Valentine’s Day may get a bad rap but don’t we deserve a day completely dedicated to treating ourselves? Of course, we do! But with thousands of restaurants, flower shops, and date spots to choose from in New York, it can be hard to make the holiday memorable (and original) for your loved one. Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other or your bestie (or hey, just pampering yourself), we’ve got a few ideas to make the day totally fabulous. Presenting 20 excellent ways to spend Valentine’s Day in NYC this year.
1. Take a Staycation
Why not switch things up for a night or two? Book a staycation and spend the weekend exploring a different neighborhood...or just cozy up and kick back in a comfortable hotel room. The Crosby Street hotel has a special staycation option with Champagne, breakfast, candles and a late checkout; or for an extra special stay, the Baccarat Hotel’s Romance and Style package includes champagne, keepsake Baccarat Mille Nuits flutes (for you to keep), a couples’ photoshop (with help from a celebrity stylist), a treatment in the hotel’s deluxe Spa de La Mer, a romantic dinner, chocolates, and more. Need more inspo? Check out some of our favorite staycation options here.
2. Try Your Hand at Craft Bartending
Sure, you could spend a night out at a romantic NYC restaurant or bar, or you could play bartender for the night, either in one of your favorite bars, or even in your very own living room. Take a mixology class (alongside a decadent tasting menu) at Tribeca’s Artesano this Valentine’s Day, where guests will learn how to make three craft cocktails from industry experts. Additionally, Sourced Craft Cocktails delivers at-home cocktail kits to all five boroughs with a rotation of seasonal cocktails, and the option to have their mixologists mix them right in front of you or create your own by choosing your favorite alcohol base with the cocktail kit of your choice. Cheers!
3. Take A Pizza Making Class
Courtesy of Emmett’s
It’s tough to make a date night extra exciting, so we’re here to help you think outside the box. Here’s a fun idea: take a pizza making class with some of the best pie-slingers the city has to offer! Let the pros from Lower East Side institution, Pizza School NYC, or Little Charli in West Village, talk you through all the best tips for making restaurant-style pies at home, starting with the perfect homemade dough. Then plan a date night where you put your new skills to use, because that’s amore. Craving pizza, but not the work that goes into making it? Stop by Emmett’s (or Emmett’s on Grove) for the most darling heart-shaped pies.
4. Have a Hand Roll Party
Whether you’re planning a Valentine’s Day evening with your partner or a Galentine’s Day with a few of your besties, a KazuNori hand roll kit is not only an amazing meal, but it’s also tons of fun. The kit goes for $128 and comes with everything needed to make 20 hand rolls, including all the ingredients—four different fresh fillings (toro, crab, yellowtail and salmon), their signature warm rice, seaweed, plus an assortment of condiments—to make decadent hand rolls from scratch, no sushi-making skills required. The kit serves four to five people, so why not make it a double-date?
5. Transport Yourself to the Alps Over Wine and Fondue
Lots of restaurants and bars around the city have mastered their cozy, winter-embellished dining set-ups, but The Lavaux is in a league of its own. This West Village wine bar will transport you to the Swiss Alps by way of Hudson Street, thanks to adorable outdoor seating and decked out private dining gondola carts. So book a table and snuggle up with a wine flight and fondue because nothing says I love you like decadent, melty cheese.
6. Treat Yourself to Something Sweet
Frances F. Denny
Valentine’s Day is primarily an excuse to eat lots of desserts, right? And no matter your relationship status, it’s the perfect day to treat yourself. Our suggestion: Indulge in some Breads Bakery roselach, aka festive rose water rugelach filled with marzipan, or try their white heart, a strawberry mousse heart filled with a rich strawberry jam. If you need something fresh out of the oven (which we totally don’t blame you for), ipsa provisions is selling three of their unique fan-favorite bake-from-frozen cookie flavors—chocolate pepita, rye cherry chocolate chunk and chewy honey—so you don’t have to miss out on that gooey cookie moment. Or if chocolate is your thing, pick up a box of colorful, small-batch Stick With Me Sweets that are almost too pretty to eat.
