10 NYC Date Ideas That Are Buenos, Bonitos y Baratos

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Here’s how to take out your boo without breaking the bank.

This article was originally published in February 2016.


A Trip to El Museo del Barrio

Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Peep pre-Columbian artifacts, documentary films, and sculptures at El Museo del Barrio. The museum specializes in Puerto Rican art, but their extensive collections also cover other corners of Latin America and account for 800 years of our history. You can lose yourself for hours.

The suggested admission is $9, but it is free every Super Sábado, aka every third Saturday of the month.

1230 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10029


Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Dough

Dessert dates are always a great idea, and if your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, you’ll be sure to win them over when they try these decadent doughnuts. Fany Gerson – the Mexican pastry chef who also makes some of the city’s best paletas at La Newyorkina – opened her Bed Stuy donut shop Dough five years ago, and has since developed such a following that she had to open two other locations. Her giant, pillowy donuts are glazed, dusted, or drenched in a rotating menu of innovative flavors, often inspired by Latin American desserts; the current menu features flavors like Hibiscus, Dulce de Leche, and Passionfruit alongside the more traditional glazed, and will only set you back $2.50 a pop.


448 Lafayette Ave (at Franklin Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11205

14 W 19th St (at 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10011

230 Park Avenue (at 45th St)
New York, NY 10169


Get Your Domino Game On Point at Caribbean Sports Club

Caribbean Social Club – also fondly labeled “Toñita’s” after its owner Maria Toñita – is easy to miss from the street. But inside, is one of the last venues holding it down for the Nuyorican spirit of Williamsburg’s Los Sures, an area that has been dramatically gentrified in the last decades. The no frills social club is a regular hangout for the neighborhood’s older Latino residents, who gather to play pool and dominoes, blast salsa (with spontaneous dance parties), eat and drink. Bonus: with most cocktails clocking in at $4, it’s the most affordable bar in the area.

(If you want to learn more about Toñita’s, check out the Sebastian Diaz-directed documentary about it here.)

244 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211




See Live Music at NuBlu

If you’re looking to romance your date on the dance floor, NuBlu is a good bet. The intimate Alphabet City venue always has something cooking – from the psychedelic salsa of La Mecanica Popular, to DJ Turmix’s monthly Latin Boogaloo party, where he spins classic records from the barrios of Spanish Harlem and the Bronx. The drinks are affordable, and the dance floor is small enough that it always feels poppin’ – plus it gives you an excuse to get extra close to your date. Check out NuBlu’s Instagram for weekly updates.

62 Ave C, New York, NY 10009


Smorgasburg + Brooklyn Flea

This is a fool proof day-date option that works in all seasons. When it’s warm out, you and your date can take in views of the Manhattan skyline while checking out the wares of 100+ vendors. Granted, most of the things for sale don’t come cheap, but browsing is free and provides plenty of conversation-starters. When you work up an appetite, head over to Smorgasburg, where almost every cuisine imaginable is an option, including MofonGO, bomb sandwiches from Bolivian LLama Party, tacos, pupusas, and more. In the winter, the Flea and Smorgasburg move to an indoor location.

Saturday + Sunday 10am-6pm
Winter Flea + Smorgasburg at Industry City—Every Weekend
241 37th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232


Cacao Prieto

The Dominican Republic probably isn’t one of the first countries that springs to mind when you think of places famous for chocolate, and a Dominican aerospace engineer probably isn’t the person you’d expect to found an organic chocolate company. But, unlikely as it may sound, that’s the story behind one of Red Hook’s best kept secrets: Cacao Prieto, an artisan distillery that produces bean-to-bar chocolate made fresh daily from the finest organic, single origin Dominican Cacao.

Take a tour of the factory and sample their chocolates and bon bons, along with plenty of boozy treats. In addition to their own white rum and small batch cacao-based liqueurs, Cacao Prieto has also partnered with the nearby bourbon distillery Widow Jane, incorporating the whiskey into several of its chocolate varieties.

218 Conover St., Brooklyn, NY 11231


The Nuyorican Poets Cafe

A line outside Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Credit: Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

In 1973, writer Miguel Algarin co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and it has served as a home for multicultural, groundbreaking works of poetry, music, theater and visual arts ever since — with patrons that included everyone from Allen Ginsberg to proud Nuyoricans like Rosario Dawson and Rosie Perez. If your boo is the artsy kind, take them here for the renowned late-night poetry slam, where you can see original works from rising poets.

236 East 3rd St. New York, NY 10009


Get a Cafecito at Devocion Coffee

Photo: Andrew Schwartz for NY Daily News

Magical stuff happens at coffee shops. There’s a reason why that one dude made a song about falling in love at one. They’re also pretty affordable if you’re running low on dough so if you’re looking for a cute spot to get the sparks flying we recommend Devoción. You’ll be able to try Colombian grounds here that are tough to find anywhere else; they’re sourced from conflict-ridden regions of Colombia like Caldas and Amazonia.

69 Grand St., Williamsburg, NY 11249


Hunt for records at The Thing

With an inventory of upwards of 20,000 records and no clear organization system, it’s not easy to find stuff at The Thing. But that’s part of the fun. Plus, it’s crazy cheap. Take your date here to dig around in the crates and see what you come up with.

1001 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11222


La Superior

There’s no reclaimed wood at La Superior. No mood lighting. There aren’t even real plates; the food arrives on plastic discs that we’re not entirely convinced aren’t frisbees. But when you serve some of the best tacos in Brooklyn, frills are unnecessary. And ever since Felipe Mendez’s taqueria put down roots eight years ago, it’s been perpetually packed – even with hard-to-please Mexico City and West Coast taco snobs.

Fact: date nights are better with tacos. Price: $12 and under.

295 Berry St., Brooklyn, NY 11211