When you're in love, it seems that one of the greatest joys in life is exploring a new place together or rekindling your love somewhere with a great atmosphere. The US is full of towns and cities that are great for doing both of these things, however, not all of them are as romantic as the next. Some, you might even say, are completely mood-ruining as far as love and romance go. On the flip side, some cities entice you with tantalizing landscapes, unbeatable restaurants, and adventurous nightlife. Now that we're nearing the end of the year, we can easily decide which cities have served as the best places for love and the worst for it, and the answers might surprise you.
Not all cities are created equal and while they might have plenty to offer, we must ask this -- Do they have anything to offer couples? We're looking for things such as great cocktails, outrageous food, and a friendly and engaging atmosphere. The last thing you want to do is end up on vacation in a city that's known for its loveless setting, right? Whether it's the love you're looking for or if you're lucky enough to have found it already, here are the most romantic cities as well as five not-so-romantic hot spots to avoid.
21 Mood-Ruiner: Miami, FL
It goes without saying that Miami is full of crazy nightlife and additionally, crazy college kids. It's garnered a reputation for being a party city and unless you want your date night to consist of hitting clubs and overcrowded bars, Miami is probably not the best destination for the perfect date night. There's plenty of entertainment to be had but it's fairly age-specific and never really seems to wind down. Don't get us wrong, Miami is also home to some of the best Cuban food you'll find in the country, but is it worth navigating the crowds? That's up to you.
20 Romantic: Port Jeff, NY
While Long Island Isn't really known for anything other than the Hamptons and snobby socialites, downtown Port Jefferson -- or "Downport" as the locals call it -- provides a solid reprieve from that stereotypical atmosphere. There's seemingly no limit to the romantic activities you and your significant other can partake in, from hopping on the ferry for a day to choosing one of the best seafood restaurants around. The entire town sits on the coast of the Long Island Sound so whether you're there for a day trip or for a vacation, the coos of seagulls and sound of lapping waves are sure to follow you. There are also plenty of adorable shops that line Port Jeff's numerous alleys and streets, and if you have some time, take a ride out Easy... The vineyards on the North Fork and white sandy beaches on the South Fork will not disappoint.
19 Mood-Ruiner: Houston, TX
"Everything is bigger in Texas", right? That's true, except when it comes to date night. If you're a Texas native than you know that there are plenty more cities and towns that are way more romantic that Houston, which was actually voted one of the least romantic places in the country. It's great for fans of BBQ food and those who appreciate commercial shopping but outside of that, there aren't too many redeeming qualities for planning the perfect romantic evening. Sure, you could visit a chain restaurant and walk down one of Houston's many busy streets for some shopping but somehow, it always feels mildly impersonal and unfriendly.
18 Romantic: Monterey, CA
There are more tourist destinations in the big state of California than we can count, but Monterey is the perfect getaway for cozy couples who don't want to be in the limelight. This calm, beachy town is much quieter than its fellow big cities and won't make you feel as though you're bombarded with out-of-state visitors constantly. That's not to say that there isn't anything to do here other than go to the beach, however; in this coastal town, you'll find plenty of shopping, picturesque beach homes, stunning pacific cliffsides, and their biggest local attraction, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's the perfect place to head if you're looking to slow down the pace and have a relaxing date night with that perfect tropical touch.
17 Mood-Ruiner: Orlando, FL
If you're thinking of heading to Orlando for a date night, let us stop you right there. In its peak summer months, Orlando turns into a Disney-lover's dream destination. Therefore, making it completely unromantic for locals who are just trying to appreciate all that this well-known city has to offer. The fact is that Florida is home to many destinations that are so much more romantic. We assure you that running into a family wearing Mickey's ears and chasing after four kids is definitely not conducive to having a great date night experience. Even more so, dealing with the crowds and traffic just isn't worth it when there are so many other worthy towns.
16 Romantic: Upper East Side, NYC
The largest city in the country certainly has a reputation for being busy, slightly rude, and tremendously crowded, but it's not like that all over Manhattan. If you're within a trade right to NYC, the Upper East Side is a must-do, even for one night. When it comes to restaurants, there's no limit to the types of food you can find. Though it's in a rather ritzy part of the city, budgeting shouldn't be much of an issue -- You can make a low-cost date night of it by finding a reasonably-priced restaurant (or even a street cart, halal is the trademark smell of the city sidewalk, after all!) and take a stroll through Central Park. The beautiful thing about the city is that you're likely to be more surprised by your options rather than the crowds you're walking through.
