Barring a few outliers, if you’ve ever watched a romantic comedy, it was more than likely set in New York City or Los Angeles. So one could argue these are the two most romantic cities in the United States. Now, which sounds even more romantic? A dusk-lit stroll through a snow-covered Central Park, holding hands with your sweetie? Or sitting beside your love in a sedan, stuck in the traffic on the 405, eyes watering from smog? So there you have it, there’s no more romantic place than New York City, and there’s no more romantic holiday than Valentine’s Day. You really can’t go wrong when combining the two, but we’ve picked out a few of our favorite date night ideas, for that mushiest of February days. (Note: you’ll want to make reservations for most restaurants!)
The Upper West Side, as far as neighborhoods go, is essentially made for date night. Historic architecture, a slightly less boisterous but not less delicious restaurant scene, and convenient access to some of the city’s most iconic parkland all meet at the confluence of what we’ll call the classic Valentine’s date. Amsterdam Avenue, between 79th and 86th Streets is lined with neighborhood eateries like Jacob’s Pickles (top notch soul food) and Luke’s Lobster (lobster, of course), to name two, that are comfortable, cozy, and a short stroll away from Central Park’s famed reservoir, which might be the City’s best locale for a moonlight walk.
So maybe you’re one of those elusive folks who just aren’t into movies like “You’ve Got Mail.” Worry not, we’ve got a Valentine’s Day for you as well, that veers away from the more traditional feel of the Upper West Side. Head south about four miles to the vicinity of the famous High Line and 14th Street, where you’ll find an abundance of chic bars and upscale dining, plus plenty of great views, since we feel all proper dates should include some leisurely taking in of the sight. Start the night with a German beer at The Standard Biergarten, a bustling hall perfect for such an occasion, then grab a romantic dinner at an upscale eatery like Scarpetta, known for their handmade pastas. Cap it all off with a quick visit up to the High Line, and voila! A perfect date night.
Suppose drinks and dinner isn’t your thing. Well, this is New York so there’s never a shortage of alternatives. Might we suggest taking things in an especially nontraditional route, with a concert followed by some greasy late night eats? A pre-cursory perusal of show listings suggests Valentine’s Day events taking place at some of Brooklyn’s most unique and exciting venues, like Baby’s All Right, Union Pool, and Music Hall of Williamsburg, all in — well — Williamsburg, as well as The Bell House in Gowanus. Plus, each space is within easy walking distance of many a dive bar and late night slice shop, should the night dictate a beer and some pizza after the show.
Then there’s our final suggestion, for those who cringe at the pomp and circumstance of the holiday. It’s an option favoring peace, quiet, and a simple night out, and it’s as easy as looking at a happening neighborhood on a map, finding its central hub of activity, then scrolling a few blocks in any direction to locate a more isolated restaurant. For instance, Cafe Rue Dix in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood offers incredible Senegalese cuisine, without the controlled chaos of nearby Franklin Avenue’s concentration of bars and restaurants. Perfect for a quiet, intimate evening.
How about a dusk-lit horse and carriage ride through Central Park on Valentine’s Day? With hot chocolate and cookies? Click here for more info.