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The 25 most romantic cities are… not the ones you’d expect

In preparation for the most romantic day of the year (for some anyway), OpenTable has ranked their picks for the 25 most romantic cities in America. The list definitely has some obvious spots on there, but then there are some cities that are, shall we say, unusual destinations for romance.

Now my judgment may not be entirely fair since I have yet to visit half of these cities, but according to what I’ve learned about them, many are not known for their romantic essence.

OpenTable calculated the list using three variables: The percentage of restaurants rated “romantic” by OpenTable user reviews, the percentage of tables seated for two and the percentage of people who dined out for Valentine’s Day last year. Well I suppose that’s pretty scientific of them, but we’re still not sure about some of these.

Take a look at the list itself:

The most romantic city is…

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City

Image: drpavloff via Flickr

Ah Atlantic City, home of lounge singers, gamblers and hookers. Atlantic City is considered “the Gambling Capital of the East Coast” according to Wikipedia. Once the land of Prohibition and mobsters (probably still a bit of that latter one around), Atlantic City is much cleaner than it once was, but is now dominated by giant hotel chains and casinos. Plus it’s smack in the middle of Jersey. Definitely not on the top of my list for a romantic night out. But hey, there’s a beach that’s… something!

The 5th most romantic city is…

Birmingham, Alabama


Image: Dystopos via Flickr

Birmingham! I did not see this one coming. I think we’re all familiar with Birmingham’s rough crime history, but in case you’re not, here’s a refresher: U.S. News & World Report ranked Birmingham as the third most dangerous city in the nation for 2011 (only Atlanta and St. Louis were ranked higher). If you’re feeling historical, you can go check out the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and learn about things like the jailing of Martin Luther King Jr., and the start of the Ku Klux Klan. On the more pleasant side of things, Birmingham does have some great jazz festivals that you can check out, and the Talladega Superspeedway‘s always fun if not terrifying.

The 13th most romantic city is…

Omaha, Nebraska

Image: Loco Steve via Flickr

You know that city you fly over that’s somehow always covered in snow? Yeah, that’s Omaha. Omaha received the nickname “Gateway to the West” because of the Lone Tree Ferry which takes you from one side of the Missouri River to the other, often considered the dividing line between the east and west sides of America. As such, it became a major transportation hub and manufacturing mecca. Fun fact: Omaha is where the TV dinner and cake mix were invented, so they’ve probably got romantic food down.

The 15th most romantic city is…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Image: Kool Cats Photography over 3 Million Views via Flickr

OOOOOOklahoma: Where the winds come sweeping down the plains! That’s pretty much all I really knew about Oklahoma until I did my research. Well that, and the famous Oklahoma City bombings. Oklahoma City has one of the largest livestock markets in the world, so you know your steak on Valentine’s Day is going to be super fresh. It’s also the home of Oklahoma City Thunder which I have to admit is pretty cool. Plus it’s got this awesome old reservoir going for it! OK, Oklahoma City, you won me over. You can stay on the list.

The full list:

  1. Atlantic City, New Jersey
  2. San Antonio, Texas
  3. Providence, Rhode Island
  4. Key West, Florida
  5. Birmingham, Alabama
  6. Louisville, Kentucky
  7. Newport, Rhode Island
  8. Palm Springs, California
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Lahaina, Hawaii
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Las Vegas, Nevada
  13. Omaha, Nebraska
  14. Santa Barbara, California
  15. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  16. West Hollywood, California
  17. St. Louis, Missouri
  18. Charleston, South Carolina
  19. Memphis, Tennessee
  20. New Orleans, Louisiana
  21. Fort Worth, Texas
  22. Nashville, Tennessee
  23. Long Beach, California
  24. Santa Fe, New Mexico
  25. Charlotte, North Carolina

More on romantic travel

The 3 most romantic beaches
10 Romantic getaway cities for love birds
Why you should rekindle your romance in North Carolina

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