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Loved-up ways to spend Valentine’s Day in New York City

These Valentine’s Day ideas in NYC will earn you serious love points!

If you’ve heard of The Five Love Languages you know how applying them can improve your romantic relationships. How about improving your plans for Valentine’s Day in New York City?

We thought it would be fun to use some of the wisdom from the concept of love languages to write a guide to Valentine’s Day in New York City that will please your honey no matter how she or he appreciates being loved.

Love heart hands showing NYC skyline

Use this guide if your love’s love language is spending quality time with you instead of receiving extravagant gifts. And if you’re on a budget and looking for free things you can do in New York City for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you.

If the love of your life speaks the language of extravagant gifts and activities, there’s also a section on the best places for luxurious activities.

And if you’re just looking for a nice dinner we’ve included some of the best dreamy restaurants to have a romantic dinner.

I have also put together a guide for cheap and affordable New York City hotels, at the best hotels in the city for under $300 per night. This list is a great place to start your hotel search.

We’ve also sprinkled in some off-the beaten-track activities and a section at the very end where you can find unique ways to spend your Valentine’s Day in New York City! 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Crazy heart printable

Best free things to do on Valentine’s Day in NYC

Have a romantic pre-packed Picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park

If you are on a budget or your honey’s love language is quality time together over gifts, brilliant. One of the best things you could do is pack a picnic with all the foods they like, and take them to one of these places.

Picnic on any of the grassy areas in Brooklyn Bridge Park where the unsurpassed views of New York City across the East River will make your date swoon.

Come evening, head to Pebble Beach to watch as the sunset transforms the sky into orange over the Brooklyn Bridge. You may not spend a lot of money but your date will remember their Valentine’s Day in New York City forever!

Amazing view from Brooklyn Bridge Park
Can’t beat this view from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Walk through Times Square’s Valentines Day Art Installation

Every year, Times Square invites visitors to propose or get married at Duffy’s Square under a love themed art installation called Love in Times Square. You can click on this link to get their help with organizing a romantic proposal!

Take a stroll through the hedges surrounded by the scent of roses and the energy of Times Square. It’s free to visit for Valentine’s Day and a great way to experience the area while having your date!

Stroll with a view at the hidden Bush Terminal Park

This newer park is a hushed secret with residents of Sunset Park, Brooklyn and a gem hiding in plain sight. To get to it will take some doing but I promise the views of the harbor will make the trek worth it.

Bush Terminal Park is a smaller park so if you’re looking for a bigger park where you can spend a whole day for free, a good option is to take the free ferry to Staten Island where you’ll find the Alice Austen Park for more great views and lawns for having a picnic. 

Biking Date at Hudson River Greenway

If you prefer a biking date instead of a stroll, one of the best free things to do in New York City this Valentine’s Day is to hop on your bicycles (though you can also walk) the Hudson River Greenway.

Be prepared for romantic views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River. You’ll also pass the famous Intrepid Air and Space Museum and the Chelsea Piers so there’ll be lots to talk about if spending time together is your goal.

Cycling along Hudson River
Cycle alongside the Hudson River

Dreamy Valentine’s Day walk in Central Park

With dozens of ponds where ducks float serenely by, snow topped trees in winter, and horse drawn carriages passing every few minutes, Central Park is where many a heart has been won with a simple walk.

Take your date up to the royal looking Belvedere Castle for dramatic views of the park. Afterwards, head down to Turtle Pond, the perfect place for a romantic stroll.

Or go in the evening and stroll around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir where when the sun sets over New York City, the view is nothing short of romantic.

Couple in rain in Central Park
Lovers in the rain!

Best Extravagant Experiences in NYC this Valentine’s Day

Sip on Champagne and watch the city lights at Empire State Building

Nothing says romance more than city lights and up close views of New York City’s iconic landmarks.

Visit the Empire State Building and take your loved one’s breath away with the views. Since Valentine’s Day is the only day couples can get married at The Empire State Building, the crowds will be unbearable unless you go after 11pm.

Or, you could go premium and bypass the regular viewing floors so that you and your date see the city from the premium 102nd floor. Want to get even more extravagant? Book a champagne package and you’ll be sure to impress your honey if her (or his) love language is gifts of the extravagant kind.

