America's Most Romantic Cities

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Steve Murray / Alamy

No. 1 Charleston, SC

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It’s easy to feel you’ve stumbled upon a movie set as you wander the oak-lined streets of this charming inner-harbor city, which also took top survey honors for its architecture. Even hardened hearts fall under Charleston’s sway, between the antebellum mansions, horse-drawn carriages, and creative Lowcountry cooking. At much-praised Husk, James Beard Award–winner Sean Brock honors the area’s heritage, serving produce he raises from heirloom seeds. Hotels do their part to win over visitors, from quaint B&Bs to the 21-room Wentworth Mansion, with original Tiffany glass and gas fireplaces.

America's Most Romantic Cities

No. 1 Charleston, SC

It’s easy to feel you’ve stumbled upon a movie set as you wander the oak-lined streets of this charming inner-harbor city, which also took top survey honors for its architecture. Even hardened hearts fall under Charleston’s sway, between the antebellum mansions, horse-drawn carriages, and creative Lowcountry cooking. At much-praised Husk, James Beard Award–winner Sean Brock honors the area’s heritage, serving produce he raises from heirloom seeds. Hotels do their part to win over visitors, from quaint B&Bs to the 21-room Wentworth Mansion, with original Tiffany glass and gas fireplaces.

Steve Murray / Alamy

America's Most Romantic Cities

Consider yourself warned: Charleston, SC, is hard to shake.

“If you come to Charleston and experience it like us locals do, it will forever take place in your soul,” says David Szlam, a co-creator of Virgil Kaine ginger-infused bourbon. “Dining at Bowens Island Restaurant is especially romantic, watching the sun set over tidal creeks while enjoying some fresh steamed oysters—the list goes on and on.”

The Travel + Leisure community doesn’t need convincing. Charleston, with its cobblestoned streets, genteel mansions, and dynamic food scene, took top honors as the best city for a romantic escape in the America’s Favorite Places survey. Readers ranked cities in up to 67 categories, including wine bars, parks and gardens, live music, and brunch—the kinds of offerings that often attract couples.

And don’t underestimate the allure of a warm climate: San Diego, voted No. 1 for its weather, came in fifth among the best cities for romance. “The days aren’t only filled with sunshine, but there’s the warmth from people who are almost giddy to live here,” says Gina Stark, owner of a fashionable downtown women’s boutique. “You can sail, and within minutes of docking be enjoying an outdoor concert at Humphreys by the Bay or sipping happy-hour drinks in the heart of downtown.”

Whether you’re looking to steal away for a weekend with your longtime honey or spark a new relationship, these cities will set the mood for love.

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