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Clever Dating Ideas in New York City (Under $40)

By Edited Mar 19, 2016 2 2

Impressing your date can be both tricky and expensive in the city. While spending forty dollars isn't the cheapest way out, it's a reasonable amount to invest on a nice evening. New York can be a little overwhelming when planning a date. There is a lot to see and not much time to line up your strategy. The expectation to create an exciting night can feel like a lot of pressure at the last minute. People work hard in the city, and there isn't always much time to plan. Here are some creative ideas to try when time is scarce and you don't want to break the bank.

Drinks and a Stroll Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Views from the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular! New York City is an old, romantic place. Walking across the water of one of the most famous city landmarks in history still stirs the soul. The lights of Manhattan's skyline start glowing as the sun goes down; a perfect backdrop for a date.

Start out in the Financial District, and hit a few bars around Cliff, John, or Front Street. Grab a few fancy cocktails to warm up the mood. After that, it's just a twelve minute walk to the bridge. Plan to get started a little late; preferably after 8. This will cut out dinner and set up the night instead for some relaxed conversation. Look to spend about 10 bucks per cocktail, or 6 dollars on a craft beer. No more money needed, except maybe a cab ride to your place.

This charming walk guarantees a chance for intimacy and special attention. Those comfortable with conversation will be masters at this one. Take advantage of the finer views of Manhattan, and snap some photos together with your smartphone. Turn it into a real-life movie.

A Daytime Affair In Chinatown


If you're interested in keeping things lighter, plan a trip to Chinatown one afternoon. Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York was filmed there, and walking through the streets is like walking through history. The bright colors and busy atmosphere invokes a sense of mystery, setting the stage. A visit to see the Mahayana Buddhist Temple is free and open to the public. This place will be sure to stir up an interesting conversation. Donate a couple of dollars and get your own, rolled up fortunes. An interesting topic for conversation: before it was a holy temple, it was an adult movie theater. Its films featured well-known performers like Linda Lovelace and John Holmes.

Chinatown offers some delicious, inexpensive treats throughout the neighborhood. Hit up Sago Street for Hong Kong style bakeries, selling pastries for under three dollars. A quick box of dumplings can be found almost anywhere, and you can find rice balls at several tea houses for two bucks. When you're ready for a nice dinner, try out a fantastic dim sum house that's been around since 1920, the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. There is no shortage of good food in Chinatown.

Daytime dates can be a lot of fun. There's the chance to stroll around and hit all the places that shut down in the evenings. On the weekends, you might see actors hanging out in Columbus park. The Chinese Museum on Centre Street is seven dollars a ticket, and you can sample some Bubble Tea together at Kung Fu on Chrystie Street.

Picnic In Central Park

Central Park

It's an idea as old as your grandparents, and it still works beautifully. Stuff a blanket in your backpack and grab a small cooler of snacks. This is an adventure for the early morning, and it will provide a lot of enjoyment as the day progresses. Your first stop should be the Loeb Boathouse. It's a short walk from 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue. From April to November, you can rent a rowboat for a couple of hours. It's a good idea to get there by 10 am, because rentals are on a first come, first serve basis. After rowing for awhile on the peaceful water, it will be the perfect time for that picnic lunch in the park.

When you both get tired of rowing and snacking in the park, an afternoon beer might hit the spot. This is about the time Happy Hour is happening all over Manhattan. Take the train back to Williamsburg for a more local, laid back environment. The drinks are a lot cheaper than the ones near Madison Avenue.


Nighthawk Cinema; A Unique Theater

NYC Dating

For those who may be a bit softer spoken, the Nighthawk Cinema is a winner. This is a movie theater with tables and chairs, and a waitress sneaking in periodically to refill your drink. It's a chance to get close and cozy without too much pressure for conversation. They also have a small menu if you're hungry. If you arrive early, don't worry. There's a bar in the lobby that will take the stress away.

Nighthawk Cinema is located in Williamsburg. They show independent films, and have a very accommodating staff. The first weekend of each month brings the Country Brunchin' event, starting with 30 minutes of live local country music followed by the dirty, action-packed movies filmed in the sweet Hollywood of the South. A fun and unique theater, Nighthawk Cinema is definitely a win.

New York is a fantastic place to find love. There are a ton of adventures and memories to build as you explore your way through. From hidden speakeasies to private rooftop parties, NYC has something special for every couple. Take advantage of that city magic when planning your next date. You'll come out looking like a superhero. 



Aug 30, 2015 12:53am
Thanks Christine what a Great Article now I have a great guide when visiting NYC!!! Can't wait to read more articles from You!
Sep 17, 2015 6:42pm
New York is usually a pretty expensive town. It is good to know that there are many ideas out there so a couple can get by at a reasonable price while going out on a date.
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