The love tour: World’s best cities for singles
JUST SO YOU HAVE AN IDEA of what you might be facing on this magnificent tour, here’s a list of my favorite cities for singles, and the reasons why I like them. Feel free to follow me on my tour, or just apply my reasoning to cities you like.
Or just close your eyes and spin the globe. Love, after all, needs no planning.
In no particular order:
Shanghai was once called “the Paris of the Orient.” As such, it presented us with a collection of lush and lavish images of pre-WWII splendor. Shanghai was Casablanca with seductive beauties and cold-hearted gangsters instead of Nazis and Resistance fighters.
Today, Shanghai is the drop off point for all MBA students who cannot find a job in the US and are interested in adventure and thrill. Living costs are high for China, low for the West.
If you have an education, finding a job will not be hard. If you like to party, Shanghai is definitely partying. For single men, the many beauties of China, who come to the city from around the PRC to make their fortune, will make you lose your mind.
For single women who like the MBA type, Shanghai has tons of ‘em. If you like hot sophisticated Asian guys, then you are at a veritable buffet. Have fun.
The only problem with New York is cost.
If you can rent a spot with some friends out in Brooklyn and have a job to afford it, then you’re in the mix. NYC has the best hot dogs on the planet. It boasts the best clubs, bars, theaters, museums — it is one of the most influential cities in the world.
There are more highly educated, single women in NYC than you can shake a drink at. Which makes it tough for other single women, statistically, especially if we include the vast numbers of muscle-bound, clean cut, fine dressing, paycheck-cashing gay men that bounce around the city all day and night.
But for some reason, even though single women abound, there are still cafes, bars, and parks filled with eligible bachelors. And any man who can make it in New York is probably worth spending some time with on the Love Tour.
Paris might be the City of Love, but Barcelona is the city of Luvin’. Paris is the last place you want to be if you are single. Couples everywhere smoochin’. It’s horrible. But in Barcelona, everyone is single. I am telling you: Everyone Is Single.
People are hanging out in the streets till all hours of the night drinking, eating, gesticulating wildly, kissing and gazing at each other, arguing and throwing stuff around. The food is amazing, the prices are good, Spanish people (men AND women) look and dress beautifully.
The Bay Area
How can you possibly beat the Bay area? It can’t be done. Whatever your heart’s desire, the Bay’s got it. Studly gay men, punk rocker chicks, bald gong fu bad-asses, sultry Latinas and Asians, smooth Black women and hairy hippies. The Bay’s got it all. And it is a beautiful city with a long history and a culture all its own.
As with NYC, if you don’t have the cash, all these wonders and treats are out of your reach. Kinda. It is possible to live in expensive cities for cheap and still have a great time as a single, but that is another column. This is just about where it’s at. In the Bay, you can head to a few places to get your single funk on:
Get yourself a Mission Burrito. Head to ChaChaCha and drink some Sangria. Put on a gimp suit and head to Castro or Folsom … check out the piers and strippers down on Broadway.
Get a tattoo at Goldfields: I did.
Go to North Beach and hit on an Italian. Then go have some pasta together. Head out to Sunset and chill on the beach, smoke Buddha and talk about the demise of the federal government with a cute intellectual.
Go to Oakland and peep the real life. Have some chicken or BBQ somewhere and walk around. Find a thug to love ya for a night.
If you have a gig keeping you afloat in the Bay, then you can have a very fine time.
Now a while back people might have disputed as to where the most fun is to be had in Germany. A few would have probably said Munich because of Oktoberfest, but other than that Munich has no parties. It is the center of the conservative south. Imagine Texas with lots of good beer.
A more knowledgeable cat might have said Cologne, because this city is just so much fun. The banks of the Rhine are a beautiful place to fall in love and there are cute little cafes and pubs scattered throughout the town.
But these days, nothing beats Berlin. It’s just too pimpin’ and too cheap. All of the artists, writers, punks, charlatans, seductresses and their hangers-on are leaving Budapest and going to Berlin to make love behind statues and on the steps of one of the dozens of museums.
The cost of living is the cheapest for its size anywhere in (northern) Europe and the citizenry is young and proud.
Any city in the former Yugoslavia
Yes. The former Yugoslavia has an impossible number of out of sight amazing ladies. The whole is surrounded by beautiful mountains, sleepy Carpathian towns, and tributaries of the Danube.
There are coastal towns that will make you marry the next person who smiles at you and settle down to have children together. The mountain towns will swallow you up and you will stagger out of bed for the sole reason that cevapcici tastes heavenly. Many a traveler have stumbled upon this paradise and stayed for years.
And it is affordable. Everyone can speak a bit of English and no one will carry you away to some dungeon. You can live there for a long time by just hanging out and getting to know people. You will most likely get taken in.
I shouldn’t be telling you this.
This place is just too cool. The people here are so aware and so enlightened that permaculture in your backyard is a must. Sage and rosemary grow around the neighborhood. There are bike clubs and strip joints and parks and hot springs just a few miles away.
You have Mt. Hood and Mt. St Helens within driving distance, and coastal towns like Astoria are a bit more than a day. It’s a great place to find a partner and build a dream home off the grid.
Now, I have been to some cities and had a great time, but there are dozens and dozens of beautiful, amazing cities out there that I have never been to that are reputed to have a great singles scene. Here is a short list based on hearsay:
Forget what you heard. This place is supposedly chill and easy with excellent food, dance clubs and cool little bars everywhere and – without question, so they say – the most beautiful women in the world. And they are nice and friendly.
Unfortunately, this place might be a little hairy for single women. But I have met some badass women along the road and if you are one of those, then go to Cali, grab a dude and go emerald hunting. Cuz although Cali is cheap, there ain’t much there in terms of work for a gringo save the emerald business. Teach English? Enjoy.
Supposedly one of the youngest (people-wise) cities in the world, and one of the hardest partying. I am not sure if this is all true, because the Aussies I usually talk to are drunk and hollering. So here is what I pieced together from all my sources:
There is the Outback on one side, the Gold Coast on the other and volcanoes and rain forest-covered mountains in between. All along this coast are small towns with all of the ingredients needed for an excellent time as a single nubile human.
And from what I hear, it is possible to stay on and get a job at the odd bar, restaurant or dive shop and live for a year or two. And Aussies are cool as hell. I have never met a more rowdy, drink-happy, friendlier group of people anywhere. Check it out and let me know what the deal is.
I know everyone talks about Brazil and Argentina, but I have it from reliable sources that Chile is easier on the single traveler, just as beautiful if not more so, and the people are friendlier than (supposedly) snooty Argentines and less apt to stab you than a Brazilian.
Chile has all the coastline and mountainside you could ever ask for and the country is stable, very modern and the people seem sensible and chilled out after getting rid of their demons of the past.
As for jobs and housing, Santiago is cheaper than most American cities, but the job market for an unskilled vagabond might be slim. Try getting an indispensable skill or three before going on the Love Tour. It helps.
What cities would you add to the Love Tour? Share your favorite (and your reasons!) below.
Interested in how your love tour can translate into learning a new language? Check out Sascha’s companion piece: 5 Reasons Why Dating Abroad is the Best Way to Learn a Language.
Need to know more about getting your groove on as a mobile single? Check out Matador editor Tim Patterson’s perennially popular article, “Hostel Sex: A Practical Guide for Backpackers.” For some laws of love for the road, read Ekaterina Petrovna’s guide.
Need a little black book to log your love on the road? Matador recommends Moleskines.