I know “where Queens at?” doesn’t elicit the same crowd response as our Brooklyn brethren but Manhattan’s eastern neighbor is still a dating hotspot. At 2.2 million people, Queens would be the fourth largest in the US if it were an independent city. Even with a population of that size, it offers a slower, more nuanced experience than its fellow boroughs. Queens is famous for many things, but as far as dates go the borough has more to offer than baseball and a biergarten.
Queens Botanical Gardens
When it comes to gardens, the Bronx and Brooklyn aren’t the only floral names in the game. The QBG’s expansive offerings include (but aren’t limited to) herb, perennial, rose and bee gardens. Since the Gardens take up almost 40 acres of land, a full day date can be spent exploring the grounds. And no, bringing your copy of The Secret Garden isn’t necessary.
Date Tip: The best time to go is in the late spring before the gardens get too crowded, but you’ll still find a variety of flowers in bloom. If you’re feeling particularly romantic, across the street from QBG, you and your date can explore Flushing Meadows Park and enjoy an afternoon picnic.
Kew Gardens Cinemas
Indie movie theatres abound in this city. If you haven’t been to at least one, you probably wouldn’t be considered a real New Yorker in some circles. Kew Gardens Cinemas is the Queens answer to “where can I take my date to catch the latest Sundance Film Festival winner?” Aside from the completely reasonable ticket cost, the theatre boasts the original architecture and style since its construction in the 1930s. As if the cozy date atmosphere wasn’t enough, the concession stand sells fresh, homemade cookies. Who doesn’t love a warm cookie and good company?
Date Tip: If you’re looking for a weekday date option, you’ll be rewarded: on Tuesday and Thursdays, movies are $8 all day. Calling out sick + $8 movies all day with your SO? Now, you’re thinking.
Greek food in Astoria
Most Astorian residents already know the first question people ask when they discover they live in this Western Queens neighborhood—“Can’t you get really good Greek food there?” While you can get really good food from a whole host of ethnic origins all throughout Queens, it is true that Astoria remains a go-to for Greek foodie finds. That being said, you’ll be hard pressed to reach consensus on which restaurant is the best. Be sure to try the offerings at the popular spots—MP Taverna, Loukoumi, Agnanti, and Taverna Kyclades.
Date tip: Skip dessert and visit one of the famous coffee shops along Steinway Avenue for a cozy end to your meal.
Remember that really sweet boating scene from The Notebook with the beautiful swans and majestic cypress trees? Remember how touched you were and how you wanted a date to row you around in a love boat? Well, you can have that. Thanks to the LIC Boathouse, you and a date can paddle up and down the East River, and may even have the opportunity to go as far as the Brooklyn Bridge. Nicholas Sparks has got nothing on your romance.
Date Tip: It’s free, which is great, but you also can’t make reservations, so try arriving earlier in the day to avoid a wait or lines, especially on really warm days. This means you and your date will have ample time to paddle and enjoy a snack after.
Yes, every city has a Chinatown. But you haven’t really been to Chinatown until you visit Flushing’s very own. Taking the 7 train out to the end drops you right in the heart of Main Street. The possibilities from there are endless, although your best bet is to go on a self-guided afternoon food crawl with your date. You’ll find scrumptious eats and treats that will make you reconsider any future orders of takeout from your favorite spot selling the American version of Chinese food.
Date Tip: Who doesn’t need dessert after gorging on savory treats all day? Be sure to check out popular Tai Pan Bakery on Main Street in Flushing. Try the endless Chinese pastries and wash them down with a refreshing bubble tea or traditional milk tea (it’s exactly what is sounds like).
Museum of the Moving Image
Even though NYC is home to some of the world’s best museums, museum dates are still pretty underrated. People fear boredom or dissimilar interests in art. Fear not, though, because film buffs and mere mortals alike will enjoy the Museum of the Moving Image. It’s more than just a place to catch cool movies (a perk nonetheless). The media museum is a completely immersive experience including full-scale exhibits, engaging panel discussions, and an expansive collection of video games.
Date Tip: The museum is super close to the Ravel Hotel, which has a great rooftop lounge. With stunning views of Manhattan in the distance with the 59th Street Bridge in the foreground, enjoy a tasty beverage and recap the day with your date.