7. Get Pampered at Aire Ancient Baths
Housed in a 19th century textile factory in the heart of Tribeca, Aire Ancient Baths offers a peaceful haven from the chaos of the city. Spend the morning indulging in a full-body massage or even a wine bath before relaxing in the Greek and Roman style thermal baths. Book a couples’ spa day or just treat yourself to a day of luxury, because after all, Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to be pampered.
8. Drink Lots of—Oops, We Mean Take A Wine Class
Have you ever thought about enrolling in wine school? Us too. Brooklyn-based sommelier and founder of The Children’s Atlas of Wine, James Sligh, has partnered with Clinton Hill’s Leon & Son Wine and Spirits for wine classes, both in-person and virtual. Impress your friends and colleagues with newly acquired sommelier lingo and knowledge—or just enjoy five to seven yummy wines in the intimate BedStuy space. If you choose to learn from home, you’ll pick a session that speaks to you and once you’ve registered, you’ll receive three bottles of wine to your doorstep, food pairing and service suggestions, a playlist, and a link to an 80-minute remote wine tasting with Sligh. Afterwards, you can put your new knowledge to use and pick out the perfect bottle for your Valentine’s Day celebration.
9. Spend Valentine’s Day Brunching
Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so why not treat yourself with a celebratory brunch on your lunch break? We promise we won’t tell your boss! Book your table for an Italian-inspired meal at Charlie Bird, small plates paired with natural wine at the Four Horsemen, a Michelin-starred Mexican meal at Claro, or a Mediterranean spread at Miss Ada. For more ideas, here are our favorite brunch spots in NYC.
10. Treat Your Date to a Decadent Dinner At Home
Feel like skipping the Valentine’s Day reservation madness? We get that. Shake up your at-home cuisine with the help of one of our go-to dumpling spots, Nom Wah Tea Parlor. If you’re feeling adventurous, order a meal kit and learn how to fold your own dumplings and rice rolls at home. Or if you’d rather leave the cooking to someone else (no judgment), just order in a pack of their pre-made frozen dim sum. Goldbelly also has tons of special meals from all around the country that can be shipped right to your door. Order Kunamoto oysters fresh from Pike Place Market in Seattle, lobster rolls straight from The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine or a BBQ feast from Austin’s famous Franklin BBQ. Bon appétit!
11. Or Sit Down For Omakase at a Winterized Sushi Bar
Sushi lovers, rejoice: If you haven’t tried the traditional Japanese tradition of omakase, we have the perfect opportunity for you to experience the luxurious meal. With options for indoor and cozy outdoor seating, Shinn East in the East Village has set up a fully winterized sushi bar complete with heat lamps and a covered awning. Grab a seat at the chef’s counter and enjoy piece after piece of creative, perfectly crafted nigiri like Hokkaido scallop and fatty tuna with caviar. For $69 per person, it’s one of the best deals we’ve come across for high-quality sushi.
12. Build Your Dream Bouquet
Courtesy of FlowerFix
Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a fresh bouquet of flowers—other than chocolate, which we’ve already covered. Get your girlfriends together or have a romantic bouquet-building date night with one of FlowerFix’s 35+ DIY flower arrangement boxes, complete with all of the necessary supplies, fresh-cut flowers shipped directly from their farm, plus a link to a video class by their in-house master floral designer. If you’re hoping to make your bouquet elsewhere, sign up for a class at the world-renowned FlowerSchool New York in Chelsea.
13. Take a Romantic Cruise Around Manhattan
Courtesy of Classic Harbor Line
This Valentine’s Day, lovebirds can set sail on Classic Harbor Line’s intimate Valentine's Day Champagne tasting cruise, a 90-minute ride (with departures at 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.) aboard a 1920s-inspired yacht with a four-glass Champagne tasting paired with cheeses, fruits, chocolates and other accouterments selected by their in-house wine and cheese expert. Additionally, their Around Manhattan Brunch departing at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 12, features a special Valentine's Day Menu and is a great option for friends, families and couples alike. What’s not to love?
