NYC Date Ideas For Winter You’ll Both Actually Enjoy
This Valentine’s Day, share heart-shaped pizzas or elope in a hotel room.
Quarantining with our sweethearts and significant others since the start of the pandemic has taught us that keeping the love alive through date nights—and pretty much date mornings, date afternoons, and date weekends—is really important. For New Yorkers, the good news is that Governor Cuomo announced the return of indoor dining, slated to begin again on the Friday before Valentine's Day. But if you’re looking for something a little more unexpected than just your standard prix-fixe, we’ve got you covered for that, too.
From a romantic night spent stargazing to a luxe staycation with a twist, our list of date ideas for February and beyond has something for every type of couple; even the ones who just broke up. Read on for our list of 12 date ideas to spark romance, and as always, please wear a mask and social distance responsibly.
The Museum of Ice Cream is a spectacular idea any time of the year, but just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’re rolling out a special experience named “Date Nights.” In collaboration with the card game We’re Not Really Strangers, the museum will be adding special attractions during these nights to make the shortest month of the year extra sweet. Expect dance classes, sundae making, and even a special installation making visitors stars in a game show. Of course, the museum’s 13 exhibition spaces will also be available to explore, including the ever-popular Rainbow Tunnel, Celestial Subway, and the Sprinkle Pool.
Cost: $49 per person
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s trio of abc restaurants—Kitchen, Cucina, and V—are some of the city’s most beloved destinations for good reason: the food is fantastic and the ambience even better. The group’s latest venture, bakery by abc restaurants, focuses on the sweet side of things and launched in January. For Valentine’s Day, the bakery is offering a special cookie box with raspberry dusted almond chocolate cookies, malted milk ganache filled chocolate shortbread, passion fruit caramel swirl brownies, and dark chocolate dulcey chip cookies for pick up or delivery via tock 2/8 - 2/14
Bronx Little Italy
Is a heart-shaped pizza cheesy? Well, literally, yes. Figuratively, though, isn’t that the kind of adorable pick-me-up we all need right now? At Ivana’s Pizzeria in the Bronx, they’ll be serving the specially shaped pie for the entire month of February, with the option of classic cheese or pepperoni toppings. Even cuter? The shop was founded by married couple Antonio and Ivana Ferri, who moved from Italy to America in 1975. Today, Ivana’s is operated by their two sons, Frankie and Corrado.
Cost: From $20 a pie
Bryant Park and Industry City
COVID-19 has sadly put the brakes on many of NYC’s greatest date nights: live theater, live concerts, crowded drinks at a bar… you know the drill. But one of the city’s most romantic activities is still going strong: ice skating for two. At Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, they’ve actually extended their season through March 28 this year. Their rink is the only admission-free rink in NYC, simply make a reservation and rent skates online in advance. Across the river, Industry City’s Ice Rink Powered by Volvo Car USA has an outdoor heating system to keep you nice and toasty (not to mention 20-plus food vendors for after you work up an appetite).
Cost: Free at Winter Village; $12 per person at Industry City
Upper East Side
It’s impossible to say how many weddings have been postponed, reconfigured, or just plain canceled this past year. But if you and your beloved are looking to just forgo all the hassle, we have a solution for you: book a staycation at The Mark Hotel over V-Day and throw a quickie ceremony right in your room. The hotel’s “Foolproof Valentine’s Day Menu” boasts a lot of goodies—roses with a handwritten card, in-suite couples’ massages—but nothing as fun as hiring the hotel’s wedding officiant for an intimate ceremony for two. Just don’t forget to Zoom in the family.
Cost: $2,000 for the officiant, rooms from $665
Does anything bring a couple closer together than growing your own veggies and flowers while in quarantine? Find out by signing up for Seed Starting 101, a virtual class run by Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Urban farmer and educator Molly Culver will lead students in how to grow seeds indoors for annual crops; covering topics like what containers to use and how to take care of your baby plants. Who knows, maybe you’ll harvest your own Valentine’s Day bouquet for next year.
Cost: $55 per person
Van Cortlandt Park
New York City might not be dark sky territory, exactly, but if you know where to look, stargazing is all around us. In this class held at Van Cortlandt Nature Center in the Bronx, Urban Park Rangers will teach students the history, science, and folklore of the great night sky above us. Using both telescopes and binoculars, the Rangers will also guide attendees in spotting astronomical events that are visible even from the city. Talk about star struck lovers.
The pandemic certainly tested all relationships, so it should be no surprise that not all of us made it through. For that tiny percentage that called it quits, but maybe wants to celebrate with one last meal, there’s even a date idea for you. Casa Del Toro, a Oaxacan-style taqueria, is offering a Valentine’s Day special of tlayuda divorciados: an open-faced tortilla broken in half, with roja and verde sauces. On a happier note, they’ve also got holiday cocktails, including the pink-hued strawberry-hibiscus mezcal margarita.
Cost: Tacos from $4
If you’re not quite ready to tie the knot, The Standard, High Line has a staycation package that’s equally romantic without as much commitment. The hotel’s “Go Big for Bubbles” package includes a deluxe room with a bathtub, plus a bottle of Moet to sip while you double bubble. Also included is a $30 credit for food or drink to use at any of the hotel’s venues, like their seasonal pop-up The Forest at the Standard Grill.
Cost: From $409 a night
If there were ever a year when it was acceptable to just eat sweets for dinner, it’s now. And no one does it more beautifully (or tastily) than chef Dominique Ansel at Dominique Ansel Bakery. As is tradition, the spot will feature pink-hued desserts from February 11 - 14, in addition to some ‘Gram worthy treats. The most interactive is certainly the snickerdoodle and strawberry milk cookie shot set: two cookies shaped into shot glasses that you can fill with the bakery’s delectable house-made strawberry milk.
Cost: Pastries from $4
If you need another reason to fall in love with NYC, see it from above with 360-degree views at 1,131 feet up. And to make someone fall in love with you, show them the skyline at sunrise. In addition to The Edge’s general programming, for a special Valentine’s Day only experience, the city’s highest outdoor sky deck will open at 6 am, offering lucky viewers the chance to see the sun break over Manhattan. Only 50 tickets for this V-Day sunrise will be available, and go on sale at 12pm on Monday, February 8th.
Cost: $38 general admission, $100 for special sunrise ticket
Quarantine life has brought out the chef in (most of) us, but wintertime cooking can be tricky. Impress your significant other by mastering the uses of one of the season’s star ingredients: citrus. In this two-hour class held at Il Fiorista, a NoMad destination for flowers that also features a restaurant, guests will not only learn the differences between a pomelo and a blood orange, but how to coax the best flavors out of many different types of the fruit. And, to make it extra romantic, there will also be oysters and champagne on hand.
Cost: $85 per person