Post overview: best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC
It seems no matter where you look in New York City couples are holding hands, canoodling or even getting engaged! Romance is practically an official language, so you better bring your A-game if you’re hoping to plan an unforgettable Valentine’s Day date in NYC.
Some folks say Paris is the City of Love, but I’m a proud New Yorker here to show you that the capital of romance is actually in the Big Apple. Charming cafes, intimate restaurants and inspiring museums are just the beginnning, there’s a plethora of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in New York City.
I’ve swung and missed on Valentine’s Day dates in NYC (sorry honey), but I’ve also hit a few home runs. It seems every year there’s a new event, show, or party to go to. So in an effort to help all my fellow hopeless-romantics I’m going to share the ultimate locals guide to celebrating Valentine’s Day in NYC.
But hey, we have a lot of planning to do. What do you say we get right into it?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC
Visit Love on Top at One World Observatory
Most trips to the Big Apple will include at least one visit to an observation deck, and in few are as iconic as the One World Observatory. In a city full of skyscrapers the One World Trade Center is the tallest of them all, standing a whopping 1,776 feet tall.
What some folks may not know is that the One World Center has an event space on the 102nd floor. On February 14th the floor will be the site of one of the best things to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC.
You and your loved one will enjoy a five course meal with an open bar, all while enjoying stunning views of Lower Manhattan and a live band. The dinner starts at 7PM so the city will illuminate with dazzling lights, perfect for celebrating a romantic Valentine’s Day in NYC.
You’re going to need to make reservations ahead of time (and they’re going quick) on One World Observatory’s website. If they sell out – add your name to the wait-list and maybe you’ll get lucky!
Address: 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007
Enjoy waterfront drinks on Pier 15
No matter the holiday, you know Watermark at Pier 15 will be decorated and ready for you and your friends. The pier hosts pop-up restaurants for most major holidays, and Valentine’s Day in NYC is no different.
For all of February and March the popular venue turns into the Pink Pier, decked out in pink tones, flowers, and enough photo-taking displays to fill up a yearbook. If you’re worried that it’ll be be too cold to enjoy a waterfront meal, the Pink Pier has enclosed and heated igloos for you and your friends to enjoy a cozy Valentine’s Day in NYC.
You can choose one of three experiences when making your reservations, each offering more privacy than the last.
The first is the cocktail chalet, which is shared with other guests and has bar-stool and countertop seating along the edge of the enclosure. The second are semi-private igloos, which have no more than 4 tables making it a bit more intimate than the communal cocktail chalet.
The last is completely private igloo for up to 10 guests. If you’re looking for an intimate Valentine’s Day in NYC the private igloo is the one you want. It’s also a great option for a galentines day get together since you can split the cost of the unit.
Pricing ranges anywhere from $30 to $125 per person depending on the igloo and the time of your visit, and the fully private igloo costs $700 for a two hour rental. Each ticket comes with an entree, tea, and heart shaped macaron and there are also Valentine’s themed cocktails made to order.
Address: 78 South St Pier 15, New York, NY 10038
Have a spa day at Aire Ancient Baths
Channeling ancient Greek and Roman bath houses, a trip to Aire Ancient Baths is a serene and rejuvenating experience. Inside you’ll find an array of thermal baths that seem to wear away at any kinks or knots you might have, and if the baths don’t get it the massages will.
Lucky for you – the bath house will be hosting one of the best things to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC when they host Love Constellations, a romantic package you can share with your special someone.
The package includes a massage for two using basalt stones, the choice of either soothing or energizing oil and time in the thermal baths. The experience goes beyond a typical spa day – Aire Ancient Baths has a talent for creating a sense of absolute relaxation.
The Love Constellations package is one of the best ways to spend Valentine’s Day in NYC, especially considering how hectic city life can be. Don’t have a Valentine? No sweat – treat yourself to the Love Myself package, which is consists of the same treatments but instead you’re riding solo.
