Come February 14, there's something for every kind of romantic in the Big Apple.

Wave Hill NYC
Credit: Wave Hill

Sometimes Valentine's Day in New York City can feel like a competitive sport, with frantic partners jockeying for coveted restaurant tables, elaborate plans, and oh-so-perfect gifts. Let T+L give you a leg up with these fresh ideas for the ultimate plan.

Things to Do

1. Chocolate and Wine Tasting (or alternatively "Winter Birding") at Wave Hill. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Hudson, Wave Hill is romantic any way you slice it. Stop by this beautiful Bronx estate on Valentine's Day for a classic chocolate and wine tasting event or, for those ornithologically inclined, a winter birding program.

2. Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop. Create your own a romantic scene for a couple of love bugs in a program led by an employee from the American Museum of Natural History at Brooklyn's smart and quirky Morbid Anatomy Museum.

3. Nice Fish at St. Ann's Warehouse. Tony- and Olivier Award-winning actor Mark Rylance teams up with poet Louis Jenkins for an ode to Minnesota ice fishing. It premieres Valentine's Day at this performing arts institution in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood—and what's more romantic than cold fish? (Or a great play.)

4. Justin Vivian Bond's "Love is Crazy!" at Joe's Pub. "Cabaret messiah" Bond celebrates (and excoriates) love in an evening of music and performance that's a veritable institution at this beloved NoHo theater and performing space.

5. Romance Under the Stars. Space, the final frontier ... of dating. While you can't make Valentine's Day reservations for the moon yet, stargazing at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium is the next best thing.

6. Carnival of Venice Masquerade. Since 2007, Dances of Vice has hosted elaborate costumed celebrations. This year's Valentine's Day party is extra-meta: the costume party's theme is ... a historical costume party. Still, who wouldn't want to be in Venice during Carnival?

7. The Bronx Zoo's "Name a Roach" Campaign. The perfect Valentine's Day gesture for an ex—or a sweetheart with an especially good sense of humor, this annual drive gives donors the chance to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after their object of affection.

Where to Eat

8. Red Rooster. This Harlem restaurant often offers an affordable ($55 per person) multi-course prix fixe for Valentine's Day, and in chef Marcus Samuelsson's hands (you may recognize him from Chopped), you can count on any item from his eclectic menu, especially southern specialties like chicken and waffles to the Swedish "Helga's Meatballs," complete with lingonberries.

9. Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Many of the eateries in David Chang's Momofuku restaurant group offer a prix fixe for Valentine's Day, but the pork-heavy and small plate-centric Ssäm Bar is a perfect place for two meat lovers to mix, match, and share.

10. Del Posto. For a classic—and classically extravagant—Valentine's Day meal, it's hard to go wrong with city's premier fine dining Italian restaurant. They often offer several prix-fixe menus on Valentine's Day ranging from $250 to $300 per person. One of Mario Batali's restaurants, Del Posto lives up to the hype.

11. Alobar. Serving New American in Long Island City, Alobar's menu is heavy on cheese and charcuterie (and pickles). Try the bone-in Berkshire pork chop and the roasted beet salad for a hearty and satisfying meal.

12. Miriam. A vegetarian-friendly neighborhood favorite in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, Miriam is the perfect spot for a cozy and low-key Valentine's Day dinner. Their hummus is one you won't forget.

Places to Drink

13. Angel's Share. Up a set of stairs and through another restaurant, much of the appeal of Angel's Share is just how hard it is to find. A calm and quiet refuge next to one of the East Village's busiest intersections, its large picture window looking over the street is perfect for people watching. You might have to wait for seats to be served—standing isn't allowed.

24. The Pegu Club. Yet another bar you have to climb stairs to reach, but like Angel's Share, the Pegu Club is worth it. Named after a British officer's club in Burma, the interior design here—lightly tropical—is both tasteful and comfortable. Try the Gin-Gin Mule (made with homemade gingerbeer) or the Early Grey MarTEAni.

15. Raines Law Room. This Flatiron speakeasy requires entry by doorbell, and its private, curtained tables have wall buzzers that call for waiter service exactly when you need it. The drinks are unforgettable.

16. Weather Up. The minimally marked white tile exterior belies the cozy inside of this Prospect Heights bar. Come for the cocktails, stay for the cocktails.

A Final Tip

* If you haven't made a reservation, many restaurants still keep seats open at the bar.