Some may bill it as a “Hallmark Holiday,” but Valentine’s Day is really what you and your love make of it. With so many different activities to choose from during Valentine’s Day in New York City, there’s sure to be something that fits your unique tastes – even if you can’t celebrate on the 14th!
Romance Under the Stars
Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space
February 14, 2017
Look into the stars this Valentine’s Day in New York. The American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space is hosting a special event with an open cocktail and champagne bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, and chocolates. While you gaze into the stars and seek out specific heavenly bodies, enjoy the musical stylings of a jazz quartet.
Disney Valentine’s Ball
Highline Ballroom, Chelsea
February 11, 2017
There’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th. If something prevents you and your love from making it out on that exact date, the Disney Valentine’s Ball might be your perfect alternative.
If you fancy yourself a Disney princess, you’ll enjoy hearing the greatest love tales of all time, and receiving “true love’s kiss” from your sweetie at Disney’s Valentine’s Ball. Rock cover band The Little Mermen will be serenading couples to ensure their own fairy tale night. And don’t let the fact that Disney is in the name throw you off – this all night sing-along featuring Disney hits is sure to be a rager!
The ’70s Soul Jam Valentine’s Concert
February 11, 2017
Here’s another fun date idea instead of or in addition to February 14th activities. R&B/soul stars The Stylistics, The Dramatics, The Delfonics, The Manhattans, and Blue Magic will be setting the mood for this romantic Valentine’s Day in New York date idea.
Love in Times Square on Valentine’s Day
Times Square, Midtown West
February 14, 2017
Love is in the air at Duffy Square. Take your love by the hand and play witness to (or act as a participant in!) actual wedding ceremonies, surprise proposals, and vow renewals. If the relationship is new, have your own fun by going to the Heart of Hearts kaleidoscopic kissing booths.
The Cliffs at LIC
11-11 44th Dr, New York
February 14, 2017
For the super-fit couple, a Valentine’s Day in New York date might consist of a mutual adrenaline rush. Specifically, rock climbing at Try The Cliffs at LIC. Buy a day pass ($28), or if you’re a novice, an introductory class ($49). The facility is well-equipped, and the friendly staff will make sure you have an amazing time.
Dinners in the Dark
Camaje, Greenwich Village
$95 per person
February 14, 2017
Improve your senses by getting rid of one of them. Guests at chef Abigail Hitchcock’s Camaje will experience a four-course meal while blindfolded. This unusual experience is choreographed by performance artists and is said to be an experiment to test and awaken senses. It will surely be a Valentine’s Day in New York you won’t soon forget!
275 W 22nd St, New York
If you and your partner are the type who’d prefer a low-key, no-fuss Valentine’s Day in New York, Barracuda Lounge might be the perfect place for you. This no-attitude gay lounge is a cozy place to enjoy a drag show – especially during happy hour.
The High Line
Washington St at Gansevoort St, New York
The High Line is a long park in New York that first opened in 2009. Abandoned elevated train tracks were transformed into exquisite parks and gardens. With stunning views of the Hudson River, and downtown New York’s skyline, The High Line provides a romantic atmosphere on any day of the year.
Hudson River Park
Battery Park City to 59th St, New York
You’ll be able to see Hudson River Park from The High Line – why not make your way over on Valentine’s Day? This beautiful waterfront park stretches from Battery Park to 59th Street. If you decide to get active, there’s skating, kayaking many paths for walking, and plenty of room for biking.
Merchant’s House Museum
$40: $30 Members. VIP Front Row tickets $50
Feb. 14, 2017 at 7PM
Are you a fan of classical music? Check out Love in the Parlors: A Valentine in Concert. Presented by The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society, performers include Anthony Bellov, Amy Gluck, Jane Elizabeth, and many others signing 19th century hits.
No matter how you and you love enjoy spending time together, there are plenty of different Valentine’s Day in New York date ideas to choose from.
