Love and joy are starting to overtake the streets of Manhattan on Valentine’s Day. With its iconic views and diverse neighborhoods, the city offers a variety of fun activities, entertaining attractions, and romantic settings for couples looking to celebrate their love.
Searching for fun date ideas in Manhattan that aren’t just drink and dinner? You’ll find plenty of options here!
Sometimes, when we’ve been in a long-term relationship for quite some time, you’ve already tried every bar, been to Central Park a million times, and seen every movie together. So, changing your usual plans a little might help you bring the excitement back to your dates. Or maybe you’re just starting to date someone and you wanna show your most adventurous side!
Either way, this list will give you plenty of fun activities, a perfect place for hidden kisses, and eye-catching spots for a Valentine’s Day that your partner won’t forget.
And if Manhattan sounds too crowded and chaotic, take a look at these romantic spots in Queen, NYC instead!
Fun Activities in Manhattan for Valentine’s Day
Whether you’re a New Yorker looking for an amazing spot to impress your first date or to take your partner somewhere unique and special, you can’t go wrong with any of these fun activities in NYC for couples.
Tip: Remember to plan ahead and make reservations as far in advance as possible since most places will be busy on February 14.
And if you find something on this list that aligns with your partner’s interests, even better!
You can also check out my guide with more romantic things to do in NYC for Valentine’s Day beyond Manhattan.
1. Take a Couples Baking Class
Known for their original layered cakes and colorful cookies, Milk Bar offers both public and private classes where you’ll learn how to recreate their most iconic treats.
You’ll get insights on their best tips and tricks for irresistible pastries while you taste and snack along the way. Best of all? You get to take all your tasty creations home!
And if you can’t have enough of something sweet, buy some Valentine’s Day treats at the shop. They’re packed in beautiful boxes and are perfect for a gift!
2. Have Dinner and Catch a Movie at The Metrograph
The Metrograph is the perfect date spot for a low-key, casual night out with a chic vibe. This boutique theater hosts a wide selection of movies, including new releases, indie productions, and international classics.
After a good movie, go upstairs to have a delicious dinner and cocktail in its restaurant/bar, inspired by commissaries of old Hollywood.
Check out movies and dates here.
Tip: Consider having dinner on the water with this Valentine’s Day dinner cruise on the Hudson River – the best part is that you can also take this Valentine’s Day cruise before the 14th. So, if you already have other plans, you can still enjoy seeing the Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty up close on the water with mouth-watering food next to your beloved partner.
3. Take in The Beauty of NYC From an Observation Deck with Skyline Views
There are many observation decks to enjoy jaw-dropping views of Manhattan on Valentine’s Day, making one of the most romantic cities in the United States even better. If you need a cool backdrop for your engagement photos, photoshoot, or just somewhere nice to watch the sunset with your partner, consider going to one of these – this would also be the perfect opportunity to propose to, just saying!
These are some of my favorite observation decks for magical views:
- The Empire State Building – this iconic landmark is a classic experience with 360-degree views and an interactive museum.
- Edge – enjoy panoramic views while walking across a suspended glass floor.
- One World Observatory – a unique experience with breathtaking views from a 100th-floor viewing deck.
- SUMMIT One Vanderbilt – prime vistas with 3 floors of immersive experiences. Plus, there’s a lovely cafe and bar at the top.
Budget tip: some of these places (and many more) are included in packages like The New York Pass. You’ll have access to 100+ attractions, museums, and observation decks. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money.
Alternatively, you can also enjoy a night out with the New York City Harbor Lights Cruise to watch the NYC skyline from the water.
4. Be a Kid Again at Color Factory
Explore the colorful – and very instagrammable – world of Color Factory, an interactive museum filled with exciting multisensory exhibits. Every room is a different interactive experience inspired by the colors of New York City.
Besides, there are colorful snacks along the way on their special menu and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opps for your love story.
Get tickets here.
Already familiar with Manhattan? Find more date ideas in my Brooklyn Valentine’s Day guide.
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5. Have a Relaxing Day at The Spa
AIRE Ancient Baths will be hosting a Valentine’s Day Special Event from February 14th to 19th for your special day. This exclusive experience for two will take you on a romantic and soothing journey of relaxation – the perfect way to get a romantic date night started.
