40 Winter Date Night Ideas for Valentine’s Day (or any winter day!)
Enjoying time alone weekly or at least monthly is a major component of any healthy relationship. It doesn’t always have to be a fancy dinner by candlelight, either. Sometimes, you just have to think outside the box. Here are some great date ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day in and around NYC that range from romantic to simple to slightly scandalous. Have fun, you crazy kids!
NYC and the surrounding areas showcase many scenic spots that offer the perfect, picturesque backdrop for a share-worthy date selfie. Go window shopping on 5th Ave., walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or head to one of the many boardwalks on a nice day for a seaside stroll.
Just stay in
Plan an indoor picnic for two, complete with baskets and blankets. Or rent a movie and cozy up on the couch with some popcorn. Try a board game night for something with a quicker pace (get more players if you make it a double date). Sometimes, you just make your own fun.
According to a survey conducted by glamira.com, Central Park is the 9th most romantic place to propose in the world, based on social media data. But you don’t have to get down on one knee to enjoy the city’s most iconic park. Have a picnic, take a walk, go skating – make an afternoon of it. Just pick a warmer day if you’re not big on being cold.
These dreamy concerts are all about ambiance. Watch a live concert with your date in an intimate setting, surrounded by a sea of candles. Candlelight concerts have grown immensely in popularity in the last few years, so naturally, there are plenty scheduled for this winter in NYC.
Axe-throwing locations have been popping up around NYC in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. They’re a great group activity, but they can make for an exciting date night as well. You might not get any points for romance, but you’ll definitely have fun (and maybe relieve a little stress, too).
Comedy clubs are a classic but underrated date idea. The setting is very intimate, yet you’re guaranteed to spend the night laughing together. Pro tip: don’t sit in the front row unless you can take a joke at your own expense.
Despite its urban status, New York is home to many lush botanical gardens, perfect for walking arm-in-arm while taking in the beauty of the many floral displays. The world-famous NYBG spans over 250 acres and is located in the Bronx, but there are gardens in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, New Jersey and Long Island that will create the perfect backdrop for a romantic date night.
Rent an igloo
Also called bubble tents, these translucent, heated domes started popping up in the pandemic era to allow for outdoor dining while still technically inside, and they never really went away. Many restaurants – particularly rooftop ones in NYC – still offer this experience. You can pair it with some skating (or Bumper Cars on Ice!) in Bryant Park and Wollman Rink in Central Park.
Hot chocolate date
Can’t get away from the kids for too long? Go for a cozy cup of steaming cocoa instead at one of NYC’s many famed hot chocolate spots.
Unlike when they started during the Prohibition era, these secret bars and cocktail lounges are perfectly legal today. They’re just not that easy to find. If you and your date are the adventurous type, speakeasy bar hopping is perfect for you. It just requires a little bit of basic research.
Late nights at museums
Some museums offer late-night hours where the vibe is a little more mature, sometimes even offering cocktails. Most notable is Date Night at the Met (Fridays and Saturdays).
Tour an estate
Did you know that New York is home to many sprawling mansions and historic estates – some hundreds of years old – that are open to the public for exploring? Visit historichousetrust.org to see which ones peak your interest.
Attend a show-taping
If you and your date are big fans of a show taped in NYC – there are many – why not score some tickets to see it taped live? Think SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The View, Drew Barrymore, The Daily Show, etc.
Many local bars offer trivia nights where participants can sip brews and compete in live quiz games for prizes, answering questions about everything from sports to pop culture, history and more. If you watch Jeopardy daily in your house, this is the perfect date.
Is the way to your partner’s heart through their stomach? Many restaurants offer classes where patrons can learn new culinary skills that will impress them. It’s a great way for couples to bond over a shared love of food.
Classic arcade games, video games, air hockey, virtual reality, plus food and cocktails; you can’t go wrong when you get to be a kid and an adult all at once. It’s the fun-loving couple’s perfect date destination.
Are you more Fred & Ginger or Elaine from Seinfeld? Dancing together can be a wonderful way to get closer to your partner. Many dance studios offer adult dance classes or even private lessons.