Have Dinner above New York City at Love On Top, One World Observatory

On a regular day the One World Observatory is an observatory deck with views that almost rival the Empire State Building.

But not on Valentine’s Day. In celebration of love, One World Observatory elevates their regular experience by offering a special dinner they call Love On Top every Valentine’s Day.

We already thought seeing the city’s views was one of the most romantic things you could do in New York City this Valentine’s Day, but having a decadent dinner while being surrounded by all those lights and famous buildings? You couldn’t do better if the love of your life likes the good life!

Spend Valentine’s Day in the Clouds on a Helicopter Tour

If you’re a jaded city dweller who’s done everything on this list, how about seeing the city from the sky?

Touring the city by helicopter is a novel way to experience New York City whether you’re very familiar with the city or it’s your first time visiting.

Be sure to choose a sunset tour to up the romance. If the price for a helicopter tour is too steep,  a Valentine’s Day Cruise can be just as fun!

Or splash out and book this private proposal helicopter tour complete with an illuminated MARRY ME sign to get down on your knee.

Helicopter view over Statue of Liberty
Your heli view over Statue of Liberty!

See all the sights in New York City on a tour

If you’re taking your honey to New York City for the first time this Valentines Day, we understand if everything seems so exciting that you want to pack them all into your evening. And we have the perfect way to do that!

We suggest getting the New York City Explorer Pass for the best deals on 95 of the top attractions to create the most memorable date you can have in New York City this Valentine’s Day.

Or take this gorgeous three-hour sunset buffet dinner river cruise and watch the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

For something special, take this private pedicab cycle tour through Central Park.

View of the Empire State Building from SUMMIT ONE
View of the Empire State Building from SUMMIT ONE

Best restaurants in NYC For Valentine’s Day Dinner

Industry Kitchen for Heart Shaped Pizza on a budget

New Yorkers have largely been able to keep Industry Kitchen to themselves because though it’s in the historic South Street Seaport area, the area isn’t as visited by as many tourists as the rest of Manhattan.

You won’t hear locals complaining though because that means there isn’t as much competition for the excellent food or the river side igloo seating at this hidden gem in New York City!

For Valentines Day, Industry Kitchen serves a heart shaped pizza and a delicious chocolate heart that will have your date sighing in pleasure if food is the way to her heart! 

Heart shaped Valentine's Day pizza
Cute heart shaped pizza! (This is not a pic from Industry Kitchen)

Mezze for Dinner on the River

Dinner cruises on the Hudson River are great any time of year.  But on Valentine’s Day it’s even better. The usual menu comes with a single long stem rose and a bottle of Moet, along with those views!

Coffee and Cocktails for Dinner and Dancing

If your date likes dinner with live music and dancing, the special Valentine’s Day dinner at Coffee and Cocktails at the Gansevoort comes with fancy cocktails and live Jazz music that will have you on your feet in no time! 

Unique things to do on Valentines Day in NYC

Hudson River Dinner Cruise

You don’t need to be a newly loved-up couple to enjoy this wonderful dinner cruise on the Hudson River. Buy tickets for Hudson River Love and join this 3-hour cruise with a 5-course dinner, Prosecco and live DJ music against the backdrop of New York’s skyline.

Join a Valentine’s Day Trivia Competition

This Valentine’s Day happens to be a Wednesday and luck would have it, the Slattery Pub is hosting their weekly trivia night. You be sure it’ll be somehow love themed (last year it was a celebration of the awkward The Office sitcom). Head to their Midtown location where for a couple of hours on Valentine’s Day you’ll get to have a trivia showdown with other couples!    

Check out some of my other NYC posts:

The dangerous history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and balloon fails over the years

How to have the perfect Christmas in New York

12 great ways to have the best New Year’s Eve in New York

Find my picks for the best dreamy rooftop restaurants in NYC in this post!

There are plenty of places to see the 4th of July fireworks in New York for free, or book a harbor cruise get amongst it with an open bar and live DJ.

Affordable hotels that I like in NYC. I’ve stayed in several of these now all around the city.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!