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The Best Unexpected Date Ideas in NYC
The Best Unexpected Date Ideas in NYC

The Best Unexpected Date Ideas in NYC

Say no to boring dates and explore a new side of the city with someone special.


Published April 18, 2022

New York is a city of endless possibilities, so why settle for one more boring date? From exploring some of the city's more unique museums to learning a new skill together, there's something everyone will enjoy. Check out this list of Bucket Listers’ favorite unexpected date ideas in NYC, and get ready to experience the city like never before.

SOUVLAKI Greek

SOUVLAKI Greek

Travel by taste at SOUVLAKI Greek, no passport required. This family-owned restaurant strives to make you feel as though you were dining in Mykonos, playing traditional Greek music and modeling the decor after island tavernas. One bite of their Soloumi or Spanikoptia, and you’ll forget that you’re in Midtown Manhattan.

Location: Multiple locations — check their Instagram page for a full list.

Hours: Hours vary by location.

For more information on SOUVLAKI Greek.

Travel by taste at SOUVLAKI Greek, no passport required. This family-owned restaurant strives to make you feel as though you were dining in Mykonos, playing traditional Greek music and modeling the decor after island tavernas. One bite of their Soloumi or Spanikoptia, and you’ll forget that you’re in Midtown Manhattan.

Location: Multiple locations — check their Instagram page for a full list.

Hours: Hours vary by location.

For more information on SOUVLAKI Greek.

Explore NYC’s catacombs by candlelight

Explore NYC’s catacombs by candlelight

See a side of the city most people never do as you and your date explore the candlelight catacombs underneath one of New York’s historic landmarks. This 90-minute walking tour takes you into private and off-limits areas of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where you and your date can marvel at the Neo-Gothic architecture of this sacred space and learn about famous New Yorkers buried at the church. 

Location: 266 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Friday - Monday, times vary between 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM

For more information on the Catacombs by Candlelight tour. 

location_on Lower Manhattan, NYC

Catacombs by Candlelight

$37
  • event 2022-06-01
Get tickets now

See a side of the city most people never do as you and your date explore the candlelight catacombs underneath one of New York’s historic landmarks. This 90-minute walking tour takes you into private and off-limits areas of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where you and your date can marvel at the Neo-Gothic architecture of this sacred space and learn about famous New Yorkers buried at the church. 

Location: 266 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Friday - Monday, times vary between 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM

For more information on the Catacombs by Candlelight tour. 

Indulge at Cacio e Pepe

Indulge at Cacio e Pepe

Put a new twist on traditional Italian dinner at Cacio e Pepe, where you can try fresh pasta tossed tableside in their famous giant pecorino cheese wheel for a decadent and Instagram-worthy meal. Round out the meal with a glass of wine from their extensive Italian wine list and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported straight to Italy. 

Location: 182 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Monday - Thursday 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Sunday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

For more information on Cacio e Pepe. 

Put a new twist on traditional Italian dinner at Cacio e Pepe, where you can try fresh pasta tossed tableside in their famous giant pecorino cheese wheel for a decadent and Instagram-worthy meal. Round out the meal with a glass of wine from their extensive Italian wine list and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported straight to Italy. 

Location: 182 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Monday - Thursday 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Sunday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

For more information on Cacio e Pepe. 

Learn from bartenders at a cocktail tasting at the Museum of Sex

Learn from bartenders at a cocktail tasting at the Museum of Sex

In the sultry Dungeon bar at the Museum of Sex, is a sexy cocktail experience waiting for you. At this immersive event, expert bartenders will take you through the creation of 4 specialty cocktails, all of which you will get to enjoy yourselves. It's an evening of fun where sexual wellness and great cocktails converge in the most surprising ways. 

Where: Museum of Sex: 233 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

For more information on the Museum of Sex Cocktail Tasting.

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location_on Museum of Sex, NY

Museum of Sex Cocktail Tasting

$56 $42 25% OFF
  • event 2022-04-14
book

In the sultry Dungeon bar at the Museum of Sex, is a sexy cocktail experience waiting for you. At this immersive event, expert bartenders will take you through the creation of 4 specialty cocktails, all of which you will get to enjoy yourselves. It's an evening of fun where sexual wellness and great cocktails converge in the most surprising ways. 

