Date Night

17 Date Ideas That Won’t Kill Your New Year’s Resolutions

Your healthy decisions don’t have to compromise your relationship.

Photo courtesy of MNDFL/Facebook/@ehenk

This is not the first article you’ll read in 2019 that reminds you why New Year’s resolutions are close to impossible to keep. Here’s something new: We’re about to offer up a solution. We’re big believers in getting shit done with the help of a partner. So for this New Year’s resolutions guide to New York, we recommend you grab your S.O. and make the below places and experiences a priority so that you can do cool stuff without sacrificing the loose promises you made to yourself as the ball dropped. You’ve (both) got this.

Eat (Relatively) Cleanly

Date night may feel like it needs to include pasta and wine, but if you’re in a committed relationship, you know that can’t last forever. There are tons of restaurants in New York where you can order anything off the menu and not feel terrible after—both in your belly and in your head. Some of our favorites include Caravan of Dreams in the East Village (the name alone should sell you), Dirt Candy on the Lower East Side (everything from the decor to the plating is stunning), Bozu in Williamsburg (for unreal, fresh sushi), Dez in Nolita (a new Middle Eastern fast-casual spot that doubles as Instagram heaven), and The Wild Son (located under the High Line and serving the healthiest, most delicious brunch you’ve ever met).

nyc date ideas
Photo courtesy of The Wild Son

Drink Less (Yeah, Boo)

Hear us out on this one. If you cut the drinking, your relationship will improve in several measurable ways: nicer skin to gaze upon, mental clarity for charming conversations, and late-night activities extended (or started in the first place). However, we don’t think you should sacrifice going out and having fun. Our solution: really good mocktails. Some of our favorite concoctions include the Stella by Starlight at speakeasy Angel’s Share (ranked as the number-one mocktail in NYC) and the Ananas Cooler at Bemelmans Bar (a nonalcoholic bestseller made with pineapple juice, ginger beer, mint, and agave). Or head to Mother of Pearl, an elegant tiki bar, and order an Eastern Spice, which blends guava, cinnamon spice, lime, spicy black pepper syrup, and seltzer. Keep an ear out for Listen Bar, the first alcohol-free establishment to pop up in the city.

nyc date ideas
Photo courtesy of Listen Bar/Facebook

Move Your Body (and Actually Look Forward to It)

Accountability is the name of the game when it comes to working out. Guess what? You have someone who is into staring at your face, so you should use him or her! One of our favorite places to work out together is Switch Playground, because the entire program is fully dedicated to moving around the studio in pairs. You and your partner will go through 20 stations side by side, each employing a different exercise. Plus, the exercises and order change every session, so you’re never stuck doing the same thing.

Some other couples workouts we love include rock climbing (again, a fun activity that happens to also make you sweat) at Brooklyn Boulders and The Cliffs, yoga anywhere (seriously, get two mats and just make this a priority; we promise it will strengthen your body, mind, and relationship), and boxing at Rumble (for when you’d rather punch some bags near each other instead of verbally punching one another). Or check out under-the-radar yoga spot Cobra Club, a Bushwick establishment that triples as a café and bar.

nyc date ideas
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Boulders

Cozy Up and Read Together (Bookstores That Make Us Happy)  

Couples book club, anyone? But seriously, we think that would be cool. Couples who read together (and learn together) stay together. New York is a total treasure trove of bookstores—there are truly too many to name. We love Bookbook in the West Village (it has $7 bargain books that you’ve actually heard of and always wanted to read), Mysterious Bookshop in FiDi (with rolling ladders and the best sign ever, which reads: “Nobody Shoplifts From a Store That Knows 3,214 Ways to Murder Someone”), Books Are Magic in Cobble Hill (owned by author and Brooklyn resident Emma Straub), Albertine on the Upper East Side (wins the most-beautiful-bookstore category), and Assouline inside the Plaza Hotel (which not only sells books, but also limited-edition prints, candles, and vintage objects—swoon).

nyc date ideas
Photo courtesy of Books Are Magic

Spend More Time in Nature (New York Does Have Some of That)

While there’s always Central Park, we recommend trying out the places you know about but maybe haven’t adventured to yet. We’re talking Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park’s Long Meadow (where the sledding game is epic in winter), Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (hiking, boat rides, sunset tours, and so much more), Queens County Farm (New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland), Little Red Lighthouse (located in Fort Washington Park, right under the George Washington Bridge, and oh so romantic), and the Gardens at the Frick (so you can get culture and nature in one visit).

nyc date ideas
The Garden Court at the Frick. / Photo by Hanna Benavides

Take a Class Together (This Is Where We List the Classes You Should Take Together)

Get naked and learn how to paint in one fell swoop at Den Art’s Paint in the Dark Body Painting Class for Couples; center yourselves at one of MNDFL’s meditation classes, where you can actually pick a session based on your needs (sleep, emotions, listening—all seem like pretty crucial relationship building blocks); learn a new language at Fluent City; make the best cupcakes ever at Butter Lanemake the best everything ever at Cookspace (use code DATENIGHTINTHEKITCHEN for 15 percent off!); act out Ghost in a pottery class at Greenwich House Pottery (on one of the prettiest streets in New York: Jones); or learn how to make really good pizza at home with Pizza School NYC.

nyc date ideas
Photo courtesy of MNDFL/Facebook

Jordan Scott is the founder of Idk Tonight, a dating app for couples.