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Cheap Date Ideas for Teens in NYC

By Becky Brito, SPEEK Peer Educator

This week, our SPEEK peer educator Becky Brito is taking over to share some cheap NYC date ideas for teens.

Everybody knows dates are kind of expensive in New York City. People think that a good date has to be expensive. But dates should be about being with the person you care about and doing something you both like to do– Not how much you spend on your significant other. A cheap date is just as good as an expensive one if everyone is having fun.

1. Movies

Going out to a movie can be expensive, but you can find cheap tickets if you know where to look. Tickets are cheaper if you go in the afternoon, and some theaters have student deals on certain days of the week. AMC Movie Theatres are sometimes cheaper than other movie theatres. The Bronx normally has cheaper movie tickets than in Manhattan.

2. Park dates

Just wandering around a park people watching and enjoying the outdoors can be a great date. You can keep it low key and go somewhere local, or make it an expedition and check out somewhere a little farther away. You can even pack a picnic! In the summer, lots of parks host cheap or free activities, too. Bryant Park has good activities in the summer and spring time, like outdoor movies. The New York City Parks website will show you what fun events you can do in parks around New York.

3. Museums

Lots of museums have student discounts, free days of the week, or donation-based admission–which means you pay what you want! I like the American Museum of Natural History. The suggested donation for students is $17, BUT this is only suggested. You can still get in if you pay only a few dollars (or a few cents). Other museums you can get away with paying close to nothing include:

  • Museum of Modern Art: admissions is $14 for students with ID, BUT you can get in free every Friday, 4-8 p.m. It gets crowded, so get there early!
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: This is another donation-based museum. Even though the suggested donation for students is $14, you can get away with only paying $1.
  • The Cloisters: Full of beautiful gardens and terraces, the Cloisters is donation-based. So, again, feel free to pay what you can!
  • Brooklyn Museum: If you want to look at some amazing art but are tired of the Met, check out the donation-based Brooklyn Museum.
  • Bronx Museum of the Arts: There’s not even a suggested donation here– it’s just FREE.
  • Whitney Museum: This modern art museum can be pretty pricey, but if you’re under 18, it’s completely free!

These are just a few. Check out a more comprehensive list of cheap museums here.

4. Festivals

During the spring and summer especially, keep an eye out for special events. There are a lot in Central Park, but they take place all over the City! See if San Gennaro, Brazilian Day, Bastille Day, or other celebrations fit into your schedules.

5. Diner dates

Diners are usually not as expensive as fancier dinner options, but they feel more special than take-out or fast food. Bonus: Since diners have such huge menus, you don’t have to worry about whether your date will like the food! Some of my favorites are:

  • Perry’s Diner at 2783 Third Ave, Bronx, NY 10455
  • Lexington Candy Shop at 1226 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10028
  • Stop Inn 60-22 Roosevelt Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
  • Broadway Restaurant at 2664 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
  • La Bonbonniere 28 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014
  • Joe Jr. at 167 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003

6. Mini golf

Mini golf is great because it can be as competitive or as laid-back as you want it to be. Some courses can be pricey, but there are plenty that cost next-to-nothing if you’re willing to search.

7. Take a Walk on a Boardwalk

If it’s nice out, take a stroll on one of New York City’s boardwalks. You can grab a hot dog at Coney Island, take a scenic stroll through Pelham Bay Park, or get a great view of the Manhattan skyline in Empire Fulton Ferry.

8. The High Line

You can always check out the High Line’s gardens, city views and artwork for free on your own time, but Friends of the High Line also have tours and other planned activities during the summer time. You can go stargazing, take a garden or art tour, or check out music and comedy at their seasonal kick off, Culture Shock. Check out their website for upcoming events.

9. Ice skating

Ice skating can be pricey, but there are some good deals out there if you know where to look. You can go ice skating at Bryant Park for free if you have your own skates and lock. The Palisades Mall Ice Skating is $14 in total. You can also skate in Central Park and Prospect Park for relatively cheap during the winter.

10. Netflix and Chill

It’s free, takes minimum effort, and you get to snuggle up with your significant other while enjoying a film or TV show. Just make sure you’re both on the same page about what “Netflix and chill” actually means…

If you have a favorite activity that tends to be pricey, occasionally check their website to see if they’re offering discounts or hosting special events. Groupon also has a “Things to Do in New York City” page you can check out for discounts on festivals, concerts, movies, and more.

The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center is located in New York City. It provides comprehensive, confidential, judgment free health care at no charge to over 10,000 young people every year. This column is not intended to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual, only general information for education purposes only.

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