Which cities make unattached travelers feel most welcome? T+L readers ranked those with the liveliest singles scenes, whether at bars, bookstores, or bowling alleys.
No. 19 San Francisco
America’s Best Cities for Singles
No. 19 San Francisco
These Californians ranked as good-looking but also a little snobby, with very high standards for food and drink. No surprise that the top nightlife options, according to the survey, are the local wine bars. Still, there are well-stocked options offering more than quality vintages. In the Financial District, the Hidden Vine has a bocce court to complement its pages-long wine list, while the Mission District’s Urban Putt offers an impressive selection to enjoy while trying your hand at indoor mini golf. And at the Hotel Zetta, you can order a drink at the lobby’s S&R Lounge, then take it upstairs to the Playroom to challenge someone to a game of Plinko, Wii, or even Connect Four. There’s clearly something special here that sets the mood: San Francisco ranked No. 3 for romantic escapes.
The singles scene in New York City is a little crazy, maybe even certifiably so.
“This is a city with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but only in the best ways,” says Rachel Harrison, a Brooklyn-based public relations exec. “You can dress a little wilder, slap on some fake eyelashes—you can do anything you want, at any age. There are no judgments.”
Unabashedly batting those faux lashes got the Big Apple more than a few second glances this year. New York City landed in the top 10 for the best cities for singles, according to Travel + Leisure readers. In this year’s America’s Favorite Places survey, readers ranked 38 cities on dozens of appealing qualities, including good-looking locals, cool shopping, and hipster-magnet coffee bars.
The winning cities in the singles-scene category excel in the off-hours, ranking highly for nightclubs, dive bars, and even great diners, where you might lock eyes with someone over a late-night order of fries.
But the most singles-friendly cities also put a creative spin on conventional meet-up spots. Plenty of big attractions—from the Brooklyn Museum to the San Diego Museum of Art—offer monthly happy hours, wooing artsy singles with cocktails and live music. In Boston, one of the coolest bookstores does Trivia Nights, while in downtown L.A. a popular bar stocks old-school video games.
Another strategy for uncovering a city’s best singles scene is exploring the activities that locals love most. “New Orleanians live and breathe festivals—like Jazz Fest, and even Creole Tomato Fest,” says native Stephen Schmitz. Just be warned: “The heat and humidity,” he says, “can make for a rough appearance.”
Read on for the full results. And make your point of view heard by voting in the America’s Favorite Places survey.