Alternative Activities Surrounding Valentine’s Day in NYC

Alternative Activities Surrounding Valentine’s Day in NYC

The Rooftop at McCarren Hotel & Pool where you'll dance your face off at the Anti-Valentine's Day Bash on 2/11 (©Conor Harrigan)


Valentine’s Day, over the past few centuries, has shifted from honoring a martyred saint named Valentine to being a commercially celebrated day of the year where people bestow gifts and other tokens of affection toward their loved ones. In the U.S., people tend to send or exchange Valentine’s Day cards and there is often candy, flowers and/or jewelry involved.

For those looking for alternative Valentine’s Day plans or (anti-)Valentine’s Day-related activities that can be enjoyed before the actual day, here are some great things going on around the city.

McCarren Hotel & Pool Hosts Jonathan Strange’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Bash (Williamsburg, Brooklyn): This is a dance party for those who will be flying solo this Valentine’s Day. Singles are invited to dance it out at this free event held at the Rooftop at McCarren Hotel & Pool on Saturday 2/11. You don’t necessarily need to be anti-love to be Anti-Valentine’s, but this party is meant for those who are on their own like Éponine in “Les Misérables,” except DJ/Producer Jonathan Strange will be playing a healthy mix of house, hip-hop and soulful jams.

Museum of the City of New York (Upper East Side): This family-friendly NYC museum that connects the past, present and future of the Big Apple is hosting several Valentine’s Day events over the weekend and through Valentine’s Day. There is a love-themed Museum-wide scavenger hunt going on from Saturday 2/11 through Tuesday 2/14. Also on Saturday 2/11, the Museum is hosting the “Love Yourself Project 10,000 Hearts Campaign” from 11 am-3 pm that features origami hearts and asks people to open up about what they love about themselves. On Sunday, 2/12, from 11 am-3 pm, the Astoria-based a cappella group The Perfect Fifths will be performing love songs in the Museum’s rotunda. Private Gallery Tours, including the “I Heart NY” tour for two, as well as tours of any of the Museum’s exhibitions, can be booked for 2/14 from 7-9 pm.

Lovecraft (SoHo): Pop Up Nation presents Lovecraft, a weekend of Valentine’s Day happenings (2/10-2/12). This is a great activity to go to by yourself, with friends or your significant other. There will be free makeovers, free massages, free hot cider tastings, a free photo booth and more! Up-and-coming NYC retailers will have holiday-appropriate wares like chocolates, jewelry, lingerie, desserts and other pleasurable items for sale. The event itself is free to attend! 

Butter & Scotch (Crown Heights, Brooklyn): If a group of girlfriends is looking to celebrate together, head to Butter & Scotch. Not only does this Brooklyn bar and bakery now have a Winter of Women cocktail menu where $1 from every drink purchased will be donated to Planned Parenthood, but they will have Galentine’s Day specials on 2/14 including big boozy bowls of punch for sharing, boozy shakes, “Jell-Ohh” shots, desserts and more. (Yes, Galentine’s Day—Leslie Knope’s holiday from “Parks and Recreation.” It’s a thing that is celebrated in real life now and that is glorious.) On 2/14, Butter & Scotch will also have Valentine’s Day dessert and drink specials too.

Paper Factory Hotel (Long Island City, Queens): On Saturday 2/11, this trendy boutique hotel will be hosting Heart Shaped Box, a two-part party that features The Grand Feast (8-10:30 pm) and A Celebration of Love (10 pm-4 am). During the feast, guests will delight in a multi-course dinner that features themed dishes and cocktails, with surprises, performances and musical acts. The celebration allows guests to dance all night and enjoy interactive installations, racy tarot readings, snake charmers and more. For those looking for an even more intimate experience, take part in A Secluded Soiree—where guests can take explore and enjoy secret spaces about the hotel. (Insert obvious wink here.) Tickets range from $40-$125 and can be purchased here.

Heart Shaped Box on 2/11 (Courtesy Paper Factory Hotel)

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