Best Proposal Ideas in NYC: 13 Unique, Not Cliche Locations
When looking for the best places to get engaged in NYC, you’ll likely come across the usual suspects: Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Top of the Rock. This list is not for those iconic spots (though you can find that list here). Instead, this is for those who want to get engaged in a less cliche place, somewhere off the beaten path. Here, the best proposal ideas in NYC, with 15 unique locations and activities to surprise your significant other.
1. A Private Tour of St. Peter’s Cathedral
You’ve probably strolled past its impressive Fifth Avenue facade, or even attended Sunday services. But you’ve likely never had a private tour of inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Not only can do arrange this, but with the help of the Cathedral staff, you can also arrange a secret, 100% private proposal in the back antechamber, making it one of the best proposal ideas in NYC.
2. Stargazing at Hayden Planetarium
Want to propose under the stars, but don’t want to make it obvious? Take a trip to the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. The Star Theater utilizes a customized Star Projector system, projecting an accurate, glittering night sky. Your significant other will never expect such a romantic New York proposal in the middle of the day.
3. A Stroll Through the St. Luke in the Fields’ Garden
If finding a patch of Central Park that isn’t teeming with tourists sounds like an impossible feat, try a smaller neighborhood community garden. The garden behind the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in the West Village is particularly charming, with lush greenery and flowers, and a bench for you to sit on when you ask the question.
4. Golden Hour at Gantry State Park
Forget Brooklyn Bridge Park. Head to Queens and you’ll get amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, but with fewer crowds. Gantry State Park in Long Island City has 12 acres of riverside real estate, but it’s especially magical at sunset when the sun falls behind the buildings, or at night when you can see the skyline light up.
5. Visiting Old New York at the New York Transit Museum
Step back in time at the New York Transit Museum, with its fleet of vintage subway cars. It’s a surprisingly cool exhibit, where you can explore the colorful trains from throughout the 1900s. As an underground museum in Cobble Hill, it’s generally sparsely populated, except for elementary and middle school visits. Call ahead to confirm that there isn’t one scheduled for the time you’re planning to pop the question (that is, unless you want an audience).
6. Wandering Snug Harbor’s Botanical Garden
You can live in NYC for over a decade and never make it to Staten Island, but you’d be missing out. The Snug Harbor Cultural Central and Botanical Garden is located near the Staten Island ferry stop, so you really have no excuses. One highlight is the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, an authentic classical outdoor Chinese garden. With a beautiful bamboo forest path, waterfalls, koi pond and eight pavilions, providing ample time to get down on one knee.
7. Indulging in Dim Sum in Chinatown
If brunch is too basic, consider dim sum, a much more interactive experience. Pick a spot in Chinatown or Flushing and get your har gow and siu mai on. Bonus points: plan ahead and see if you can get one of the cart-pushing servers to hide the ring in an empty dim sum dish, and when your significant other lifts the lid, that’s your cue to pop the question.
8. Wandering Wave Hill
This Bronx gem shouldn’t be missed. Situated on the slopes overlooking the Hudson, Wave Hill has 28 acres of landscapes and garden areas and is open year-round. Autumn turns the surrounds into a leafy red-yellow-orange wonderland, spring and summer has bursts of floral color everywhere, and winter offers a snow-white escape fro the rest of the city.
9. Seeing Skyscrapers From Roosevelt Island Tram
If the Top of the Rock isn’t your thing, see the skyline from a different perspective while riding the Roosevelt Island Tram. Running every 7-15 minutes from 59th Street and Second Avenue, the tram not only gives you a great aerial view, but also a few private minutes alone to propose. Bonus: if heading from Manhattan towards Roosevelt Island, you’ll be rewarded with Four Freedoms Park at the bottom, a beautifully manicured spot to take in city and water views.
10. Appreciating Cherry Blossoms in Green-Wood Cemetery
Okay, hear me out. Maybe exploring a cemetery is not on your list of most obvious proposals spots in NYC, but Green-Wood Cemetery can actually be a beautiful experience. Located south of Prospect Park, the cemetery is a designated national historic landmark, with ornate architecture and landscaping. As a bonus, in the spring, tons of cherry blossom trees explode with pink petals, making it a magically romantic experience. Green-Wood is definitely one of those unexpected gems, making it one of the best proposal ideas in NYC.
11. A Modern, Minimalist Afternoon at Noguchi Museum
If you’re nervous about proposing, consider the Noguchi Museum in Queens, celebrating the modernist art of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. With its calming neutral palette and zen gardens, this museum evokes a refined look and offers a peaceful space to get engaged.
12. Playing Like Kids at the Color Factory
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Noguchi Museum: does jumping into a ball-pit sound up your alley? Infuse your afternoon with some childhood nostalgia at Color Factory, a colorful, experiential exhibit full of hands-on play. The highlight, of course, is their massive ball-pit filled with aqua-colored plastic balls. Not only is it highly Instagram-friendly, but it’s also a place to get amazing proposal photos, too.
13. Toasting Your Future at The Campbell
Maybe having a cocktail before you propose is premature, but we’d say that the old New York charm of The Campbell makes it a pretty sure thing. With its vaulted ceilings and double-height window behind the bar, not to mention it’s deliciously strong drinks, cocktails at The Campbell is a definite contender for one of the best proposal ideas in NYC.