Photo provided courtesy of Paola's Restaurant
For couples wanting romance on Valentine’s Day, New York City is a great destination. Whether you’re looking to learn something new together, have a quirky experience or just enjoy each other’s company over delicious food, you can do it in the Big Apple. To help you plan your romantic holiday, here are the top Valentine’s Day experiences in New York City.
Valentine’s Day is almost synonymous with chocolate. Luckily, there are a number of worthwhile chocolate experiences to be had around New York City. First of all, Tache Chocolate offers a chocolate-making class in their chocolate factory and cafe, where you and your loved one can make chocolates adorned with whimsical wrapping while sipping hot cocoa. Classes are offered daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. The price is $150 per couple.
This isn’t the only cocoa-inspired activity in NYC. Take a chocolate tour with New York Chocolate Tours; see sustainable chocolates being made and enjoy free samples at Mast Brothers Chocolate; or head to Max Brenner for a chocolate-themed menu that includes everything from chocolate fondues to chocolate pizzas to chocolate cocktails and beyond.
There’s something about being on a boat that makes you feel truly in love. Luckily, New York offers a number of romantic harbor cruises this Valentine’s Day. First there is Bateaux NYC, allowing you to choose between brunch, lunch or dinner cruises (February 14-16, 2014). Dancing, a plated dinner, entertainment, a rose and Champagne are all part of the experience. Tickets are $139.90. Another Valentine’s Day harbor cruise option is World Yacht, which has a similar offer on the same dates aboard a luxury yacht. Price is $105 per person.
Yes, you read that right. For a quirky Valentine’s Day idea (that also raises money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation), ditch your pants and don your favorite underwear – as well as colorful costume accessories, if you desire – and run a mile to raise money for a good cause in the Cupid’s Undie Run. Dancing in the streets is also encouraged. This year’s event will take place Saturday, February 15.
Many restaurants around the city are doing romantic tasting menus for the occasion. For example, the Rusty Mackerel in Washington Heights is offering a 5-course aphrodisiac tasting menu on Valentine's Day, with each dish incorporating common aphrodisiacs like oysters, caviar, pomegranate, chocolate and pumpkin seeds. Paola's Restaurant is another excellent choice, as the chef will also be serving an aphrodisiac menu, as well as red foods for a bit of color and roses on every table. Couples can also head to the Kitano New York’s Hakubai Japanese Restaurant for an interactive Valentine’s Day sake-pairing dinner on February 14 from 6:30 to 9pm, where guests will learn the art of pairing sake with traditional Kaiseki cuisine. For five courses with sake, the price is $170 per couple including a takeaway gift of Hakkaisan Sake and tickets to JAZZ at Kitano.
While you can technically do this at any time of the year, it’s an extra special experience on Valentine’s Day. You and your sweetie will cuddle up on a whimsical coach pulled by horses, taking in the fauna, castles, lakes and gardens of the park together. You can head to Central Park to hail a horse and carriage or reserve in advance.
Paris is known for oozing romance, and you can get a taste of this at NYC’s Guggenheim through April. Located on 88th and 5th, the museum is hosting an exhibit titled "Kandinsky in Paris, 1934-1944,” which showcases over 150 of artist Vasily Kandinsky’s paintings done during the last 11 years of his life. Take note of traces of Paris’ abstract movements in the pieces. Bonus: Their cafe boasts beautiful views of Central Park, which you can pair with a decadent slice of chocolate cake.
Ink48, A Kimpton Hotel is doing romance a bit differently this year. Instead of Champagne and flowers, they’re offering a series of Heat Meter Amenities, with sets of “Low Heat,” “Medium Heat” and “High Heat” packages. Some experiences you may have with their packages include visiting the Museum of Sex (Low Heat); savoring a private in-room wine tasting as well as massage oils (Medium Heat); and taking part in a sexy boudoir photo shoot and enjoying welcome amenities of red wine, chocolates and two disposable cameras (High Heat). Rates start at $399 per night for Low Heat, $409 per night for Medium Heat and $899 per night for High Heat.
Through the month of February at Kim Laudati Skin Care in Midtown East, couples (and singles!) can enjoy the spa’s “Couple’s Day Out” offer. The package includes a 50-minute "organic Holistic Au Naturel with gentle peel" facial service incorporating certified organic Hungarian pumpkin enzyme peel and a 50-minute “Transcend” massage which blends Swedish and Deep Tissue massage techniques. While the retail value of this is $295 per person, during February couples can enjoy it at $95 per person.
Another great spa experience is the Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York, specifically their “Love The One You’re With Pack.” This includes two side-by-side 50- or 80-minute massages, time in their exclusive spa suite, Champagne and truffles. This also comes with a complimentary shoe shine, garment steaming and/or makeup touchup to feel great for a romantic night out.
What are your favorite romantic activities in New York City?
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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