and see the city by sea (or river)

Manhattan Kayak offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard classes, rentals, and tours throughout the year, giving residents and travelers alike a unique way to experience NYC. 

Their guided tours of the skyline and Hudson Yards make our list of fun couples things to do in NYC. 

9. Take your Hamilton fandom to the next level with a tour of historic Lower Manhattan

A Lower Manhattan Hamilton & Burr Tour takes you to many of the Founding Fathers’ old stomping grounds such as Trinity Church, Fraunces Tavern, and Bowling Green. 

Each tour is led by a licensed NYC sightseeing guide, providing you both with plenty of knowledge to win your next trivia night as well as fascinating stories. 

10. Learn more about New York City’s unique architecture as you cruise down the Hudson & East Rivers

Get a fresh perspective of NYC by taking a Manhattan Architecture Yacht Cruise, which provides views of beloved New York landmarks as well as narration by members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The cruise is one of the top date night ideas for dating or married couples looking to learn something new about NYC. 

Prefer music?

Opt for a Manhattan Evening Jazz Cruise, which is also a great option if you’re looking to book a birthday cruise in NYC.

You and your partner will board a 1920s yacht for a two-hour sail that includes drinks, classic jazz, and views of iconic New York sites like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

11. Sip craft cocktails under the lights of the Empire State Building at one of Midtown’s best-kept secrets

Located at the top of the Refinery Hotel, Refinery Rooftop offers incredible views of the Midtown skyline in an industrial-chic setting that’s perfect for date night. 

Furnished with a retractable glass roof, the bar is open year-round, but summer is the best time to lounge on the bar’s patio and enjoy the view — of your date, of course!

a photoshoot and picnic at Central Park's Turtle Pond is one of the best summer date ideas in NYC
Turtle Pond is also a popular spot for our NYC photoshoots! Photo via NYC Photo Journeys.

12. Have a romantic summer picnic at Turtle Pond

There are so many beautiful picnic spots in NYC, one of the most unique of which is Turtle Pond.

While plenty of picnic locations provide skyline views (like Brooklyn Bridge Park) or lawn scenery (like the Great Lawn), Turtle Pond sits right in front of Belvedere Castle.

Yes, you read that right; a castle in New York City! There aren’t many summer date ideas that can beat a castle view, especially if you add a private NYC photoshoot to the mix.

If you really want to impress your sweetheart, hire a company like Bohemian Picnics or PikNYC to create a stylish picnic set up for you to nibble and sip in style.

13. Hold hands while you make your way through a 70s-style roller disco in Central Park 

During the warmer months, Central Park hosts a 70s-style roller rink called The DiscOasis. While you can skate in the sun on weekends, Wednesday through Sunday brings the party with their Disco After Dark event.

This is when partygoers in themed garb come to get their skate on to live DJs and musical performers. Glowing art installations and light shows add to the fun.

Pro tip:

The more the merrier! The DiscOasis is best experienced with a group, making it one of the best double date spots in NYC.

Already visited Central Park and want to check out a new place?

Rockefeller Center is home to Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, another warm-weather roller rink known for its good vibes. Dress for the date by purchasing a pair of classic ankle-height four-wheel “quads” from their retail shop before hitting the rink.

fun summer date ideas in NYC walking the Brooklyn Bridge
A couple walking the Brooklyn Bridge on a private NYC photo tour. Photo via NYC Photo Journeys.

14. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge hand-in-hand

The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most romantic attractions in NYC.

Connecting Lower Manhattan with DUMBO in Brooklyn, you’ll walk 1.1 miles between two of the most exciting neighborhoods in New York.

Not only that, but the skyline views as well as the Brooklyn Bridge photo opportunities along the way are stunning. Hey, there is a reason this is a popular location for engagement photos and romantic shoots.

Just note that it gets crowded by 10am, so make sure to arrive early! It’s also recommended to walk from the Manhattan side to the Brooklyn side. From there, grab some food from Time Out Market to enjoy in Brooklyn Bridge Park with a skyline view.

Prefer a view of the Brooklyn Bridge while you walk? Opt to walk the Manhattan Bridge instead!

