Stumped about what to do for Valentine's Day this year? Less is often more-more fun, more time spent together and more funding left over for your next date night. The key to a happy Valentine's Day is to aim for fun, simple and special, no matter how low-key, extravagant or silly "special" might be for you!
Cozy casa ($)
With V-Day on a Thursday this year, you may find yourself tempted to stay in and celebrate by keeping each other company over your bio homework. But why not team up and try cooking dinner together? Even if all you can make is grilled cheese, make it epic! There are plenty of amazing recipes online (like the ones found on BuzzFeed Food) for simple dinners like grilled cheese that won't take too much time, money, or chef skills. Flip on your Netflix of choice-may I suggest catching up on a little Mad Men before the season premiere in April?-and you've got yourself a perfect low-key evening.
Lovin' the local ($$)
If you're looking to get out of the dorm but won't have a lot of time Thursday night, there are plenty of great places right down the road. The Shannon Rose Pub has live music starting at 8 p.m. on Valentine's Day, and a special weekend menu running from Thursday through Sunday. Don't forget there's also Roxanne's and Houlihan's (which has vegetarian options and dishes made with gluten-free ingredients). Looking to dine out on a minimalist's budget? You can't go wrong with tried-and-true eats like Moe's (don't forget they have a Ramapo discount if you show your student ID). "There's nothing more Momantic than a burrito and salsa," senior Lindsay Lewandowski gushes.
Stroll in the city ($$$)
If you're thinking about planning something a little different, or are waiting to celebrate on the weekend, New York City is just a $12 round-trip ticket away. A sidewalk exploration of all the landmarks in Midtown can be a day in and of itself, but there are lots of cool things to see that won't cost as much as going to the top of Rockefeller Center.
When asked about his suggestions for Valentine's Day, senior Stephen Sorace said, "Probably a museum, because they're usually free." The Museum of Modern Art is free from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday evenings, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a donation-based admittance, which means each person can pay a dollar and roam centuries of art and artifacts all afternoon.
Worked up an appetite from all that culture? Of course the city has something for every taste, from dirty water dogs to fancy restaurants whose names we can't pronounce. But there are tons of student-friendly noms to be had that you can totally say. S'Mac (mac n'cheese of every kind imaginable) is a personal favorite, which includes two drinks and a regular or gluten-free major munch-sized order to share for under $20. Sushi Samba also has fresh, shareable-sized eats. If you're tempted to try some street cart cuisine, you can't miss the massive $6 gyros and gyro salads from Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th (near the MoMa!). And on your way back to catch the bus at Port Authority, why not try a little dessert from the newly opened Cake Boss CafÃ©? (It's right in Port Authority at the entrance that faces the New York Times building).
Whatever you end up doing this year, make sure that it's really about appreciating each other, relaxing and planning something that you'll both enjoy together.