The Valentine’s Day packages are available from February 10 – 15, so you’ll have the weekend plus a few days to partake. If the days don’t work for you, book one of the other romantic packages for a belated Valentine’s Day in NYC.
Address: 88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013
Peruse Date Night at the Met
Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is often considered one of the best museums in the world, and strolling past world-renowned art is one of the most romantic things to on Valentine’s Day in NYC.
With more than 2 million pieces of art spanning 5,000+ years, the Met is the largest museum in the country and the fifth largest museum in the world. Averaging 6 million visitors per year, it’s also the most visited museum in New York City.
If you only have time to visit one museum on Valentine’s Day in NYC, this is the one. Plus, it’s conveniently located within Central Park, so you don’t have to go far out of your way to visit.
Admittedly, the museum can get overwhelming if you don’t have a game plan. I suggest picking one or two topics you’re interested in and sticking to those. There’s also some notable pieces you absolutely can’t miss, such as:
Must see at the MET: Washington Crossing the Delaware, The Temple of Dendur, Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait with a Straw Hat and Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies.
What’s more, every Friday and Saturday the museum hosts Date Night at the Met, where from 5PM to 9PM there is live music and light fare in the museum. The event is included with standard admission and is one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC.
Since the event is only available on Friday and Saturday (February 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th) you technically won’t be able to partake on actual Valentine’s Day. Celebrate early or late, or just visit on the 14th during regular hours.
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Sip some drinks at Loreley Beer Garden
Loreley Beer Garden, you boozy, beautiful thing – you have me at your mercy. I’m a sucker for your outdoor heated patio and colorful decorations and even more so for the adult beverages you never seem to run out of.
Even better – the Lower East Side bar knows how to throw a themed-party. No matter the holiday Loreley Beer Garden crushes it, which is why it’s one the best places to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC.
The NYC winter wonderland gets a special addition on Valentine’s Day, more than 10,000 rose petals (he loves me, he loves me not). There are also heart shaped pretzels you and your loved one can share.
Whether you visit for brunch or dinner, there’s plenty of food to be had and drinks to be enjoyed. Not only is Loreley Beer Garden one of the best NYC Valentine’s Day spots, it’s also a great place to host galentines day.
Reservations always go quickly for Loreley Beer Garden’s holiday events, but I’ve learned that if you join the wait-list odds are you’ll have a shot at a table.
Address: 7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
Try February’s Cronut from Dominique Ansel
Few things say “I love you” like a box of pastries, especially from one of the best bakeries in the Big Apple. That’s why one of the best things to do for Valentine’s Day in NYC is to swing by Dominique Ansel and splurge on sweet treats for your sweet Valentine.
The one thing you can’t leave without trying is Dominique Ansel’s claim to fame, the cronut. A blend between a croissant and a donut, the delicacy is just as good as it sounds. What’s more, the cronut flavor changes monthly and never repeats, which is all the more reason to stop by when visiting NYC on Valentine’s Day.
This month you’ll find the mouthwatering flavor is strawberry and olive oil. The cronut is filled with a homemade strawberry jam and an olive oil ganache that’ll leave your Valentine licking their fingers.
I’ve visited Dominique Ansel Bakery plenty of times and can tell you confidently that it’s impossible to be disappointed when visiting. The best way to describe this popular New York City bakery would be: Michelin-star quality at a fraction of the price.
Address: 189 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
Name a hissing cockroach at the Bronx Zoo
The Name a Roach program at the Bronx Zoo provides a great way to get even with your ex on Valentine’s Day in NYC without landing you in jail for the night. ?
For only $15 you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after your ex (or Valentine) and get a certificate to remember the day. Some folks have made the NYC Valentine’s Day event a tradition, and the trend has spread to zoos across the country.
The Bronx Zoo also offers a Roach Romance package if you’re looking for an extra-memorable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC.
With the package you and your valentine will get to enjoy an after-hours experience learning about the role insects play in making chocolate. Afterwards you’ll get to sample sustainably made chocolates as well as drink a glass of wine.
Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460
Check out Love’s h|Edge in Times Square
The Times Square Alliance hosts an annual Love & Design Competition, where the winner gets to display their artwork in the heart of Times Square. This year Brooklyn based Almost Studio won, and will display their interactive sculpture titled Love’s h|Edge during the month of February to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC.
Made up of heart shaped hedges, benches and windows, the display is a perfect photo-op for anyone visiting NYC on Valentine’s Day. Plus, everyday at 1PM there will be free, fresh roses available that guests can embellish the hedge with to help the display “bloom”.
As the month goes on more and more roses will adorn the piece of display. Just like real love, this piece of art gets better with time baby. If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC dedicate the rose to your beloved and hang it on the hedge as a public dedication to them.
Address: Duffy Square, Broadway & 46th St, New York, NY 10036 (near the red steps)
Splurge on the Romance Package at Summit One Vanderbilt
Summit One Vanderbilt is New York City’s newest observation deck and has immediately become my favorite. Nearly every surface (including the floors and walls) is either a window or mirror, so it feels like you’re floating 1,400 feet up in the air.
If you’re visiting NYC on Valentine’s Day consider booking their romance package for two, which gives you entry between 6:30PM and 9:30PM. You’ll also get four drinks from the Après cocktail bar on the observation deck (two per person) and a digital photobook of any photos the event photographer takes of you.
Valentine’s Day in NYC has never been more picturesque, Summit One Vanderbilt will also blow-up heart shaped balloons to really accentuate the romantic vibe. And if that wasn’t enough, the Highline Quartet will be providing live music from 7-8, and 9-10PM.
There is an early bird special for anyone who books before February 10th, so if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC in a skyscraper there’s never been a better opportunity.
Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Pick up groumet chocolates from Jacques Torres
Valentine’s Day and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly, and there’s a plethora of chocolate shops in NYC ready to help you impress your Valentine.
My favorite of the bunch is Jacques Torres, who makes sweet treats worth their weight in gold. The French pastry chef is nicknamed Mr. Chocolate so you know he has the goods!
There are two Jacques Torres chocolate shops in New York, one in Dumbo and the other conveniently located inside Grand Central Terminal. You’ll find traditional, gourmet chocolate in heart shaped boxes as well as cookies, macarons and some of the best hot chocolate in New York City.
If you or your special someone won’t be in NYC on Valentine’s Day, you always have the option to mail them something. All you have to do is place an order online, so there really isn’t an excuse not to treat your beloved.
If your Valentine likes cooking and baking shows, odds are they’ve watched Nailed It on Netflix. Jacques Torres is a judge on the show, and a fan favorite which is all the more reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC with a box of his chocolates.
Address: 107 East 42nd Street Lexington, Passage, New York, NY 10017 (inside Grand Central Terminal) & 66 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Have a Valentine’s Day brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda
You might recognize Jack’s Wife Freda from Instagram. It’s one of the most photographed restaurants in NYC thanks to a floral arrangement adorning the entrance at their SoHo location. Paired with a forest green paint job and a neon sign it’s hard for folks not to snap a quick pic.
What you may not know is that Jack’s Wife Freda also serves the best brunch this side of the Mississippi, which makes it one of the best spots to start your Valentine’s Day in NYC.
The restaurant’s charming exterior works its way to the interior, where kind and amiable staff exemplify great customer service. The Mediterranean hospitality is palpable with every bite, because only people who love you cook this good for you.
In particular the Madame Freda is especially flavorsome. It’s a pressed sandwich that’s served warm and soft and cuts easily with a fork. The duck prosciutto adds a nice contrast to this cheesy delight.
At the end of your NYC Valentine’s Day brunch be sure to order dessert. I recommend everyone try Naom’s Malva Pudding, which is a small African sponge cake doused in a sweet caramel pudding with a side of whipped cream.