Where: Museum of Sex: 233 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

For more information on the Museum of Sex Cocktail Tasting.

Eat oysters and crack crab outdoors

Eat oysters and crack crab outdoors

Venture into Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood for fresh seafood at Brooklyn Crab. Seafood, drinks, and games are plentiful. In addition to their normal restaurant space, which includes a roof deck and patio, they also have their own beer garden in the backyard known as Reed Park. The outdoor beer garden includes mini golf, corn hole, its own food and drink menus, and tons of picnic tables. 

Location: 24 Reed St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Hours: Sunday 12 PM - 9 PM, Monday - Saturday 12 PM to 10 PM

For more information on Brooklyn Crab.

 

Venture into Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood for fresh seafood at Brooklyn Crab. Seafood, drinks, and games are plentiful. In addition to their normal restaurant space, which includes a roof deck and patio, they also have their own beer garden in the backyard known as Reed Park. The outdoor beer garden includes mini golf, corn hole, its own food and drink menus, and tons of picnic tables. 

Location: 24 Reed St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Hours: Sunday 12 PM - 9 PM, Monday - Saturday 12 PM to 10 PM

For more information on Brooklyn Crab.

 

BYOB to an Asian dumpling cooking class

BYOB to an Asian dumpling cooking class

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn the art of preparing the perfect dumplings during this hands-on, interactive cooking class. During this two-hour experience, you and your date will make three kinds of dumplings (steamed spicy pork, steamed shrimp and scallions, and fried vegetable sesame wontons), as well as learn knife skills and techniques on how to fry or steam the dumplings. Once you’ve cooked up a storm, then comes the best part – you’ll plate and enjoy your creations together! Guests are also invited to BYOB. 

Location: 815 6th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Hours: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM on select dates, see calendar for full availability 

For more information on the Asian Dumpling Cooking Class.  

best price

location_on Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Times Square, NYC

Asian Dumplings Cooking Class

$59 $56 5% OFF
  • event 2022-03-30
book

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn the art of preparing the perfect dumplings during this hands-on, interactive cooking class. During this two-hour experience, you and your date will make three kinds of dumplings (steamed spicy pork, steamed shrimp and scallions, and fried vegetable sesame wontons), as well as learn knife skills and techniques on how to fry or steam the dumplings. Once you’ve cooked up a storm, then comes the best part – you’ll plate and enjoy your creations together! Guests are also invited to BYOB. 

Location: 815 6th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Hours: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM on select dates, see calendar for full availability 

For more information on the Asian Dumpling Cooking Class.  

Explore sweet surprises at the Museum of Ice Cream

Explore sweet surprises at the Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream might just be NYC’s sweetest date spot. During your visit, jump hand-in-hand into the world-famous Sprinkle Pool, snap an adorable new Instagram pic together in one of their thirteen whimsical ice cream-themed installations, or take a thrilling glide down Manhattan’s highest indoor slide. 

The best part? Make your childhood dreams come true as you eat as much ice cream as you want. With unlimited ice cream served throughout the visit, there are no limits to your sweet tooth here! 

Location: 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Weekdays 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Weekends 10 AM - 4:30 PM

For more information on the Museum of Ice Cream.

location_on Museum of Ice Cream, NYC

Museum of Ice Cream

From$36 $32 11% off
  • event 2022-06-01
Get tickets now

The Museum of Ice Cream might just be NYC’s sweetest date spot. During your visit, jump hand-in-hand into the world-famous Sprinkle Pool, snap an adorable new Instagram pic together in one of their thirteen whimsical ice cream-themed installations, or take a thrilling glide down Manhattan’s highest indoor slide. 

The best part? Make your childhood dreams come true as you eat as much ice cream as you want. With unlimited ice cream served throughout the visit, there are no limits to your sweet tooth here! 

Location: 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Weekdays 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Weekends 10 AM - 4:30 PM

For more information on the Museum of Ice Cream.

