New York City Fun, Creative Date Ideas + Things To Do: NYC & Brooklyn First Dates, Romantic Date Nights, Coffee Shops, Bars, Scenic Views, Happy Hours, Rooftops & Winter Dates

As a former New Yorker, I dearly miss the city I called home for a few precious years. I try to make it back out for quick vacations and work with clients these days. I have spent considerable time carefully curating lists for friends, family, clients, couchsurfing guests and my girlfriend. In addition to taking photos for clients, I do all the location scouting and creative direction.

This involves countless hours or research, trial and error and planning to optimize for lighting, noise, views and optimal experiences.

DUMBO, Manhattan Bridge, Washington Street, New York

DUMBO, Manhattan Bridge, Washington Street, New York, Sunset | NYC Photographer

Below are a sample of my favorite spots around NYC for dates, meeting singles, seasonal activities and more. Clients receive a full list of places in addition to specific tips like what to order, where to sit, where to start/end walk, best times/days to go, things to know before you go, is this a good early date spot or a place to go with a significant other or place to meet singles. One will learn about the places I think you should avoid from other lists that don’t update their lists or source their options as carefully as I do.

For some of my favorite places to visit, photograph when I am in town, check out this gallery:

Bryant Park Date Idea

A great park in the middle of the city, always something going on. Movie nights, salsa dancing, markets and more. Check out the calendar of events to plan your next date. In the winter, be sure to check out the skating rink and holidays bazaar shops!

Bemelman’s Bar, Rosewood Hotel, Upper East Side

There is nothing quite like the dark, intimate feel of hotel bars. Great for people watching and great for escaping crowded loud bars. Great place to sneak into after a stroll in the winter evenings.

Jane Hotel Ballroom Lobby, West Village

Check ahead because this place has weird hours but beautiful spacious area.

Central Park Date Ideas

There is nothing quite like Central Park but having a specific game plan and itinerary makes it better. Check out the calendar of events, time it right with fresh snow or color change in the leaves. Grab a Coffee at St. Ambrose in the UES for a pick-me up at the standing counter. Highlights include skating rinks, Belvedere Castle, Miniature Boats, Alice in Wonderland Sculptures, The Mall, Bethesda Terrace, Horse & Carriage Tour, View from the Met and more.

Refinery Rooftop Hotel Bar

One of the few rooftops open year-round. This place has decent views but the covered area with exposed brick is quite nice here.


It’s always a great way to walk, sunbathe, have a drink, listen to music, snack along and more. Check out the calendar of events.

Roberta’s Pizza, Brooklyn

Amazing pizza, versatile space with communal seats, bar seats and patio seats. Excellent craft beer on tap and cans as well as a great wine and cocktail list to pair with your food.

Bushwick Collective Self Guiding Walk

Amazing murals, street art in one of the most famous artist districts in the United States. Most top street artists have graced the walls of one of the buildings here at some point in their career.

Le Bain Rooftop Bar

One of my favorite rooftops where you can actually sit down and soak in the rays.

Jimmy at Jane Hotel Rooftop Bar

Love the views of SOHO and Lower Manhattan. Quite the perspective that other rooftops lack. 

Shakespeare in the Park

A charming way to spend an evening experiencing some of the best that NYC has to offer. If you get lucky, you might catch a celebrity or two in the show. 

Bin71 Wine Bar, UWS

My old neighborhood Upper West Side wine bar. Nothing pretentious just a favorite haunt of mine, cozy, limited outdoor seats and intimate environment.

Chelsea to SOHO Architecture Walk (my customized walking tour)

There are numerous streets, alleys, street art and architecture along this walk between neighborhoods. One of the best bang for the buck walks in the city.

Vin Sur Vingt Wine & Cheese Bar, West Village

Given that I am not the biggest wine fan, this place gets me. Cozy, intimate place, amazing cheese selection.

Roosevelt Tram Ride, Roosevelt Island

Amazing views of the city from up above. Get a unique view that few New Yorker’s get to experience.

Roxy Hotel Lobby, Tribeca

One of my favorite hotel lobbies in the city. Retro vibe, comfortable seats – what’s not to like?

Westlight, William Vale, Williamsburg

Spacious, wide views of the city. Nothing quite like it.

Chelsea Market

Snack along the market and head over to the Highline for a nice walk in the day or evening. Check the calendar of events for pop-ups, concerts and more.


One of my favorite neighborhoods for walking, street art, views, rooftops, pizza and more.

Bowery Hotel, Lower East Side

Lobby bars in NYC are what makes winters bearable.

The Roof, PUBLIC Rooftop Bar

Excellent 360 degree views, hard to beat views of Manhattan from this part of town.

Kobrick Coffee, West Village

Kyoto Coffee Negronis? Yes please! Aside from the espresso martini made with rum liqueur, this is my favorite drink.

Brooklyn Bridge Walk

It’s always a great way to experience sunset or an early morning walk. Avoid crowds and go off-season or mid-week. 

Ace Hotel Lobby Bar, Flatiron 

Love this hotel, Stumptown Coffee bar and cocktails in a casual lobby. What’s not to like?

Frick Collection, Upper East Side

Overlooked museum relative to the bigger ones. Not to miss.

Aviary NYC, Columbus Circle

Replaced the Mandarin Hotel Lobby Bar. Pristine views down Central Park West. Best to go during the day or near sunset, ideally with the autumn color change or fresh snowfall.

Staten Island Ferry

Free ferry, leaves about every 25-30 minutes (check schedule for exact times). Amazing views of Lower Manhattan.

Gantry Plaza State Park

One of those parks with a majestic view of the Manhattan skyline but without the crowds and tourists of DUMBO.

Best Date Spots in NYC According To An OkCupid/Yelp Study

Best Morning After Brunch: Sweet Chick

No-Judgement Makeout Spots: House of Yes

Fitness & Wellness Dates: Chelsea Piers

Best Hotel Bars: Standard Beer Garden

Cheap Eats: Ramen-Ya

Photo Friendly Spots: Mother of Pearl

Spots that Spark Conversation: Museum of the Moving Image

Spots Where Drinks Could Turn Into Dinner: The Happiest Hour

Best Themed Bars: Otto’s Shrunken Head

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas.

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