No Valentine’s Day Reservation? Try One of These Unique Dates Instead 

02/06/2024
No Valentine’s Day Reservation? Try One of These Unique Dates Instead 

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, and if you’re caught without a reservation — or just feel like skipping the Hallmark holiday dining hubbub — we’re here to help. Lower Manhattan is full of spots that make for great dates beyond the classic dinner-movie-bar option. Finding a creative idea for a hangout not only makes your date more memorable, it will give you something else to talk about instead of the same tired conversations over cocktails. You might learn something too — about history, the neighborhood or even yourself. Here are five options to spice things up this year.

Ride a love boat

The Staten Island Ferry is not exactly a well-kept secret, but we’ll always suggest it as a superior, cost-effective date idea for Lower Manhattan lovers (and lovers of Lower Manhattan!). The free boats depart from Whitehall Terminal (4 Whitehall St.) every 30 minutes from the ferry terminal and take about 25 minutes to get across the harbor, carrying passengers past the Brooklyn shoreline and right by the Statue of Liberty. Enjoy the view from its outside decks, or cuddle up inside and gaze out the windows — maybe you’ll even catch a few twinkling stars in the sky. 

Visit a love boat, on land

If you prefer to skip the Dramamine and take your date on a boat that doesn’t move, the 1885 tall ship Wavertree is docked at the Seaport and offers pay-what-you-wish tours on the weekends. You’ll get to see the outdoor areas, main deck and quarter deck of the 2,000-ton ship, which is one of the last large sailing ships made of wrought iron. 

Take a spin on a carousel

Riding a carousel is a fail-safe date idea (the selfies! The childlike glee!) and Lower Manhattan has one of the best in the whole city. The Seaglass Carousel at Battery Park features 30 massive fiberglass sea creatures, illuminated with color-changing LED lights to mimic the bioluminescence of the deep ocean. Battery Park itself is also a great place to bring a picnic lunch (if you don’t mind bundling up against the February chill); study up on the park’s field guides beforehand so you can impress your date with your big brain. 

Tour City Hall

Is there anything sexier than civic engagement? City Hall is a big downtown landmark and the oldest still-operating city hall in the United States, and you can tour it for free. The tours require advance registration, but you and bae can bond over seeing where the mayor and City Council conduct their business. Perhaps you can even hold a press conference in the hall’s rotunda to announce plans for a second date. 

Print your own love notes

Bowne & Co. Stationers (211 Water St.) is an offshoot of one of New York’s oldest printing shops, dating back to 1775. The small shop at the Seaport now occupies a former cast iron stove warehouse, and in addition to selling stationary and other paper goods, offers workshops on the art of printmaking. Sign up yourself and your date for a three-hour workshop that’ll teach you how to produce their own set of stationery from start to finish, using the shop’s historic fonts, inks and paper. The one-a-month workshops fill up quickly, so make sure to book a spot in advance.

main photo: iStock

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