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8 Unique NYC Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |

Treat your partner to an extra-special outing in the Big Apple

Most people opt for a traditional Valentine’s Day experience: a romantic dinner, wine, maybe dancing. Then there are the rest of us, those who look for outside-of-the-box experiences that are truly original or adventures that facilitate unconventional memory-making. New York City is the perfect place to seek these out, and here are a few ideas that just might be that Valentine’s Day alternative you are looking for.

Venture off the beaten path in NYC this Valentine's Day (Photo: iStock)

Venture off the beaten path in NYC this Valentine's Day (Photo: iStock)

A Walking Dinner in Chinatown in Flushing, Queens
Who needs a quiet, sit down bistro or an elegant candlelight dinner for their Valentine’s Day magic? There are other exciting ways to feast with your love, and one of them is becoming a popular trend among New Yorkers. Take a subway or cab to Chinatown in Flushing, Queens where a plethora of food carts and counter restaurants await. Walk your way from place to place, enjoying one menu item at each stop. Duck on a rice bun? Check! Pot stickers with Siracha? A must! A bowl of homemade noodles in broth? It will warm your heart.

The Museum of Sex
Valentine’s often comes with pressures of having intimate relations at the end of this amorous day. Bone up on your knowledge and understanding of all things erotic at The Museum of Sex (233 5th Ave). One of the current exhibits on display is “Superfunland: A Journey Into the Erotic Carnival.” Both a compelling look at sexual history as it pertains to the carnival, as well as a titillating art show featuring thirteen original commissions created by internationally celebrated artists and designers, “Superfunland” will definitely get your pulse racing. Best of all, The Museum of Sex is open until 1 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, making it a nice segue from a romantic dinner to whatever you have planned for...later.

When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour
Sometimes, we just need to laugh and not take Valentine’s Day so seriously. Memories of some of our favorite funny films and TV shows can be the perfect antidote to the conventional Cupid-inspired nonsense. The When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour merges our love for the iconic film When Harry Met Sally with our love for the iconic TV series Seinfeld. Board a bus that motors you around NYC, stopping at some of the memorable filming locations from these titles, watching hilarious clips along the way. Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, but for those who make a weekend out of it, sign up for this Saturday-only experience.

Greenwich Village Small-Group Haunted Ghost Tour
Nothing quite tests the strength of a relationship like a little fear…or at least the potential for a good scare. For the couple who likes to cling to each other, consider taking the Greenwich Village Small-Group Haunted Ghost Tour. Wend your way (with your guide) through one of New York’s oldest neighborhoods, learning of the reported hauntings that have evolved there throughout history. Chilling stories attached to such locales as Washington Square Park, Hangman's Elm and the Emma Lazarus House will send you home thoroughly glad that you have someone to go home with.

Go to a Drag Club
Taking in a drag show or visiting a drag club in the Big Apple is a unique and unforgettable experience that will definitely put some pizazz and sparkle in your Valentine’s Day. Well-regarded venues such as Lips and Lucky Cheng’s employ some of the funniest and talented drag queens, delivering sass, song and shade to their customers. They might pick on you little (or a lot, that’s part of the fun), but you will also be truly amazed by their colorful costumes and brilliant transformations. You and your significant other will share in an experience that you are sure not to forget.

Indoor Rock Climbing
A physical workout that requires strength, stamina, and people who do not suffer from acrophobia, a visit to an indoor rock climbing wall is an exhilarating alternative to dinner and dancing this Valentine’s Day. The city boasts a variety of locales for couples to connect through climbing, but be careful that Cupid’s arrow doesn’t hit you at the top. In case it does, though, no worries – you are harnessed in for your slow fall to the ground. Chelsea Piers Fitness is one of these venues that has an amazing climbing wall for this activity.  

VR World
For the couple who want to do something together for Valentine’s Day, but really have no interest in dealing with the holiday in a form of actual reality, may we suggest a trip to VR World (8 East 34th Street)? It is a foray into augmented reality where guests can choose from experiences that range from rock climbing and puzzle solving, to more adrenaline inducing experiences such as solving a zombie apocalypse, their jet pack simulator, or taking a jaunt into outer space. VR World, the largest virtual reality entertainment attraction in the Western Hemisphere, offers 50 games, films and experiences spread over two floors.

Helicopter Rides Over NYC
There are plenty of ways to see the nonpareil skyline of the Big Apple, from a romantic sunset cruise, to the viewing decks of the city’s tallest buildings. However, one seldom considers the thrilling option of a helicopter ride over the metropolis. Imagine how romantic it could be, a 360-degree aerial view as you scoop in and out of this glorious vista. Such an experience sets the perfect tone for a romantic evening to follow.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, was released on Oct. 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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