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Non-cheesy things to do this Valentine’s Day

We’ve cooked up non-corny ways to celebrate the holiday, whether you’re a hater, a horndog or someone in between

Written by
Meagan Drillinger

It's February, and you know what that means, it's almost Valentine's Day! And with that comes a time for some romantic things to do—or not. It's all up to you. Start celebrating with our list of V-Day plans that don't suck, with everything from the Cupid's Undie Run to masquarade balls and a romantic dinner at the AMNH.

RECOMMENDED: Find more Valentine's Day ideas in NYC

Hating on everything Hallmark

  • Music
Whether you’re a card-carrying member of the Lonely Hearts Club or gag at the thought of chocolates and roses, give a middle finger to Valentine’s Day by belting out hard during this karaoke-thon at Park Slope bi-level bar Union Hall. Curb your stage fright by downing the night’s themed elixirs (Eternal Flame, Kiss from a Rose, More than Words), then raise that fist in the air and give ’em your best Bon Jovi, Bangles or Bonnie Tyler impression while tackling those tracks that remind us how much the big L can suck.
  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
So you’re more likely to pop in Dawn of the Dead than Sleepless in Seattle on February 14? Cool, man. But it’s time to get off the couch because the big day gets a sexy, blood-soaked makeover at this highbrow metaphysical masquerade, held in the bordello-esque, red-lit Flatiron lounge Slake. Dust off your fanciest fangs to go with your formal wear—sneakers, T-shirts, jeans and sportswear are not tolerated—and move along to eerie beats while witnessing dance-cage stripteases, cabaret performances and other antics that seem straight out of a
Tim Burton–meets–David Lynch goth-fest.
  • Comedy
  • Improv
Need proof that you’re not the only one who thinks Valentine’s Day and—let’s face it—love are kind of a sham? Listen to the heartbreaking (and hilarious) tales of other poor bastards at the UCBEast, as improvisors like Nate Dern and Natasha Vaynblat interview audience members about their love lives and cook up a 90-minute show that makes deliciously comedic lemonade out of some seriously saddened NYC lemons.

Feeling single and ready to mingle

Friends of Single People
  • Comedy
A shocking discovery: Your besties know you really well. So who better to fix you up? During this live dating game at Gowanus, venue Littlefield, pals of unattached peeps choose
a mate for their buds (that’s you!). Jo Firestone, the quick-witted host of the Unexpectashow and Punderdome 3000, takes on the MC duties, so you can laugh your ass off while your heart is on the line. Besides, your friends usually hate who you date anyway, so it’s a win-win. The show said 5 percent of all couples matched through it have developed long-term relationships. What do you have to lose? It’s Valentine’s Day.
  • Things to do
Obviously, Valentine’s Day is all about you—and more specifically, you finding that special someone. But at this rockin’ shindig in the ’Burg, you can stumble away—hopefully with a new squeeze—with the knowledge that you’ve helped raised money for Planned Parenthood. (Your amazing ability to be charitable should score you some points.) Partygoers can try their luck at a sort of hipster-ified version of Chuck Barris’s The Dating Game, and ladies can stake their territory early for the annual Sadie Hawkins dance. Retro-soul aficionado DJ Jonathan Toubin is ready to spin you into your next long-term relationship, and sets by Mac DeMarco, Kevin Morby, Kid Congo, Delicate Steve, Cassie Ramone and others should get you in the indie-rock-loving mood.
  • Things to do
  • Performances
Strap on a fancy dress or tux—and a mask, duh—and wander the rooms of the Down Town Association, a private, four-story mansion that dates back to 1859 and is decked out with fireplaces, wood-paneled walls, red-leather sofas and dimly lit rooms for canoodling. Inside you’ll find acrobats, jugglers, court dancers—oh, and a BDSM ballerina or two, not to mention performers engaged in Victorian-era bondage—which should be plenty of conversational fodder for you to discuss with that mysterious stranger looking at you across the room à la Romeo and Juliet (the Leo and Claire one).

