13 Unique (and Safe) Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in NYC This Year
Valentine’s Day may get a bad rap but considering how terrible the last year has been, don’t we deserve a day completely dedicated to treating ourselves? And while February 14 may look a little different this year, 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 13 excellent—and safe—ways to spend Valentine’s Day in NYC this year.
1. Take a staycation
You’ve probably been spending more time than ever before in your apartment, so 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 Hoxton in Williamsburg is offering a special bedside picnic package; the Crosby Street hotel has a special winter staycation option; or there’s Mint House in FiDi, which is pairing up with Crown Shy to offer guests a special three-course dinner served in the comfort of their hotel room.
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
There aren’t many good things that have come out of the pandemic, but one silver lining: the rise of delivery and take-out craft cocktails. Some of our favorite bars around the city are now offering pre-made drinks and cocktail kits so you can play bartender for the night in your very own living room. Dante is selling Valentine’s Day cocktail kits (we’re very interested in The Rose made with Lillet rosé, raspberry eau de vie, raspberry and rose), Death & Co. is bottling up their creative drinks and pairing them with bar snacks, and the people behind MáLà Project just launched Ghost Bar, an online delivery service for ready-to-drink cocktails delivered to your door. Cheers.
4. Take a virtual pizza making class
There’s no denying that 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 (provided they’re in your household, natch), a Nami Nori temaki kit is not only an amazing meal, but it’s also tons of fun.T he kits start at $96 for two or $160 for four people and include all the ingredients—rice, nori sheets, sauces, garnishes and fresh fish—to make decadent hand rolls from scratch, no sushi-making skills required.
6. Transport yourself to the Alps over wine and fondue
Lots of restaurants and bars around the city are getting seriously creative with 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.
7. Treat yourself to something sweet
Valentine’s Day is really just an excuse to eat lots of desserts, right? And no matter what your relationship status, it’s the perfect day to treat yourself. Our suggestion: Indulge in some Breads Bakery roselach, AKA festive ruggelach filled with marzipan and sprinkled with raspberries. ABC Bakery is also selling Valentine’s Day cookie boxes filled with four kinds of outrageously good cookies. 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 couple’s spa day or just treat yourself to a spa day, because after all, Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to be pampered. The spa is currently operating with reduced capacity and following COVID-19 safety measures to ensure a safe environment.
9. Take a wine class in the comfort of your home
While you’re quarantining and spending lots of time at home, it’s the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. Enter: wine school. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, one of our favorite natural wine bars is now offering their wine boot camp classes virtually, so you can pick a session that speaks to you (think: funky orange wines, wines of Southern Italy or Pét-Nat night) and sign up. After you register, you’ll get three wines delivered to your door and all of the materials you need for the online class. Once you’ve graduated, 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 morning brunching
Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so why not shake things up with a celebratory brunch? Some of our favorite spots around the city are serving brunch in cozy, heated outdoor spaces (and Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced that indoor dining can resume in NYC on February 14). 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 Medierannean spread at Miss Ada.
11. Make a dim sum dinner at home
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably getting seriously tired of cooking the same meals at home. The solution? Shake things up 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.
12. Feast on handmade pasta in a heated yurt
What’s better than eating a big bowl of Lilia’s famous mafaldini 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. 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. Yum.
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. The restaurant is also offering BYOB for the time being, so we recommend picking up a bottle of sake around the block at Sakaya before your reservation.
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