18 Unique Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in NYC This Year

Valentine’s Day may get a bad rap but considering how terrible the last two years have been, don’t we deserve a day completely dedicated to treating ourselves? And while February 14 may look a little different this year (again), there are still plenty of safe ways to observe the holiday. 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 18 excellent—and safe—ways to spend Valentine’s Day in NYC this year.

60 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him That Aren’t Corny or Cringy

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 Sanctuary Hotel in the Theater District is offering a Romance Package with chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petals and sparkling wine; 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 Love and Luxuries package includes champagne, cashmere robes (for you to keep), a couples’ photoshoot, a couples’ treatment in the hotel’s deluxe Spa de La Mer and more. Need more inspo? Check out some of our favorite staycation options here.

2. Take A Trip Across The Country From The Comfort Of Your Couch

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable traveling or going out to a restaurant this Valentine’s Day. Luckily, Goldbelly 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.

3. Turn Your Apartment Into A Craft Cocktail Bar

Thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul, who plans to reinstate the state’s “Drinks-to-Go” initiative permanently, we’re patiently awaiting the one silver lining of the pandemic: cocktails to-go. Until then, you can play bartender for the night in your very own living room with at-home kits. Sourced Craft Cocktails delivers 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. West Village bar and restaurant Dante is selling an Ultimate Valentine’s Day cocktail kit with one eight-ounce bottle each of their two Valentine’s cocktails: The Rose, made with Lillet rosé, raspberry eau de vie, raspberry and rose; and Heart of Gold, made with Rémy Martin VSOP, Cocchi Torino, oloroso, chocolate bitters and cocoa. Cheers!

Pizza School NYC/Facebook

4. Take A Virtual Pizza Making Class

Exciting date night options are rather limited right now, but you can still think outside the box. Here’s a fun idea: take a virtual pizza making class with Pizza School NYC. Let the pros from this Lower East Side institution 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.

5. Have A Hand Roll Party At Home

Whether you’re planning a Valentine’s Day evening at home 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?

6. Transport Yourself To The Alps Over Wine And Fondue

Lots of restaurants and bars around the city have mastered their outdoor 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 cozy up with a wine flight and fondue because nothing says I love you like decadent, melty cheese.

Frances F. Denny

7. Treat Yourself To Something Sweet

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 rugelach filled with marzipan and sprinkled with raspberries. 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 honeyso 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.

8. 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.

9. Take A Wine Class In The Comfort Of Your Home

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 virtual wine classes. 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.

10. Spend Valentine’s Day Brunching

Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, so why not treat yourself with a celebratory brunch on your lunch break? Some of our favorite spots around the city are serving brunch in cozy, heated outdoor spaces. 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.

11. Make A Dim Sum Dinner At Home

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. Bon appétit!

12. Feast On Handmade Pasta In A Heated Yurt

What’s better than eating a big bowl of Lilia’s famous mafaldine with pink peppercorns and Parmesan? Enjoying it in the comfort of your own private, heated yurt, of course. Missy Robbins’ eatery has teamed up with American Express and Resy to create a sprawling yurt village just steps from McCarren Park in Williamsburg. As you kick back in your very own yurt, you’ll feast on a four-course prix fixe menu featuring some of the best Italian food in the city. Maybe you can even have your own Lady and the Tramp moment, we won’t judge.

13. Or Sit Down For Omakase At A Winterized Outdoor Sushi Bar

Sushi lovers, rejoice: Even if you aren’t comfortable eating indoors, you can still experience the luxury that is an omakase sushi meal. 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 $65 per person, it’s one of the best deals we’ve come across for high-quality sushi.

Courtesy of FlowerFix

14. Build Your Dream Bouquet

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 30+ 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 itching to get out of your apartment, sign up for an in-person Valentine’s Day bouquet-making class at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Courtesy of Classic Harbor Line

15. Take A Romantic Cruise Around Manhattan

This Valentine’s Day, lovebirds can set sail on Classic Harbor Line’s intimate Valentine's Day Champagne tasting cruise, a 90-minute ride aboard a 1920s-inspired yacht with a four-glass Champagne tasting paired with cheeses, fruits, chocolates and other accoutrements selected by their in-house wine and cheese expert. For more time on the water, Skyline Cruises’ three-hour Valentine’s Day dinner and sightseeing cruise offers a chef-made buffet meal, an open bar, picturesque sightseeing, three all-weather decks, fully climate-controlled cabins, plus heated all-weather rooftop deck with an enclosed dance floor. What’s not to love?

Courtesy of Industry City

16. Go Ice-skating In Any Of The Five Boroughs

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.

17. 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 2.5 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!

18. 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 the winning installation of the 14th Annual Love in Times Square Design Competition, which will be announced shortly before Valentine’s Day. Last year’s winner celebrated the city’s resilience with an iridescent metal spiral covered in thousands of locals’ love letters. (Were your wedding plans changed or canceled due to COVID-19? You can register for a chance to tie the knot next to the new installation on Valentine’s Day, if that’s your sort of thing.)

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