Pier in Los Angeles.
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 did our research and 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 some of these romantic getaways.
Hollywood is probably the first thing you think of when considering LA, but the city is really a sprawling paradise with surprising views tucked around every corner. Strolls around Los Feliz and Silver Lake will bring you to cute cafes and romantic restaurants as well as views of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains that light up a dreamy shade of pink at sunset. Feeling the ocean? Hit up the Pacific Coast Highway for a mini road trip that’ll have you heart-eyed the whole time.
Central Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis.
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.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York.
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 even most locals haven't enjoyed. A sunset cruise on the Hudson is just as exhilarating, 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.
French Quarter, New Orleans.
Streams of spanish moss, stately Victorian architecture, and the sounds of live jazz filling the streets on a warm night—is there anything more romantic? Grab your partner and clink glasses on a Mississippi River cruise or swap powdered-sugar-dusted smooches over crispy beignets. Want to get a little more unique? Head out on a ghost tour to give yourself an excuse to snuggle up extra close to your partner.
Beer City might not seem romantic, but think of it as the Midwest’s answer to wine country. You and your brew-sipping partner can hop from brewery to brewery (there are more than 30 in the area) trying stouts, lagers, ales, and even sodas and cheese pairings if you hit up Sprecher. Even if it's cold, you can still tour the Flemish-style Pabst Mansion or warm up inside the Mitchell Park Conservatory (affectionately called "the Domes" by the locals).
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.
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.
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.
Puget Sound, Seattle.
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?
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.
This article was originally written by staff writer Kate Raftery and published in 2016. It has since been updated.