Gearing up for a first date is both nerve-wracking and exciting. Making plans for a first date can be anxiety-inducing, as well. Maybe neither of you are comfortable going to the other person’s home, and going to the movies is so cliché.
But not everyone loves eating in front of new people, and going out to eat at a restaurant can be a lengthy commitment for a first meeting. Asking someone out for drinks could be nice? But maybe introducing alcohol into the mix isn’t the best idea, plus sober dating is on the rise. So yeah, first dates can be a little bit challenging to conceptualize.
But what about second date ideas? At this point, you and your date like each other well enough to want to spend more time together. But this is still a new relationship, so you don’t want to jump into anything crazy. A second date is when you move past the awkwardness and really start to get to know one another. So, what should you plan to do?
In New York City, there isn’t any shortage of date spots, and this includes some great second date ideas. So, we’ve compiled some of the most interesting places to go to match the vibes of a second date right here in the city.
Visit The Chocolate Room (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)
There are few things as universally adored as chocolate. Good thing chocolate culture is well represented here in NYC, especially in Brooklyn. Bring your date to The Chocolate Room and treat them (or be treated) to some sweet baked goods or drinks. Even their Facebook page describes TCR as “a date place.”
Their food and beverages are made from all-natural ingredients. While you can order certain things from their menu to be delivered, visiting the Brooklyn flagship cafe makes for one sweet second date.
Here, you can enjoy each other’s company alongside a slice of their award-winning chocolate layer cake or one of the many drinks or other bakery items on offer. TCR also serves beer and wine if you’re looking to kick it up a notch. It’s the perfect second date idea to keep your dinner conversation going or for a shorter, midafternoon date. With three different types of hot chocolate, homemade ice cream and even chocolate-covered strawberries on their cafe menu, there are plenty of options to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
Test your taste buds at Beyond Sushi (multiple locations, Manhattan)
Sushi is one of the foods you can find pretty much anywhere in New York. It’s beloved here and for a good reason. But taking your date out for sushi isn’t exactly all that special since it’s such a commonly found cuisine.
Taking them for vegan sushi, though, is a neat little way to try something new without alienating the person you’re trying to impress. Beyond Sushi doesn’t just do different takes on the vegetable rolls you can find at most sushi restaurants, but instead attempts to re-create some classic fish-based sushi dishes that you know and love, along with some other unique fare. Try out their Ube Crunch roll, Charred Avocado roll, Eggplant Unagi or a Sweet Tree roll. The best thing about sushi? It’s easily shareable.
Enjoy board games at The Uncommons (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
Known as “Manhattan’s first board game cafe,” The Uncommons is just that: a public space for playing board games and enjoying drinks and food while you play. It’s unique in concept but ultimately a space of comfort and fun, so you can spend hours with someone here on a second date.
Just pick out an old favorite like Scrabble or Monopoly, or maybe find a new game to try out together. It’s up to you if you want to read the instruction booklet before getting started. Play any game in-store for US$10 a person, and even take home a new box of whatever game you want, as all of the games are also for sale.
They have “everything from puzzles to collectible card games, Magic: The Gathering sets and games you can’t find anywhere else.” Bring out the competitive side of the person you’re seeing at this charming, old-school cafe where you can just allow yourselves some low-stakes fun.
You don’t even need to leave to grab a coffee or anything, as this cafe is fully stocked. They also serve beer and wine. So, if you want to host a game night date, you can let a little bit looser over a couple of glasses of wine and a shared love for Scattergories. Or Catan. Or Sorry. Whatever your vibe is.
Investigate food culture at MOFAD (East Harlem, Manhattan)
At the Museum of Food and Drink in Brooklyn, there is much to see… and taste. Their motto is: “Food is culture.” Everything in this museum shows the link between the sustenance we live by as humans and how it continues to inform and be informed by our diverse global cultures.
Rather than just showing exhibits, MOFAD engages all five senses (yes, even taste) to help visitors truly understand the power of food. This is one museum that you can go to without worrying if it will be boring. Not your average museum date, huh?
Currently on display is the exhibition “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table.” This exhibition is an exploration of African American contributions to US culinary culture. It will run through June of this year. The museum itself is still relatively new, only opening its first exhibition in 2013. So if you want to take your date somewhere they’ve probably never been, and you know they’ll find notable, look no further. Plus, everyone can relate to food, right?
Reconsider the city at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (Alphabet City, Manhattan)
Another museum pick, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space is cool and relevant to the city. With a US$5 suggested donation per visitor entry, this is a little adventure you can take, paying for both you and your date without completely emptying your pockets.
Described as the “living history of urban activism,” MORUS “chronicles the East Village community’s history of grassroots action.” Suggest going here if your date is into activism, history or architecture and design. Here, you can explore “the local activists who transformed abandoned spaces and vacant lots into vibrant community spaces and gardens.” If you want to understand New York City, you’ve got to understand the people who are changing it from the ground up.
See an indie or foreign film at the IFC Center (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
Yes, we did just say that movie dates can be a little bit cliché. But that’s only if you choose to go the cheesy route. We mean the fake-yawn-to-put-your-arm-around-your-date’s-shoulder route. If you’re seeing someone whom you want to impress or is a bit of a film buff, then heading downtown to the IFC Center is worth the trip for both of you.
Touting itself as the “ultimate entertainment space for New Yorkers seeking out the best in independent film,” the IFC has been around since 2005, and since then has managed to cement itself into New York film culture. Apart from being the forerunner for showcasing independent and foreign films in New York, the IFC also has different events and engagements for cinephiles. Their presentation of Academy Award-Nominated Short Films for 2022 was one such event back in February.
For a truly unique movie-going experience, you can check out what’s currently showing at the IFC, or you can see if there’s any interesting film-related event coming up that could be second date worthy. And, yeah, you can still do the fake yawn thing here.
Attempt to get into a speakeasy, like Sunshine Laundromat (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
There’s been something of a speakeasy renaissance over the past decade or so, and NYC is certainly not immune to this trend. One of the most notorious speakeasies in the city is Sunshine Laundromat, a retro bar that also serves as a nostalgia-inducing arcade.
You can surprise your date with this one, as it’s hidden in plain sight. To enter, you have to go through a basic city laundromat. At the back of the laundromat, there’s a door disguised as a stack of washing machines. Your date won’t know what to expect upon first entering!
Once you get through the washing machine door, it is like a kid’s birthday party here, just if you added some alcoholic beverages. Serving pizza, frosé, Soju, beer, Tecate, wine and soda fountain classics, your date will go neither hungry nor thirsty.
Known for their collection of pinball machines, you can stay for hours playing different games. Or, you can sit and chat over some pizza while enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere. This is one of those great second date ideas if you are looking for some old-school fun and want to prove that you can be spontaneous and surprising.
A second date definitely shouldn’t be as nerve-wracking as your first one. Enjoy a day out with your new favorite person, and start making memories by enjoying one or two of these experiences. No matter what, as long as you put your best foot forward and stay true to yourself, it’s bound to be a success.
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