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How to Spend the Ultimate Valentine’s Day at Rockefeller Center

By Emmie Murphy & Paulina CajigalJan 31 2024
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Window displays are awash in pink and red, Cupid cut-outs dangle from ceilings, and heart-shaped Reese’s are back in stock… which means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Whether you're spending the day with your beloved, a good friend, or going stag, Rockefeller Center can keep you entertained all day (and all month) long.

From art exhibits to love-themed sweets and romantic dinners, here’s how to enjoy the perfect New York City Valentine’s Day — without ever leaving the Midtown campus. While you’re here, take a look at Rockefeller Center’s list of Valentine’s Day offerings and the new Sip & Shop program, a partnership between select on-campus stores and restaurants.

10 am: Get moving with help from Café Grumpy

Find it on the Rink level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

Don’t let the name fool you, Café Grumpy will put a pep in your step in no time. Start things off on the right foot with a heartbreaker espresso shot to get you energized for the day ahead, or buy a 20-ounce bag of heartbreaker beans for your favorite, caffeine-loving someone.

Now that you’re wide awake, it’s time to…

10:15 am: Pick up something sweet from The Tipsy Baker

Stay on the Rink level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

As part of Rockefeller Center’s Valentine’s Day exclusives, The Tipsy Baker is doling out pet-nat rosé by the glass and love-themed strawberry tarts — a perfect blend of sour and sweet. The offerings are available from February 12 to 16, but you can start the festivities even earlier with The Tipsy Baker’s varied selection of breads, pastries, and baked goods.

For a musical discussion and personal conversations…

Courtesy of Christie's
Courtesy of Christie's

10:45 am: Explore the Collection of Sir Elton John at Christie’s

Walk one block over to 20 Rockefeller Plaza

People have been expressing their love through song and dance for centuries, and there’s arguably no one who understands romance and showmanship better than recent EGOT winner Sir Elton John. The public exhibition at Christie’s, which runs from February 9 through 21, is an inside look into the singer’s life and legacy — filled with one-of-a-kind costumes, custom jewelry, and art from his personal collection. For more memorabilia (and a chance to win unique prizes), visit the exhibit’s accompanying pop-up gift shop.

To refuel…

12 pm: Fill up with a meal at Smith & Mills

Head back to the Rink Level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

Love is in the air at Smith & Mills, Rockefeller Center’s newest dining destination; the restaurant is pairing its intimate atmosphere with a series of Valentine’s Day-inspired drinks and dishes. Some notable additions include the Blushing Rose cocktail, beet-infused tagliatelle, and oxtail canelón topped with bechamel, parmigiano, and truffle jus. Reservations can be made here.

For some fresh air…

1:30 pm: Take a spin on The Rink

You don’t have to travel far to find The Rink; just walk through the Rink Level doors

Imagine you and your special someone holding hands on the ice, in the heart of New York City. The Rink’s picturesque backdrop sets the stage for love, just like a scene from your favorite romance movie. Extend the adventure with a VIP ticket; it includes a longer skate time, complimentary skate rentals, hot cocoa, and 20% off The Rink merchandise. Tickets can be purchased here.

To take your date to new heights…

2:45 pm: Experience The Beam at Top of the Rock

Walk half a block down 50th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues

Top of the Rock is already one of the best places to take in the city’s expansive skyline, but it recently elevated the experience with The Beam. Recreating the iconic “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo, The Beam soars 12 feet above Top of the Rock’s 360-degree observation deck, giving visitors unmatched views of New York City. The Beam is included in the VIP Pass and can be added to General Admission and Express Pass tickets. Buy your tickets here.

For some last-minute gifts…

4:15 pm: Shop around at Catbird, Kule, and Saturdays Football

Catbird and Kule are located in the Channel Gardens; Saturdays Football can be found on 49th Street 

Whether perusing for yourself or a loved one, shopping at Rockefeller Center is as varied as the city itself. You can commemorate your everlasting love with Catbird’s famous 14K Forever Bracelets, or recreate the feeling of a warm hug with Kule’s signature striped sweaters. For sports fans, Saturdays Football is fully stocked with rare jerseys and vintage kits.

As an extra treat…

6 pm: Enjoy a complimentary drink at 5 Acres

Head back to the Rink Level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

If you’re carrying a bag from one of the stores above, then you’ve earned yourself a free drink. On weekdays between 4 to 6pm, Rockefeller Center’s Sip & Shop program offers visitors a complimentary cocktail at participating Rink Level restaurants. At chef Greg Baxtrom’s farm-inspired 5 Acres, we recommend the Cranberry Spritz and spirit-free Kiwi Gimlet.

To top off the day…

6:45 pm: Unwind with a five-course menu at NARO

Stay on the Rink Level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

After a jam-packed day of shopping and sightseeing, put the focus back on you and your loved one with a romantic dinner at NARO. Another Rockefeller Center Valentine’s Day special, NARO’s curated five-course menu features a Wagyu Rib Eye with kalchi-jeot, white asparagus, and tteokgalbi; a chocolate cake with strawberry bavarois and creme fraiche ice cream; and its signature petit fours. Book your table here.

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