Best Summer Date Ideas In Brooklyn 

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include MCU Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn
MCU Park’s location on the Coney Island Boardwalk makes it one of the coolest ballparks in the country. Photo via Gordon Donovan.

15. Take your date out to the (minor league) ball game on Coney Island

The Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the New York Mets, is a favorite among sports fans and casual observers alike for their fun games and low ticket prices. 

Get your tickets for a night with post-game fireworks to experience one of the best displays in the city. 

16. Explore the many zones of a Bushwick party destination, or just take in a fantastic evening view

Housed in a converted warehouse, Elsewhere hosts concerts, dance parties, small gatherings, art shows and more throughout its many zones. 

The Rooftop offers great skyline views, sunset DJ sessions and an awesome spot to get some fresh air with your musically-inclined date. 

17. Dance the day away at Brooklyn’s coolest outdoor venue 

Nowadays features some of the best DJs in town spinning tracks in the venue’s backyard that features a dancefloor, food trucks and hammocks for snuggling under the stars. 

Head to Nowadays on Sunday afternoons for Mister Sunday, a strictly no-phones-allowed dance party that will have you grooving into the night. 

Westlight is one of the best summer date ideas in NYC
The view of Manhattan from Westlight is so romantic! Photo via Jessie Festa/NYC Photo Journeys.

18. Grab a cocktail at one of the hottest rooftop bars in the five boroughs

Located atop the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, Westlight’s riverside location gives it a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline. And with plenty of patio space, you’ll be sure to score a seat. 

Head there for dinner to experience one of the best romantic restaurants in Brooklyn. 

The above photo showcases the stunning view of the Manhattan skyline from Westlight. This is truly one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in NYC!

Need help capturing the best of NYC — with you in the photos? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

19. Have a beach day at one of the most iconic shores in America. 

Looking for unique things to do in NYC?

Indulge in nostalgia at Coney Island as you take a ride on the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, enjoy a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous, or just catch some rays on the beach. 

Looking for weird date ideas in NYC?

Head to the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, just a few feet from the boardwalk, for a show you’ll really have to see to believe. 

NYC City Hall Wedding Ceremony
Domino Park is a favorite location for our City Hall Wedding couples, as shown here. Click here to learn more and book!

20. Catch some riverside rays at one of Brooklyn’s newest parks 

Built on the land that once housed the Domino Sugar Factory, Domino Park is home to plenty of fun features, such as beach volleyball courts, an elevated walkway and plenty of fountains for cooling down. 

Challenge your date to a round of bocce — winner buys tacos and drinks at nearby Tacocina, one of the best inexpensive romantic restaurants in NYC. 

Getting married?

Domino Park is one of our favorite spots to take our City Hall Wedding Photography guests after they tie the knot as it’s one of the best places to take photos in NYC.

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include Rooftop Reds, Brooklyn, New York City
Rooftop Reds’ vineyard is one of the best places to spend a summer afternoon. Photo courtesy of Rooftop Reds.

21. Tour a one-of-a-kind rooftop vineyard in Downtown Brooklyn

Rooftop Reds is the world’s first commercially-viable urban rooftop vineyard and has been making their own delicious wines since 2016. 

The vineyard hosts tours on Wednesdays and Sundays that include wine and cheese pairings and plenty of time to enjoy their great rooftop space and city views, making it the perfect alternative to date night at your local wine bar.  

Best Summer Date Ideas In Queens

22. Spend the day at “The People’s Beach”

With its restored Art Deco bathhouse, boardwalk of unique vendors, and relaxed environment, Jacob Riis Park is one of the most popular summer destinations in the Rockaways. 

Bring a towel and work on your tans together, then split some ice cream at Ample Hills’ boardwalk outpost.

May we recommend the Cherry Lime Rickey? 

23. Chow down on some vegan eats in Astoria 

With a menu of both vegan- and carnivore-friendly eats, The Bonnie has become one of Astoria’s top new restaurants. 

Get cozy in one of their rustic-chic booths while you sip on one of their signature cocktails like “Favor For A Friend.”

