St. Valentine’s Day in Central Park is always a huge thing! The park is one of the most romantic places in the whole of New York. With its narrow paths, benches hidden amid the thick forests, the small, discrete lawns, and numerous lakes and ponds, it was always a favorite dating place for the couples of Manhattan and beyond. Here are the most romantic things you can do and the best places to visit with your beloved one in Central Park!
Best places to visit on Valentine’s Day in Central Park
Central Park is a vast place and you can have a great time literally everywhere, especially if you’re with the right person. However, some spots are heavily preferred by couples and have the reputation of amazing dating spots.
The Conservatory Garden
We’ve decided to put the Conservatory Garden and the Conservatory Water in a single entry. The three gardens, composing the Conservatory Garden are unique and romantic in their own ways.
The French garden, drawing inspiration from its romantic namesake, has its Three Dancing Maidens, giving the garden a unique and serene look, and setting the perfect mood for a kiss. The Italian garden, carrying the name of the biggest rivals of the French on the romantic front – the Italians, has a small, discrete meadow, great for a romantic picnic of two. Remember to bring a basket with some amazing Italian pastry, and superb Tuscan wine.
What sets the mood in the ever-classy English garden is the fountain of the couple. The boy and the girl are inspired by “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The English garden is considered the most popular of the three, but its beauty peaks in the warmer months due to its numerous flowers and colorful bushes.
The Conservatory Water is an all-year destination. It is popular amongst model-sailboat enthusiasts and to those that enjoy watching armadas of small boats sailing to the sunset. It also turns into an ice skating rink in the colder months, so consider bringing your skates for some great moments on ice!
Shakespeare Gardens are very common all over the globe, but one of the first, and certainly – the most famous is in Central Park. Those gardens are composed of some or all of the 175 plants, flowers, and trees mentioned in his plays.
Shakespeare is the “father” of some of the most famous love couples in theater history – Romeo and Juliette, but we certainly prefer the love of Benedick and Beatrice from 'Much Ado About Nothing', or Orlando and Rosalind from 'As You Like It’, at least they end up alive. The Shakespeare Garden was reshaped to its current status in 1916 in honor of William Shakespeare. The old name of the place was Garden of the Heart.
What can elevate the status of a prince and princess to a king and queen? A castle! Even if it’s a phony. The Belvedere Castle is a majestic structure inspired by the real castles in Europe and its Austrian imperial namesake. It is situated on the highest point of the park, so it makes it perfect for gazing on the lawns, ponds, and forests of Central Park, and the New York skyline. And what can be more romantic than an endless vista or a red sunset? It also fields a lawn and a lake, perfect for a romantic picnic, and is just next to the Shakespeare garden!
Bethesda Terrace and The Angel of Water
An amazing Renaissance-style structure with a large fountain with an angel? Are we in Venice? No, we’re in Manhattan! The Bethesda terrace and the surrounding architecture complex remind us of distant times and places! They carry the vibe of old-times Verona or Florence. You can easily imagine your beloved one standing atop of the terrace or approaching standing under it, calling your name. The great view towards The Lake just adds-up to the romantic mix.
A real movie superstar! Bow bridge has been featured in multiple motion pictures, including the likes of “Spider-Man 3”, “Manhattan”, “You've Got Mail”, and “Keeping the Faith”. We just hope you’re luckier than Peter Parker.
Bow bridge has some amazing views towards the NYC skyline, The Lake, and The Bethesda Terrace. With its romantic surrounding, the bridge is certainly a favorite dating spot for countless couples.
But there’s more!
Those are not the only dating places for Valentine’s Day in Central Park! Just pick a random bench or a blanket and go for a picnic on the Great Lawn or the Sheep Meadow. There are other popular dating spots like Cherry Hill, but it is more popular during spring when the cherries bloom. It is still popular in February because of its location, though.
Best Things to do for Valentine’s Day in Central Park
Central Park provides a lot of things to do in any season. So, if you’re adventurous or creative, you can take your beloved one on an exciting dream date!
Biking is an option in every time of the year. Whether you want to go to a special location, or just stroll around the park, then just grab a bike and do your thing! Central Park has hundreds of miles of bike lanes, so you can go to every location (including those above) in a matter of minutes!
Pedicabs or a cycle rickshaw is one of Central Park’s biggest hits in recent years. If you want to feel like some royal couple of the Far East, then go for a pedicab tour! Even Aladdin and Jasmine don’t have one and have to compromise with a flying carpet.
The rickshaw has just two seats in the back, which allows the coupe to share some tender moments!
Central Park has three state of the art ice skating rinks – the aforementioned Conservatory Water, the Lasker Rink, and the Wollman Rink!
The Lasker rink is a multi-purpose facility with a great swimming pool for the summer days! It provides locker rooms and rental skates for its visitors. You can join the Lasker’s Skating Academy or take part in the famous Freestyle Sessions. Or, you can book a party on ice!