Over to you
How will you be spending Valentine’s Day in New York? Leave your thoughts in the comments, or tweet us more ideas at @ParkWhiz.
February in Chicago is perhaps the coldest time of the year, but locals suck it up so that they can enjoy Valentine’s Day in Chicago, out on the town. With so much to do, it’s hard to choose just one thing, but there’s certainly something for everyone!
With any restaurants for this list of Valentine’s Day in Chicago, you’ll want to secure your reservations ASAP, before they fill up. Balena is characterized by simplicity with a little something extra. Situated on the same street as many other of Chicago’s finest restaurants (think Boka), your date will be in for a treat.
Billed by USA Today as the most romantic restaurant in the United States, Geja’s Café is a dimly-lit fondue spot that serves as a romantic date night spot on any day of the year. Special occasions aside, they often run Groupon and in-house deals. Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day is an exception, so prepare yourself for the bill at the end of the night! Make sure to get the flaming chocolate fondue dessert – the perfect finishing touch to a delicious meal and romantic date.
Chef Bruce Sherman produces a menu of delicious organic foods, so you can feel good about anything you consume at North Pond. Though you wouldn’t want to be outside in the February cold, you’ll feel close to nature as the restaurant is just a few feet away from a gorgeous Lincoln Park pond. Obviously, a window table is there way to go if you reserve early enough.
Music Box Theatre
$10, matinee $8 (Mondays $7)
What could be romantic than a dark movie theater, a nontraditional screening, and spending time with your love? Music Box Theatre is no ordinary movie theater – it’s a movie theater that speaks directly to movie lovers. This two-screen cinema shows the latest art-house films and documentaries, and hosts regular director Q&A’s in addition to midnight screenings of cult classics.
$12, seniors: $10, kids ages 3–11: $8; discounts for Chicago residents
Truly, any of the museums in Chicago’s Museum Campus (and others scattered across the city) could make for the perfect Valentine’s Day in Chicago. However, Adler Planetarium boasts a runner-up win for Time Out Chicago Love Chicago Awards in 2016. Playing host to world-class researchers, Adler Planetarium offers the highest quality standards on exhibits and theater presentations. Virtual-reality trips through time and space in the Sky Theater shouldn’t be missed, and make for an interesting twist on typical dinner and a movie dates.
Other Things to Do on Valentine’s Day in Chicago
Hideout Makeout Party
Hideout, River West/West Town
Ok, it’s not as questionable as it sounds, but Hideout certainly likes to push the boundaries. At their 11th annual Hideout Makeout Party (described as “An Evening of Aural Intercourse”), an orchestra of local musicians will be serenading event attendees. Bring a date, or find one there – both couples and singles are welcome!
Date Night at Ignite Glass Studios
Ignite Glass Studios, River West/West Town
$105 per couple
If you and your sweet thang enjoy a more non-traditional date night, then Ignite Glass Studios may have the perfect Valentine’s Day in Chicago date for you!
Give glassblowing a try with this hands-on, after-hours workshop. Create a special keepsake (a single glass heart) to commemorate your special day together, and maybe even discover a new talent! To make it even more enjoyable, sparkling wine and chocolates are included.
#DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment
UP Comedy Club, Lincoln Park
Friday January 13 2017 – Sunday May 28 2017
Chicago is well-known for it’s comedy and improv shows, so you know you’re in for a treat with this comedy show that takes aim at popular online dating apps. If you met your sweetie on Tinder, Bumble, or whatever the kids are using these days, it can be a fun way to laugh at yourselves.
With no shortage of things to do on Valentine’s Day in Chicago, take the time to plan something extra special for the person you hold closest to your heart.
Over to you
And if you have additional suggestions for Valentine’s Day in Chicago, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – or tweet at @ParkWhiz.
During the holidays, New York gets even livelier than it already is! People enjoy the lights lined up along the streets, holiday deals at New York’s finest shopping establishments, and decorations around every corner.
