The Best & Worst Cities For Dating During The Pandemic

Happy cuffing season! Buckle up for what’s bound to be the wildest one yet. On top of the normal desire to settle down with someone when the only thing colder than the weather outside is the other side of your (read: my) bed, the thirst is realer than ever after months of social distancing and quarantining. But surprise! We’re still in a pandemic. Deal with it. 

If you’ve been feeling like your city is just really not cut out for pandemic dating (hi, New York), there is new data out that can determine whether or not you’re right. Apartment List recently revamped their list of the best and worst metros for dating to better reflect our current reality with COVID-19. They ranked the top 40 U.S. metros where people are having the most success dating based on the following factors: percentage of singles in the area, outdoor recreation satisfaction, and overall dating scene satisfaction. Without further ado, let’s rip on the list explore the results.

Here’s are the top 10 cities on the list:

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Virginia Beach, VA
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. San Antonio, TX
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Detroit, MI
  10. Milwaukee, WI

K, so there’s a lot to process here. Let’s kick off this recap by highlighting that Texas is the best spot for dating right now, with three metros dominating the top 10. Austin actually earned the #1 spot in 2020 AND in 2019 pre-pandemic times (anyone remember those days? No? Me neither). Apparently this state is ideal for socially distanced dating with its beautiful weather and abundance of outdoor date spots, like drive-in theaters, parks, and picnic spots. It clearly wins high satisfaction scores for the dating scene, outdoor dating, and overall dating. I’d say congrats, but Texas also wins #1 state with the most COVID-19 cases (officially clocking in over 1.2 million cases) so uhhh… yeah. I know Texans are ~satisfied~ right now, but maybe like, don’t keep dating IRL and opt for a more virtual dating scene instead? Just a thought. You know, because lives depend on it or whatever.

Boston comes in hot at spot #2 and the highest dating satisfaction score (42%) on the list. To fact check this data like the suspicious Scorpio ~reliable journalist~ I am, I asked my friend Emily who lives in Boston what dating there is like right now.

“A lot of guys are totally cool with doing COVID-safe dates, and luckily in Boston there are a million things to do safely outside (New England winter quickly changing that),” she confirms. “A lot of the bars set up patios on the street and I’d say especially in the North End (romantic Little Italy) they had a ton of outdoor places with romantic vibes. There’s also a bunch of parks where you can find a good spot and bring a bottle of wine and makeshift cheese board.” With an estimated 43,709 active cases in Boston right now, I’d put the emphasis here on outdoor dating. Apartment List, your data checks out, at least according to my one friend. Good job.

Totally understandable that beachy towns like Virginia Beach and Miami also rank high. Imagine having beautiful weather, beaches, and other outdoor date spots right nearby? Sign me TF up. Well, actually don’t because I’m very anti-social and anti-dating right now after a recent ugly breakup (and also COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Miami). But have fun, everyone else.

Oh, then there’s random AF Detroit and Milwaukee. And party central Vegas. Congrats to you all.  

Now for the “worst” cities on the list… AKA the bottom 10 out of 40:

  1. Sacramento, CA
  2. Charlotte, NC
  3. Baltimore, MD
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Kansas City, MO
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Riverside, CA
  8. Hartford, CT
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Jacksonville, FL

TBH I’m genuinely shocked that Cali cities rank on the bottom of the list. Like, why, with all those beautiful beaches and people with active lifestyles who actually enjoy being outdoors? According to this report, these cities have low dating scene and outdoor satisfaction scores. Confused, but okay.

Hartford is another not-so-great city for dating, even though one of my best friends recently just met her ideal partner in CT, so don’t abandon hope, Connecticutians (??). Cleveland scored, as the study calls it, a “measly” 7% dating satisfaction score and ranks second to last on the list, saved by its 60% outdoor dating satisfaction score. And the winner of the worst city on the list, Jacksonville, got a whopping 14.8% satisfaction score. It’s what Florida deserves, amirite?

And a biased honorable mention because I’m from here: I’m sad that NYC falls in the middle of the list with a dating satisfaction score of 23%. But I mean… it makes sense if you think that most of NYC’s date spots are inside and we can’t (read: shouldn’t, if you’re a considerate person) chill inside public spaces right now. So the best clubs, rooftop bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are basically off-limits. And people are fleeing the city because NyC iS dEaD (according to rich people who probably never spent time below midtown anyway).

Anyway, that’s the tea on the dating hot (or not) spots during the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, if you’re going to date, please make sure you’re following your state’s health and safety guidelines by meeting outside, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a mask. If you don’t, every single city is going to become the worst city to date because uhhh… we won’t be able to leave our homes at all. Oh, and our lives literally depend on it. 

Images: Pexels, GIPHY (2), Apartment List

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota is a New-York based writer and the founder of She writes about sex, relationships, health, travel, and other fun stuff for Betches, Bumble, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Health, mindbodygreen, Tinder, Well+Good, and your other favorite websites. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, playing video games, chasing sunsets, traveling, or slathering CBD salve all over her aching body. Follow her on Instagram/Twitter @morganmandriota or visit