Capture a photo of your love aura

Capture a photo of your love aura Instagram: @jessnort

Bet you’ve never captured your aura on a polaroid, but if you’ve been meaning to then you should head to New York’s Magic Jewelry. Magic Jewelry started in 1995 and has three locations in NYC, with two in Chinatown and one in Flushing. All three locations offer aura photographs, however reservations are required for the Flushing store. Each photo costs $30, but if you want an explanation included you’ll have to pay another $10. Here’s hoping you see lots of pink, which represents love! 

Location: 238 Canal St #108, New York, NY 10013 (Note: there are two locations in Chinatown and one in Flushing. More information on locations). 

Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday - Sunday 11:30 AM - 5:30 PM

For more information on Magic Jewelry.

Bet you’ve never captured your aura on a polaroid, but if you’ve been meaning to then you should head to New York’s Magic Jewelry. Magic Jewelry started in 1995 and has three locations in NYC, with two in Chinatown and one in Flushing. All three locations offer aura photographs, however reservations are required for the Flushing store. Each photo costs $30, but if you want an explanation included you’ll have to pay another $10. Here’s hoping you see lots of pink, which represents love! 

Location: 238 Canal St #108, New York, NY 10013 (Note: there are two locations in Chinatown and one in Flushing. More information on locations). 

Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday - Sunday 11:30 AM - 5:30 PM

For more information on Magic Jewelry.

Start your engines with Go-Karting on Ice

Start your engines with Go-Karting on Ice

Prove once and for all who has got the best driving skills as you and your date race around this exhilarating, icy track. Everyone from go-kart champs to total newbies are welcome, and expert instructors will be there to teach you how to drift on ice and navigate the rink. There will even be prizes given out for the best costumes, so come dressed to impress and ready to rumble! 

Location: Staten Island Skating Pavilion, 3080 Arthur Kill Rd., Staten Island, NY 10309

Hours: Time slots available between 12 PM - 10 PM in May  

For more information on Go-Karting on Ice.

location_on Secret Location, NYC

Go-Karting on Ice

From $60
  • event 2022-10-07
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Prove once and for all who has got the best driving skills as you and your date race around this exhilarating, icy track. Everyone from go-kart champs to total newbies are welcome, and expert instructors will be there to teach you how to drift on ice and navigate the rink. There will even be prizes given out for the best costumes, so come dressed to impress and ready to rumble! 

Location: Staten Island Skating Pavilion, 3080 Arthur Kill Rd., Staten Island, NY 10309

Hours: Time slots available between 12 PM - 10 PM in May  

For more information on Go-Karting on Ice.

Play ping pong at the Standard Biergarten

Play ping pong at the Standard Biergarten

Under the High Line is one of Manhattan’s best beer gardens, The Standard Biergarten. In warmer months the whole place is open air, but in winter it’s all heated. There are a few ping-pong tables  available for you and your date to participate in some flirty competition. If you work up an appetite their food menu offers some traditional German fare, like sausages and pretzels. 

Location: 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

Hours: Sunday 12 PM - 12 AM, Wednesday and Thursday 4 PM - 12 AM, Friday 3 PM - 1 AM, Saturday 12 PM - 1 AM

For more information on The Standard Biergarten.

 

Under the High Line is one of Manhattan’s best beer gardens, The Standard Biergarten. In warmer months the whole place is open air, but in winter it’s all heated. There are a few ping-pong tables  available for you and your date to participate in some flirty competition. If you work up an appetite their food menu offers some traditional German fare, like sausages and pretzels. 

Location: 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

Hours: Sunday 12 PM - 12 AM, Wednesday and Thursday 4 PM - 12 AM, Friday 3 PM - 1 AM, Saturday 12 PM - 1 AM

For more information on The Standard Biergarten.

 

Take a stroll down the High Line

Take a stroll down the High Line

The High Line is known as NYC’s number one date spot, and with good reason! This public park, built on a former elevated freight railway, allows visitors to stroll through Manhattan’s West Side while enjoying the beautiful flora, foliage, and art installations lining the path. Grab coffee or a snack at nearby Chelsea Market and settle in at one of the benches scattered throughout the park to watch the world stroll by. 