14. Go Ice-Skating In Any of the Five Boroughs
Courtesy of Industry City
Ice-skating is one of very few fun chilly weather activities—and no matter your experience level (or relationship stage), it’s guaranteed to offer ample opportunities for hand-holding. Visit the iconic Wollman Rink, the city’s largest (and most Insta-worthy), or hit the rink at Industry City after some perusing and shopping. If you’re on a budget these days, check out the rink at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, the only admission-free rink in the city—just make sure to book your reservation beforehand.
15. Take a Couples’ Ceramics Class
Try something new and get your hands dirty this February with a couples’ ceramics class. Mud Matters in Hell’s Kitchen’s Valentine’s Clay class is great for potters of all experience levels, offering two hours of guided instruction and building, resulting in a piece that’s sure to be a heartwarming keepsake for years to come. Couples Classes NYC offers classes where you and your significant other can spend two hours learning all the basics and making two clay projects that staff will glaze and fire for you, which you can pick up and decorate at a later date. Time to get spinning!
16. Visit the Love Installation at Times Square
We know most New Yorkers steer clear of 42nd Street at all costs, but this Valentine’s Day, passersby can admire “Love’s h|Edge,” the winning installation of the 15th Annual Love in Times Square Design Competition. The heart-shaped hedgerows form a floral maze in the middle of Times Square, where visitors can take a moment to admire the secret garden’s art, and even add a fresh rose as a gesture of love. (Plus, if you want to propose, renew your vows, or even get married in front of the installation, you can sign up here.)
17. Enjoy a Live Show
Broadway is back in full-force, New York—even if you’re on a budget! Nothing’s more romantic than a swanky evening with your boo, whether it’s at Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, or one of the other dozens of shows on or off-Broadway. Looking for something a little sexier? There are plenty of steamy burlesque shows to see in the Big Apple: The Shuck It Show at the newly opened East Village bar Down & Out (free, 2/9 at 8 p.m.); Raw Burlesque: Valentine’s Day Edition at House of Yes in Bushwick ($41, 2/14 at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m.); Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque Valentine’s Day Spectacular at Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge (starting at $20, 7:30 p.m. on 2/14).
18. Dine on a Romantic NYC Rooftop Under the Stars
Courtesy of Somewhere Nowhere
If you’ve ever dreamt of dining in a snowglobe, we have great news! Somewhere Nowhere, a lounge, nightclub, and rooftop pool offering panoramic views of New York’s skyline has a special prix-fixe menu for Valentine’s Day that can be enjoyed inside private teardrop igloos and rooftop enclosures just a stone’s throw from the Empire State Building. Get cozy with built-in fireplaces, plush loveseats, velvet chairs, fur throw blankets, tasty bites and beverages, and the best winter city photo-ops you can imagine. A dream come true!
19. Explore a Magenta Wonderland
Located in the boiler room under Chelsea Market lives ARTECHOUSE, an immersive art space which has partnered with Pantone to celebrate its 2023 color of the year, Viva Magenta, with none other than the Magentaverse. Step into a mesmerizing cinematic journey through room-sized projected installations and soundscapes inspired by nature of the bright pink-purple pigment that’s oh-so-romantic. Take the experience to the next level with their Date Night Package that includes one cocktail per person for $35.
20. Toast to Your Best Girlfriends with a Galentine’s Day Celebration
Fine, it might not be a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but Galentine’s is just as important! While any of the above celebrations would be fit for your gal pals, there are also plenty of friend-specific gatherings to take part in. Walker Hotel Tribeca is hosting a Galentine’s Day Party on February 9th with specialty cocktails, an unlimited wine bar, light bites, a goodie bag of sex toys, plus a Broadway actor dressed up as Cupid himself for adorable photo-ops. In Brooklyn, stop by (women-founded) TALEA Beer Co.’s Self Love Bottomless Brunch at both their Williamsburg and Cobble Hill locations. Indulge in two-hour bottomless draft beer, cider, and beermosas for $35, alongside delicious food and local business pop-ups offering manicures, bouquets, portraits, jewelry, and more.
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