Feeling horny

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
Not a runner? Not a problem. This jog is more about showing off your stuff while wearing only unmentionables (and ogling others doing the same) than actually breaking a sweat. In fact, the course, which starts and ends at Stage 48, is only a mile long, and walking is totally fine. Festivities start midday and include the actual “race,” plus a booze-soaked after-party and awards ceremony. And your decision to get skimpy is for a good cause: The run raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife
Nothing says VD like a sex party, amirite? Behind Closed Doors hosts its annual Valentine’s Day edition, which kicks off like any sexy cocktail party, with a cash bar and conversation. But as the night goes on, the gloves (and everything else) come off, especially during the lingerie competition. Join the special lock-and-key-themed mixer, and should the feeling strike, bare all and get down to business in the play room.

Lip Service

If going all the way ain’t your bag, baby, that’s okay! Making out is cool too. Just ask the folks behind the spit-swapping party Lip Service, which prohibits actual sex but demands pansexual lip-locking from every attendee. (Yes, you must be down to kiss dudes, dudettes…anyone. The doorman will test you on this.) So slather on that ChapStick, and get ready to participate in naughty games (think blindfolds, rope and sexy dice) and drink a few tipples (like the Indecent Proposal and Pussy Galore) whenever you come up for air. Location disclosed with purchase ( Fri 12 at 9:30pm; with R.S.V.P. $5, without $10.

Needing to respark your relationship

  • Things to do
If your last date involved sweatpants and Netflix bingeing, you and your better half will feel classy as balls at landmark Norwood, an 1847 mansion hosting the seventh annual Sweetheart Soiree. A meticulous re-creation of those fancy-pants Jazz Age parties you’ve read about, the bash boasts sets from throwback jazz master Michael Arenella and his sextet (the main event at the Jazz Age Lawn Party), accordionist Nicole Renaud and boisterous belter Queen Esther. Don’t know your waltz from your rumba? Dance lessons kick off for singles and doubles at 9:30pm. After tearing up the dance floor—in a super sophisticated way, of course—be sure to get your portrait taken in the sweetheart kissing booth.
  • Things to do
Try seducing the senses with your bae at Camaje, a French-American bistro and lounge. These multicourse meals involve eating while blindfolded, and menus are kept secret until the end of the meal. (Don’t worry: Dietary restrictions can be accommodated.) Plus, you can always hold onto that blindfold for whatever might be on your personal menu for “dessert."
  • Shopping
  • Sex shops
  • Lenox Hill
A straightforward wine pairing is so 2015. Didn’t you know that red wine is scientifically proven to be a sexual stimulant? Oh, you didn’t? Dude. Learn all about why vino and the horizontal dance go so well together at
this saucy course, during which you can discover how to properly pair wine and other aphrodisiacs with sex toys. And get there early: The first 50 people to show up get a goody bag filled with naughty devices. Thu 11 7–10pm; free.

Locking it down

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
Show your sweetie that you’re not just a pretty face—and that you know heaps about science and stars and stuff—at the Hayden Planetarium, which hosts a champagne-spiked viewing of the heavens with its Zeiss star projector. When you’re not tripping out to the universe’s beauty, stock up on hors d’oeuvres, chocolates and a few glasses of bubbly, and dance to some cheek-to-cheek-worthy tunes courtesy the Josh Rutner Quartet.
  • Things to do
If your babycakes prefers the horror to hearts, this blood-spattered freak fest will get the juices flowing. Jaunt hand in hand through the epic haunted house Blood Manor while careening through zombies, monsters and other creatures awaiting to steal both you and your lover’s hearts. And don’t worry: The only creep who’s allowed to touch your squeeze is you. Your bravery and the black rose that ends your journey should seal the deal.
  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Flatiron
Go big or go home by feasting on a six-course dinner from executive chef Paras Shah and pastry chef Serena Chow in the candlelit back room of this Flatiron fave. For the big day, they’re serving up a menu of sensual favorites, from oysters and foie gras to poached lobster and rich chocolate fudge. If the menu and intimate dining room isn’t enough to yank you right out of the friend zone, snuggling up next to the stone fireplace ought to do it. Sun 14; $150.
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