But what makes the city truly unique are all the things to do during the holiday in New York. If you’re planning to spend your holidays in NYC, here are a number of events and things to do during the winter season.
World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorahs
Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan) and Grand Army Plaza Memorial Arch (Brooklyn)
December 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017
The Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods host competitors who aim to create the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah. Those closer to Manhattan can see the 32 foot high, 4,000 pound steel icon across from The Plaza Hotel. If you’re in Brooklyn, the neighborhood menorah can be seen at the top of Prospect Park. Brooklyn makes a big event out of the competition, with a concert prior to the first night’s lighting, and potato pancakes!
Museum of the City of New York (Manhattan)
December 6, 2016 – January 8, 2017
If you enjoy a day out at a museum, you’ll really enjoy the Santa and the City exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. In this exhibition, guests will be treated to historical images of jolly old St. Nick from the Museum’s collection. It’s the perfect seasonal way to appreciate art!
David H. Koch Theater (Manhattan)
November 29 – December 31, 2016
Make your holiday season both fancy and festivNutce with a ticket to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. An impressive 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and 2 casts of 50 young students come together to make this production possible.
Apollo Theater (Manhattan)
December 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017
This celebration of African-American heritage takes place every year, from 12/26 – 1/1, and ends with a feast and gift-giving. Of course, if you’re looking for New York City’s largest Kwanzaa celebration, check out the American Museum of Natural History to start. Look forward to African dance, traditional crafts, spoken word, and live musical performances.
Flatiron Building (Flatiron)
December 1, 2016 – December 23, 2016
23 Days of Flatiron Cheer is the perfect holiday celebration for someone who can’t get enough of the Christmas season. In the fifth year of this annual event around the Flatiron building, you’ll find many interactive installations, performances from local groups, and giveaways from local businesses.
Queens Theater (Queens)
December 9, 2016 – December 22, 2016 (Except December 12, 13, 19)
You’re probably familiar with A Christmas Carol, but have you ever seen it as a live action theatrical performance? Come to Queens Theater for your opportunity to witness this holiday classic come to life. Yes, it’s a musical interpretation, but you’ll be pleased to know that the story remains unchanged!
Queens Botanical Garden (Queens)
December 18, 2016
If you’re brave enough to come out for a few hours during the winter cold, you’ll benefit from music, food, nature, and shopping at Queens Botanical Garden, which will be hosting a holiday marketplace on December 18th. Attendees will be celebrating Winter Solstice, and the event is open to all ages (with special activities for kids).
Rockefeller Center (Manhattan)
November 30, 2016 – January 7, 2017
Is it even Christmas in New York City without the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree? It really is a sight to be seen, with an ice rink situated below it for the most incredible viewing experience.
Times Square (Manhattan)
December 31, 2016
If you’re in New York City during New Year’s Eve, you can’t miss the Times Square Ball Drop! This is perhaps the most anticipated event of the year, and is televised so the rest of the world doesn’t have to miss it. Besides the famous ball drop, there’s also a number of live performances to look forward to.
Hopefully by now you have a full list of things to do during the holiday in New York. If there’s anything you’d add to this list, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
There are so many things to do during the holiday in Chicago, it’s actually quite hard to pick between all the different options! Throw in friend and family holiday visits, and your winter calendar quickly fills up. If you have some time to spare, you’ll want to check out Chicago’s downtown and neighborhood events, including tree lighting, parades, ice skating, and shopping!
Here are some can’t miss things to do during the holiday in Chicago.
Daley Plaza (Chicago Loop)
November 18 – December 24, 2016
Christkindlmarket is a favorite thing to do during the holiday in Chicago by residents and tourists, alike. Nestled between Dearborn, Washington, and Clark Street is a seasonal Christmas market, inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany. It’s the perfect place to find seasonal decorations, indulge in pastries (and other hearty fare), and drink mulled wine!
