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A 'love lock' on the Brooklyn Bridge (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

14 Ways to Make Valentine’s Day 2014 Unforgettable

Still need plans for February 14? Take one -- or more! -- of these suggestions to make V-Day 2014 the best one ever.

Valentine’s Day is one of the most anticipated — and fraught — days of the year for lovers all across the city. This year, instead of the usual gifts, why not book an experience for memories that last long after the chocolates are eaten and the flowers have wilted? And when it comes to experiences, NYC always delivers. We’ve rounded up everything from shows to cruises to restaurants — some that might say Valentine’s Day immediately, others that you might not think of for the holiday. But each one will make 2/14/14 a date to remember. Just mix and match to build your perfect Valentine’s Day in New York.

Central Park's Wollman Rink (Photo: tomasfano/Flickr CC)

Take a romantic spin around Central Park’s Wollman Rink (Photo: tomasfano/Flickr CC)

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink, Central Park
Ice skating in Central Park has been a wintertime tradition since the park opened in 1858. A spin around Wollman Rink offers lovely skyline views and plenty of people-watching fun. And of course, holding hands while gliding across the ice is always a romantic endeavor. And don’t worry if you are a bit clumsy on skates. It gives your partner an opportunity to come to your rescue. Central Park, enter at 59th St. and Sixth Ave.; open Valentine’s Day from 10am–11pm; get tickets

The Art of Scent 1889–2012, the Museum of Art and Design
If you’re planning to pop the question on Valentine’s Day and need to take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves, head for the Museum of Art and Design for “The Art of Scent 1889–2012,” the first major museum exhibit to showcase fragrance as an art form. Visitors get a whiff of 12 innovative scents — including Jicky (created in 1889), Chanel No. 5 (1921) and Angel (1992) — from an interactive installation designed by starchitecture firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. 2 Columbus Circle; open Valentine’s Day from 10am–9pm; exhibit on view through March 3; madmuseum.org; adult admission $16

Empire State Building Observatory
When you’re perched more than 1,000 feet above the city, with your surroundings awash in shimmering ribbons of red and pink light and the strains of a saxophone wafting into the night sky, it’s clear why the Empire State is a top spot to be with the one you love. Give yourself plenty of time if you want to be there for sunset (around 5:30pm). Unless you’ve got patience and time to spare, spring for express tickets ($50 versus $27 for standard tickets) in advance to jump the lines. Kiss at the top, and it’s quite possible that sparks will fly when your lips meet — some say it’s static electricity, but you can decide for yourself. 350 Fifth Ave., open Valentine’s Day from 8am–2am, last elevator at 1:15am; get tickets

 

Rose Center for Earth and Space (Photo: AMNH/D.Finnin)

See the stars at the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space (Photo: AMNH/D.Finnin)

Romance Under the Stars 2014, Hayden Planetarium Space Theater
To be a star in your date’s eyes, snag tickets to the after-hours Valentine’s Day soiree at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. This night at the museum includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and chocolate, plus entertainment from the Josh Rutner Quartet. Then, you’ll retire to the Space Theater and snuggle up under a twinkling night sky for romantic stories about heavenly bodies. Central Park West at 81st St.; amnh.org; tickets for 6pm or 9:30pm are $85

Coppélia at the New York City Ballet
A crowd-pleaser since it was first performed in the late 19th century, the comedic ballet Coppélia depicts a love story disrupted by a mad inventor’s life-size wind-up doll and a magic potion. The New York City Ballet’s rendition — choreographed by George Balanchine, the company’s cofounder, and Alexandra Danilova in 1974 — is an exuberant display that will entertain ballet enthusiasts and newcomers alike. David H. Koch Theater; Lincoln Center; 20 Lincoln Center; nycballet.com; from $29

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Fairy tales do come true — or to life, at least — on Broadway. Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Broadway Theater includes the lilting melodies you know and love, as well as enchanting sets and elaborate, Tony Award–winning costumes. In this contemporary stage adaption, there’s a bit more sass, but no less romance. In February 2014, Carly Rae Jepsen (of “Call Me Maybe” fame) will take the stage as Cinderella while Fran Drescher plays her Stepmother. Cinderella isn’t the only romantic show on Broadway right now. See all of our picks here. Broadway Theater; 1681 Broadway; get tickets

 

World Yacht Lounge

Take in the skyline views from the lounge on the World Yacht Valentine’s Day Cruise (Photo: Courtesy World Yacht)

World Yacht Valentine’s Day Cruise
Spend an evening of dinner and dancing on both the Hudson and East Rivers, with a near-360-degree view of lower Manhattan’s spectacular skyline and close-ups of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lady Liberty. This Valentine’s Day cruise includes a four-course dinner, including lobster mac and cheese, filet mignon and pistachio crusted salad (save room for the chocolate ganache cake for dessert). The three-hour cruise also allows ample time for photo-ops on the indoor and outdoor decks and twirling around the dance floor. Note that World Yacht calls for dress shirts (jackets optional) for gentlemen and elegant or business attire for ladies. Pier 81 (W 41st St. and 12th Ave.); boarding 6pm, departure 7pm; get tickets

