Normally, there's no better place to spend Valentine's Day than New York City (unless you can spontaneously jet off to Paris for a romantic overseas weekend). The city is filled with starry-eyed couples, young and old, beautiful displays of flower bouquets on every corner, a faint smell of roses in the cool February air.
However, things are looking a little different this year. Being in NYC (or Paris, for that matter) during a pandemic Valentine's Day will only leave you with so many options. Chances are, you'll be spending the evening staring at your own four walls. So when restaurants are closed, it's wet and cold outside, and tropical getaways are impossible (or at least strongly advised against), what are two lovebirds to do?
Luckily, New York City provides some special opportunities for romantic celebrations, even with lockdowns in place and establishments shut down.
Here are four ideas for a pandemic-friendly Valentine's Day in the city.
Bring Your Favorite Restaurant Into Your Home
Do you usually spend Valentine's Day splurging on your favorite meal at that overly expensive restaurant you both love? And do you always make sure to reserve a table months in advance because it just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without that filet mignon from Delmonico's?
If your restaurant of choice doesn't offer safe outdoor dining (or you missed your chance to book a table), you may still be in luck—Many places offer full-course takeout or delivery meals during lockdown, and some of them even sell special set Valentine's Day menus. Due to limited availability, you may want to check ASAP if you need to order in advance.
Here are some local favorites offering to-go V-Day dinners during the pandemic:
Since you're already stuck at home, why not pretend that you are in fact celebrating Valentine's Day in Paris with some mouthwatering French cuisine? Boucherie is offering a prix fixe dinner menu at several of its locations: Boucherie Union Square, Boucherie West Village, Petite Boucherie and La Grande Boucherie.
NOHO's Il Buco is offering a decadent four-course Italian dinner for you and your loved one to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Now that's amore.
If you want to go all out, Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar will serve your dinner for two with champagne and a bouquet of flowers (just let your partner pretend they added them specifically for you!). You can order by February 12th for pickup on February 13th or 14th.
Netflix just won't cut it on Valentine's Night? Well, The Musket Room will not only mix up some sinful cocktails for you (or as they call them, "love elixirs"), but will also provide your entertainment for the night. Book their special interactive magic show which comes with drinks, food, and a virtual performance via Zoom. It will undoubtedly be an at-home Valentine's Day to remember.
Recreate That Romantic Dinner, All Courses Included
If you consider cooking together to be a perfect couple's activity, why not recreate your favorite Valentine's dishes at home? Browse some of the menus above if you're not sure what to make, and spend a relaxed evening cooking up a storm together while enjoying a fine bottle of red wine. If you need more inspiration, here are 75 romantic dinner ideas for a cozy night in.
Plan a *Safe* Staycation at a Luxurious Hotel
I get it, we're all in need of a change of scenery. But traveling to someplace warm for the weekend just isn't an option this Valentine's Day. But if you live in NYC, there's no shortage of beautiful local hotels for a romantic couple's staycation. You know you've always wanted to spend all weekend in a comfortable hotel bed with no pressure to go out... Well, with lockdowns and safety measures in place, there's no better time to get cooped up with room service than during a pandemic. Just make sure to read up on all COVID-19 precautions before booking your stay.
Here are some stunning hotels offering special Valentine's Day packages in 2021:
Besides gorgeous Manhattan skyline views, The William Vale in Williamsburg also offers a romantic Valentine's Day package, appropriately dubbed Choose Your Own Love Story. It comes with truffles and champagne, rose petals and tealights, and even a steamy pleasure kit containing some goodies for those who don't plan on sleeping much.
"Love is in the air at The Mark". This Upper East Side hotel knows how to make your romantic staycation extra special and swoon-worthy. Don't worry about forgetting to plan grand gestures: The Mark provides everything you could possibly think of in this fool proof Valentine's Day menu full of bookable add-ons ranging from a dozen roses to a private wedding officiant for an in-suite ceremony.
If you're a hopeless romantic, it doesn't get much better than a weekend at The Baccarat. The Manhattan hotel leaves no wishes unfulfilled, showering you and your partner in all the finest things. Think champagne, roses, chocolate, and crystals. Yes, you read that right. Happy Valentine's Day.
Enjoy the Beauty of the City on a Romantic Winter Walk
If you're a local, you probably don't often take the time to appreciate some of the most picturesque places in the city. Sometimes, it's easy to forget the beauty that surrounds us—especially during a pandemic. Take this opportunity to enjoy some much needed alone time with your partner, outside of the apartment you're always trapped in. As long as you can stay six feet away from other people, there's nothing stopping you from going on a long, romantic winter walk through the city.
Stroll along the piers, walk through a snow-covered Central Park or watch the sunset by the river in DUMBO. There's nothing like some fresh air and admiring the beauty of our city to conclude a special day with the one you love.