15 Mood-Ruiner: Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis is yet another city that made America's "least romantic destinations" list. It's not outrageous to say that there's simply not much to do here for couples unless you're planning on attending a football game or hitting the zoo. Indianapolis isn't really known for much, either, which not only makes it a poor choice for date night but also a poor choice for a getaway, period. While walking around the city might be fun for a bit, it's not the type of city that holds your attention or keeps you occupied for very long. It's quite routine and while you could shop or visit some historical sites, there's not much to do past that.
14 Romantic: Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. was voted one of the most romantic cities of 2018 and it's easy to see why. Aside from its rich political history, it's also a beautiful city to visit for its nightlife, awesome food scene, and unique shopping boutiques. D.C. is very easy to get around via public transport, making it accessible for many as well as simple to navigate. Planning a last-minute date night is a cinch since you can solve it by hopping a train into the city, picking from one of its many renowned restaurants, and end the night doing a bit of local shopping. During the daytime, D.C. makes for a perfect daytime date as well. In the Spring, you'll be greeted with beautiful cherry blossom trees, local fauna, and views of some of the most popular historical sites in the country.
13 Mood-Ruiner: San Diego, CA
In stark contrast to its fellow cities such as San Francisco, San Diego just doesn't quite have what it takes to remain at the top of the "romantic spots" list. This was another city that was sadly found on the list of least romantic places of 2018, and our best guess is that it's due to the crowds and lack of things to do for couples. With such competition from the surrounding locations as well as beachy getaways, San Diego has fallen to the wayside quite a bit. It really doesn't have many redeeming qualities and you rarely hear of anyone attempting to book a trip here, unless they're driving through or catching a bus. Sorry, San Diego.
12 Romantic: Stowe, VT
Vermont isn't normally a place you'd hear and think, "date night?" but it's true, Stowe has a little magic of its own. This popular tourist spot is well-known for its winter sports but what most people don't realize is that it's just as stunning in the warmer months. Contrary to popular belief, northern New England does eventually warm up after April and May through October are excellent months to head on up. If you're local to Vermont and haven't visited Stowe yet, what are you waiting for? With small artisan shops and farm to table menus at most of the local restaurants, you'll quickly realize what you've been missing all this time. Make it a day trip and stop in at Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury while you're at it... We all know there's nothing more romantic than ice cream!
11 Mood-Ruiner: Raleigh, NC
North Carolina is a beautiful state filled with beautiful sights and fun things to do. Raleigh, however, is a bit stuck in the past and not much fun for planning a romantic day or evening. The name "Raleigh" just sounds like someplace you'd go to hitch a carriage ride, not head out to a hip place to eat and sign up for a night filled with romantic adventure. Sure, you could spend some time shopping or grab some coffee and walk around, but you'll find that your list of things to do ends there. Raleigh isn't exactly a poppin' destination and if you're thinking of a date night there, you're better off heading to Charlotte for some real fun, pretty sights, and true Southern atmosphere.
10 Romantic: Boston, MA
Similar to NYC, Boston is a city known for its very city-like atmosphere, but it's also known for its history. Being part of New England, it's a spot that's rich in colonial knowledge and offers a wealth of information to those who enjoy that sort of thing. Boston is a historical playground during the day and a couple's dream at night, as its nightlife is second to none. You'll have your choice of authentic pubs, unparalleled craft breweries, and a seaport that's simply gorgeous at night. Boston also has its share of shows, concerts, and conventions, all easily incorporated into a date night with a bite to eat beforehand. Navigating the city is easy as it's not terribly big and getting in and out is simple via the El.
9 Romantic: Aspen, CO
If you and your significant other are fans of winter sports, Aspen should probably be on your list of places to go. Colorado locals are lucky to have this treasure within reach as it's probably one of the most picturesque locations in the state. This dream getaway isn't for the faint of heart, though -- For the adventurous couple, Aspen is just as rewarding in the warmer months as it is in the winter. From paragliding at unnatural heights to hiking down to Cathedral Lake, there's an endless list of sights to behold. Colorado's wildlife and the scenery are like no other and this only adds to its overall romantic atmosphere.
