Popping the question this Valentine’s Day? Skip the Top of the Rock and other cliche city locations. These are our picks for the best creative places in NYC to get engaged. And of course, if you have a great NYC proposal story of your own, make sure to leave us a comment and let us know! By Carly Petrone.

The Rainforest At The Central Park Zoo

Tiger cubs at the Central Park Zoo (credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Central Park Zoo
5th Ave., E 64th St.
New York, NY 10021

Why not try somewhere exotic? Or, as close as you can get to exotic in the heart of Manhattan. Lemurs may not scream “romance” to you, but the various viewing platforms make the perfect place to pop the question. Even better, you can then head for a glass of champagne at the nearby Central Park Boat House. You can even set up your own catered event at the zoo to celebrate or pick up some ideas for your upcoming wedding.

The Empire Room

(credit: The Empire Room)

350 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10118
(212) 643-5400

Filled with crystal chandeliers and fancy velvet chairs, the Empire Room is a romantic alternative to the top of the Empire State Building. Celebrate with one of their signature cocktails like the Empire (gin, dry vermouth, orange liqueur, lemon juice, raspberry jam and Champagne), or the Waldorf (Rye, Anitca, absinthe and Manhattan bitters). The 1920’s vibe inside takes you back to old Hollywood and is a fun place to have family and friends meet up after the big moment. Plus, you’ll be able to skip the long lines at the observation deck (and hopefully give you less time to be nervous).

Hayden Planetarium

(credit: Hayden Planetarium)

Central Park West and 79th St.
New York, NY 10024

More: NYC’s 5 Best Museums For Dates

Want to propose under the stars but are afraid you won’t see any in Manhattan? The Hayden Planetarium inside the American History of Natural History is just as romantic and you won’t have to freeze as you get down on one knee. The nearby wine bar, Wine and Roses on Columbus Ave, is the perfect spot for a post-proposal glass of champagne.

Ferris Wheel at Toys-R-Us

(credit: Toys R Us)

Toys-R-Us Union Square
1514 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(646) 366-8864

More: The 5 Best NYC Bars For The Kid In You

For the couple that still feels like kids at heart, why not get engaged atop the giant Ferris Wheel at the Toys R Us store in Manhattan? It’s a playful way to start your life together. Plus, you can celebrate by laughing, screaming, and running around without anyone staring at you. This Toys-R-Us location even has an inexpensive $30 package where you can get airtime on a 40×50 foot board in the middle of Times Square. You can arrange for it to be shown that night or just minutes later. They’ll also take a picture of you during your proposal!

Straus Park

(file photo)

Ida Straus Memorial
Broadway, W. 106th St., W. End Ave.
New York, NY 10025

Ida and Isidor Straus captured the meaning of love when they chose to be by each others side as the Titanic famously sunk into the Atlantic Ocean. With your sweetheart by your side, declare your love in front of the sculpture dedicated to Ida Straus. Seasonal flowers adorn the memorial and the passage engraved, “Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives and in their death they were not parted” reminds us to hold onto the ones we love. Straus Park, named after this heroic couple, is located in Morningside Heights.

Federal Hall

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

1 South St.
New York, NY 10004

The perfect way to make your own mark in history is by getting down on one knee at the steps of Federal Hall. Located in the heart of Wall Street, this significant and beautiful monument is where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President of the United States. It was also the home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch Offices. To celebrate you can take a guided tour through this historical memorial and then toast to a new beginning at the nearby South Street Seaport.

(credit: New York Public Library)

The NY Public Library Schwarzman Building

Astor Hall
5th and 42nd St.
New York, NY 10018

You don’t even need a library card to set up an after hours excursion to The New York Public Library Schwarzman Building. Just call the Special Events Department (212-930-0730) to discuss your proposal plans. For 45 minutes, gorgeous Astor Hall can be yours to enjoy. Feel free to bring a photographer, your families, or just keep it private for the two of you. This romantic gesture will not go unnoticed. With one of the most beautiful halls in the city as your backdrop, it’s the ideal place to get engaged.

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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer and make-up artist living in NYC.