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to bring the whole family, any time during the year. But during the holiday season, this lakefront zoo transforms itself into a winter wonderland. Like the zoo, it’s free to attend. Unlike normal zoo functions, ZooLights boasts more than two million lights (with animal designs!), holiday crafts, and sweet treats.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
December 2, 2016 – January 8, 2017
You’ll want to bring your kids to the indoor playground at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest! There are almost too many activities to choose from, including:
- An ice skating rink
- Ferris wheel
- Inflatable slides
In addition to a number of exciting activities, Winter WonderFest also has a number of holiday decorations in the spirit of the season.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park (The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink)
Friday November 18 2016 – Monday March 6 2017
Millennium Park has it all:
- Free use of ice rink (ice skates available to rent)
- Amazing views of the Chicago skyline
- Another ice rink closeby! (Maggie Daley Park)
Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park
Opens in mid-November through March
Just around the corner from Millennium Park’s ice skating rink is another rink at Maggie Daley Park. Like Millennium Park, admission is free. Skate rentals are $12, and lockers are $2. Instead of a rectangular shape, Maggie Daley Park has an ice ribbon, reminiscent of a Mario Kart track. This ice rink can accomodate a whooping 700 skaters at a time.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Friday November 25 2016 – Sunday February 26 2017
There’s so much to do at Lincoln Park Zoo during the holidays! Before you check out ZooLights, make sure to check out Lincoln Park Zoo’s ice rink. Admission is $5, with a $5 skate rental. Relax and warm up in the Main Barn, which will be open with concessions!
Other Events and Activities
A Christmas Carol
170 N Dearborn St
Wednesday December 7 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
This annual production of A Christmas Carol is in its 38th year! Bring your family to enjoy this Charles Dickens classic.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
175 E Chestnut St Chicago
Saturday December 10 2016 – Sunday January 8 2017
A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday production that your kids will actually appreciate you taking them to. Emerald City Theater and Broadway in Chicago have partnered together to bring this classic TV special to life, which teaches kids about the true meaning of Christmas.
2257 N Lincoln Ave Chicago
Thursday December 8 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
Check out American Blues Theater’s live radio play, based on the Frank Capra classic. It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday tradition in Chicago, complete with 1940-style commercials for local sponsors.
Are you excited about all these things to do during the holiday in Chicago? Or have anything fun you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a New York City tradition since 1924. People all over the US watch the parade chock full of floats and performers on TV, and about 3.5 million see it in person every year. Below are some tips for first-timers to make seeing the parade in real life easy.
Find a Place on the Sidewalk
Watching the parade is free, but people should get there early for the best view. Spectators start lining the streets at 6:00 a.m. and the parade starts at 9:00. Find a parking space early and don’t leave your viewing spot when you find it until the parade is over. Many of the performances happen near 34th Street, so those spaces usually fill up first, along with spots at the beginning and the end of the parade route. Other good places for watching the parade are:
- Central Park West. The viewing starts at 75th Street, two blocks away from the start of the parade. It’s only open on the West side, as the other side is closed for invite-only grandstand seating.
- The Shops at Columbus Circle. These shops are open on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 a.m.; shoppers can get a great view from the second and third floors of the mall.
- Sixth Avenue between 38th Street and Central Park South. This long stretch has plenty of room for viewers who may be running a little late.
Note that from 38th Street to Macy’s department store, the street is closed for filming the parade. Keep in mind other street closures as well as you plan for travel, including the following:
Closed starting at 8 AM for the parade formation:
- West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- West 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- Central Park West between West 77th and 86th Streets
Closed starting at 9 AM along the parade route:
- South on Central Park West to Columbus Circle
- South through E/S Columbus Circle to 59th Street
- East on 59th Street to 6th Avenue
- South on 6th Avenue to 34th Street
- West on 34th Street to 7th Avenue -(dispersal area)
For additional closures, visit http://nyc.gov
Get Grandstand Tickets
Grandstand tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are for the friends and family of parade participants, employees and volunteers. Macy’s doesn’t sell them, but individuals often sell them online. Some people may also have a friend with an extra ticket.
