The Most Romantic Cities in the US for a Weekend Getaway
Valentine's Day, birthdays, the anniversary of the day they created a Ponzi scheme together—couples will use just about any occasion as an excuse to show affection. And one of the best ways to show your significant other some love is planning one or two romance getaways.
But some cities are just more romantic than others. We examined where our most romantic deals (for massages, candlelit French and Italian dinners, hot-air balloon rides, etc.), then put together this list of the most romantic cities in the US. The results may surprise you. At the very least, they should inspire you to up your game for Valentine's Day and consider taking a romantic weekend getaway.
A visit to the America's lesser-known Bay Area requires a stop at Tampa Theatre. From the exterior's glittering marquee, you can tell that it's the sort of old-fashioned movie palace that was all the rage in the 1920s. Inside, the theater itself looks like an ornate Mediterranean courtyard, complete with statuary, glorious architecture, and a twinkling night sky. For a little extra romance, head out to Clearwater for a walk along one of the country's best beaches.
If your significant other is the type who weeps with joy about the prospect of petting puppies or meeting a sloth, a trip to the Minnesota Zoo should be in your future. Every March or April, the keepers usher in spring by organizing a month-long petting zoo at the Wells Fargo Family Farm. Fuzzy little newborns, including chicks, bunnies, calves, piglets, and lambs, may nuzzle up to your partner and reduce them to baby-talking gibberish usually reserved for you. If it's still cold, try the downtown ice rink for skating under the stars. Check out other opportunities for outdoor dates in the Twin Cities area.
New York, NY
The Manhattan skyline might as well be one of the wonders of the world, and while there are myriad ways to witness it, two of them are a little more romantic than others. Taking a helicopter ride past the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty is a breathtaking experience that most locals haven't even enjoyed. A sunset cruise on the Hudson is just as exhilirating, albeit more relaxed and slow-paced.
Our guide to romantic cooking classes in Denver recommends Stir Cooking School as a good place to book your date. Though classes here will hone your culinary skills, this business is especially suited for couples in search of a fun, carefree night. There are even special date-night classes that focus on such topics as aphrodisiacs, rich and romantic French dishes, and Tuscan cooking. With an extra day, head out to gorgeous mountain scenery surrounding the city for a hike (or ski) through the Rockies. View the most romantic things to do in Denver.
Relaxing together for hours is one of the great joys of being in a relationship. But in Portland, that means going to Spa Sassé. It may not look like much from the outside, but this 5,000-square-foot oasis has several treatments designed to rekindle romance. Its signature Couples Spa Day begins with a hydromassage bath together, followed by a candlelit couples massage. Partners also enjoy full-body exfoliation, a Vichy shower, and aromatherapy, as well as chocolate truffles and champagne, wine, or tea. If your significant other loves wine, head out to nearby Willamette Valley, the Pacific Northwest's premier wine region. See a list of seven other romantic things to do in Portland.
The historical Iron Horse Hotel would be a wonderful place to spend the night even if it weren't for its special accommodations. As it stands, though, you can't go wrong opting for one of the hotel's themed packages. The Horsing Around… getaway includes a deluxe guest room, a couples massage, turndown service, and complimentary valet parking. SOs can toast their love with a bottle of sparkling wine and refuel with a breakfast for two the next morning. Even if it's cold, you can still tour the Flemish-style Pabst Mansion or warm up inside the Mitchell Park Conservatory (affecitonally called "the Domes" by the locals). Check out more romantic things to do in Milwaukee.
No list of the most romantic cities in the US is complete without Charleston, a colonial-style town renowned for its beautiful historic district, where stately buildings, colorful townhouses, and palm trees line the streets. The most romantic way to see it? Lift your beloved onto a horse-drawn carriage for a leisurely tour through the neighborhoods. Palmetto Carriage Works has an evening tour that protects couples from the summer heat and provides some excellent mood lighting for viewing the sights.
San Francisco, CA
Surrounded by picturesque beauty, the Bay Area is one of the best romantic weekend getaways in and of itself, whether you want to spend your time sipping coffee in a North Beach cafe or sipping wine north in Napa Valley. But if the weather is temperate, you and your SO will love a bike ride in Golden Gate Park, across the water from its eponymous bridge. Pair it with a food tour of Chinatown.
For visitors and locals alike, many activities in Orlando are a bit too kid-centric. But you can have an entirely adults-only experience at The Wine Room on Park Avenue. The rustic ambiance is a bit at odds with the high-tech setup, in which machines dole out samples of hand-selected wines. It all makes for a top-notch wine-tasting experience, especially when varietals are paired with artisan cheeses or small plates. Of course, even for some adult visitors, those theme parks can be quite romantic as well, especially if they're a Harry Potter superfan.
If Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan made Seattle seem romantic, then you're going to love the real thing. Seattle's heavy-hitting tourist attractions, particularly the Space Needle and Chiluly Gardens, have a charming feel to them already. But if you and your loved one bond over food, start and end at the Pike Place Market, the waterfront's iconic open-air marketplace. Sample crumpets, Russian pastries, delectable chowder, and some of the world's best (and freshest) seafood–if that isn't love, what is?
This article was originally written by staff writer Kate Raftery and published in 2016. It has since been updated.