If you’re like us, the standard Valentine’s Day dinner and flowers doesn’t really cut it, and most years you probably want to just bypass the holiday all together. But this is New York City after all, and what other city might have such a range of alternative Valentine’s Day activities that hit the heart of the urban explorer? Here are 10 worth checking out:

1. Digester Egg Tours at Newtown Creek

Every year, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant hosts its Valentine’s Day tour of the start-of-the-art digester eggs. Who knew so many people wanted to see how sludge gets transformed into better things, but then again–could be a metaphor for romantic hopes in general. Due to popular demand, this tour already got sold out but they have tours regularly so check back on the DEP website.

2. Tour the Off-Limits Woolworth Building


Our popular Woolworth Building tour on Thursday, February 19th has just four tickets left (and it’s sold out until April). You can get tour tickets that come with a cocktail with the group after the tour at the cute historical bar, Tiny’s and the Bar Upstairs. Explore the nooks and crannies of what remains one of New York City’s most opulent buildings, usually off-limits to the public.

VIP Tour of the Woolworth Building

3. Cupid Undie Run

The Cupid Undie Run raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The event takes place at Stage 48 in Chelsea on the water, the undie run on the West Side Highway greenway. Last year the multi-city event raised $2.8 million. Note: this takes place February 7th starting at noon.

4. Morbid Anatomy Library Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop: Valentine Day’s Special

Join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Morbid Anatomy’s popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop. From the description: “Rhinoceros beetles: nature’s tiny giants. Adorable, with their giant heads and tiny legs, and wonderful antler-like protrusions. If you think they would be even more adorable drinking tiny beers and holding tiny fishing poles, [this is] the perfect class for you! Students will learn to make–and leave with their own!–shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine.”

5. Missed Connections at the New York Transit Museum

First of all, the New York Transit Museum is located in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn which also means there are tracks with vintage subway trains. That’s already pretty cool. The Missed Connections event is more food and craft event than romantic event, with tastings by Brooklyn Winery and NuNuChocolates, beer from Brooklyn Brewery, and make your own crafts and poetry inspired by craigslist posts. But there will be a talk by OKCupid cofounder Christian Rudder about the link between relationship data and romantic lives.

6. Heartbeat, an Urban Drum at Times Square

Stereotank, a design firm from Brooklyn will be constructing a beating-heart urban drum that changes its rate as visitors approach. Percussion instruments attached are playable by the audience, while the heart will emit a pulsating light. According to Stereotank, “In the emblematic, active, flickering atmosphere of Times Square, Heartbeat orchestrates multiple rhythms into a unique urban concert.” Starts on February 9th.

7. New York Love Story at MCNY

Explore the beautiful Museum of City of New York at New York Love Story on Sunday, February 8th, and take a virtual trip around New York finding images of iconic buildings, parks, and communities. Get inspired by your favorite city sights, and then create a valentine inspired by cards from their collection sent and received by New Yorkers.

8. Central Park Southern Welcome Tour

What’s more romantic than Central Park? On the 14th, take a tour of the southern highlights of Central Park with NYC Parks, including the Pond, Gapstow Bridge, and the Dairy.

9. Dinner in the Dark at Camaje in Greenwich Village

Dinners in the dark has been popular in London and Paris but haven’t really taken hold here as of yet. French bistro Camaje has been running these events, with two seatings on Valentine’s Day.

10. Poetry Brothel at the Back Room

Heading back to authentic Prohibition speakeasy, the Back Room, is Poetry Brothel on February 22nd, a little after most of the Valentine’s Day celebrations. The Madame, Stephanie Berger of the Poetry Society of New York, curates a carefully selected and scantily dressed evening of poetry, dancing, and spirits–echoing the atmosphere of Parisian brothels or New Orleans burlesque. Performers of the evening call themselves “poetry whores,” taking the stage to entice the audience with charming verse in the hopes of taking a “john” to the back room for a private reading. See more photos from our previous coverage here.

Check out more to do the week of Valentine’s Day with our weekly events picks. See more upcoming Untapped Cities tours and events.