Maybe you want to share your love of hunting with the one you love; maybe you’re both really into the Walking Dead. Either way, an archery class or a trip to the shooting range is definitely a different kind of date night.
Maybe it’s not the most original idea, but NYC’s many rooftop bars offer a way to appreciate the views while sipping a cocktail and enjoying each other’s company. NYC has the best views, after all. Many open in the winter if the weather is above freezing – just remember to bundle up.
This date night idea screams thrifty couple goals. Map out a list of flea markets and vintage shops nearby (there are TONS in our area) and make a day of it!
Sometimes, dinner cruises can feel a little touristy, which is why many New Yorkers overlook them for date night. But they offer stunning city views that you can’t get anywhere else. Unless you ride the Staten Island Ferry a lot, which is not the worst – and certainly the cheapest – alternative. In fact, there are some great restaurants where the ferry docks on Staten Island’s North Shore.
See a play
Catch a play on or off Broadway; there are so many to choose from and you’ll easily find something to fit your budget.
Cosmic bowling takes a regular (read: boring) game of bowling and elevates it with neon lights, upbeat music and a glowing atmosphere. Check your nearest bowling alley to see when and if it is offered.
If a cooking class is a little more work than you want to do on date night, but you still want to try something new, a mixology class should do the trick. Learn how to make all kinds of delicious cocktails – then drink them!
Remember when you had to go to a theater to watch a movie? Of course, you still can – and there are a ton of options in and around NYC for movie-goers. But today you can snuggle up and catch a new (or newish) movie On Demand or via a streaming service from your couch. There’s also year-round drive-in theaters, dine-in theaters, and even some that throw public viewing parties, like Alamo Drafthouse, which has locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.
Grab a bite
NYC and surrounding areas are jam-packed with eateries boasting beautiful views and even better food.
There are so many museums and cultural institutions in NYC you could never visit them all. We love a museum date because there’s plenty of material to spark good conversation for the most cultured of couples.
Paint and sip
Show off your art skills (or comical lack thereof) with the added bonus of sipping tasty cocktails while you and your date paint the night away.
This DIY activity has grown in popularity tremendously over the past few years, probably because it’s so much fun to do and you get to take home the finished product to hang proudly in your home. For an entertaining twist, make a sign for your date and vice versa.
Ice skating can be romantic for couples who want to glide along, hand in hand, out in the cool winter air, or hilarious for couples who just want to watch their partner fall over and over again! If it’s a little too cold outside, opt for an indoor rink, of which there are plenty in and near NYC. Hot chocolate afterward is a must, either way!
Bookstore or library
Bond over books! Stop by a bookstore or library and pick something you will both enjoy, then cuddle up by the fireplace at home and get lost in the pages together.
If you both love animals, and you love each other, then a zoo date is a win/win. While some seasonal exhibits are closed in the winter months, most zoos are open all year round. At the Bronx Zoo, you can even name a roach after each other (or each other’s ex).
Nama-stay together this Valentine’s Day! Enjoy a yoga class together or schedule a private lesson for date night.
Giving back to those in need can help couples to strengthen their own connection while doing a good deed together.
You’ve probably been to a kids’ birthday party where there was rock climbing, but this activity is fun for grown-ups, too. Test your physical endurance on the wall, and maybe impress your date!
Not many dates start off with people locked in a room together. Escape rooms require participants to solve riddles and puzzles in order to make their way out of a series of closed rooms. It’s the perfect date idea for the adventurous couple.
Pamper yourselves with a relaxing massage after a busy week, get a couples’ pedicure, soak in a hot tub, hot the sauna; the point is to slow the pace and enjoy time together.
Get a room
Sometimes a few hours away is just not enough. Book a night at one of the countless luxurious hotels around the city and spend the time reconnecting.
Hit the local roller rink later on at night for some grown-up skating time. Why not make it even more fun with a 50’s theme, sipping a milkshake with two straws afterward.
Most local wineries offer wine-tasting nights, where various types of wine are served with appetizers. Occasionally they include demonstrations as well. Romantic? Yes. Fun? For sure.
Psst… Check out the Top 17 Ice Skating Rinks In Staten Island, NYC, And New Jersey