Book a Room with a View
Several hotels offer Thanksgiving parade packages with great views, including the JW Marriot’s Parade-View Room Package and the Residence Inn’s Prime View Package.
Make Reservations at a Nearby Restaurant
At some restaurants, people can watch the parade while they eat. However, most establishments require reservations for Thanksgiving since it’s such a busy day. The only restrooms available on the parade route are in restaurants as well.
Who will you be watching the parade with? Let us know in the comments below.
Across the United States, one of the things that Americans look forward to in the Fall is Thanksgiving dinner, and the festivities that bring families together. In Chicago, people also look forward to a particular event just hours before dinner – the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you’ve never seen it before, you should know that the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade is characterized by a 50-foot helium-filled turkey balloon, joined by Ronald McDonald and friends along historic State Street downtown. You may also be interested to know that the parade was originally called “Christmas Caravan” back in the 1930s. The original purpose of the parade was to uplift those suffering job loss and a general negative atmosphere during the Great Depression.
Thanks to plenty of actual Christmas events and celebrations, today’s parade is 100% focused on Thanksgiving, and the holiday season in a more general sense. This year, parade organizers are expecting 5000 participants to get involved with the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade – 1300 of which will be volunteering.
If you’re participating in the parade, make sure to DVR the telecast on WGN-TV so you can relive your TV appearance!
What to Expect at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade
This year Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade goes from 8-11am on November 24, 2016. The parade is held on State Street, and progresses from Congress to Randolph.
Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade Route
Just as with many other events in Chicago, the earlier you show up – the better. If the weather is especially nice, more people will make sure to come in person, and spots along the parade route will be scarce. The most devoted Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade attendees tend to show up before 6-7am.
Best places to watch
Avoid the crowds. Anywhere along State Street is a great place to watch the parade, but you can also watch the parade from a less crowded area at State and Adams. As a general rule, the further north you go in relation to the parade route, the busier you can expect the route to be.
Parade formation. Floats, assemble! If you want to see the formation and start of the parade, head to the east side of State Street between Congress and Harrison.
View the dancing balloons. If you’re most interested in seeing the parade balloon dances, go to any corner of State and Van Buren.
Who will be in marching along the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade route?
First off, you’ll hear music from multiple local high school bands. Second, there will be no shortage of horses, thanks to several unique equestrian units. Honored guests include Miss Illinois & Miss Illinois Teen, Miss Chicago/Windy City/Gold Coast, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Of course, local businesses and organizations will be adding their own unique color and life to the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Are you excited for the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade? We hope to see you there!
It’s almost that time of year again, time for holiday shopping! As people are making their lists and figuring out the right gifts for everyone on it, they should also be sure to map out the places to go to find the best presents.
Here are some of the best shopping spots in NYC:
- Herald Square. Macy’s in Herald Square, what a place to be during the holidays! Since 1902, this Macy’s has been more of a cultural icon than a shopping destination. In addition, the surrounding area is home to one of the few indoor malls in New York City. There are plenty of well-known retailers and small boutiques; it’s the perfect place to get Black Friday deals.
- Soho. Soho is another wonderful shopping district in NYC. It’s one of the oldest, most famous districts in the city, full of high-end fashion houses. Shoppers can find Prada, Armani Exchange, Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Chanel to name a few. There are also a number of designer lighting and furnishings shops.
- Bergdorf Goodman. The ultra luxurious Bergdorf Goodman is a must-shop destination on Black Friday. The deals here are spectacular, and the gifts can’t be beat!
- Union Square. The Union Square Holiday Market takes place in Union Square each year. This internationally renowned market is located right in the heart of the city. Millions of people visit the market each year to browse handmade gifts created by local artisans. This is a unique ‘can’t miss’ experience.
