The enchantment and allure of cities like Paris in France and Venice in Italy are unquestionable, but a trip across an ocean isn’t the only way to find enchantment in a romantic getaway. The U.S. has plenty of options for cities with charm, mystique, and character that will leave you and your partner swooning. As the Valentine’s Day holiday approaches, many couples are beginning to plan for romantic getaways. The holiday takes place on Thursday, February 14, making it an ideal candidate for a long weekend. Here are our top picks for the most romantic cities in the U.S.:
New York City, NY – If you can dream it, you can see, do, taste, listen, and feel it in New York City. If looking for a romantic escape with you and your significant other, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in The Big Apple. A perfect day in New York could look something like this: first make sure you secure a nice hotel which is easier, and cheaper, than you might think. Either way, it will be worth the expense. Once you’re out for the day, buy a baguette from a local bakery, some cheese, charcuterie, and fresh fruit from a small market, and make your way to Central Park for a wonderful picnic. Once you’ve had a light lunch, catch a quick cab to the High Line where you can walk along a mile and half long elevated park formed on the old New York Central Railroad platform. After some time spent exploring outdoors, treat yourself to a cocktail at one of the many amazing bars in New York. After your cocktail, head to the hotel for a change of clothes, get a little fancy, and head out for a nice dinner. Don’t forget the reservation. Other options for romance are a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, check out the New York Botanical Gardens, visit the gorgeous Grand Central Station, or catch a show on (or off) Broadway.
Cape Cod, MA – Though not technically a city, the hook-shaped peninsula jutting out from the coast of Massachusetts is a popular summertime destination, but it’s tranquility and beauty make it an ideal destination in off-peak months as well. You’ll find no shortage of meticulously adorned bed and breakfasts throughout the small towns and villages of Cape Cod and the area has some of the best seafood in the Northeast, so make sure to pop in at one of the many locally-owned restaurants. If you’re looking for a daytime adventure, take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and explore the shores of this beautiful island. Afterward, make your way into town to learn about some of the rich history of the island.
Aspen, CO – Whether you’re there for a winter getaway or a summertime adventure, Aspen is unmatched in beauty. A trip during the colder months would be incomplete without a visit to one of the four ski areas (Highlands, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Snowmass) where snow sport enthusiasts can experience some of the best slopes in the country. With average annual snowfall totals of 176 inches, the chances are pretty darn good you’ll be walking around a winter wonderland in the months of November through March. After a day of hitting the slopes, you’ll find comfort and warmth in one of Aspen’s many downtown cafes, restaurants, or art galleries.
Charleston, SC – Just oozing with southern charm, the Holy City will undoubtedly provide the ideal backdrop for a romantic escape for you and your significant other. With world-class dining, beautiful surrounding beaches, great shopping, and much more, it’s no wonder Charleston is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the South. And with temperatures rarely falling below 60 degrees fahrenheit, there really isn’t a bad time to visit this city near the sea. Spend your days exploring antebellum era mansions, Civil War landmarks, or take a stroll on the beaches of Tybee Island. Before dining at one of the many terrific restaurants, catch the gorgeous sunset at Waterfront Park. For more on Charleston, check out our article on the best things to do while visiting.
Savannah, GA – Savannah is one of the true jewels of the South. The city enchants visitors with beautiful old trees covered in Spanish moss, historic landmarks nearly everywhere you look, and great dining and nightlife. It feels like stepping back in time as you stroll the cobblestone streets along the Savannah River. Forsyth Park is another great place for a walk with the iconic and beautiful Forsyth Fountain as the centerpiece of the park. And just a short 30 minute drive down the Islands Expressway will lead you to the shores of Tybee Island where you and your loved one can catch a sunset on the beach. While you’re out on Tybee, rent a kayak or paddle board and explore the salt marshes from the best vantage point possible. For more on Savannah, check out our article on the best things to do while visiting.
Sonoma, CA – As the birthplace of California’s thriving wine industry, Sonoma County is littered with wineries and tasting rooms sure to satisfy any palate. With over 400 wineries in the region, you and your loved one shouldn’t have any problems tasting some of the best varietals as you make your way around. From a glass lounging poolside to a historic tour to award-winning bubbly to bold reds, there’s a surplus here and the entire experience is set against the background of the gorgeous landscape of Northern California valleys. And don’t worry, drinking wine isn’t the only thing to do in Sonoma. You and your boo could take part in a cooking class, hike (or zipline for the adventurous) among the Redwoods, or take a picturesque drive to the Pacific Coast for a romantic sunset. Also don’t forget to check out the Sonoma Plaza which serves as the town hub of Sonoma and is the largest Plaza in all of California.
Fernandina Beach, FL – Everyone knows about the Keys, everyone knows about Miami’s South Beach, but one of Florida’s most gorgeous coastlines actually sits much further to the north. Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island and is right along the shared border with Georgia. With 13 miles of uncrowded, pristine sandy shores, Fernandina makes for the perfect tranquil romantic getaway. Visitors can also explore the 50-block historic district with excellent shopping and restaurants. A wonderful option for a day trip would be to take a ferry trip from Amelia Island to the largely uninhabited Cumberland Island where more than 150 wild mustangs roam freely among the island’s dunes.
New Orleans, LA – New Orleans is a city full of colors, sounds, and tastes unlike any other city in America. Often known for its nightlife and of course, Mardi Gras, The Big Easy has much more depth to it than what meets the eye. For a romantic getaway in New Orleans, you could take a jazz cruise on the Mississippi, visit one of the city’s iconic clubs such as Tipitina’s or The Spotted Cat, or treat you and your significant other to a culinary tour of one of the best food cities in the country. After a night of fine dining and perhaps a cocktail or two, you can wake up to beignets and coffee and start all over again. Check out our article on how to experience Mardi Gras while visiting New Orleans.
Providence, RI – As the capital of Rhode Island, Providence is a beautiful city with three rivers running through its delightfully walkable downtown area. With Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), there is an emphasis on education and the arts, making it an ideal destination for literary and art buffs. The Providence Public Library is a gorgeous historic building founded in 1875 with tours available year-round. After a day spent exploring the town, a great couple’s night out could be spent catching a play at Rhode Island’s largest arts organization – the Trinity Repertory Company. Another option for entertainment would be a trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, a public space filled with ponds, a rose garden, public statues, and of course a zoo.
Honolulu, HI – The tropical paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean known as Hawaii makes for an ideal romantic getaway year-round. Honolulu is on the island of Oahu’s south shore and is the capital of the state. It has some of the best beaches in the world, great dining, nightlife, and shopping and excellent resorts. Lovers of sand, sun and fun could do much worse than to spend a romantic vacation experiencing the best of Honolulu. Aside from days spent on the beach sipping Mai Tais under an umbrella, couples can explore the iconic landmark, Diamond Head which is a dormant volcano with hiking trails and the remains of historical military forts. There’s also the nature preserve of Hanauma Bay with a beautiful beach, excellent opportunities for snorkeling and plenty of other amazing wildlife.