Located at a restored historical building, these beautiful thermal baths – inspired by ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman baths – provide an immersive and intimate setting where silence and the murmur of water blend, accompanied by the subtle light of candles.
As all the stress and tension in your body melt away, you’ll enjoy a relaxing massage with exclusive oils, basalt stones, and aromatherapy. Along the way, you’ll be treated to dealcoholized sparkling rosé wine and velvet macarons to enrich this sensorial experience.
By far, this is one of the best things to do in Manhattan for Valentine’s Day if you want to gift your loved one a special moment to remember.
This event has limited availability. Book your spot here.
6. Dine with Great Views at a Rooftop Bar
Many restaurants in Manhattan create special Valentine’s Day menus for the most romantic day of the year and offer an intimate atmosphere for couples. But you know what’s even better? The whole NYC skyline; magically lighting up the dark night sky, and surrounding you while you enjoy your fine dining experience.
Here are my top picks for rooftop bars in Manhattan for fantastic unobstructed views of the city:
- 230 Fifth – enjoy panoramic views both from inside and from its outside terrace (equipped with cute heated igloos during winter months).
- Magic Hour Rooftop – 18 floors above the Moxy Times Square, this bar features a sexy, mature vibe, with themed cocktails and treats.
- Bar Cima – sophisticated, Mexico-inspired lounge with a beautiful outdoor terrace on the 28th floor of the Grayson Hotel.
By the way, I have a whole post dedicated to the best rooftop bars in New York City 🙂
7. Enjoy Jazz, Drinks & Games at Cellar Dog
Cellar Dog is a fun and innovative bar with lots of games to play as you’re enjoying live shows of Jazz. It has ample tables and booths, so it’s perfect for a double date for a fun romantic evening– or even to go meet other couples to play with!
Team up with your partner for a round of Billiards, Ping Pong, Table Hockey, or Shuffleboard, while enjoying different jazz bands and musicians performing live.
8. Visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a wonderful choice if you’re in Manhattan on Valentine’s Day – which is also a good option for any other day! With over 5,000 years of art from around the world, the museum has so much to see that, usually, a single visit is not enough.
Going to a museum can spark a lot of conversation besides just admiring the exhibitions. This is perfect for you to strengthen your connection to your date by sharing your ideas and interests.
Budget tip: this is included in the New York Explorer Pass – explore multiple museums and attractions with just one ticket.
9. Spin Old Records at Tokyo Record Bar
Do you love discovering new hidden gems and secret bars in the city with your partner? Tokyo Record Bar is a great choice for a romantic dinner with a little twist to make it more interesting – here you get to choose the playlist!
Upon your arrival at this underground restaurant and listening room, you can choose your favorite songs from a selection of vinyl records which will be played throughout the night. Of course, the great menu of izakaya snacks and top-notch Janapene cocktails complement this fun and innovative musical experience.
Be sure to make a reservation, as the restaurant offers limited seating.
10. Explore Chinatown & Little Italy (and their Wonderful Food!)
Visit two of the most iconic NYC neighborhoods in a food journey full of rich history and culinary treasures. A food tour of Chinatown and Little Italy is a great way to explore the city beyond Times Square.
You’ll be in the company of a small group and a historian guide who will provide insights about the area’s origins and stories about the local family businesses in the neighborhoods. Besides, you’ll get to sample authentic traditional dishes along the way.
Get tickets for the Chinatown and Little Italy Food Tour here.
Tip: La Merle is the best Italian restaurant in the area, in my opinion. So, if you have time, definitely check it out!
Where to Stay In Manhattan for Valentine’s Day?
Looking for nice hotels to spend the night in Manhattan on Valentine’s Day? There are plenty of hotels for couples in NYC with stunning decor and the best amenities to share a romantic getaway with your significant other. Don’t worry about your budget, the city has options for everyone.
Here are my top picks for romantic hotels in NYC:
- Budget ($) — Hotel Shocard
- Best Value ($$) — Dream Downtown
- Luxe ($$$) — Hard Rock Hotel
- Unique ($-$$$) — The Plaza
From a casual night out playing billiards to an old-school date dinner under the moonlight, Manhattan offers an incredible variety of options. Its vibrant and artistic atmosphere makes it an ideal setting to celebrate love and romance the right way.
With that said, I hope I helped you find a way to make Valentine’s Day special in Manhattan! And let me know how your date went, I’d love to know 🙂