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Photograph: Michael Alexander Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque

The best Valentine’s Day date ideas in NYC

Make bae feel extra special by trying one of our amazing and foolproof Valentine’s Day date ideas in NYC

By Jennifer Picht

The thought of Valentine’s Day date ideas in NYC may make you shudder. Before you roll your eyes, take a moment to peep our list of actually-cool suggestions that are bound to impress your date. During Cupid’s holiday, treat your S.O. to a romantic dinner at one of New York’s most-visited museums or something a little sexier like a tantalizing burlesque show

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Valentine’s Day in NYC

Best Valentine’s Day date ideas in NYC

1. Get aroused


No matter how cynical you may be about Valentine’s Day, you’re certain to get all sorts of tingly feelings as the dames and daddies of the Thirsty Girl Burlesque crew show off their delightfully dirty routines. Shelly 'The Singing Siren' hosts a packed lineup of NYC burlesque icons, including the beautiful Fem Appeal, Gal Friday, Pearls Dally, Stormy Leather & Delty Delgado and more. With so many knockouts onstage, you’ll be idle on Tinder for the rest of the night. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jane Kratochvil

2. Attend a lavish party

Things to do

The Jazz Age Lawn Party’s Michael Arenella hosts his eighth annual black-tie affair in honor of St Valentine. The swank soiree offers cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, live music from Arenella and Queen Esther, a kissing booth and even dance lessons, all in an 1847 townhouse that’s now a private club.

Photograph: Courtesy Jacob Blickenstaff

3. Have a soulful Valentine’s Day

Things to do

Ready for a little heart and soul? Take your date to this 70’s night comprising musical performances by R&B/soul stars The Stylistics, The Emotions, Bloodstone, Peaches and Herb and The Blue Notes.   

Ruby Ray, Pat Bag and Alice Bag, 1978
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist and Museum of Sex

4. Explore the sexy side of New York's punk scene

Things to do Exhibitions

For over a decade, the hot cultural miasma of punk erupted right out of New York City. It was an era of explosive rock & roll, swirling gender boundaries, fierce women and game-changing fashion—rooted in the sex work industry, counter-culture and iconic performance venues of ’70s NYC. Explore how the movement was born out of—and forever changed—cultural understandings of gender and sex work at this new exhibition, curated by cultural critic Carlo McCormick, artist Lissa Rivera and "punk professor" Vivien Goldman. 

Salsa class at the Ailey Extension
Photograph: Courtesy Ailey Extension/Kyle Froman

5. Do some salsa dancing

Things to do

Ailey Extension hosts this twirling fiesta in honor of Valentine’s Day. Arrive at 6:30pm to hone your moves with a salsa lesson before the music starts playing a spicy mix of latin rhythms. Folks on a date can sang a killer $35 for two deal and singles can spin and mingle for a cool $20.

6. Go to a seductive poetry reading

Things to do

Book lovers never go to bed alone. Prepare yourself for a night of good text at this immersive cabaret-and-reading series with a special Valentine's Day edition called Lupercalia—an ancient pastoral festival (celebrated in Rome) to ward off evil (exes) and promote health and fertility. Enjoy private poetry readings over the course of the evening, and take in spectacular shows from aerial artists and racy burlesque performers as well as live music.

Photograph: Courtesy Juliana Crawford

7. Get playful at the circus

Theater Circuses & magic

After declaring bankruptcy in 2016 to widespread lamentations, the family-friendly circus came bouncing back to life at Lincoln Center last year, and now returns for its 41st season with a show that aim to throw some spotlights on women. New ringmaster Stephanie Monseu presides over a spectacle that includes a trapeze routine by the Flying Tunizianis, a trampoline act created by Andréanne Quintal, and an acrobatic duet, performed by Virginia Tuells and Ihosvanys Perez, in which she does most of the heavy lifting.

Photograph: Courtesy FREEHOLD

8. Dance into the night at Freehold

Things to do

Freehold in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is launching a live music series that kicks off on Valentine’s Day. Feel the love and attend what is meant to be a ’70s-style dance party with guest appearances from bands like The Knocks, LCD Soundsystem, St. Lucia, Holy Ghost! and more. This week's iteration features a guest DJ that is a thrill for Game of Thrones fans. Spoler: It’s Finn Jones of house Tyrell!

The Springs
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

9. Take prom photos at a Winter Formal

Things to do

Want to relive the glory days of haivng a high school sweetheart?The Springs—a Brooklyn bar bursting with sunny vibes—is hosting an event that is reminiscent of the only fun part from the yearbook era: Dressing, spiking the punch at high school dance and making out afterward. This Valentine's Day bash is an ode to those questionable dress choices of decades past, and—this time around—they've already added booze to the punch bowl for you. For a price similar to what you may have paid for prom, a ticket ($65) gets you a four-hour open bar including cocktails, wine coolers, beer and more. Before you ask, yes, there will be an "Awkward Winter Formal Photo Booth" on hand for pics to remember your big night. 

Library After Hours
Photograph: Courtesy Chasi Annexy

10. Hit up an after-hours NYPL bash

Things to do Cultural centers

To inaugurate its new “Love in Venice” exhibition, the NYPL is throwing a bash that celebrates the costumes and culture of the Venetian Republic (1297–1797). Show up in a gagworthy look, enjoy Italian vittles and cocktails, construct your own masquerade masks, take on ballroom dance lessons, and check out sensual Venetian films. Be debauched! 

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