North America’s 10 Most Romantic Cities
Everyone’s dream vacation is a little different. Some people want to be pampered at a five-star hotel. Others enjoy going off the beaten path in search of a breathtaking view. And still others seek a travel experience where they can try local cuisine, see live shows, and immerse themselves in the city’s culture.
No matter what’s on the agenda though, the most important part of getting away is spending time with someone you love. You can relax together, explore together, and bond together in a vacation destination where all your needs are met.
Whether you live in the U.S. or Canada, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy a special moment with a significant other. We’ve searched high and low to find the most romantic cities in North America to help vacationers make the most of their travels. The following destinations invite couples to enjoy delicious cuisine, live entertainment, natural splendor, and world-class attractions that inspire romance.
Map of North America’s Most Romantic Cities
In our research, we uncovered 10 cities across North America that boast romantic ambiance in its history, sights, and entertainment options for couples.
Whether your idea of romance includes a weekend beach getaway or a carriage ride in the snow, our list includes a range of climates and city sizes for year-round enjoyment.
1. Nashville, Tennessee
Anyone who loves music with a little twang in it will love visiting Nashville, Tennessee. Couples can wander up and down Honky Tonk Highway listening to live performances by up-and-coming artists and established bands. Many country legends, including Willie Nelson, Gretchen Wilson, and Dierks Bentley, got their start on Lower Broadway, and many of them return to their roots to support the city’s thriving country music community.
“Downtown Nashville is the perfect place for lovers,” said Timothy D. in a TripAdvisor review. “There are plenty of romantic restaurants and sights.”
Broadway Street lights up at night as its bars and honky tonks crank up the volume.
Nashville is known for its music, but visitors don’t have to go to the Grand Ole Opry to have a grand old time here. They can visit an art gallery or museum, see a ballgame at First Tennessee Park, or stop by a quaint bakery in town to make the most of their stay.
You can find just about every type of food and drink in this big city, but we recommend sticking to Southern comfort food to get the full Nashville experience. Arnold’s Country Kitchen may look like a cafeteria, but its award-winning home-cooked meals have been satisfying folks since 1982. The kitchen even won the James Beard American Classics Award in 2009. Just be sure to come hungry because the lunch and dinner portions are extremely generous.
Couples can split a large plate of fried chicken and pecan pie at Arnold’s.
In 2017, more than 14.5 million people visited the Nashville area, which was a 4.6% increase over the previous year. The city’s tourism industry is growing, and that means more luxury hotels popping up throughout the city. The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the city’s largest hotel with more than 2,888 rooms available. The expansive atrium includes cascading waterfalls and plenty of greenery to make couples feel as if they’ve found a quiet oasis in the heart of Music City.
All in all, we think Nashville is the most romantic city in North America because there’s so much to do and see here, and yet couples can also be content doing nothing at all except sitting with a drink and enjoying the friendly Southern atmosphere.
2. Quebec City, Quebec
Located on the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City is a historic city where couples can sip wine at a cafe by the water or wander through boutique shops along the cobblestone streets. Romance is always in the air here, and people are taking notice. In 2017, Quebec City’s hotels took in nearly $3 million in total.
This French-Canadian city remains true to its European roots and charms visitors with its fine dining, walkable streets, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The classic colonial architecture becomes even more beautiful during the winter months when every building is frosted with snow.
Standing nearly 80 meters tall, the Château Frontenac is an iconic hotel in Old Quebec City.
If you really want to dial up the romance, you can stay at the Château Frontenac in the Old City. This iconic hotel has welcomed guests since 1892 and offers a grand view of Quebec City and the Saint Lawrence River. It sits on Dufferin Terrace where a popular toboggan run gets people’s hearts pumping in the wintertime.
The Parc de la Chute-Montmorency offers a breathtaking sight and activity for a daytime date. This 275-foot waterfall is 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls and has a stairway that takes you all the way to the top. Adrenaline junkies can also zipline across the falls, rock climb up the cliff, or cross a suspension bridge over the water. Or you can take it easy on a gondola ride and then picnic in the park.
The Parc de la Chute-Montmorency offers an awe-inspiring sight just 15 minutes outside of town.
Whether you’re exploring the wilderness or sitting in the lap of luxury in the city, you’re sure to find a memorable experience in and around Quebec City.
“Quebec City… hands down is the city for romance,” said an Ottawa resident on TripAdvisor. “Quebec City with its unique European feel and Old World character (romance) is just so enchanting.”
3. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is a quaint coastal city that’s one of the most-visited destinations in Georgia, and it’s easy to see why. The charming oak-lined streets and riverside restaurants offer visitors a chance to slow down and get away from it all.