However, keep in mind that the Lasker Rink has planned reconstruction at some point this year.
The Wollman Rink is the oldest and largest of the Central Park ice skating rinks. The place is excellently equipped with lockers and party facilities. You can opt for skating and hockey lessons for all ages. It also provides an excellent snack bar if you’re in a need of a quick bite, coffee, or warm tea.
Wollman rink has made multiple appearances in various movies and shows and operates as the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park in summer.
Central Park borders some of the finest museums in the world. If you’re into museum tours, then you’ll certainly have great times visiting one or more of them! Neither one of them requires much of an introduction.
The AMNH is home to more than 33 million specimens of plants, animals, minerals, and fossils, including dinosaurs! You don’t need to be Ross Geller of “Friends” to enjoy the once might beasts (were they lizards or birds?). You can check both the permanent exhibitions or the temporary ones. You’ll be both entertained and enlightened!
You are a classy art couple? The MoMA is the place to be! You’ll find stunning modern masterpieces and names like Salvador Dalì, Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo’s self portrait, or Vincent Van Gogh.
Or you prefer established classics? The Met has a collection of masterpieces for ancient times, Antiquity up to contemporary art! Their inventory is stunning! It contains fascinating examples of African, Asian, Oceanian, Byzantine, and Islamic art.
A different art museum, the Museum of Arts and Design is dedicated to pop culture and is more orientated to the modern social currents. If you’re young or young in spirit, then this is the best place for your date.
A true rival to those above, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s halls are full of masterpieces of the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Kandinsky.
Go to a fancy restaurant!
Manhattan is full of world-class restaurants, headed by Michelin Star chefs. However, Central Park is the home of two cuisine icons that are definitely worth your time. Those are the Loeb Boathouse and The Tavern on the Green.
Can you imagine that this famous restaurant was a sheepfold? A real sheepfold with real sheep? Yes, it was!
Between 2010 and 2014 the Tavern was a tourist center. Today it is a highly regarded place for both its architecture and cuisine. Tavern on the Green serves traditional American cuisine and is widely known for its brunch menu, and burgers.
You’ve probably seen The Boathouse in movies like When Harry Met Sally or Manchurian Candidate. It is famous for the only place where you can rent a boat. It was built in 1954, and the famous restaurant opened in 1983.
The Loeb Boathouse has a great outside bar, express café, and the famous restaurant. Its menu includes amazing dishes for brunch, lunch, and a superb children’s menu! Due to its picturesque location, The Boathouse is famous for large events, especially weddings.
Rent a Boat
The Loeb Boathouse is certainly a fine restaurant, but when it comes to boating it is unmatched. It literally is the only place where you can rent a boat. They have a standing fleet of 100 boats that can be rented for $15 per hour plus a deposit of $20.
Rowing has a cult following in Central Park. Apart from a great physical exercise, it can be very romantic too. Take your partner on a date amidst The Lake, and enjoy the silence and the great view from the water.
You can go even further, and rent a gondola. There are thee authentic Italian gondolas, a special gift to the city of New York from their homeland - the Italian city of Venice. However, they are so popular, that you need to call the park management a save a spot in advance.
Of course, there are many more fun things to do! You can visit the Carousel – the old-school merry-go-round and grab some cotton candy-like in the old movies, play some chess, checkers, or domino, or just have a long walk on The Ramble or by The Reservoir, or take a royal-like carriage ride. The Zoo can be pretty entertaining, too! Central Park is always fun, especially with the right person.
Romantic movies set in Central Park
Of course, we’re fully aware that St. Valentine’s Day is in February, in the middle of winter. So, if you want to sit comfortably at your home, but you do want to feel the Central Park vibe, then these romantic movies will certainly set the mood for a romantic evening on Valentine’s Day.
Literally meaning “happy accidents”, this is one amazing romantic movie featuring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. These two constantly run into each other in small happy accidents like reaching for the same pair of gloves or a certain $5 bill, that reaches Cusack in the end.
This playful title features Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and a lot of dating in Central Park. Will they stick to their “No emotions” agreement?
The quintessential romantic comedy, featuring a quintessential question – can there be friendship between a man and a woman? Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan certainly did a lot of thinking on it while strolling in autumn Central Park or having lunch at Loeb Boathouse.
St. Valentine’s Day in Central Park can be really, really romantic. Just look at the dream dates from the movies above. You can do tons of things and visit tons of places. Whether you’ll ride a bike on the lanes, or a wooden horse on the Carousel, you simply can’t go wrong. Central Park is designed to bring a good time to anyone. The adventurous type will thrive, but so will the calmer ones. Whether you’ll take your date boating or playing checkers – the choice is yours. You simply can’t go wrong with St. Valentine’s Day in Central Park!