Location: 

14th Street and 10th Avenue (Southwest side)

23rd Street and 10th Avenue (Southeast side)

30th Street and 10th Avenue (Southeast side)

30th Street at Hudson Yards

Hours: open from 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM daily 

For more information about the High Line. 

The High Line is known as NYC’s number one date spot, and with good reason! This public park, built on a former elevated freight railway, allows visitors to stroll through Manhattan’s West Side while enjoying the beautiful flora, foliage, and art installations lining the path. Grab coffee or a snack at nearby Chelsea Market and settle in at one of the benches scattered throughout the park to watch the world stroll by. 

Location: 

14th Street and 10th Avenue (Southwest side)

23rd Street and 10th Avenue (Southeast side)

30th Street and 10th Avenue (Southeast side)

30th Street at Hudson Yards

Hours: open from 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM daily 

For more information about the High Line. 

Explore Socrates Sculpture Park

Explore Socrates Sculpture Park

Pack a picnic and head to this unique park on the banks of the East River in Astoria to explore sculptures and art installations from world-renowed artists scattered throughout the grounds. The art here is designed to be a shared experience, so visitors are encouraged to touch and interact with the exhibits – you might even get lucky and meet one of the artists visiting! On your way back to Manhattan proper, stop by Hallett’s Cove Beach, located just next to the park, to catch the sunset over the city. 

Location: 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106

Hours: open 365 days a year from 9 AM – sundown 

For more information on Socrates Sculpture Park. 

Pack a picnic and head to this unique park on the banks of the East River in Astoria to explore sculptures and art installations from world-renowed artists scattered throughout the grounds. The art here is designed to be a shared experience, so visitors are encouraged to touch and interact with the exhibits – you might even get lucky and meet one of the artists visiting! On your way back to Manhattan proper, stop by Hallett’s Cove Beach, located just next to the park, to catch the sunset over the city. 

Location: 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106

Hours: open 365 days a year from 9 AM – sundown 

For more information on Socrates Sculpture Park. 

Watch a drive-in movie

Watch a drive-in movie

This is not your typical movie date. Catching a movie screening at the Skyline Drive-in is an experience that takes going to the movies to a whole new level, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline serving as the backdrop for your romantic evening. Don’t have a car? Not a problem at this drive-in! New Yorkers on foot are welcome too, and they’ve got plenty of seating if you’re sans car.   

Location: 1 Oak St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Hours: Times vary, see showtime calendar for full details  

For more information on the Skyline Drive-In.

location_on Skyline Drive-In, NYC

Skyline Drive-In

$55 $50 9% OFF
  • event 2022-06-01
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This is not your typical movie date. Catching a movie screening at the Skyline Drive-in is an experience that takes going to the movies to a whole new level, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline serving as the backdrop for your romantic evening. Don’t have a car? Not a problem at this drive-in! New Yorkers on foot are welcome too, and they’ve got plenty of seating if you’re sans car.   

Location: 1 Oak St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Hours: Times vary, see showtime calendar for full details  

For more information on the Skyline Drive-In.

Take part in flirty competition at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard

Take part in flirty competition at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard

Challenge each other to a heated competition at this trendy Brooklyn spot, where you can play Florida-style shuffleboard on giant turquoise courts, before grabbing a bite to eat at one of their rotating food trucks. On your way out the door, treat yourself to a scoop (or three!) of Ample Hills ice cream, located on the same block. 

Location: 514 Union St. Brooklyn, NY 11215

Hours: Monday - Thursday 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Friday 6:00 PM - 2:00 AM, Saturday 1:00 PM - 2:00 AM, Sunday 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM 

For more information on Royal Palms Shuffleboard.

Challenge each other to a heated competition at this trendy Brooklyn spot, where you can play Florida-style shuffleboard on giant turquoise courts, before grabbing a bite to eat at one of their rotating food trucks. On your way out the door, treat yourself to a scoop (or three!) of Ample Hills ice cream, located on the same block. 

