Domestic | 02.02.2023

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Manhattan

Couple on an ice rink in New York are celebrating Valentine's Day in Manhattan and holding hands.

By Franki Hanke

Manhattan has no shortage of amazing restaurants with reservations a-plenty for the romantic dinner that is seemingly required on Valentine’s Day, but instead, make some plans for something unique this year for your significant other or best friends. 

What’s wrong with dinner? 

I’m not knocking a dinner date, it’s a classic for a reason. It’s an opportunity for two of my favorite things: delicious food and face time, but humans (and our relationships) thrive on novelty. It plays a part in both how to be happier this year and how to keep sex in a relationship. 

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, we’re not worrying about Valentine’s Day events happening on February 14th specifically. The day itself isn’t so important, but the people you’re planning to spend time with? They’re important. So, use these ideas anytime around Valentine’s Day, and they’ll still be magical. 

7 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Manhattan (That Aren’t Just Dinner) 

Learn to Make Eclairs

Chef is piping decorations onto a sheet of eclair, one of our suggestions for how to celebrate Valentine's Day in Manhattan.

Learn how to make your own sweet treats before the big day with an eclair and cream puff class at Atelier Sucre in East Village. 

The course runs for two and a half hours from 6:30 to 9:00 PM on February 8. It’s beginner friendly, so you don’t need any prior practice. Read all the class details online. If you’re really inspired, there’s time to make your own batch for Valentine’s Day in Manhattan too! 

Listen to Live Music by Candlelight

Hosted by Fever, the Candlelight series brings performers together under a specific theme to play in a gorgeous venue with soft, flickering (faux) candles to light the scene. 

With a few different times, this date night is one of the romantic things that aren’t in the form of chocolate-covered strawberries, which are as overdone as they are delicious. Buy tickets for Valentine’s weekend

There’s a variety of other themes if you’d rather attend with your girlfriends for classical renditions of your favorite artists whether that’s Taylor Swift, ABBA, or even Vivaldi. 

If you miss tickets to this, there’s live music all over the city. Try catching some jazz at Parker’s near Central Park

See Portia Munson’s: The Pink Bedroom

What better time to bask in the overwhelming pink of this exhibit than Valentine’s Day? At the Museum of Sex’s NYC exhibit, Munson’s work comments on products designed for and marketed to women. It’s a thought-provoking perspective that flips the script on your typical Valentine’s Day date. This is perfect for your Galentine’s Day plans. 

Book a Spa Treatment

If you’re celebrating solo, a spa treatment is the ultimate in self-love. Book at any of the cities’ best spas or, if you do have someone to share it with, splurge on a luxurious couple package. 

The Couple Spa’s Rose Diamond Package starts with an hour-long massage with an added foot massage before you’re left alone with your partner for two, private hours with access to a hot sauna, rose petal bath, and complimentary champagne and sushi. 

Cynergy Spa pairs side-by-side Swedish massages with a long jacuzzi soap and chocolate fondue. 

Faina European Spa has a range of packages with different combinations of services best enjoyed by a couple including steam showers, body scrubs, and of course, massages. 

Skate at Rockefeller Center

Prepare yourself. New yorkers know, this will be busy, but if you want to check off a quintessential entry on the Big Apple must-do list, ice skating here ranks right there with spotting the Statue of Liberty, visiting Times Square, or climbing the Empire State Building

Every Thursday, The Rink at Rockefeller Center hosts themed nights with DJs curating music for a few hours. For Valentine’s Day in Manhattan, they’re celebrating on February 16, with the musical theme: “What’s love got to do with it?” 

Don’t forget to pre-buy your tickets! 

For a change in ambiance, try ice skating at one of Central Park’s three rinks instead. 

Book a Broadway Show

Broadway is never a bad idea. Seeing a show is an entertaining opportunity to cozy up beside your loved one (or pile in with several of them). 

→ For a passionate, moving drama, see Leopoldstadt which spans fifty years of time focused on one family. 

→ For a classic, humorous type of love story, see Little Shop of Horrors which overpowers the romance with laugh-out-loud storytelling. 

→ For you and the girls, see Funny Girl which brings to life the story of Fanny Brice. It’s funny with iconic songs you probably don’t know you know already. Little Island Park in New York City has a series of elevated platforms over the Hudson River with a view of the cityscape.

Watch the Sunset on the Water

The sunset is endlessly romantic. You could find an igloo on a rooftop or an observation deck, but for something a little quieter, opt for this often-overlooked park. Little Island is in Hudson River Park and features a winding walking path with gorgeous views on either side including a peek of the Manhattan skyline. Start your walk with a hot drink to go from a nearby cafe like Harbs for a hand warmer. 

Sunset on Valentine’s Day in Manhattan is around 5:45, so be sure to arrive at the park with enough time that you don’t miss it! 

If you’d like a fancier version, catch the sunset on the water with a sightseeing cruise. This romantic cruise sails you down the Hudson River to catch the sun setting over the water and city skyline

Willing to Travel? 

If you’re in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Chelsea and something from this list caught your eye, you’re free to ride into the city, but there’s no shortage of things to do in each neighborhood of the city. 

Now, if you book one of those delightful prix fixe dinner menus for Valentine’s Day in Manhattan and one of these ideas, you’re set for the best of both worlds. 

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