From some of the world’s most unique museum dates to some classic options like charming ice-skating in Rockefeller Plaza, stunning aerial views, and intimate picnics in Central Park, , it’s hard to imagine a more romantic city than New York.
If you’re looking for romantic things to do in New York, whether that’s for Valentine’s Day 2019, or maybe for just a romantic evening, check out our a few of our suggested activities.
Regular admission to a number of these activities are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note — some of these special events may be separately ticketed and not included on the New York City Explorer Pass®.
See the City from Above at the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has a reputation as one of the most romantic buildings in the world –- in no small part due to its history of having served as the location for any number of romantic films, lovers’ rendezvous, and even proposals.
Take a ride to the top, day or night, and enjoy that soaring feeling of being on top of the world.
Re-enact “An Affair to Remember” and meet exactly at 7:01 pm. Then, you can enjoy a fun and flirty meal at some of the nearby restaurants (although we do recommend heading away from Times Square to avoid crowds).
Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the special lighting effects in honor of Valentine’s Day – the top of the spire will be lit with alternating red and pink sparkles.
Getting In: Admission to the Empire State Building Observatory is available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Explore the Art World
Mankind has been turning to art to show their love for centuries. So with that in mind, we’re sure a visit to the many amazing art museums of New York City this Valentine’s Day weekend is sure to nourish your lover’s soul.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers a unique perspective on love, as seen through paintings like the iconic “LOVE” pop art piece by Robert Indiana (above). You’ll also find a number of unexpected pieces that will get your creative juices flowing.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art also features several romantic pieces, showcasing the art of love from Ancient Egypt to the modern day. Even better — their comprehensive gift shop offers everything from necklaces and silk scarves to books and puzzles, so you can even do a little present shopping here!
Don’t miss out on the special exhibits at either museum!
This season, the Met has some fabulous spring exhibits going around Valentine’s day, including the appropriately romance-oriented “Jewelry: The Body Transformed” (closing February 24, 2019), “Lucio Fontana: On the Threshold” (opening January 23, 2019), and “Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey” (opening January 30, 2019).
The MoMA is also hosting “Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts” (now through February 25, 2019).
Enjoy the (brisk) Outdoors at Central Park & More
Now we all know that February isn’t the ideal time of year to be outside in the Northeast, but you can’t cross a romantic stroll off your list of things to do in New York City on Valentine’s Day.
Walk through some of the city’s best parks, like Central Park or Prospect Park, and enjoy the beautiful snow-covered landscape. Or, if there doesn’t happen to be any snow during the time of your visit, keep an eye out for the always lovely evergreens!
That said, if you’d prefer the romance of nature without the reality of the weather, try a visit to the New York Botanical Garden or the Brooklyn Museum & Botanic Garden, both of which offer indoor spaces featuring gorgeous tropical plants.
Getting In: General admission to the New York Botanical Garden and admission to the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden are both available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Ice Skate at Rockefeller Center
If you’re hardy enough to brave the outdoors, then why not try out one of the most romantic wintertime traditions in the city – ice skating?
Watch the ice-skaters at the Rockefeller Center rink, or tie on a pair of skates yourself, as long as you don’t mind being out-skated by some locals.
Besides, there’s nothing as sweet as a bit of rink time with your love — remember Serendipity?
Rockefeller Center simply too touristy for your taste? Then head to the Bryant Park’s Winter Village for other skating options. They also boast a number of food stalls, shops, and miscellaneous vendors. You know, if you’d like to treat your partner to a little something.
Getting In: Rockefeller Center ice-skating is separately priced and is not available with the New York City Explorer Pass®. Admission to Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Ice Rink is available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Embark on a Romantic Journey to the Stars – CLOSED 2019
As part of their wildly popular After Hours programming, this year the American Museum of Natural History is offering a special Valentine’s edition of their fun adults-only event, entitled, “Romance Under the Stars.”
So head to the Hayden Planetarium with your date to enjoy a cocktail hour under the stars, special musical performances, plus delicious hors d’oeuvres. What’s not to love? It does require a bit of a healthy budget, but it’s worth it to enjoy such a unique experience.
Getting In: Admission to the “Romance Under the Stars” event is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass®. For tickets, please visit the attraction website.
Regular admission to the American Museum of Natural History is available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
* Please note that for Valentine’s Day 2019, the Hayden Planetarium is closed for upgrades and renovations. This event will likely be held next year! *
Play up Your Sensual Side at the Museum of Sex
What’s Valentine’s Day without a little sensuality? Some of the most romantic things to do in New York City for this lovers’ holiday are about a celebration of the human body, in all its glory.
Try a visit to the one-of-a-kind Museum of Sex, a truly educational and enlightening tour of humanity’s relationship with sex. You’ll see art and artifacts spanning the aesthetics of black and white photography to comic books and pop art.
It’s not all about art, either – you’ll find some of the most important and compelling conversations about human sexuality in the world represented in the programming and exhibits at this museum.
Getting In: Admission to the Museum of Sex is available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Hop Aboard a Romantic Cruise
Although February is a chilly time of year to be out on the water, you will find most tourist-oriented cruises will run at least once per day.
One of our favorite options is the romantic Harbor Lights Cruise, which showcases New York in its most flattering light, with all the glitter of the city on display against a beautiful sunset. It’s the perfect opportunity to get that lovely couple’s photo in front of the city skyline.
If you’re in the city primarily to sightsee, however, something like the Landmark Cruise would also be a good option! There’s still something really fun and romantic about being out on the water, regardless of your featured attractions.
Enjoy a Romantic Meal
The mix of delicious cuisine and romantic ambiance that many New York City restaurants offer (both this time of year specifically and year-round) make the Big Apple an ideal destination for a Valentine’s Day date.
Whether you’re interested in the high-class romance of a steak-and-seafood restaurant or you’re really just looking for an amazing vegan burrito, NYC has that perfect place to satisfy your cravings.
If you’re looking to explore new areas for dining options – and we do recommend branching out from Times Square for the really good stuff – try scoping out places like Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, the West Village, and NoMad.
Brooklyn also has some great fare if you’re willing to venture on the subway (we promise it’s fine!).
Take in a Show
The home of Broadway and everything inspired by the art and music industry, New York City offers some of the best theatre in the world just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Whether you want to go all-out with a romantic evening performance of the hottest new show, or you want to try something new at a comedy club or a small indie theatre in the Bronx, there is something to suit every taste.
Be sure to purchase tickets in advance, as a show in NYC is an incredibly popular Valentine’s idea among locals in the Tri-State area, too.
There are also a number of discount ticket sites available, so it’s worth your time to do some research before visiting to see if you can get a good deal on your desired performance.
Getting In: Tickets for Broadway plays are not included with the New York City Explorer Pass®; for more information and to purchase tickets, visit the theatre website directly.
Remember to Save on Admission
Whether you’re a more conventional flower-and-dinner kind of couple, or you prefer something more off the beaten path, there are plenty of romantic things to do in New York for you to choose from.
Remember, some of these great options are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®, where you can save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note, the special events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the New York City Explorer Pass®.