Location: 514 Union St. Brooklyn, NY 11215

Hours: Monday - Thursday 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Friday 6:00 PM - 2:00 AM, Saturday 1:00 PM - 2:00 AM, Sunday 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM 

For more information on Royal Palms Shuffleboard.

Sneak into a hidden speakeasy

Sneak into a hidden speakeasy

Next time you’re simply looking to grab a drink, upgrade the date by entering one of the city's best speakeasies. Raines Law Room offers two options in Manhattan. The Chelsea location has a secret garden while the one at The William has a garden terrace. If you’re interested in visiting more hidden bars around the city, check out Bucket Listers’ roundup of the best hidden NYC speakeasies

Location: Raines Law Room Chelsea: 48 W 17 St (parlor indoor, cabins & garden outdoor) and Raines Law Room at The William: 24 E 39th St (parlor indoor & outdoor terrace)

Hours: Sunday - Wednesday 5 PM - 1 AM, Thursday and Friday 5 PM - 2 AM, Saturday 4 PM - 2 AM

For more information on The Raines Law Room.

Next time you’re simply looking to grab a drink, upgrade the date by entering one of the city's best speakeasies. Raines Law Room offers two options in Manhattan. The Chelsea location has a secret garden while the one at The William has a garden terrace. If you’re interested in visiting more hidden bars around the city, check out Bucket Listers’ roundup of the best hidden NYC speakeasies

Location: Raines Law Room Chelsea: 48 W 17 St (parlor indoor, cabins & garden outdoor) and Raines Law Room at The William: 24 E 39th St (parlor indoor & outdoor terrace)

Hours: Sunday - Wednesday 5 PM - 1 AM, Thursday and Friday 5 PM - 2 AM, Saturday 4 PM - 2 AM

For more information on The Raines Law Room.

Play mini golf along the Hudson River

Play mini golf along the Hudson River

If you haven’t played a round of miniature golf in a while, here’s your sign to make a date. There’s a course that’s open to both children and adults at Pier 25. It sits along the Hudson River, meaning there are epic views to enjoy while you putt-putt. Rentals are just $10 for adults and no reservations are required. Walk back into the city afterwards for a drink or bite to eat. (Tip: City Vineyard is nearby!)

Location: Pier 25 at Hudson River Park, 225 West St, New York, NY 10013

Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11 AM - 6 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM - 7 PM

For more information on Pier 25 Mini Golf.

If you haven’t played a round of miniature golf in a while, here’s your sign to make a date. There’s a course that’s open to both children and adults at Pier 25. It sits along the Hudson River, meaning there are epic views to enjoy while you putt-putt. Rentals are just $10 for adults and no reservations are required. Walk back into the city afterwards for a drink or bite to eat. (Tip: City Vineyard is nearby!)

Location: Pier 25 at Hudson River Park, 225 West St, New York, NY 10013

Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11 AM - 6 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM - 7 PM

For more information on Pier 25 Mini Golf.

Take a day trip to Governor’s Island

Take a day trip to Governor’s Island

Governor’s Island is the perfect place to explore with someone special. On the next sunny day, grab your day bag and head to the island to rent bikes, lounge on hammocks, and dine at Island Oyster. The 172-acre island is open to the public year-round every day from 7 AM to 6 PM.

How to get there: Governor’s Island is accessible by ferries operated by both Trust for Governors Island and NYC Ferry. NYC Ferry runs seasonally on weekends. For more information, head here. 

Hours: Ferry runs seasonally, on weekends only 

For more information on Governors Island. 

Governor’s Island is the perfect place to explore with someone special. On the next sunny day, grab your day bag and head to the island to rent bikes, lounge on hammocks, and dine at Island Oyster. The 172-acre island is open to the public year-round every day from 7 AM to 6 PM.

How to get there: Governor’s Island is accessible by ferries operated by both Trust for Governors Island and NYC Ferry. NYC Ferry runs seasonally on weekends. For more information, head here. 

Hours: Ferry runs seasonally, on weekends only 

For more information on Governors Island. 

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