- Trip Ideas
- Romantic Getaways
With the right travel companion, big cities can feel wonderfully intimate—and these stole the hearts of T+L readers.
No. 3 San Francisco
America's Most Romantic Cities
No. 3 San Francisco
Like the fog in summertime, romance hangs thick in the City by the Bay. Stroll through Golden Gate Park and then cross the Great Highway to watch the surfers at Ocean Beach. For exquisite nighttime views of the Bay Lights installation on the Bay Bridge, settle in to one of the waterfront restaurants at the Embarcadero (Waterbar is known for its oyster bar). San Francisco is also less than 90 minutes from Napa and Sonoma valleys, earning it the No. 1 ranking among cities for wine lovers.
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.
Related: 50 Best Romantic Getaways
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.