5 Best Outdoor First Dates in NYC

Maarten Heerlien
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New York City is a magical place for dating. With its hundreds upon hundreds of swanky restaurants, dimly lit bars, and soulful jazz clubs, not to mention aromatic coffee shops, art museums, and urban parks, deciding where to take someone you're interested in can sometimes be an overwhelming task. If, however, you think your potential love interest is willing to branch out and do something adventurous in the open air, here are 5 suggestions that will more than likely get you a second date:

1. Casual Beach Day at Coney Island

Diego Torres Silvestre

Run or ride on the Coney Island boardwalk, or take a stroll on the beach. Coney Island is awesome for the outdoor adventurer who’s on a first date. There are so many new sights and sounds, so if you’re nervous about finding enough to talk about, this is a good move. The boardwalk is an awesome, short run with a great finish, and afterwards you can enjoy some food on the boardwalk , play some carnival games, or hit the beach (best option).

Running or walking on the beach at dusk is the best for a romantic first date that isn’t too heavy (or expensive), especially if you follow it up with a hot dog and a ride on the roller coaster (maybe not in that order).

If you live in Brooklyn, you can make your way to the beach by riding the Ocean Parkway Bike Path from Prospect Park, to add a few miles to the route and a little more time to your date. Before heading home, stop at L&B Spumoni Gardens for either an amazing Italian gelato, or if it’s late enough, a pizza dinner in their outdoor area or a fancier Italian meal inside. Either way, it’s a winner.

2. The Quintessential Roadie

When you’re back in the city, make your way to the Rapha Cycling Club to finish off the cycling-specific first date. The coffee is fabulous, and if you’re a cycling buff, the atmosphere is awesome. If you’re out of things to chat about, the Club is great because you can wander the store and look at the cycling books, magazines, and art. Plus, the sandwiches from The Cannibal, an Eddy Merckx-inspired sandwich shop up the road, are amazing. If he or she still likes you after all that cycling, you’ve got a good one.

3. Quiet Adventure Running

Laura Bittner

If you want solid conversation or a serious run, head to Fort Tryon and Inwood Hills Park in Harlem. Fort Tryon  will give you and your date the chance to take some Rocky-esque photos on the crazy stair sets that are strewn throughout the park, and a chance for you to check out your date’s legs (hey, why not?) when you let him or her head up in front of you. Inwood Hills is a bit tamer, if you’re hoping to have some time to chat with your date, though some sections of single track will leave you breathless. These parks manage to make you feel lost in your own city, which is kind of a funky experience for a first date. Bonus: both are a short subway ride (or long run) from Midtown, so it won’t require a lot of transit time.

4. Mountain Bike in Queens

Want more trails? Thanks to the International Mountain Bicycling Association you can head to Cunningham Park for some of the best trails in the city. The 358-acre Cunningham Park is one of Queens' best-kept secrets, with a trail system that will have you grinning from the second you duck into the woods. There are beginner, intermediate, and expert trails, so no matter how good (or bad) your partner is, there’s something for everyone. Just don’t leave your date behind. That never goes well.

5. Standup Paddling and a Sandwich

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