Embarking on a couple’s vacation is a fun and exciting venture, whether it's your first trip with your partner or you’re way past the honeymoon period. Some destinations are more catered to families with kids, so it may prove more difficult to enjoy intimate and special moments with your loved one.
Whether it’s staying at a hotel offering amenities where you can truly relax, or a visit to a five-star restaurant to enjoy the local culinary delights, a couple’s vacation is a time when lovers can connect with one another. Of course, not all couples want the same experience, and some may prefer destinations that offer more fun-fueled activities, while others may prefer to enjoy upscale dining at top-rated restaurants.
We explore the most romantic cities of the world and in the US, by looking into various types of travel data, including the availability of adult-only hotels, fine dining restaurants, and fun activities for couples to get involved with.
You may wish to take a couple’s vacation right here in the US, and there are plenty of vibrant and exciting cities to enjoy your experience. Some of the most famous restaurants in the world offering nouvelle cuisine with an intimate setting can be found in the states, in both major cities and areas that you may not even have considered visiting. Here are the most romantic cities to visit in the US:
The Stealing the crown for its romantic charm is the bustling city of New York. Home to the Big Apple and Broadway, New York has forever been associated with dreams of love and success, and what better way to enjoy the fantasy of New York, than to spend it with your loved one. There is no shortage of things to do in New York City.
Virginia Beach New York had one of the highest scores on our list of US cities for its fine dining restaurants (63.41% per 100 mi²), and its availability of ‘romantic’ hotels (15.82 per 100 mi²). The city also scored highly for its things to do for couples (93.65 per 100 mi²). New York City also had the most total Google searches for ‘date ideas’ out of all our cities, with 26,300 searches in the last year.
The city of Miami, Florida is known for its pristine beaches and non-stop nightlife, scoring in joint second with Minneapolis for the most romantic US cities. The coastal metropolis is the second-most populous city in Florida and one of the top tourist destinations, along with Orlando, which is more favorable to visitors with kids.
Miami topped our cities for its number of romantic hotels (43.33 per 100 mi²), and also for its fine dining establishments (71.98 per 100 mi²). You’ll be sure to discover upscale dining options in the city, and there is no shortage of mouthwatering seafood restaurants to choose from.
Oklahoma City The stunning city of Minneapolis came in joint second place for our most romantic US cities. Famed for its tall buildings and cityscape skyline, the city is abundant with water with 13 lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls, making it the perfect couple’s vacation spot. Minneapolis scored highly for its fine dining restaurants (57.41 per 100 mi²) despite its much smaller size. The city is also fantastic for couple’s activities, with 142.59 per 100 mi².
While there are plenty of romantic destinations here in the US, some cities did not score as well as some of the more major tourist destinations. Here are the least romantic locations across the US:
The vibrant coastal city of Virginia Beach had the lowest romantic city score out of our US cities. Known for its flourishing local dining scene, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions, we believe Virginia Beach is best saved for a family vacation.
Virginia Beach scored the lowest on our list for its availability of romantic hotels (0.47 per 100 mi²), as well as its fine dining restaurant options (1.71 per 100 mi²).
Arlington, Texas, scored second to last place for the least romantic US cities. Arlington is well known for its rich history, sports stadiums and memorial museums. There was a lack of romantic hotels for couples (1.55 per 100 mi²), and activities suitable for couples (5.44 per 100 mi²).
Oklahoma City is known for its cowboy culture and is a popular tourist destination, however, its lack of romantic hotels meant it failed to attract couples (0.99 per 100 mi²). There were also a lack of fine-dining restaurant options (3.63 per 100 mi²). Activities that were good for couples were also at a low (5.94 per 100 mi²), despite its large size.
If you’d prefer to explore the most romantic cities of the world and also sample culinary delights on your trip, you’re in the right place. These are the top-scoring cities in the world for couple’s activities, restaurants and hotels:
The charming city of Paris, France stole the top spot for our global cities, and Paris has forever been an attractive city to couples thanks to its beautiful and unique architecture. The Basilica Sacre Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the top destinations to see Paris’s historic Parisian beauty, which makes Paris one of the most romantic cities on earth.
