Valentine's Day is the second busiest day of the year for the culinary industry. It's pretty obvious that the quickest way to someone's heart is through their stomachs.
But who has the cash to spend on a meal at a restaurant where you have to wait an hour for your reservation, only to be served subpar foods while you're packed so close to the next table that you can barely cut your overcooked chicken?
Instead of going the traditional foodie route, treat your Valentine to a more exciting, and much less expensive day out on the town.
Yes, use this made up Hallmark holiday to cross off those essentials on your New York City bucket list.
Don't have a bucket list worthy of the romantic, cute and cuddly vibes of the day? Have no fear, you unromantic sap, you! We've got you covered.
Read on to find out what the 6 best ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without breaking the bank in New York City are.
1. Go on a bakery tour
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The fastest way to someone's heart is through their stomachs. That may just be our wishful thinking since some of the best gifts are food, but we're pretty certain it's true.
Of course, rather than spending $40 each on a less than stellar set menu at a closeted NYC restaurant, check out the bakeries during the day.
Spend the day savoring the flavors of romance at the city's chocolate shops. Plus, you have the added opportunity to test out whether or not chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Or maybe you just have no game. Sorry, dude.
If chocolate isn't your thing, spend the day taste testing and judging your favorite doughnuts. Just remember that it's a holiday, and holiday calories don't count... if you're that worried, we're sure you can figure out a way to work out the calories later...
2. Visit the Statue of Liberty/Empire State Building
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We get it. It's kind of a running joke that most New Yorkers have never been to some of our greatest attractions. Hell, the Statue of Liberty is still on our NYC bucket list. When you see something every single day, it loses some of its splendor.
But Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity for you and your special someone to cozy on up in a ferry to check out Lady Liberty up close and personal. You can even make a day of it and check out Ellis Island afterwards. Just don't pull a Hitch and bring up unwanted family history. No bueño.
On the other hand, there's always the Empire State Building. Yes, it's cheesy. Yes, it's touristy as hell. Yes, it's still wildly romantic. Pro tip: If it's featured in a beloved, iconic rom-com (Sleepless in Seattle), then it's bonafide, sappy, romantic brownie-point gold mine.
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Have a Valentine? Great! Don't have a Valentine? No biggie. Instead of wallowing in your solitude or spending your night out on a lackluster date, why don't you spend the day tasting some of the city's best brews, vinos, or bubbles?
We can tell you from experience that our favorite Valentine's Day was spent at a brewery watching the sunset. We're not saying you need to get so plastered you begin to think you're actually Cupid and strip down to your skivvies. We're telling you to go enjoy the booze and good company on this romantic day.
If you're big on cocktails, spend the night visiting some of the city's best speakeasies. Once you're there, embrace the roarin' twenties, and spend the day cozily closeted in one of these secret spots.
But if you're really going hard for the "Not Breaking the Bank" idea, you should just drink in the comfort of your own apartment. Better yet, don't even leave your apartment for whatever wine, beer, or spirits you're into. Download the Minibar app and get any drank you need delivered in an hour or less.,
4. Get artsy
paintnitenyc Drinks and paint! What can be better??!
Whether you're a fan of street art, modern art, or classic art, NYC is the place to take it all in. Why not spend the day at MoMA and check out pieces like Van Gogh's "The Starry Night," or "The Waterlily Pond" by Monet at the Met?
What about celebrating Valentine's Day on Saturday (the day before) with a walk through Central Park to check out the incredible (and free) Central Park Ice Carving Festival? Artists will be carving blocks of ice into beautiful ice sculptures using chisels and chainsaws, aka the tools of the truly romantic.
If that's not your Valentine's scene, how about going on a search for some of NYC's best street art? Or better yet, check out a Paint Nite. You and your Valentine can paint while sipping on some adult beverages because that's easily the best way to bring out your creativity.
5. Netflix & Chill
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Ok, so maybe you really, REALLY hate Valentine's Day. You staunchly refuse to participate in a day created by big businesses that encourage you to purchase overly chalky candies, plush heart-shaped stuffed animals, and cards that someone will read once and throw away.
Instead, you're going to simply Netflix & chill. Or maybe that's just what you want to do to celebrate the romance of Valentine's Day.
If you're planning to go all out, check out this Manhattan spot on Airbnb... it's the ultimate Netflix & chill pad. If you're not looking to break the bank, well, looks like you're probably using Mom's Netflix account again.
6. Comedy shows
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As our editor so eloquently put it, "Chicks dig laughing." We'd have to agree; we like to laugh. Instead of trying to spend the days before Valentine's Day trying to come up with your best one-liners, let the experts do the trick and then simply reap the rewards.
Take your Valentine to a comedy show. You're both guaranteed to have a great time, and it's much more creative than the traditional wine and dine Valentine's Day dinner.
Check out 5 Weekend Trips Just Outside NYC to Celebrate Valentine's Day.[Feature Image Courtesy BGR]