Singles tend to view Valentine’s Day like losing football teams view the Super Bowl — a tradition they’d rather forget, perhaps even despise, yet would totally embrace if circumstances were slightly different. Well, being single on Valentine’s Day — or any day, for that matter — doesn’t have to be a bitter experience. There are hundreds of cities all across the US ideally suited to the single lifestyle. Whether your goal is to find your spouse, a steady relationship, or a string of emotionally toxic one night stands, the dating scene in many US cities is strong enough to get even the most cynical singles back in the game.
WalletHub compared 182 cities across the US, using metrics like nightlife options, single population, online dating opportunities, number of dating venues, active Tinder users, social clubs, weather, taxi fare cost, and more. They broke these statistics down into three categories — Economics, Fun & Recreation, and Dating Opportunities — and assigned each category a grade based on a 100-point scale. The results shed some much-needed light on the top 10 cities for singles across the US.
Hint: Pretty much everywhere that isn’t New York.
10. Portland, Maine
Economics score: 55.2
Fun & Recreation score: 42.45
Dating Opportunities score: 77.23
Total score: 62.26
The smallest city on the list by far, Portland’s showing in the top 10 is particularly impressive. It’s probably no surprise that the city ranked poorly for Fun & Recreation, as it’s simply not big enough to compete with larger cities with more entertainment venues, but its relative affordability and solid Dating Opportunities score make Portland a must-visit for singles in New England.
9. Seattle, Washington
Economics score: 39.34
Fun & Recreation score: 70.79
Dating Opportunities score: 70.81
Total score: 62.94
If you play your cards right, you really shouldn’t be sleepless in Seattle in 2020. Like many major cities, going out in Seattle means you should carve out some room in your monthly budget, but a good balance of Fun & Recreation and Dating Opportunities make it all worth it. Seattle also ranked in the top five for cities with the best gender balance, so while you’re passing those rainy days in the bar, at least you won’t be lacking options.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Economics score: 62.52
Fun & Recreation score: 40.11
Dating Opportunities score: 80.39
Total score: 63.78
Remember that scene from Love Actually where Colin arrives at an “average American bar” in Wisconsin, and immediately picks up three stunning women? Dating in Wisconsin isn’t that easy, but it’s probably easier than you thought — in Madison, anyway. The city ranks the highest in the top 10 for Dating Opportunities, and while men shouldn’t expect to wander into a dive bar and be swarmed by dozens of beautiful women, the male-female balance is actually among the best in the country.
7. Los Angeles, California
Economics score: 38.56
Fun & Recreation score: 61.57
Dating Opportunities score: 77.66
Total score: 63.87
Everyone knows LA is expensive, but you may not have realized that it has one of the best gender balances in the country, as well as some of the most plentiful online dating opportunities. Sure, it’s more expensive than San Diego, but it also scored seven points higher in Food & Recreation. And for better or worse, since everyone in LA works unconventional jobs, partying until 5:00 AM on a Tuesday night is the norm, not the exception.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Economics score: 39.13
Fun & Recreation score: 76.05
Dating Opportunities score: 71.00
Total score: 64.29
Chicago is among the least affordable cities on the list when it comes to going out for food and drinks, but it makes up for it with its abundance of nightlife venues and high number of singles looking to mingle. Given its historically low temperatures in winter, which often keep people indoors, its high singles ranking is a testament to the quality of its entertainment venues and the number of singles willing to brave the cold for a date.
5. Portland, Oregon
Economics score: 51.03
Fun & Recreation score: 64.26
Dating Opportunities score: 73.74
Total score: 64.54
Portland might not be the most affordable city to find love, but it’s certainly one of the most fun. In addition to its high Dating Opportunities score, Portland ranked in the top five for cities with the most nightlife options. Between its abundance of local breweries, live music venues, and restaurants, there are no shortage of places to bring your date if you don’t mind shelling out some extra cash.
4. San Diego, California
Economics score: 47.36
Fun & Recreation score: 69.57
Dating Opportunities score: 71.65
Total score: 65.06
San Francisco might dominate the scene in Northern California, but SoCal isn’t exactly coming up short. San Diego and Los Angeles both made the top 10, and it’s not exactly a surprise. Warm weather means outdoor adventures, patio seating, and beach days — all of which are great date ideas. In addition to being home to a wide range of dating opportunities, San Diego also placed first overall in the general-balance category. So if you strike out at a bar, you can’t use the “bad ratio” as an excuse.
3. San Francisco, California
Economics score: 30.69
Fun & Recreation score: 75.01
Dating Opportunities score: 78.09
Total score: 65.47
Thanks to its low unemployment rate, plentiful dating opportunities, and abundant nightlife, Northern Californians can look to San Francisco for their dating needs. The city scored dismally in the affordability category, as the Bay City is notoriously pricey, but its redeeming social aspects certainly compensate for that. Indeed, it ranked in the top five overall for the most nightlife per capita — so whether you’re looking for places to meet people or the perfect date spot, you won’t be starved for options in San Francisco.
2. Denver, Colorado
Economics score: 52.45
Fun & Recreation score: 59.70
Dating Opportunities score: 79.68
Total score: 66.19
Scoring highly across the board, Denver is still fairly affordable, compared to the number one city, meaning you can take your date out for a meal, movie, and drinks without clipping coupons for the next two weeks. Denver even came in second overall for cities with the best gender balance, ranking just behind San Diego. Colorado as a whole did well in the rankings, with Colorado Springs coming in at 45th on the list and Aurora at 104th.
1. Atlanta, Georgia
Economics score: 50.71
Fun & Recreation score: 72.15
Dating Opportunities score: 79.72
Total score: 69.27
If you’re single, desperately seeking a relationship, and relatively location independent, move to Atlanta. WalletHub named it the best city for singles in the US, despite it ranking 134th in the Economics category. That means its other merits — like plentiful online dating opportunities, share of single population, active Tinder users, and dating venues — are pretty overwhelming.
And even if you don’t happen to be a resident of one of these cities, don’t lose heart just yet. At least you’re not living in Pearl City, Hawaii, which came in dead last with a total score of 36.50.