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  • Nic F. Anderson

5 NYC Date Ideas | $40 and Up

Times are hard and unless you are from an affluent family or just got lucky, a lot of us don’t have the ability to drop a week’s worth of a paycheck on a date… especially when you pay rent in New York City or are disproportionately paid less than your white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, etc. (or all of the above!) counterparts.

At the same time, we deserve to splurge on ourselves and others every now and then.

Here are five NYC date ideas that cost $40 and up.

Ras - Ethiopian Plant Based Restaurant

Ras, located at 739 Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, is truly an experience from start to finish. While it is possible to eat here on a budget, the food is so phenomenal that we strongly encourage you to save up some cash to go all out here!!! Dishes such as Piassa, Ras tibs and Mercato, along with others, are flavorful, fresh and worth every single copper penny you have to your name.

The mood lighting throughout the restaurant and the low music allow for an intimate setting to converse freely.

Extra perks: Black owned, plant based, kosher certified


This tiny Italian joint, located at 435 Halsey St. in Brooklyn, is dreamy and intimate. It’s not in Little Italy - thankfully, no offense! This spot offers crispy brussel sprouts with maple-sherry agrodolce; margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella; ricotta ravioli and more. It’s mouth watering goodness. Once again, this place can be dined at with a budget, but like with Ras, we strongly suggest you save up money to splurge here.

Note: Saraghina is first come, first serve. It’s best to get there as soon as they open.

NYC City Pass

Okay, okay, okay, we know this one is expensive, but this is the $40 and up date idea list. For $136/person ($272 total), you both get to go to six attractions over the span of nine days, meaning if both of you have three days off in a row, you can go to two places per day or try to jam three in two days. We do not advise doing three per day as it is exhausting (we’ve tried this)!

The attractions include:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art ($25/person = $50 total)

  • The American Museum of History ($23/person - $46 total)

  • Top of the Rock ($42/person=$84 total) OR Guggenheim ($25/person=$50)

  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty ($23+/person=$46 total) OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises ($23+/person=$46 total)

  • 9/11 Memorial Museum ($28/person=$56 total) OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum ($33+/person=$66 total).

You don’t save a whole lot of extra money with the City Pass, but you do save some. If you and yours have a few days off, we think it’s worth it.

A Broadway Show or Several Off Broadway Shows

Once again, yes, cheesy and expensive, but hear us out! If you or your date love stage performances, this could be a really nice experience for the both of you. Tickets range, obviously, but there are also deals on Groupon and other money saving websites.

The Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater is classy, historic and a NYC staple. Icons like Louis Armstrong, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Bessie Smith, Eddie Green, Duke Ellington and others have performed on the stage and walked through the halls.

Located in the city’s beautiful neighborhood Harlem, you and your date can listen to music, laugh at comedy shows or attend a workshop. If you and your date don’t live close to Harlem, we promise, it’s worth the trek.

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