Here’s how to take out your boo without breaking the bank.
El Museo del Barrio
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.
1230 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10029
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 Ave. (at 45th St.), New York, NY 10169
700 8th Ave. (at 44th St.), New York, NY 10036
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
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 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Winter Flea + Smorgasburg at Industry City – Every Weekend
241 37th St., Brooklyn, NY 11232
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
Decorated with photos of the Caribbean island, this intimate Bronx restaurant will satisfy your Cuban food cravings. The restaurant serves up classics like congri, bistec de palomilla, and ropa vieja. But Chef Ramón Pérez also dabbles in Nuevo Cubano.
3151 E. Tremont Ave., Bronx, NY 10461
1247 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx, NY 10462
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
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
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
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
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
You can never go wrong with Peruvian food, especially if you’re hitting up Pio Pio. Since 1994, the restaurant has been dishing out delicious South American fare, and it’s only expanded since then. You can eat at the restaurant in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. If you hit up the Jackson Heights location, you can also catch a live act on Wednesdays.
62-30 Woodhaven Blvd., Queens, NY 11379
84-02 Northern Blvd., Queens, NY 11372
210 E. 34th St., Manhattan, NY 10016
702 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan, NY 10025
1746 First Ave., Manhattan, NY 10128
604 Tenth Ave., Manhattan, NY 10036
282 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223
264 Cypress Ave, Bronx, NY 10454