First dates are all about location. Curb the stress by picking a destination that is comfortable, casual, and fun. From Rochester to Schenectady, New York is home to some awesome options for that initial impression. Check out art museums, grab a bite at a local bistro, and sightsee Niagara Falls with these 9 great first-date locations in New York.
A perfect choice for tea and sandwich lovers, the Whistling Kettle serves sweet or savory crepes, paninis, quiche, salads, sandwiches, and soup. If you’re headed there for a lunch date, choose their afternoon tea option (includes any sandwich, premium salad, or quiche and cup of soup or house salad and a scone with cream). Try your hand at the apple, bacon, and three-cheese panini (with green apple, bacon, brie, bleu cheese, mozzarella, and honey on ciabatta bread), and polish off your meal with a Godiva chocolate cheesecake.
Owned by Rochester’s Broadway Theatre League, the Auditorium Theatre features a variety of shows throughout the year, including comedy acts, live concerts, and the best of Broadway on tour—perfect if your date loves plays since Broadway is quite a ways away from Rochester. Their complete list of upcoming events and dates lets you plan in advance for a show you both will love!
The Whitney Museum of American Art is full of twentieth-century American art, making it a beautiful first date location for the modern artist in your life. With a focus on living artists, the Whitney’s contemporary style will give you plenty to talk about—so you can forget about those awkward silences. It was the first New York museum to host a larger exhibition by a video artist and is known for displaying works before artists become widely recognized.
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The Maid of the Mist is a fantastic first date spot for every nature lover during the warmer months. Get right into the heart of Niagara Falls on this boat ride, feeling the mist on your face and watching 600,000 gallons of water fall right in front of you. Even though you’ll be given complimentary ponchos for your 20-minute boat ride, you may get wet—so plan to grab a bite to each before hand or come prepared with dry clothes!
With 19 waterfalls and cliffs as high as 200 feet, Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most famous in the Finger Lakes. Part of the gorge trail wraps behind a waterfall, creating a romantic setting for a first date kiss. You’ll get dripped on, misted, and around every turn is a picturesque angle of the gorge. After working up an appetite on the hike, grab some grub at one of Watkins Glen’s local restaurants!
Ice skating is a great way to bond and embarrass yourselves together! It’s fun for the both of you as you try to figure out how to navigate the rink as a pair, and maybe even hold hands in the cold! Fern Park’s rink is enclosed, lighted, and has a warming room (plus, who could argue with the free admission?). It’s open daily until 10 p.m. during the season, so you can even make it an after-dinner treat.
Got a first date close to Halloween? Love all things spooky? Hunt down some ghosts at the Rolling Hills Asylum. Choose from a one-hour self-guided walking tour, a two-hour guided historical tour, or a two-hour guided flashlight tour. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and want to spend a day there, Rolling Hills also has a three-, four-, five-, and eight-hour options that include a guided tour and a self-guided ghost hunt.
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For our of-age crowd, take your date to a place where they can show their artistic side while sipping on some wine and munching from the free mac and cheese bar! This’ll be a date you’ll need to plan a bit in advance, so make sure you check Canvas, Corks, & Forks’ schedule to see what classes are available when! All ages are welcome; however, those under 21 will only be able to enjoy the delicious mac and cheese.
Back at Niagara Falls, don’t miss out on the opportunity to journey down into the gorge (again in a poncho). An elevator takes you and your date 175 feet down where you’ll meet up with a tour guide and venture walkways that lead to the famous Hurricane Deck. You’ll stand just 20 feet from Bridal Veil Falls, able to feel the water spray and see rainbows day and night. If you’re all about memorable first dates, this is a must.