8 Mood-Ruiner: Austin, TX
Austin is a city that was never really "in", despite how popular it might be for tourist. The city itself is lacking excitement and interest and while you can find some decent restaurants, it's not going to elevate your date nights any. The capital is home to some fun daytime activities and it's definitely not the worst place if you've already planned a date night there, but it's just not the best, either. It's better-suited for families and friends rather than sparking the romance between you and your significant other. If you're planning a weekend or vacation here, you're better off looking along the coastline... Or anywhere else in Texas, really.
7 Romantic: Nashville, TN
The Blues capital of the South was voted one of the most romantic cities in 2018 and with its newfound tourism, this is easily believable. Nashville is great for good-natured fun, some of the greatest BBQ you'll have ever eaten, and, of course, dancing! Find yourself some authentic cowboy boots and head on down for your next date night if you're local because you won't be disappointed. This city is a music-lovers dream when it comes to the number of shows and concerts you can catch on any night, making it a versatile date night location as well. It's also home to Lover's Lane, a lookout that provides a spectacular aerial view of the city -- This is not one to be missed!
6 Mood-Ruiner: Seattle, WA
While not the worst date night destination, Seattle did make the list of the least romantic places in the country. What was once a premiere vacation destination has now lost out with the hipster era, being outranked by Oregon and the other smaller towns and cities in Washington State. The city itself is very typical but it's what happens when you leave the city; that's where the magic happens. Washington is a stunning state and the more people travel here, the more they realize that Seattle is just one tiny metropolis surrounding by incredible landscapes and towns just waiting to be discovered. Try heading outside the city if you're a Washington native... Trust us, 50 Shades of Grey was just a novel, after all.
5 Romantic: New Orleans, LA
If you're talking the Deep South, Louisiana is the place to be, and New Orleans is the city to be. Its reputation precedes it so you're probably not surprised to find it on this list, but as far as date nights, this love-filled city simply can't be beaten. You have access to extraordinary southern-Creole cuisine, nightlife at all hours of the night, and some of the best jazz music in the country. After all, this is where it originated! New Orleans is rich with mysticism and the city always seems to have a celebratory atmosphere, making you feel as though time has stopped. Walk the French Quarter or head down to the waterfront, you're sure to have a grand 'ol time no matter where your heart takes you.
4 Mood-Ruiner: Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles is great for many things but date night is not one of them. Unless you live in L.A. or within a very, very close distance, there's not much fun to be had if you're new to this area. It's overpriced, abnormally fancy because of its clientele, and unless you've got the L.A. attitude down, it's no different than walking into NYC and trying to hail a taxi as an outsider. While this gateway to Hollywood is beautiful at night, it's not bound to spark the romance between you and your partner anytime soon -- You'll likely end up debating over valet fees long before the night is even over. Pass.
3 Romantic: Fernandina Beach, FL
Fernandina Beach is one of Florida's best-kept secrets as far as sandy getaways go. Florida residents should add this destination to their list of places to explore with their partner, simply on the fact that it's unbelievably beautiful. It was a spot that was favored by both the Kennedys as well as the Carnegie family, adding a famous flair to its already stunning beach atmosphere. You'll find some small shops and the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge which is rich in its own history but, all in all, this location is for beach-lovers. The land is seemingly undisturbed and is far less crowded than most of Florida, likely due to the fact that it's on the Florida/Georgia border.
2 Romantic: Savannah, GA
As if Savannah couldn't get any more mysterious, it also couldn't get any more romantic. This well-visited spot is one of Georgia's most well-loved cities and for good reason. For the couples who are into the strange and unexplained, Savannah is home to some of the country's wildest ghost stories, most backed up by historical accuracy. At night, you'll find tours and storytelling, while during the day, you'll find historical getaways, perfect boutique shops, and more historical spots than you can count. Take a walk through the numerous gardens around the city or walk through groves of Spanish Moss, either way, you'll be in for a perfect (and slightly spooky) date night.
1 Romantic: Milwaukee, WI
Surprise! We bet you didn't think Milwaukee would ever make the "most romantic" side of the list, but it did -- and we'll explain why. If you're a lover of craft beer, then you're probably well aware of Milwaukee's reputation for excellence. It's also home to some of the more major breweries and with breweries comes stellar food. Wisconsin is making massive strides in the quality of their food, and Milwaukee's food scene is now 75% local. You'll find many restaurants such as Braise, which locally sources most of their menu and even makes use of their personal rooftop garden. If a local treat and supporting local businesses and agriculture is something you enjoy, Milwaukee locals should make this their next date-night location.
References: www.brides.com, news.instacart.com