You can visit the fragrant Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens to snap colorful photos with your date, or you can enjoy craft cocktails on the deck of a rooftop bar such as Rocks on the Roof. Additionally, the sandy beaches of Tybee Island (located just 18 miles from downtown Savannah) provide a romantic environment where you can kick off your shoes and soak in the sun.
Savannah is a favorite destination for honeymooners. Photo credit: @marc.edward via Instagram
Savannah is a food lovers’ paradise known for its fresh seafood and Southern comfort food. Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room is one of the most iconic dining establishments in town. It’s known for its family-style cooking and family-friendly service. With classic Southern hospitality, the servers invite couples to join its large 10-seat tables and get to know their neighbors over a traditional home-cooked meal. Everyone who stops by here becomes part of the family.
You’ll discover many low-key date activities around town during your stay. Picnicking at Forsyth Park, for instance, is an easy way to spend a few hours with someone special. This 30-acre public space sits in the heart of the city. Many couples enjoy sitting by the old fountain on the north side of the park where they can see a lovely light and water show after the sun goes down.
Savannah’s Forsyth Park provides a lovely respite for couples looking to take it easy for an afternoon.
Savannah’s historic and artsy culture attracts visitors from all walks of life. Since 1733, the city has made a name for itself as a quiet retreat for couples in search of romance.
“You can’t help but be consumed by the mystery and beauty of your surroundings,” said Erica Backus, Director of Public Relations for VisitSavannah.com. “This coastal city brings all the senses alive.”
4. Austin, Texas
Music. Bars. Food trucks. Need I say more? Austin, Texas, has just about everything couples could want on a vacation in the city. The modern downtown scene gives visitors plenty of things to do and sights to see.
You can start at the Cathedral of Junk where a hodgepodge of recycled stuff offers a crazy and interesting sight in an otherwise nondescript backyard. You can play a truly great game of I Spy while looking at this multi-tiered art exhibit, and then you can take a couple artsy selfies with your partner to commemorate the trip.
“Such an incredible and unique place,” wrote Adriana M. in a review. “Definitely worth scratching off your Austinite list of weird/beautiful things to do.”
Approximately 450,000 people attend the ACL Music Festival’s outdoor concerts in Austin.
Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, so you can almost always find a show going on around town. “Austin City Limits,” the longest-running concert music program in the U.S., is recorded at ACL Live in the Moody Theater and features talented artists and comedians. It’s also worth a trip to see the annual Austin City Limits Musical Festival held every October in Zilker Park.
As a college town (Hook ’em Horns!), Austin has an active nightlife where clubs, bars, and cocktail lounges stay open late. The HandleBar is an unapologetically quirky and often rowdy spot to spend an evening. Its mustache-themed rooftop bar is more like an adult playground with retro games (including an old seesaw) and affordable drinks. Check out the bar’s calendar to see when they’re putting on a show.
The HandleBar offers an imaginative and childish environment for adults getting their drink on.
You can also escape the crowds at the Midnight Cowboy, a reservation-only speakeasy on Sixth Street. This quiet haunt offers a sophisticated and intimate place for a late-night date. The bartenders ask that guests put away their cellphones and laptops so they can unplug and unwind with a drink in hand.
Austin’s tourism industry has exploded in the last few years. Today, the city averages 27.4 million visitors a year and sees over $8 billion in visitor spending. Even as the city grows more prosperous, it retains the charming, fun-loving attitude that made it popular in the first place. Many local businesses have stayed true to the mantra “Keep Austin Weird” and have fostered a unique, funky atmosphere like no other.
5. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina, rests at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers an abundance of natural attractions and big-city comforts. The South has a reputation for front-porch friendliness, and Greenville exemplifies just what that means. The people here value their traditions and go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome.
Every year, over 5 million visitors head to Greenville in search of a good time. Some seek an outdoor adventure while others want to enjoy concerts, museums, and Southern hospitality, and the diverse city does not disappoint.
Couples can take in South Carolina’s natural splendor by staying in Greenville. We’re talking over 30 waterfalls, 39 city parks, and miles upon miles of hiking trails. You can choose to stay in one of the city’s 9,000+ hotel rooms, or you can book a campsite and rough it with your date.
Founded in 1967, Falls Park on the Reedy is a lovely green space on Main Street where couples can have a quiet picnic in the gardens just a few steps away from Greenville’s downtown area.
Falls Park on the Reedy is a 32-acre park in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End.
From the art galleries to the bike tours, this city has a little something for everyone. We recommend beer lovers take part in the Brewery Experience to sample the craft beer scene in a laid-back and curated way. These brewery tours take place Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays with private tours available seven days a week.
Madelyn A. wrote a Yelp review that read like a love letter to the city: “Dear Greenville, thank you for a relaxing weekend full of good food, good people, and plenty to do…This was one of the highlights of our trip, and we will definitely be returning.”
6. Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia encompasses the best of big-city life in a small-town atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy world-class seafood, water sports, art exhibits, and many beautiful date spots. The city’s motto is a Latin word meaning, “Thou shalt grow,” and it has grown. Since its establishment in the late 17th century, Norfolk has grown into the second most populous city in Virginia.
Norfolk is one of the oldest cities in Hampton Roads, and it has many museums tracing its rich history.
Couples often stroll hand-in-hand along the Chesapeake Bay and find a quiet spot to watch the sunset. Talk about romance! You can’t beat the oceanfront views at these piers, restaurants, and hotels.
Speaking of hotels, Norfolk has over 5,100 hotel rooms to choose from. The Mainalone offers 300 rooms in its 23-story luxury hotel in the downtown area. The hotel includes three restaurants and the only rooftop beer garden in town, so couples don’t have to go far to find a fun time.
The New Energy of Norfolk (NEON) Arts District is an up-and-coming social scene where you can find improv comedy shows, glass-working demonstrations, art museums, and urban art installations. Every year, the NEON Festival fills the neighborhood with colorful artworks, local food trucks, and excited crowds seeking one-of-a-kind entertainment. The festival typically takes place in October and has been running since 2015.
The NEON District has the distinction of being Norfolk’s first official art district.
If you’re in the mood for something more sophisticated and intimate, you can enjoy a free wine tasting at the Mermaid Winery on Fridays. The tastings start at 5 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. This flagship winery stays open until midnight and features over 800 wines from around the world.
Norfolk has tons of lovely indoor and outdoor venues where visitors can have a drink, take a picture, and make a memory. Whether you’re relaxing with a fishing pole on the water or digging into a seafood platter at a family-owned restaurant, you can forget your everyday concerns and savor the moment with someone you love.
7. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, and it is also the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean. The city serves as the cultural, political, and economic hub of the Dominican Republic, and it’s also a fantastic romantic destination in North America. Over 6.2 million tourists visit this small island every year, and one-third of visitors hail from the U.S.
You can cruise into town along the Ozama River and find a tropical bar as your first port of harbor. The Bar Parada 77 may be small, but it’s one of the most popular bars in town. You can dance all night under the strobe lights, and all drinks (specialty cocktails included) are under $5.
Santo Domingo has historical sites, beautiful beaches, and budget-friendly bars to entertain visitors.
Many history buffs enjoy visiting the Colonial City, a historic neighborhood where the old colonial buildings have been renovated into shops, museums, hotels, and restaurants. This area was the first European settlement in the Americas in 1498, and now it provides a quiet, walkable district where you can wander with a date.
If your feet get tired of walking, you can always hop on the Chu Chu Colonial Trainand take a 45-minute historical tour of the noteworthy monuments, churches, parks, and houses in the area.
The Chu Chu Colonial covers 500 years’ worth of history in less than an hour.
You can spend hours exploring the city with your significant other, or you can sit back and relax beachside. It’s up to you. Santo Domingo is surrounded by natural beauty, and its tropical climate means it’s perfect beach weather all year round.
“There are lots of off-the-beaten-path and even remote places to visit on the island,” according to one Santo Domingo traveler. “There is plenty of potential for ecotourism, and visitors are highly encouraged to get out of the hectic city and discover the beauty of the countryside.”
8. Victoria, British Columbia
Named in honor of Queen Victoria, British Columbia’s Victoria is a well-known destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. The city has been recognized as one of the top 10 friendliest cities in the world, and its tourism industry generated over $2.3 billion in 2016. The Greater Victoria area attracts almost 4 million tourists each year.
What brings people to this Canadian province? Its greenery! The Garden City is a beautiful place for couples to stop on a weekend getaway, road trip, or vacation. They can linger on the trails of Beacon Hill Park, where wild peacocks roam. The 200-acre park also has a petting zoo and playing fields to give visitors plenty of diversions. The park is also home to the tallest story pole in the world, measuring 127 feet and 7 inches.
Beacon Hill Park is walking distance from the downtown area, so it makes a nice interlude if you have some time to kill before dinner or a show at the Imax Theatre on Douglas Street.
Greater Victoria is home to 17 craft breweries, including Canada’s oldest pub Spinnakers Brewpub.
Victoria has a great location as the southernmost major city in Western Canada. It’s just 60 miles away from Seattle and a ferry ride away from Port Angeles, Washington. Couples can easily take a day trip to local historic sites (i.e., the Fisgard Lighthouse or Hatley Castle) or go hiking up the Olympic Mountains in Washington during their stay in Victoria.
The food scene in town represents the best cuisine the Pacific coast has to offer. You’ll find many farm-to-table and ocean-to-table establishments that go the extra mile to ensure they deliver freshness in every bite. The seafood is the main attraction here — every salmon and shellfish dish is guaranteed to please.