On your couple’s vacation, you should make sure to check out the best hotels in Paris. The city scored the highest on our list for its availability of romantic hotels (526.57 per 100 mi²), and also topped the list for its fine dining restaurants (738.14 per 100 mi²), which are arguably some of the most luxurious in the world. La Liste named Guy Savoy's restaurant at La Monnaie de Paris the best restaurant in the world.
The beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona scored second place for our most romantic global cities. Barcelona’s stunning architecture, lively nightlife, and sandy beaches all make for the ultimate romantic getaway, not to mention the cultural heritage and colorful festivals attracting tourists from all over the globe.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Barcelona, there are plenty of must-visit spots for your couple’s vacation. Barcelona had the top score for couple’s activities (590.73 per 100 mi²), and also scored highly for its romantic hotels (152.86 per 100 mi²), despite its small size. There is no chance of missing out on fine dining options in the city (291.91 per 100 mi²), and many of its establishments are celebrity hotspots.
In joint second place with Barcelona for the most romantic cities in the world, is the sunny city of Lisbon, Portugal. With all-year-round sunshine and light that is uniquely Lisbon, as well as friendly locals and ornate architecture, Lisbon is a must-see destination for couples.
Lisbon’s ripple of hills pictured with colorful houses and whimsical castles, traditional streets with intimate wine bars, and panoramic views of the ocean, make for a truly fairytale-like destination. The city had one of the top scores for its romantic hotels (162.92 per 100 mi²), and its fine dining restaurant options (147.93 per 100 mi²). Lisbon also has a number of couple-friendly activities to enjoy (524.74 per 100 mi²) including historical museums, art galleries, and aquariums.
Some of our global cities fell short of romantic options available to couples. If you’re traveling across the world on a couple’s vacation, it's best to do your research to find destinations that are suitable for couples. Here are the cities that weren’t quite feeling the love:
Antalya, Turkey, had the lowest romantic city score of our global cities. Antalya has often been named as the most beautiful city in Turkey, famous for its charming nature and glamorous atmosphere. Antalya is more favored as a tourist destination for families with kids, and Turkey has often been referred to as the most child-friendly vacation country in the world.
The fun-filled city is not quite as couple-friendly as others on our list, and despite its huge size, the city scored poorly for its number of romantic hotels (6.07 per 100 mi²), as well as its fine dining options (2.05 per 100 mi²). Antalya also fell to the bottom of our list for its couple’s activities (5.50 per 100 mi²).
Sydney, Australia scored in second place for the least romantic cities in the world. Sydney is most famous for the Harbor Bridge, Sydney Opera House and its amazing zoos, as well as iconic beaches.
Frankfurt had one of the lowest scores on our list for its romantic hotels (0.24 per 100 mi²), as well as its couple’s activities (2.39 per 100 mi²). The city also scored poorly for its fine dining options (1.08 per 100 mi²), despite it being the largest city on our list.
In joint second place for the least romantic cities in the world, is fellow Australian city, Melbourne. The city is often referred to as ‘the sporting capital of the world’ as well its graffiti laneways, coffee and bayside location. Melbourne scored poorly for its availability of romantic hotels (0.22 per 100 mi²), and things to do for couples (2.69 per 100 mi²).
We started by taking a list of US cities from the World Population Review’s 200 Largest Cities in the United States by Population 2022 and our global cities from World Atlas’ World’s10 Most Visited Cities .
We used TripAdvisor to look at each city’s availability of hotels. We used the filters to find the number of hotels listed as ‘romantic’. This information is accurate as of 11/10/2022.
We used TripAdvisor to look at each city’s restaurants, and used the filters to find the total number of fine-dining restaurants in the city.
We used TripAdvisor and navigated to each city’s page to find ‘Things to do in New York’ and then filtered the results to find activities that were ‘good for couples’. This information is accurate as of 11/10/2022.
We used Google Keyword Planner to find the total number of searches from September 2021 to August 2022 of ‘date ideas’ for each city. This is accurate as of 11/10/2022.
We found the total area of each city per mi², and then divided the number of couple’s activities, fine dining restaurants, and romantic hotels by the total area, before multiplying by 100 to get an accurate result of each category per 100 miles squared.
We were then able to rank each city by all our factors, giving a normalized score out of 10.