Dianne Reeves at Jazz at Lincoln Center
In the mood for love and jazz? Four-time Grammy Award–winner and doyenne of jazz Dianne Reeves is returning to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater for a special Valentine’s Day performance. Expect to hear some tracks from Reeves’s latest album, “Beautiful Life,” (out February 11) which includes two original songs as well as covers of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.” Rose Theater; Broadway and 60th St.; jalc.org; from $30

Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Yes, a mid-winter promenade across the Brooklyn Bridge can be a chilly proposition. But when there’s a nip in the air, the crowds are thinner, the views are just as stunning, and you’ll have a convenient excuse to cuddle close. To maximize the views, start on the Brooklyn side and walk towards Manhattan. Before heading out, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate (try the spicy Wicked) at Jacques Torres’s original outpost in DUMBO, a five minute walk from the pedestrian entrance to the bridge. 66 Water St., Brooklyn; open Valentine’s Day from 9am–8pm; mrchocolate.com

 

The Greenwich Hotel (Photo: Courtesy of The Greenwich)

Book a night away — even if you are a local — at the Greenwich Hotel (Photo: Courtesy of The Greenwich)

Stay in for the Night at the Greenwich Hotel
No matter if you are a local or a visitor, February 14 is one of the best nights of the year to splurge on a hotel room. Our pick for a romantic getaway is the Greenwich Hotel. The intimate property has just 88 guest rooms, all with Duxiana beds and some with a fireplace, private sauna, or soaking tub. The 24/7 room service is courtesy of chef Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde, a cozy tavern-style Italian restaurant that will send up fire-roasted garlic chicken and a tiramisu served with hazelnut gelato, spiced pear sorbetto and hot fudge (both dishes are prepared for two). The hotel’s Japanese-style Shibui Spa offers seasonal baths, body treatments and massages. And you can strip down and lounge around the indoor, lantern-lit pool. Sightseeing can wait for another day. 377 Greenwich St.; thegreenwichhotel.com; from $550 for Valentine’s Day

Top Lingerie Shops
For a real night to remember, stop in at one of New York’s luxe lingerie shops. You’ll find outstanding service and an expertly curated selection of frilly underthings from designers like Chantelle, Eberjey and Maison Close at shops like Journelle and La Petite Coquette. (The former has four outposts, including a by-reservation-only atelier for private shopping; the owner of the later is the author of Lessons in Lingerie — Finding Your Perfect Shade of Seduction.) If money is no object, look to London import Agent Provocateur, the Italian La Perla, or the Kiki de Montparnasse flagship.

 

Lantern’s Keep (Photo: Courtesy of Lantern’s Keep)

The intimate Lantern’s Keep is a great place for a quiet cocktail to start or end the evening (Photo: Courtesy of Lantern’s Keep)

Cocktails at Lantern’s Keep, the Iroquois Hotel
To toast your perfect Valentine’s Day, head to Lantern’s Keep — one of our 10 favorite New York bars with roaring fireplaces. This Parisian-style salon inside Midtown’s Iroquois Hotel is done up with dark wood paneling, studies of Edgar Degas’s painting “The Star,” a marble-topped bar, and cocktail tables that are perfect for a tête-à-tête. Pair a carefully crafted cocktail (perhaps the Artist’s Special: peated Scotch, Amontillado sherry, Grenadine and lemon, shaken and served up) with a plate of charcuterie and paté or artisanal cheeses. Thoughtful lovers will make reservations in advance. 49 W 44th St.; 212-453-4287; open Valentine’s Day from 5pm–midnight; iroquoisny.com/lanternskeep

Oysters and Bubbly at John Dory Oyster Bar
Although Grand Central’s beloved Oyster Bar is currently closed for restoration, there’s no shortage of aphrodisiacs in the city. Chef April Bloomfield’s John Dory Oyster Bar, located in the Ace Hotel in the NoMad neighborhood, is a buzzy, eclectically decorated spot for briny bivalves. From 5 to 7pm and 11pm to midnight, half a dozen oysters plus sparkling wine or an oyster stout is just $18 per person, even on Valentine’s Day. 1196 Broadway, thejohndory.com

Table for Two at The River Café
For 35 years, the River Café’s idyllic location — on a barge moored beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, with glittering views of lower Manhattan — was a magnet for celebratory newlyweds and couples marking special occasions. Hurricane Sandy put an abrupt stop to the party, but owner Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe was undeterred. He set about meticulously recreating his beloved restaurant (as well as its sister, the Water Café on Manhattan’s shoreline). Now, with its Steinway piano, bentwood bistro chairs from Paris, and white linens back in place, the River Café is set to reopen on February 1st. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant will serve a special four-course menu (two dishes will be the chef’s choice; diners will select the others), a strolling violinist will entertain throughout the evening. Note that tables for two will book up very quickly. For more Valentine’s Day dining options, check out New York’s top 10 most romantic restaurants. 1 Water St.; Brooklyn; 718-522-5200; rivercafe.com

Get more ideas for what to do on Valentine’s Day in New York City.