Unique Valentine’s Day date ideas in NYC

Ice skate on a heart-shaped rink, catch a romantic movie or start the day with a morning party this Valentine's Day.
Ice skate on a heart-shaped rink, catch a romantic movie or start the day with a morning party this Valentine’s Day. Photo Credit: goop

If you’re looking for something other than a dinner date this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got your back.

From love-themed comedy shows and salsa classes to burlesque performances and acts of kindness, New York City is full of unique ways to spend time with your Valentine.

Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Enjoy a "Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque Valentines Spectacular"

Shelly "The Singing Siren" Watson is hosting a night of burlesque at the Brooklyn Bowl for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy steamy burlesque and circus performances by She’s The Pot & The Kettle, Fem Appeal, the teddy bear with claws, Broody Valentino, Miss Coney Island 2019, Pearls Daily, Topher Bousquet, Seedy Edie, and many more. ($22-$50, 7:30 p.m., 61 Wythe Ave., ticketfly.com)

Take your champagne tasting on the go

Why not make your night extra special with a Champagne cruise around Manhattan? The Yacht Manhattan II and Classic Harbor Line are offering this Valentine’s Day cruise that includes a tasting of one bubbly cocktail and three varietals, a special Valentine’s cocktail inspired by New York’s golden age, glasses of an American blanc de blanc, a Spanish Reserve Cava and French champagne as well a bevy of chocolate-covered strawberries. There are three departure times — 5, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $72-$92 and must be purchased in advance.

Get your portrait done by Laura Kay

Head to Dream Downtown’s lobby (355 W. 16th St.) with your loved one, where fashion illustrator Laura Kay will be creating portraits of those who visit on Valentine’s Day. If someone can’t make it, bring a photo of them and Kay will create a gift for you. Portraits are first come, first served, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dream Hotels are also offering special discounts and packages for Valentine’s Day, too. 

Fashion illustrator Laura Kay will create portraits of those who visit Dream Downtown on Valentine's Day.
Fashion illustrator Laura Kay will create portraits of those who visit Dream Downtown on Valentine’s Day. Photo Credit: Dream Downtown

Catch a romantic flick and dinner at Metrograph

If you’re a film buff or just like romance flicks, head to Metrograph on Valentine’s Day for a day of movies about love and relationships including "Casablanca," "Moonlight," "Heaven Can Wait," "Querelle," "Crash" and "Trouble Every Day." If you want to make a night of it, Metrograph has a four-course prix-fixe menu for $65 per person that includes bouillabaisse-spiced seafood presse, turbot with sauce Maltaise or prime rib and dessert. 

Sit in on a talk with artist Steve Locke

Artist Steve Locke and Gallatin Galleries are presenting "in the name of love," an exhibition that spans paintings, drawings, sculpture, and video that explores Locke’s memories and his sexuality in the context of the African-American experience. Locke will speak on his work on Valentine’s Day from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gallatin Galleries (1 Washington Square Pl.) Admission is free.

Hand out Valentines to strangers together

People can feel extra lonely or hurt on Valentine’s Day, so why not share the love? Army of Lovers, a movement started by Erika Anderson in 2014, encourages people to make Valentines alone or with a group and hand them out to strangers on the street. For tips on how to get started, visit armyoflovers.co.

Go to Times Square

Hear us out — we know Times Square can be a nightmare to walk through at times, but on Valentine’s Day, there’s a special reason to brave the trip. The Times Square Alliance is hosting a large vow renewal ceremony at 6 p.m. for those who sign up online. Couples will climb the red steps overlooking "X" and say their "I dos," followed by a confetti drop. 

Or, you can watch two pairs of sweethearts tie the knot at 11 a.m. and noon or watch two couples go through live, surprise proposals at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

You also can check out the new installation, "X," which stands 18 feet tall, is made of two aluminum planes that intersect to form a meeting place while creating heart shapes with rounded openings at its intersection. When people make contact with it, "X" glows brighter as a way to express the power of community and love. 

Couples renew their vows on the Red Steps each year in Times Square.
Couples renew their vows on the Red Steps each year in Times Square. Photo Credit: Justin Bettman for the Times Square Alliance

Laugh together at a Disney-themed burlesque show

It may not be your first instinct to go to a burlesque show for Valentine’s Day, but this one delivers Disney entertainment for the adult crowd. In the show at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St.), Prince Charming and The Fairy Godmother want to set up Aladdin with a new lady after his break up with Jasmine. It’s a good time for those seeking cheeky entertainment with their loved one(s). Tickets are $15 and the show begins at 8 p.m. 

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque
Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Photo Credit: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque

Relive your winter formal

Greenpoint’s The Springs is kicking off a new party series called "The Enthusiastic Dad’s Winter Formal" and you’re invited. Every Friday and Saturday, and on Valentine’s Day, the bar and lounge at 224 Franklin St. transforms into a 1990s-esque school dance, complete with a photo booth to take your awkwardly posed photos and retro and contemporary songs (admit you still know the Macarena), but this time there will be booze. Throwback styles and formal wear are encouraged. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets are $65, which includes an open bar.

Start off early with Daybreaker

Early birds can start their Valentine’s Day with a party at The Public Hotel (215 Chrystie St.). Daybreaker, an "early morning dance movement," is kicking the day off with a guided yoga session at 6 a.m., followed by a sunrise disco with live music, dancing and DJs. Expect surprises from performance artists and breakfast treats, too. We’ll be asleep, but it sounds like a good time. Tickets start at $25. 

Daybreaker gets your day started with yoga and a sunrise disco.
Daybreaker gets your day started with yoga and a sunrise disco. Photo Credit: Daybreaker

Hang a "love lantern" in Dumbo

Leave a message of love through a new augmented reality app called "Wishes on Washington." Head to Washington Street in Dumbo, near the Manhattan Bridge, start the app and customize your message in a love lantern and check out notes left by others. It’s a neat little way to express yourself. 

Leave a love note for your sweetie or read others in Dumbo with the "Wishes on Washington Street" app.
Leave a love note for your sweetie or read others in Dumbo with the "Wishes on Washington Street" app. Photo Credit: Juniper Jones and the Dumbo Improvement District

Move those hips at a salsa class

Show some passion in your moves this Valentine’s Day with a class in salsa dancing by the Ailey Extension and BAILA Society at 6:30 p.m. Classes are normally $22, but students are getting a discount for the holiday — two students for $35 or one student for $20. Having a partner is not necessary. 

Explore the seductive world of ‘Sleep No More’ together

The McKittrick Hotel has much to offer for Valentine’s Day. "Sleep No More," the Macbeth-themed interactive show that presents provocative scenes of lust, murder and despair, will not disappoint. Each corner you turn has something new to discover and explore, which makes for a very mysterious and exciting date night. Other shows to catch include "Bartschland Follies," a cabaret extravaganza, and "Wonders at Dusk" with illusionist Scott Silven. 

Watch comedians compete for a date in the BackFat Variety show

Laugh it up with your date. Four comics — Drew Anderson, Kendall Farrell, Brian Bahe and Calvin Cato — will vie for a date with bachelor Hugh McIntyre, a music journalist, with their wits in "The Backfatlor" at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $8 per person and $10 at the door.

Go ice-skating and grab a warm drink by a fireplace

Ice skating may not be the most unique idea, but doing it on a heart-shaped rink might be. The Rooftop at Pier 17 is a "Winterland" right now with a heart-shaped ice skating rink that has views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River. Plus, once you’re done showing off your axel jump, there’s a speakeasy-inspired lounge with fireplaces and a glass warming hut you can escape to.