24. Party down at one of New York’s top art museums 

MoMA PS1, the Long Island City outpost of the iconic Midtown museum, hosts its Warm Up outdoor music series every weekend throughout the summer. 

Dance with your date to some of the best under-represented musicians around, then enjoy some of the innovative works on display at the museum. 

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City, Queens
Enjoy incredible views of Midtown Manhattan from Gantry Plaza State Park. Photo via Michelle Rick/NYC & Company

25. Take some skyline selfies while you stroll down the East River

Long Island City’s Gantry Plaza State Park has some of the best Manhattan skyline views from Queens as well as plenty of seating for relaxing on a summer day. 

Bring a picnic and watch the sunset through the skyscrapers across the river

Need help capturing the best of NYC — with you in the photos? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

26. Taste the many flavors of Queens at one of NYC’s largest outdoor markets 

Queens Night Market brings local vendors like Don Ceviche, Wembie, and Treestar NYC to the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park every spring and summer for a celebration of the city’s diversity and creativity. 

Grab a bite, shop the stalls, and get to know your city a little better while enjoying the night air. 

27. Become part of the art at one of the city’s best sculpture parks

Located right on the East River in Long Island City, Socrates Sculpture Park features lifesize works from some of the top names in contemporary art. 

Admission to the park is free, making it one of the best places for dates in NYC for those on a budget. 

Best Summer Date Ideas In The Bronx 

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include the New York Botanical Garden
Is there anything more romantic than a walk in the woods with your partner? Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

28. Take in the wonders of nature in the heart of the Bronx 

Summer is one of the best times to visit the New York Botanical Garden and explore its 250 acres of flora from around the world. 

If your date is missing trees in the Concrete Jungle, a stroll through the arboretums will be the perfect treat!

Also don’t miss a walk through the old-growth Thain Forest, where you’ll find a gushing waterfall along the Bronx River.

29. Enjoy the outdoors on a horseback trail ride through the Bronx (yes, really!) 

Located in the borough’s expansive Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Equestrian Center offers trail rides through the park’s well-preserved grounds for couples looking for a new way to enjoy the city. 

BEC also offers riding lessons for all ages for those looking for date night classes in NYC. 

Best Summer Date Ideas In Staten Island 

30. Ride bikes along the boardwalk at one of Staten Island’s best beaches 

If you’re looking for a more serene boardwalk experience, Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach, located right off Ocean Breeze Park, is your best bet. The park’s well-kept boardwalk is perfect for a bike ride on a summer day. 

Don’t own a bike?

Wheel Fun Rentals has you covered. And yes, they have surries for two. 

Summer Date Ideas In NYC include the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden
Take a journey back to the time of the Ming Dynasty at the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Photo via Laura271.

31. Explore an ancient Chinese garden without ever leaving the city 

Snug Harbor Cultural Center is home to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, modeled after the gardens of the Ming Dynasty.

It’s a serene spot for a romantic walk come summertime. 

Best Romantic Hotels in NYC

There are many great hotels for couples in NYC. A few of our favorite romantic properties include:

Crosby Street Hotel. This boutique SoHo hotel blends luxury with creativity. You’ll find endless opportunities to take photos in the rooms and common spaces thanks to the carefully curated art and design pieces — not to mention a sculpture garden. Plus, their onsite restaurant and bar serves beautifully-plated food and expertly crafted drinks.

The High Line Hotel. This stylish landmark hotel resides on the very grounds where Clement Clark Moore wrote “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The vibe is 19th century with numerous original touches, including stunning stained-glass windows. Opt for in-room views of either the High Line or the hotel garden.

The William Vale. This hip Williamsburg property features onsite Italian eatery, stunning gym, and seasonal pool. It’s also home to one of our favorite New York City rooftops, Westlight, which offers a true 360-degree view and delicious craft cocktails.

Click here for a full list of romantic NYC hotels.

Or, if you’d like to get out of the city, here are some of the most romantic weekend getaways in Upstate NY!

What are your favorite summer date ideas in NYC?

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About the Author

Charlotte Dow

Charlotte Dow is an NYC-based writer and communications professional specializing in digital storytelling. She is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Public Relations & Corporate Communication program at NYU's School of Professional Studies.

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