Address: 4 locations across New York City
Hold hands and go ice skating
Everyone Christmas movie seems to have at least one ice-skating scene, do you want to know why? Because it’s romantic! That’s why you should make an effort to make it to an ice skating rink on Valentine’s Day in NYC.
There are plenty to choose from, since most don’t come down until March. My suggestion is to visit Wollman Rink in Central Park, the rink at Manhattan West or the rink at Bryant Park.
Each rink captures the New York City spirit thanks to being surrounded by skyscrapers and iconic landmarks. If this is your first time skating it’ll make the experience that much more memorable, even if you hug the railing.
Why not put yourself out there and do something unforgettable to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC. Each rink offers skate rentals and when your done sit down with a warm cup of coco and people watch for a while.
If you visit the rink at Bryant Park you’ll even have the opportunity to ride some bumper cars. Using the ice skating rink as the track, the bumper cars are another fun thing to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC.
Get your boogie on at the Red and White Party at Time Out Market
Timeout Market is a collection of some of the best restaurants in New York City. By bringing 21 unique dining experiences together under one roof, Timeout has made choosing where to eat so much easier.
On the top floor of the Timeout Market is the Timeout Bar, which offers great drinks and even better views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan. In keeping with the season of love, the market will be hosting a Red and White Party, perfect for a Valentine’s Day date in NYC.
To participate all you have to do is dress in red and white clothing and head to the market. There will be DJ’s playing energizing music, a photo booth, free candy and raffles.
You’ll also get to take advantage of drink specials from the Timeout Bar for a boozy Valentine’s Day in NYC. There will be an array of festive cocktails that pretty and pink, and even tastier than they look.
Address: 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Get tipsy at the Cocteleria de Amor
Another boozy Valentine’s Day activity in NYC is to visit the holiday pop-up, Cocteleria de Amor. The bar is decorated with roses galore and the walls are adorned with vintage love letters and cards.
You’ll be able to leave your own love notes when celebrating Valentine’s Day at the NYC bar while you sip on expertly made craft cocktails. The holiday menu includes Terciopelo Azul (mezcal, sherry, almond, cherry, pineapple, lime), which is a cocktail for two served in a peacock glass.
And what’s Valentine’s Day drinks without food? Luckily Feliz Cocteleria is ready to satisfy. The menu isn’t big, but the Latin food makes up for it in top-notch flavor. Whether you go with tacos or shrimp ceviche you’ll feel full of love and delicious food.
Address: 349 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Enjoy a Broadway show
t would be inexcusable not to mention Broadway on this list of the best things to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC!
Yes, Broadway Shows are expensive, but the experience is unforgettable and so romantic. I would suggest budgeting for one to really impress your date.
Something I wish I knew earlier was that certain Broadway Shows have a lottery system where you can apply to win free tickets in advance. Seems like a long shot, but one of my coworkers won two tickets to Hamilton!
And if you’re okay with celebrating Valentine’s Day in NYC a little early, take advantage of Broadway Week. As one of the best things to do in New York City in February, the festival provides a can’t miss two for one deal on Broadway tickets. The deal runs until February 12th, so just celebrate Valentine’s Day during the weekend!
NYC Valentine’s Day (Post Summary)
- Visit Love on Top at One World Observatory
- Enjoy waterfront drinks on Pier 15
- Have a spa day at Aire Ancient Baths
- Peruse Date Night at the Met
- Sip some drinks at Loreley Beer Garden
- Try February’s Cronut from Dominique Ansel
- Name a hissing cockroach at the Bronx Zoo
- Check out Love’s h|Edge in Times Square
- Splurge on the Romance Package at Summit One Vanderbilt
- Pick up groumet chocolates from Jacques Torres
- Have a Valentine’s Day brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda
- Hold hands and go ice skating
- Get your boogie on at the Red and White Party at Time Out Market
- Get tipsy at the Cocteleria de Amor
- Enjoy a Broadway show
Valentine’s Day New York City (Map)
And there you have it my friends, the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC.
Hope you enjoy yourself, cheers!