You can search by neighborhood, event type, or cuisine. Try "live music", "italian", "west village" or whatever sounds sexy to you.

What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

By: Rachel Clayton

New York City is an incredibly multifaceted city that can sometimes feel overwhelming. There are so many things to do and experience, which sometimes inspired the strongest case of decision paralysis. There’s also the complete opposite but just as valid New York experience, of becoming jaded and “over” anything and everything. If you’re at either of these points and fresh out of ideas for date night (or feeling both things at once cause honey, you contain multitudes!), then this is the guide for you. With a combination of unique NYC experiences and solid basic activities worth embracing, this guide will give you an idea of what to do.

What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

Kick Axe Throwing Brooklyn
622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn

This bar is sure to bring something different into your relationship – unless you met at a lumberjack convention. The Kick Axe Throwing bar delivers on the name by allowing you to throw axes at targets on the wall. The bar has a hip Western lounge feel, with blonde wood, plaid couches, and old-timey photographs alongside a taxidermied deer head. Basically, you’ll feel like you’re hanging out with your cool rural uncle who lets you throw axes while drinking a beer. Speaking of beer, they have a selection of beer, wine, and malt drinks if you’re nervous about wielding a weapon – but don’t worry, it’s totally safe and the staff has helpful tips for even the weakest arms.

Kick Axe Throwing
Credit: Kick Axe Throwing
Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery
386 Flatbush Avenue Extension, Brooklyn

This date spot is more along the lines of going back to basics than the previous entry. Remember when you or your lover first came to NYC, excited to try all the signature foods? Junior’s is a great place to revisit that naivete and eat cheesecake, one of the best foods of all time. Junior’s is remarkably cozy with its unchanged, classic diner look of wood paneling, upholstered booths, and shiny red counter. Along with the famous cheesecake, they also serve decent American fare. Hot tip: the dishes they do best are the homiest ones – think meatloaf.

Credit: Viewing NYC -Junior's Restaurant and Bakery
Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
513 Henry Street, Brooklyn

Keeping on the theme of hitting up classic date activities when you don’t know what to do brings us to the Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain. Taking your sweetheart to get something sweet was the thing to do in the 50s, and it’s just as cute today. This soda shop keeps it old school with a shiny counter stacked with sweets, antique cabinets, and a tile floor that’s dated in the very best way. On the menu are creative and decadent sundaes, soda floats that go way beyond your classic root beer and vanilla (a Pink Poodle, anyone), and egg creams – so you can finally figure out what an egg cream is.

Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
Credit: Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
Break Bar
458 9th Avenue, Manhattan

When neither you nor your partner can decide what to do, sometimes you just want to break stuff – and at Break Bar that’s the whole idea. An offshoot of The Wrecking Room, Break Bar is where you can grab a drink and then smash the glass, throwing it into targets, at pictures of public figures, or pretty much anywhere in the designated smash zone. Break Bar is hilariously self-aware as themselves as a bar with a gimmick, and it carries over into their cocktails like Skittles Juice and Bougie Water. They also serve beer, wine, and small plates, just in case getting all that rage out via smashing makes you hungry.

Break Bar
Credit: Break Bar
Prospect Park
Prospect Park West and Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn

If you’re a Brooklyn couple, or just tired of Central Park, you’ve probably been the Prospect Park just to see some greenery. But this park has a whole lot more than grass and trees, which makes it a perfect option for when you’re not quite sure what to do. Want to check out the swans, or bird watch with binoculars and learn more about the local wildlife? They have that. Want to roller skate or ice skate? They have that. Want to row across the pond in a boat, ride a carousel, play baseball, or grill up dinner? You get the idea! Bring your open-hearted lover with an open mind and see what activity feels the most romantic.

Prospect Park
Credit: NYCgo

See More Of Our Curated Dates This Week

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
445 Albee Square West #4, Brooklyn

Dinner and a movie is an iconic date night pair, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema makes it easy by combining the two so you have even fewer decisions to make. Located inside the Atlantic Terminal Mall, this two-floor theater has a moody, atmospheric bar where you can grab a pre-show drink and theaters upstairs decked out with red walls, plush recliners, and a table in front of every pair of seats. On the table is a menu card you fill out, and then during the movie, as if by magic (or via server), your food or alcoholic milkshake (yes!) will appear.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Credit: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Catch A Show at Q.E.D.
27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria

Regular readers of IDK Tonight are no stranger to recommendations of shows at Q.E.D., but this theater is a great destination even when you don’t have a specific show in mind. This Queens venue, along with being a neighborhood favorite, puts up three or four shows a night, meaning there’s plenty of variety to choose from. Just show up and make the night a choose your own adventure of comedy shows, swing classes, poetry readings, or whatever else is on the bill that night.

Credit: QED, flickr
Mehanata Bulgarian Bar
113 Ludlow Street, Manhattan

We all know the classic saying: when in doubt, do as many vodka shots as you can in a giant ice room. At least, that’s the logic behind Mehanata Bulgarian Bar, a unique spot to go when you need to shake things up. This bilevel bar has more of a club feel with attitude with an underlit bar, changing neon lights, and “decorations” like a bunch of bras hanging from the ceiling. Most nights there are DJs or bands playing live music (and yes, they don’t just play Bulgarian music), but the biggest draw is their ice room downstairs, where you’ll be locked in for five minutes with high-quality vodka to help keep you warm.

Mehanata Bulgarian Bar
Credit: Mehanata Bulgarian Bar
388 Union Avenue, Brooklyn

This go-to birthday spot is also great for date nights where you just need to see a lot of options to know what you really want. True to its name, this bar is lined with vintage arcade games like Pac-Man or Street Fighter along with a few newer cabinets to peak your interest. Along with a ton of games to choose from, they also have an incredibly solid beer selection, so you can go from sour to IPA to stout depending on your mood. Just make sure all the drinking doesn’t affect your Donkey Kong skills if your date tends to get competitive. 

Credit: Barcade
Staten Island Ferry
4 South Street, Manhattan

When nothing classic or inventive or wacky entices you, let yourself be seduced by the killer price of free. The Staten Island Ferry costs nothing and yet gives so much more than a transportation experience. Bring your lover to the Whitehall Terminal to catch the ferry every fifteen to thirty minutes and enjoy not only the joys of being at sea, but catching views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty along the way. Pro tip: go at sunset for extra romance as you watch the sun dip beneath the waves. Double pro tip: both the terminal and the ferry itself sell beer in large portions and at incredibly low prices. 

Staten Island Ferry
Credit: The Odyssey - Staten Island Ferry

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week