St. Valentine’s Day is back, which means it’s once again time to buy overpriced chocolates and bouquets of red roses to celebrate a holiday that many view more to do with consumerism than romance.
But, instead of contributing to the $18 billion that Americans are estimated to spend this year on their valentines with predictable gifts, why not change it up this year? Long Island is home to a host of unique events for those looking to do something different with their dates.
Take advantage and explore some of the best events on LI happening this Valentine’s Day.
Pre-Valentine’s Day “Love Is…?” Film Screening
The A/V Geeks of the Cinema Arts Centre are breaking out their collection of 16 mm films about love, romance and marriage. The films take a look at the notions about love and marriage in the 1950s and early ‘60s. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. 631-423-7611. Cinemaartscentre.org. $10 members, $15 public, free for Young Film Fan members. 7:30 p.m., Feb. 12.
Soiree Noir Burlesque
Let yourself go and witness Long Island’s only burlesque speakeasy show perform a sexy Valentine’s Day tribute at one of the region’s swankiest steakhouses. Enjoy steak, cocktails and striptease to warm you up on a cold February night. George Martin Strip Steak, 60 Great River Rd., Great River. RSVP at 631-650-6777. $20. 9 p.m. Feb. 12.
An Evening of Love Songs with O El Amor
One of the most eccentric acts around, this Latin band serenades the audience with love songs from every era—all while wearing masks. Gift bags will be given to the first 60 women in attendance. In addition, each audience member will receive a silk rose. The Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main St., Bay Shore. 631-969-1101. Boultoncenter.org. $20 reserved seating. 8 p.m., Feb. 13.
If you’re over 18 and feeling a little more risqué this Valentine’s Day weekend, The Coney Island Burlesque and notorious “girlie revues” might just be the place to be. Get a taste of their celebrated history with side-show freaks and vaudeville style performances. These girls have got it and they’re flaunting it. Suffolk Theater, 118 E Main St., Riverhead. 631-727-4343. Suffolktheater.com. $32. Doors, bar and restaurant open at 6:30 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. Feb. 13.
My “Jazzy” Valentine – A Richard Rogers Tribute
Richard Rogers—along with Oscar Hammerstein II—wrote some of the most beautiful love songs of the 20th century. From Carousel to The King and I to The Sound of Music, the famous duo were responsible for bringing out the romantic side of Broadway. Now it’s your chance to experience their music live. Composer-pianist Paul Joseph and his jazz trio will be performing Roger’s greatest selections on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Levittown Public Library, 1 Bluegrass Lane. Levittown, 516-731-5728. Liwg.com. Free, ticket suggested. 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Feb. 13.
Morning Cycling Date
Burn off all that candy and chocolate and cycle with the person that makes you sweat. With the purchase of a cycling class, the fitness team at HotRyde offers a free ride for your valentine. HotRyde, 340 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale. Also available at Deer Park location. 516-484-6604. hotryde.com. 8:30 or 9:45 a.m. Feb. 14.
14th Annual WinterFest
With your babysitter booked for your romantic evening out, have some fun at Levittown Community Council’s WinterFest celebration in the afternoon with your whole family. Free activities include arts and crafts, facepainting and temporary tattoos and hourly raffles. There will also be performances by the magical Mr. Steve the Scientist and a puppet show by Small World Entertainment. Low-cost refreshments will be available. Levittown Hall, 201 Levittown Parkway, (c/o Beech Street ), Hicksville. 516-735-5901. Levittownchamber.com. Free. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14.
Valentine’s Day Dinner at Historic Mansion
Put a historical twist on your Valentine’s Day and dine where Hollywood’s brightest stars mixed and mingled with Long Island’s own rich and famous. The Vanderbilt Museum is hosting its annual dinner event at the early 20th-century mansion overlooking Northport Bay. Hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be served in the mansion’s Memorial Wing followed by a tour of William K. Vanderbilt’s living quarters. Dinner takes place in the Northport Dining Room Porch with two seatings available at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dessert will follow in the Lancaster Room along with a trip to the Vanderbilt Library. Carriage House Theater at the Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport. 631-854-5579. Vanderbiltmuseum.org. $100. 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 14.
Valentine Cabaret Castle Gould’s Great Hall
Love is alive and well for these two Broadway stars. Three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie and husband and Broadway actor Jason Danieley take to the stage to perform a romantic Valetine’s Day cabaret. Avoid the crowded restaurants and enjoy this all-inclusive evening that includes a seated dinner, an open bar and a delicious spread of dessert and coffee—all while listening to Broadway standards. Sands Point Preserve, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point. 516-571-7901. Thesandpointreserve.com. $120. 7 p.m., Feb. 14.
Mostly Moptop in a Fab Four Valentine’s Night
All you need is love this Valentine’s Day, but a Beatles tribute couldn’t hurt either. Long Island’s premier Beatles tribute brand will serenade you with classics from the 1977 Love Album such as “If I Fell,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “P.S I Love You,” “Yesterday” and “Something.” Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, 305 N. Service Rd., Dix Hills. 631-656-2148. dhpac.org. $25-$35. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
Kathy Griffin Valentine’s Day Comedy Show
Laugh away your crummy love life with the comedy of America’s favorite D-lister. Griffin stops by Westbury as part of her comedy tour. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. 800-745-3000. thetheatreatwestbury.com. $80-$160. 8 p.m. Feb 14.
Tango Buenos Aires
One of Argentina’s greatest cultural gifts is coming to the LI for one night only. The dance company will perform The Song of Eva Perón—a tragic fable that tells the story of Argentina’s ill-fated First Lady. The Tilles Center, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville. 516-299-3100. Tillescenter.org. $33-$63. 8 p.m., Feb. 14.
Blue Tourmaline Valentine’s Day Show
One of the region’s only jazz clubs hosts the Blue Tourmaline band for a night of blues and rock. Pop open a bottle of wine or champagne and receive complimentary chocolate truffles to sweeten up your special night. Treme, 553 Main St., Islip. 631-277-2008. Tremeislip.com. $10. 8 p.m., Feb 14.