- 59th and Lexington. The 59th and Lexington area is a 20-block stretch of small shops of all types. Most are local boutiques, rather than well-known retailers, so shoppers can really find some unique gifts.
- Grand Central. There is another holiday market in the Grand Central area of New York City. The Grand Central Holiday Fair takes place every year in the historic Grand Central Station. There are plenty of cool vendors and a train show, so kids will actually enjoy this shopping day.
No matter where shoppers venture this holiday season, there are great deals to be found. Let us know where you’ll be shopping this holiday season!
Earth Day was first celebrated 45 years ago. This annual day to focus on the environment began the year following the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. There are multiple enjoyable ways to recognize and learn about ways to help maintain and improve our environment. Here are some fun Earth Day activities so you can get involved on April 22nd.
Visit a National Park
The US has a huge number of national parks, and National Park Week is always celebrated the week of Earth Day. From April 16 through April 24, 2016, you can enjoy free admission to any national park.
On Earth Day, the national parks also host volunteer opportunities if you wish to be a bit more involved.
Go for a Ride
Take a break from driving solo and carpool to work, meetups, etc. You’ll help reduce vehicle emissions and also get a break from being behind the wheel.
Many cities have a public bicycle rental system that is low cost. Burn off that Frappuccino by grabbing one of these bikes and riding to school, work, and to your Earth Day activities. Check out your local paper, too. Often there will be special food and drink stops along the bike paths on this day to help encourage people to bike more. Free food sure helps motivate me.
Book Parking in Advance
As much as people enjoy bicycling and walking, it isn’t always practical to leave the car at home. You may be wondering how booking parking in advance can be help the environment.
Parking spots can fill up fast, and you can spend a lot of extra time driving around trying to find a place with open spaces. This adds a lot of extra pollution and increases your use of fossil fuels, one of the main culprits of climate change.
Parking expert Donald Shoup did a study looking at how searching for parking can affect the environment. “Over a year, searching for parking in Westwood Village creates 950,000 excess VMT (vehicle miles of travel)—equivalent to 38 trips around the earth or four trips to the moon. . . [It wastes about] 47,000 gallons of gasoline and produces 730 tons of CO2 emissions in a small business district.”
By prebooking your parking, you can greatly reduce gasoline consumption, driving time, and the extra amount of pollution your car contributes. And it will help lower your blood pressure, too.
Plant a Tree
This is one of the more popular Earth Day activities. Trees not only help beautify parks, common areas, and our neighborhoods, but they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, something we kind of need. Since CO2 is considered to be one of the major culprits behind climate change, reducing that atmospheric gas is very helpful.
This is also a great family activity. The kids can help out, get dirty, and they get to see the tree grow over their life.
If you don’t have a place to plant a tree, you can beautify your surroundings with flowers, either potted or planted. Almost every city has a tree planting event at a local park as well. It’s pretty easy and fun to get involved even if you have limited space at your home.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Aside from the national parks, many communities have a botanical garden. These are often very relaxing and beautiful, and you just may get some ideas to use at home. They’re also an easier activity than bicycling or hiking for those who don’t enjoy breaking a sweat. And coffee or tea always taste better beneath the shade of a beautiful tree. I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact.
Have a Special Earth Day Party
Earth Day is on a Friday this year, and I’m always game for any reason to throw a party. To help with the theme, ask that people use alternative methods of transportation or carpool to get there. For the food and drinks, use local products (nothing imported from another country and preferably from within 50-100 miles) from sustainable farms, breweries, etc. If you have a local farmer’s market, that is a great place to source your ingredients.
If the weather is nice, consider having your party at a local park, lake, etc. It’s hard not to be aware of the environment when you’re surrounded by trees, birdsong, and flowers.
What fun Earth Day activities will you be participating in this year?