Spending time in New York City during the holidays is often a family affair. But for couples—and maybe even moms and dads who have managed to squeeze in a date night without the kids—the city offers boundless opportunities for Christmas-themed romance. From a glass of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity to ice skating in Central Park, these wintertime date ideas will add a touch of romance to any pair’s holiday season.
One of the best ways to show affection for your sweetheart is to treat them to something sweet. And why not treat them to arguably the most famous holiday dessert in New York City? The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate offered at the Upper East Side restaurant Serendipity 3 was immortalized in the 2001 film Serendipity and, ever since, patrons have been lining up to sample the confection. (If you’re a peanut butter lover, try the Peanut Butter Frrrozen Hot Chocolate! Serendipity will donate $1 of each sale of the holiday treat from now until January 2nd to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity dedicated to brightening the lives of children facing obstacles.) Stop in, have look around the famed eatery and order a glass of its most famous beverage—but don’t forget to ask for two straws.
Ice skating is the premier wintertime sport for lovers, and there’s no better place to do it during the holiday season than New York City. If the world-famous rink at Rockefeller Center is too crowded, consider venturing into Central Park, which has two rinks—Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink—that tend to be less busy. Skate rentals are available at all locations, but the turning and gliding—and, of course, hand-holding—is all up to you and yours.
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned activity for you and your loved one, consider a horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park. Though the attraction is offered all year round, there’s something special about an equestrian tour of New York’s most famous green space during winter, when the trees are bare and the cold weather makes snuggling practically a necessity. Book your romantic ride here!
Perhaps the most romantic aspect of New York City during the holidays is that it offers so many opportunities for sheer spontaneous wonder. That’s the experience in store at the Time Warner Center, a shopping center near Columbus Circle that, during the holiday season, outfits its central atrium with a light show called “Holiday Under the Stars.” The show features a dozen 14-foot stars that change colors in synch with holiday music. Stop in with your loved one and enjoy the kind of light show that only New York City can provide.
Add a touch of sophistication to your holiday romance by taking in high tea. Several New York hotels offer the traditional British repast and, during the holiday season, with decorations all around you, the experience is twice as charming. Try the afternoon tea at the Pierre Hotel, or snuggle up with scones and blended teas at Tea & Sympathy in the charming West Village.
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park offers a multitude of holiday attractions, from shopping to ice-skating to activities for kids, but couples might be especially drawn to the area’s dining options. Public Fare (designed in partnership with Crate and Barrel!) and the much-lovedBryant Park Grill are two sophisticated spots where guests can enjoy seasonal pastries, cocktails and entrees. What better place to cozy up to a warm wintertime meal than in New York’s very own holiday wonderland?
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without some shopping, and the Union Square Holiday Market is must-visit for any couple looking to pick up gifts. Whether you’re buying for friends or family members (or surreptitiously looking for presents for each other), the market, festively decorated and lit, has anything you could want, from artisanal soaps and jewelry to bakeries and small brewers.
Most of New York’s big holiday attractions are in Manhattan, but adventurous couples would do well to head uptown and visit the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. There, they’ll find one of the city’s most illustrious holiday light displays, and, for those in touch with their inner kid selves, there’s something more: the annual Holiday Train Show. Running from mid-November to mid-January, the show features a not-so-miniature locomotive landscape that includes 150 landmarks, such as Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty and Coney Island. The Botanical Garden also hosts special tours and performances, making this romantic journey well worth the subway ride.