Victoria’s timeless beauty enraptures couples and gives them a quiet place where they can just be.
Couples can liven up their stays in Victoria with peaceful strolls along the Inner Harbour or intellectually stimulating visits to centuries-old forts, castles, and other sites. It’s a great destination for foodies, history buffs, outdoor adventurers, and nature lovers.
According to TripAdvisor, “Victoria is the ideal playground for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. On land or at sea, outdoor Victoria B.C. activities are possible year-round in our temperate climate. From zip lining through treetops to crescent moon kayaking, diving, hiking or cycling, visitors will delight in the wild beauty of the Island.”
9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The U.S. and Canada don’t have a monopoly on romantic places in North America. Mexico has its fair share of exciting, delightful, and picturesque vacation spots too. San Miguel is our pick for the most romantic travel destination south of the U.S. border.
The city hosts many cultural and arts festivals throughout the year in its cobblestone streets, including a feast for the city’s patron saint Archangel Michael on September 29. The Fiestas de San Miguel de Allende event is the largest celebration held in the town. You can visit flower-covered dais in churches to pay your respects and then grab some street food to enjoy while the fireworks go off at night. The festival also includes acrobatics, parades, and lots of dancing.
San Miguel de Allende’s city streets are lined with boutique shops, art galleries, bars, and restaurants.
San Miguel is a vibrant city with lots of things to do and see. Just walking the cobblestone streets and looking up at the centuries-old buildings can be a great treat. The city’s baroque Spanish architecture makes a wonderfully colorful and eye-catching backdrop for a date.
San Miguel de Allende sees a lot of tourists. In 2002, over 250,000 visitors spent approximately $8.4 million in town, and the tourism industry accounts for 36% of all local jobs. As a result, you don’t have to know much Spanish to get by in the city. People of all ages and nationalities flock to San Miguel to add a little spice and color to their days. According to one travel guide, “San Miguel de Allende is a favorite destination for art lovers, foodies, photographers, retirees, and young, sophisticated families.”
You can vacation in the lap of luxury at a five-star hotel or live among the locals at a two-bedroom vacation rental known as Alice’s Palace. San Miguel has over 149 resorts, nine of which are five-star hotels.
10. Napa, California
Napa is world-famous as California’s Wine Country, and it’s a must-visit for wine lovers everywhere. The city itself is more than just a stopover on the way to the best wineries around, though. Napa’s downtown area has a charming theater, a public market, and many romantic bed-and-breakfasts. Visitors staying in Napa can unwind here after a day of wine tastings in the valley.
The Uptown Theatre features live musical performances and comedy shows throughout the year. You can settle in one of the 860 comfy seats and enjoy a concert in this landmark establishment. Since it opened its doors in 1937, the Uptown has hosted many talented celebrities, including B.B. King, Wynnona Judd, Dana Carvey, and Ron White.
Napa also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant called La Toque. This is an upscale place to take a date and commemorate a special evening. The dress code is smart casual, but many diners choose to don formal wear as they enjoy a delicious four-course or even five-course meal. The wine cellar has over 2,000 selections available, and every item on the menu has a suggested wine pairing carefully chosen by the house sommelier. Couples should call (707) 257-5157 to make a reservation. Valet parking is complimentary.
“I went on our anniversary, and it was the greatest experience of my life,” said Luis A. in a review. “At the end, they had a small cake with our names. It was unforgettable for my wife and me.”
Napa Valley produces thousands of luscious and decadent Californian wines every year.
Of course, the thing most people visit Napa for is the wine. And you certainly have many options nearby to get your drinking on. Napa Valley has over 400 wineries scattered throughout the area, and 95% of these establishments are family-owned.
If you really want to arrive in style, you can book a car or limo service to take you around the valley and make sure you don’t get behind the wheel. A professional driver can ferry couples safely from one winery to the next, and he or she can always make a recommendation about where to go and what to do in town. That insider information can save you the hassle of trying to navigate a new city by yourself. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Napa may look like a quiet retreat, but it’s actually bustling with activity. Locals and tourists alike travel here in search of a quality glass of wine. In 2016, Napa Valley saw over 3.5 million visitors and the tourism industry generated over $80.3 million.
“A wonderful place to spend a few hours, days, weeks, or years,” said David G. on Yelp. “You seriously can spend your days eating gourmet foods all over the valley [and] drinking wonderful wines at all the vineyards.”
Sources & Methodology
North America is full of wondrous places where history, art, food, and natural beauty combine to make romance blossom. We assessed hundreds of well-known romantic destinations based on the quality of their historic sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, wineries, public parks, and tourism statistics gathered from various news outlets, including USA Today, Global News, and other sources.
We then looked at customer reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, and other media outlets to discover the most popular events and attractions in each city to determine our rankings.