Every year, when February 14 comes around, most people ask themselves the same question: How can I make this day special? If you are spending Valentine’s Day in NYC, you’ll have many options! This is our list of things to do on Valentine’s Day to make the day unforgettable.
The Best Things to Do on Valentine’s Day in NYC
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days in New York in February. Our list below includes romantic events, restaurants, locations and activities for couples (and singles!). So whether you are looking for a unique date night, a location to propose, or a place to renew your vows, these ideas are guaranteed to help you! You will notice that some of them, especially events, are specific to Valentine’s Day whereas many others can help you with any great date night in New York.
♡ For even more inspiration, head to our Ultimate Valentine’s Day Guide.
1. Take a Romantic Cruise
When thinking about the best things to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC, the first thing that comes to our minds is going on a romantic dinner cruise. We are big fans of the Hudson By Night Dinner Cruise and the Bateaux Dinner Cruises. Both have special offers for Valentine’s special, including a gourmet dinner, live jazz music and drinks. For you, that means enjoying a great meal in romantic atmosphere while overlooking New York’s illuminated skyline from the water.
Both romantic cruises board at 6pm, depart at 7pm from Manhattan. The main difference here is the length of each NYC Valentine’s cruise. While the Hudson By Night Cruise takes about 2 hours, the Bateaux Dinner Cruise takes 3. You can already check out the menus – in case that affects your decision!
2. Enjoy a Romantic Dinner
If you are not a big fan of cruises, go for a romantic dinner in the city! As it may be difficult for you to choose the right restaurant for this special occasion, our recommendation for any special day is the restaurant Tribeca Grill. Another upscale restaurant that offers an unobstructed 360 degree view of Manhattan is The View. For those who don’t want anything too fancy, a romantic yet affordable date night at one of New York’s best rooftop bars would be another wonderful option.
3. Experience ‘Romance Under the Stars’
The American Museum of Natural History celebrates Valentine’s Day by hosting an annual event called “Romance Under the Stars” in its Hayden Planetarium. If you are looking for a unique date night – that’s it! At the Rose Center for Earth and Space you’ll have access to open bar, hors d’oeuvres, champagne, chocolate as well as live music. At the Hayden Planetarium the most romantic love stories will be read to you, while enjoying a spectacular view of the starry night sky.
Tickets are no longer available, as they sell out quickly every year. The number of tickets is limited, so we highly recommend reserving your spots as early as you can next time around.
4. Check out Times Square’s Heart Design
Every year, a Valentine Heart Design Competition is held. The winner’s proposal will be displayed at Father Duffy Square in February, including Valentine’s Day! The idea is to present art at Times Square that communicates love.
The winner for the 2019 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition has already been picked. Artist Reddymade’s “X”-art installation prevailed over the competition. The lines of the letter “X” converge and cross paths, just like millions of people from all over the world do at Times Square – the bustling heart of New York City. The letter X, however, is also a commonly used symbol to express a kiss digitally. If you go below and look through the holes, you will also see the shape of a heart!
The design is revealed at Times Square on February 1st.
5. See a Broadway Show
A musical or play on Broadway is always a good idea, but it can make your Valentine’s Day in New York extra special. Sure, there are many nice places you can spend your Valentine’s day in, but Broadway is unique to New York. To see which Broadway shows are popular right now, check out our best list 2019. If you’re not sure what to pick, you can never go wrong with a Disney show.
6. Go Ice Skating
Another romantic activity on Valentine’s Day in NYC is to go ice skating! New York’s ice skating rinks are only open for a few months a year. As there are numerous ice skating rinks out there, we recommend checking out New York’s best ice skating rinks. Spoiler alert: Rockefeller Center and Central Park are obviously included!
7. Stroll through Central Park
Strolling through Central Park can be romantic all year around. The best thing about it? It’s completely free! Whether you’re planning on popping the question or not, definitely make sure to walk by Bow Bridge. Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to walk through the park when it’s covered in beautiful, picture-perfect snow. To find the best places in Central Park, read our Ultimate Central Park Guide.
8. Take a Helicopter Ride
Taking a helicopter ride in New York is an amazing and unforgettable experience. It’s perfect to celebrate a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day! It’s definitely not something you do on a regular basis. The memory of a private helicopter ride over one of the world’s greatest cities will stay with you forever.
9. Take a Photo at the LOVE Sculpture
Valentine’s Day is all about love! Did you know that there is an entire statue dedicated to Love in New York? You can easily find it at W 55th St & 6th Ave, next to Prêt A Manger and across from Bank of America. Taking a picture will your significant other in front of the sculpture will be a great souvenir of your trip!
10. Book an Escape Room
If you are looking for a fun activity on Valentine’s Day in NYC, then why not do an Escape Room? It’s a great way to put your relationship to the test! Many escape rooms offer special events for couples and singles on Valentine’s Day. Escape rooms are a great way to meet new people and find out how compatible you are!
There are plenty of escape rooms in the city, some are more advanced than others. If you have never played before, you will have a great time at any of them, as this will be a completely new experience for you. It’s always fun and exciting.
If you do have some experience with escape rooms, we can recommend Escape the Room NYC and Mission Escape Games. Both companies use advanced technology in their rooms, which makes them even more immersive.
11. Visit the Empire State Building
A very popular location not only to spend Valentine’s Day in NYC but also to propose is the iconic Empire State Building! Just imagine standing on top of the skyscraper, overlooking the rest of the city, while holding and keeping each other warm. If you want to go a step further, it may be good to know that you can also marry or renew your vows on the Empire State Building! Every year, 14 lucky couples will be chosen as part of the annual Valentine’s Day Weddings Contest. In order to win you will need to submit your love story via ESB’s official Facebook Page.