Unlucky in love? Stop beating yourself up — and think about moving. Maybe to Denver. After all, it is the best city for singles.
For the third consecutive year, Denver-Boulder is the top metro area on our annual ranking of The Best Cities For Singles.
To generate the rankings, we made a list of 40 large U.S. metropolitan centers, then ranked each of them in seven areas: nightlife, culture, job growth, number of other singles, cost of living alone, coolness and, for the first time, online dating activity. All categories were weighted equally, with the exception of the number of singles, which carried double weight. After all, what do culture and nightlife matter if there's no one to share it with?
What makes the Mile High City such a hot spot?
“Denver residents are energetic, educated and incredibly active — professionally, recreationally, philanthropically and socially — all of which make Denver attractive to single individuals looking to meet people, get involved or just have fun,” says John Hickenlooper, Denver's mayor.
Add to that a raft of sports teams, cultural haunts and a sizable college crowd, and it's no surprise that the Colorado metro finishes first.
Boston sails into second place for the second year in a row. “We've got a huge singles scene here,” says Stuff@Night staff writer Heather Bouzan. “I think the huge population of college students in the city influences the scene — they make it rowdier and give it more life.”
In fact, Beantown sits near the top of the list in nearly every category, thanks to its wealth of creative types, multiple colleges and active online dating community. Unfortunately, it doesn't fare as well when it comes to living costs or job opportunities.
A surprise newcomer to the top five: Phoenix, Ariz. It moved up 11 spots from its 14th-place finish in 2005.
“Phoenix is filled with [beautiful people],” says Randy Stein, a producer for the Johnjay & Rich Morning Show on Phoenix's 104.7 Kiss FM. “It's L.A., but better. It's a little bit smaller, a little bit more close-knit, but still you get the beautiful Hollywood-type feel.”
Rounding out the top five are San Francisco and New York. Both cities are teeming with singles (the Big Apple ranks first; the Hilly City seventh), and there's certainly no shortage of things to do. Bars, restaurants, museums and sporting events — these major metros have it all.
Of course, all the fun comes at a price. New York ranks 24th in the salary-adjusted cost of living category (the big paychecks help some, but clearly not enough), and San Francisco ranks 17th. As for the job market, bleak seems an accurate description in both cities: San Fran comes in at No. 23, while New York ranks dead last.
With the winners come the losers, and a familiar crew of cities fell short. Greensboro, N.C., ranked dead last for the second consecutive year.
Unlike its neighbor, Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro fares poorly almost across the board. In fact, the only category where the 'Boro doesn't fall to the bottom is cost of living.
Norfolk, Va., didn't fare much better — it's ranked 39th out of 40 for the second year. It may be a popular cruise port, but the city is neither cheap nor cool.
According to Jill Stephanie, a bartender at Norfolk's Cogan's Instant Art Bar, “the perfect date would be to go to another city, because there's nothing to do.”
This year's biggest movers were Providence, R.I., and Detroit, both of which traveled 17 spots from last year to this year.
For Providence, that move was in the right direction: up. The city skyrocketed from No. 37 to No. 20, thanks in large part to changes to the nightlife category (both culture and nightlife are now measured on a per capita basis) as well as the addition of an online dating category, in which Providence ranks 14th.
Detroit wasn't as lucky. With poor performances in the online dating, coolness and night life categories, it's no surprise the Motor City is emulating its struggling auto industry, dropping from No. 16 to No. 33 on this year's list. The city's lackluster job market didn't help any.
Of course, just because a city isn't rated highly for singles doesn't make it a bad place — it might be great for families or retirees. Or maybe it's just quiet, as opposed to bright and busy.
One thing's for sure: If you're young, active and looking for love, our list will point the way.