Austin’s music scene isn’t all that rocks – this city’s dating scene doesn’t skip a beat, with singles comprising more than half the local population (thanks largely to the University of Texas campus). For a Texas-size dose of top-notch dating potential, try a toe-tapping night out at some 200 live-music venues (test your inner cowboy or cowgirl at The Broken Spoke honky-tonk), or hit up the nightlife hotbeds in the Warehouse District or on Sixth Street. Plus, year-round sunshine and the great outdoors combine for date-worthy dips at Barton Springs Pool, hiking or biking the Greenbelt, or getting out on the water on Lady Bird Park (a kayak for two, anybody?).
This renowned hub for higher education (50-plus institutes call the Boston area home, including heavyweights like Harvard and MIT) buzzes with the youthful energy of undergrad and post-grad singles looking to pair off. Grab your squeeze and head out on the town for the bustling pub scene (try the historic Bell in Hand Tavern), top venues for sporting events (don’t miss a Red Sox game at Fenway), or strolls along the Harborwalk and the Charles River Esplanade. Foodie-minded duos, meanwhile, can seek out romantic Italian eateries in the North End neighborhood (try Trattoria di Monica) or the food stalls of historic Quincy Market.
Cosmopolitan Chicago is made for dating: Check out world-class art museums (like the Art Institute of Chicago), comedy clubs (Second City is unsurpassed for laughs), theaters (second only in concentration to Broadway), and sporting venues (catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field). Then, continue your rendezvous well into the night at one of the legendary blues clubs or a trendy rooftop bar showcasing Chi-town’s cityscape. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Lincoln Park or the Lake Michigan waterfront for biking, jogging, or simply unwinding. Or, take your date to new heights – literally – with a whirl in Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel, or in winter, a little ice-skating in the sky at the rink atop the John Hancock building.
Make your way to Miami for its sun-kissed beaches and sexy locals known to show off teeny bikini- and swim trunks-clad bods. A sizzling nightlife scene infused by sensual Latin flavors (clubs pumping salsa, meringue, and more) commands the night, while the beachfront beckons active types who can jog, bike, or rollerblade under the sun. Of course, simply frolicking in the waters off the white-sand beaches or lingering over a sunset-view cocktail (try DiLido Beach Club) or savory seafood meal (The Redfish Grill’s beachfront patio is tops), are perfect tropical-inspired dates all their own.
The French Quarter’s wrought-iron balconies and flickering streetlamps; the soaring oak canopies of City Park; and balmy Southern nights combine for romantic only-in-N’awlins’ strolls. Or, snuggle up in a horse-drawn carriage or aboard a streetcar to kindle your date’s desire. New Orleans delivers in the nightlife department, with legendary music venues (try dimly lit jazz clubs like Snug Harbor) and watering holes fueled by classic New Orleans cocktails (300-year-old Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar ranks high for atmosphere). Or, indulge in neighborhood cafés (hit Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets for two) and restaurants flexing their culinary chops (Bayona’s lush courtyard is especially enchanting).
New York City
The Big Apple is big on dating, with hip, career-driven New Yorkers oozing unrivaled cultural diversity, perfect for those looking to broaden their dating horizons (plus, a special bonus for the fellows: Females outnumber males here by 52.5 to 47.5 percent). NYC’s abundant offerings ensure a date night needn’t be repeated twice – from music clubs to museums, Broadway to bars, and rooftop lounges to top-ranked restaurants, Manhattan seems designed with matchmaking in mind. Add on a stroll in Central Park, a sunset cruise around the harbor, or a rooftop cocktail overlooking NYC’s twinkling skyline, for some Gotham trysts not to be missed.
Phoenix & Scottsdale
The bordering, sun-kissed sister cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, tucked into Arizona’s palm- and cacti-speckled Sonoran Desert, tout a top-notch dating scene that’s no mirage. The desert delivers abundant hiking, rock climbing, and biking opportunities for outdoorsy types; follow it up with some pampering for two at one of the area’s world-class spas (Royal Palms Resort and Spa ranks tops for romance). After sunset, a foodie scene unfolds at date-primed eateries like T. Cook’s, while chic nightlife abounds, especially in downtown Scottsdale (try Kazimierz World Wine Bar). For dates with an artsy edge, peruse galleries during special evening receptions, courtesy of Phoenix’s Artlink First Fridays, or the weekly Scottsdale ArtWalk.
Sun-drenched San Diego, with its endless-summer weather, buzzing beach culture, hip nightlife scene, and generous population of tanned, hard-bodied singles, is an easy contender for this list. Head out for a date-worthy dip or a go at surfing at one of 33 city beaches, then stick around for an evening beach bonfire, or hit up the nightlife haunts of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, with chic rooftop lounges primed for alfresco romance (like Ivy Rooftop). The luxe, Mediterranean-style La Jolla neighborhood, meanwhile, beckons couples with elegant bars and eateries (we love The Marine Room) and superlative natural scenery at spots like La Jolla Cove or Torrey Pines State Reserve.
California’s cultural capital, San Francisco, is a boon for diverse, creative singles blessed. Cultural venues, museums, and art galleries; world-class dining scene (try romantic Fifth Floor); Golden Gate Park (with its picture-book Conservatory of Flowers); and a vibrant nightlife and café scene rank among the top dating scenes. The City by the Bay’s stunning waterfront setting, moody misty weather, and iconic Golden Gate Bridge are a perfect backdrop for romance, best admired via strolls along the coastline (try Crissy Field) or sunset catamaran cruises on the bay. California Wine Country and the fairytale redwoods of Muir Woods are within easy day-tripping distance and only increase the likelihood that you’ll indeed leave your heart here.
With coffeehouses on practically every corner (little wonder, given Starbucks was born here), Seattle’s primed for cappuccino-fueled courtships. Or, if Dionysus-inspired dating’s more your speed, romantic wine bars and urban tasting rooms are perfect spots to taste Washington’s top-rate vintages. (Keep both options open at establishments like Fonté Café & Wine Bar.) For an epicurean-edged outing, sample local flavors via the food stalls, fish vendors, and eateries (Café Campagne boasts a woo-worthy setting) of the Pike Place Market. Or, sample Seattle’s natural bounty with outings to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, or to the city’s ample lakes and scenic waterfront. Round it all off with a bird’s-eye view for two atop the city’s iconic Space Needle.