Valentine’s Day is always tough to plan: How do you come up with a fun and intimate date idea that is more exciting than just dinner? In New York, there are plenty of activities that will meet every goal, whether you’re looking to unwind, try something new, get inspired, or just avoid the crowds that tend to mob all your favorite sports. Try one of these alternative date ideas to experience a Valentine’s Day that will stand out from the others.
There’s something thrilling about having a date before you go to work for the day. Instead of competing with the rest of the city for dinner reservations, go for breakfast with your significant other at one of the city’s best all-day restaurants. We love La Mercerie, Lafayette, Hudson Clearwater, Cafe Cluny, Cookshop, and Le Coucou, to name a few.
Why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to unwind? Head to Inscape for a meditation or relaxation session in one of the beautifully designed studio spaces. Audio guides will lead you through a calming 35, 45, or 70 minute class that focuses on breathing, relaxing, and being present. Afterwards, you’ll feel more connected to yourself and your partner, too.
Head to The Office NYC for a special cocktail experience in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The speakeasy-style space offers extraordinary drinks along with an opportunity to sample rare spirits from the so-called “dusty-bottle collection.” On Valentine’s Day, there’s a special menu pairing caviar parfaits and oysters with a champagne cocktail, and 5% of the proceeds will benefit the Billion Oyster Project.
Wandering museums in the evening always feels a bit magical—it’s often quieter than in the daytime, so it’s easier to admire the works you want to see up close and discuss them with your date. A few museums in the city stay open late on Thursdays, which is when February 14 falls this year. At the Museum of Arts and Design, see an exhibition on the future of craft; head to the Brooklyn Museum for the buzzed-about Frida Kahlo show; or visit the New Museum for a look at sculptor Nari Ward.
Feeling active? Work up a sweat and cheer on your partner with a rock climbing date. Central Rock Gym on the Upper West Side is ideal for novices and pro climbers alike. The facility offers bouldering climbs on short horizontal walls that are suitable for all experience levels, or you can book a private lesson for two people that will teach you everything you need to get started.
Instead of an expected sit-down dinner, foodies will love to do something a little more interactive. Murray’s Cheese is offering a decadent tasting event on Valentine’s Day, complete with foie gras, caviar, truffles, cheese, and Champagne. Or, you can create your own tasting experience by bouncing from counter to counter at Eataly and trying everything from focaccia to cannoli.
If you want to celebrate the holiday with a romantic getaway, we also recommend these 12 winter weekend destinations. What do you plan to do this Valentine’s Day? Show us how you’re celebrating by tagging us on Instagram at @related_rentals.