Valentine's Day is almost here. Bookmark these Harlem destinations for gift ideas you won't find anywhere else:
Central Harlem 2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts
If you haven't been to Harlem's new Chilean pastry shop yet, now's the time to check it out and–while you're at it–grab a box of the heart-shaped alfajores, delicate cookies layered with dulce de leche, specially covered in dark, milk, white and raspberry chocolate for Valentine's Day.
2. Wine & Unwind
Hamilton Heights 1536 Amsterdam Ave between W 135th and W 136th Sts
Discover a wide range of affordable French Cremants, Italian Proseccos, Spanish Cavas, and other sparkling wines from under-the-radar wineries–yes, there are natural picks, too–at this modern new shop. Fridays and Saturdays are for wine tastings–an especially good time to drop by.
Central Harlem 66 Edgecombe Ave at W 138th St
This chic little perfume destination on the parlor floor of a Harlem brownstone is usually by-appointment-only, but this Friday evening owner Kimberly Waters is opening the doors for a Valentine's Day get-together complete with champagne. Bring that someone special and check out Muse's curated collection of luxury fragrances, including Maya Njie, a line inspired by its founder's Swedish and West African heritage.
4. Harlem Chocolate Factory
Central Harlem 2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd between W 138th and W 139th Sts
Resembling a small-but-elegant Strivers' Row parlor, this two-year-old chocolate shop specializes in sweets inspired by the neighborhood–think color-splashed truffles with evocative names like First Nite on Lenox (a mix of smoked peach jam, hazelnut praline and caramel). Stop by this week to see what's in store for Valentine's Day, including freshly-made chocolate-covered strawberries.
5. Cinderblock People
Central Harlem 300 W 142nd St between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Bradhurst Ave
Browse the bins with your sweetie at this indie Harlem record store where you're sure to find both old and new gems, including soul, R&B and jazz that's sure to put anyone in the mood. Vintage Nina Simone, anyone?
6. The SPAaaht
Sugar Hill 775 St Nicholas Ave and W 149th Street
Located in one of Sugar Hill's prettiest townhouses, this boutique spa offers massages (Swedish, deep tissue, or Ayurvedic), facials, eco-friendly nail care and more. Book a Tandem Time massage for you and your boo on a Tuesday and get 20 percent off. Fun fact: It's just up the street from what was once black beauty mogul Rose Morgan's famous salon, the Rose Meta House of Beauty.
Top photo: Dulceria
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