2020’s Best Places for Valentine’s Day

Adam McCann, Financial Writer
Feb 4, 2020

As the saying goes, “money can’t buy love.” But it certainly can express it. This year, Americans collectively will spend $27.4 billion on Valentine’s day gifts — from greeting cards to jewelry to a special night out — with the average lovebird shelling out $196.31.

But you don’t need to empty your wallet just to show your romantic side. Depending on where you go and what you do, a sweet evening can be inexpensive and still have the same quality. You just need to be in the right place with the right budget.

With love in the air, WalletHub played cupid to determine the most romantic and cost-effective cities for celebrating Valentine’s Day. We compared 100 of the largest U.S. cities across 26 key metrics, ranging from florists per capita to forecasted precipitation to cost of a three-course meal for two. Read on for the winners, more insight from a panel of experts, and a full description of our methodology. For interesting stats about the holiday, check out WalletHub’s Valentine’s Day Fun Facts infographic.

Main Findings

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Best Places to Go on Valentine’s Day

Overall Rank


Total Score

‘Budget’ Rank

‘Activities’ Rank

‘Gift Accessibility’ Rank

‘Weather Forecast’ Rank

1San Francisco, CA78.5172861
2New York, NY73.63751132
3San Diego, CA73.1310111018
4Honolulu, HI72.052314710
5Las Vegas, NV71.21484326
6Seattle, WA71.07661383
7Orlando, FL67.89658517
8Portland, OR67.231571183
9Scottsdale, AZ67.05934191
10Chicago, IL66.28723638
11Los Angeles, CA64.087610270
12Washington, DC63.861952078
13Atlanta, GA63.255515930
14Denver, CO62.4417171757
15San Jose, CA61.232502958
16Virginia Beach, VA61.075514329
17Austin, TX61.0613201889
18Boston, MA59.7143162519
19Tampa, FL57.2059212414
20Gilbert, AZ55.92192952
21Raleigh, NC55.7924394622
22Irvine, CA55.484726359
23Chandler, AZ54.661182742
24Dallas, TX54.5252251585
25Colorado Springs, CO54.4916473937
26Anchorage, AK54.4912746812
27Houston, TX54.3962271288
28Albuquerque, NM54.3853362711
29Charlotte, NC53.9035463024
30Sacramento, CA53.7946302650
31Minneapolis, MN53.3939223463
32Jacksonville, FL53.2330593721
33Plano, TX53.043735792
34Phoenix, AZ52.725752315
35Henderson, NV51.672165819
36Pittsburgh, PA51.63781814100
37Madison, WI51.3225436138
38San Antonio, TX50.5769322181
39Chesapeake, VA49.9514939625
40Boise, ID49.5928545953
41Oklahoma City, OK49.5726605371
42Nashville, TN49.5460313364
43Oakland, CA49.5340384765
44Omaha, NE49.5220446575
45El Paso, TX49.274870588
46Columbus, OH49.1631373897
47Mesa, AZ49.063384795
48Reno, NV48.6436495054
49Anaheim, CA48.6122567262
50St. Petersburg, FL48.4371455116
51Miami, FL48.34979434
52Durham, NC48.1647687323
53St. Louis, MO48.1584191692
54Philadelphia, PA48.0890122338
55Fremont, CA47.618978960
56Jersey City, NJ47.0941638435
57Fort Worth, TX46.7927625585
58Tulsa, OK46.4950574472
59Bakersfield, CA46.1334767854
60Tucson, AZ45.468933327
61Long Beach, CA45.4266405267
62St. Paul, MN45.3363424866
63Glendale, AZ45.245686932
64Greensboro, NC45.2367696927
65Louisville, KY44.4873414096
66Cincinnati, OH44.3885292282
67New Orleans, LA44.3491133646
68Baltimore, MD43.9583244178
69Lexington-Fayette, KY43.9432755499
70Norfolk, VA43.7068668527
71Indianapolis, IN43.6174484297
72Kansas City, MO43.6164556473
73Chula Vista, CA43.6037998719
74Arlington, TX43.5518779092
75Riverside, CA43.4058856645
76Wichita, KS42.8644816790
77Corpus Christi, TX42.3629897780
78Lincoln, NE42.3554648275
79Aurora, CO42.0138958852
80Santa Ana, CA41.7561787148
81Fort Wayne, IN41.4677837042
82Lubbock, TX40.1951908673
83Irving, TX39.7842919185
84Milwaukee, WI39.6892286036
85Fresno, CA39.2880716254
86Memphis, TN38.0386675638
87Buffalo, NY37.8494232895
88Birmingham, AL37.7688614549
89Garland, TX37.74459610091
90Baton Rouge, LA37.5387534977
91Stockton, CA36.8781888347
92Winston-Salem, NC35.4782878068
93North Las Vegas, NV34.9279989714
94Laredo, TX33.90701009269
95Toledo, OH31.4293799442
96Cleveland, OH29.6599263542
97Detroit, MI29.2396357631
98San Bernardino, CA26.0195949951
99Newark, NJ25.0298589833
100Hialeah, FL23.39100807513


Ask the Experts

Planning a date or buying gifts on Valentine’s Day shouldn’t break the bank. You can display your affection for that special someone while remaining smart about your finances. To help consumers stay within their budgets this year, we turned to a panel of experts for their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What can Valentine’s Day spending trends tell us about consumer confidence and the health of the overall economy?
  2. What are some tips for celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget?
  3. Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. How might this impact how people plan to celebrate?
  4. Who spends more on Valentine’s Day, men or women?
  5. What post-Valentine’s Day deals should savvy shoppers take advantage of?


In order to determine the best cities for Valentine’s Day, WalletHub compared 100 of the most populated cities across four key dimensions: 1) Budget, 2) Activities, 3) Gift Accessibility and 4) Weather Forecast. Our sample considers only city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.

We evaluated the four dimensions using 26 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for celebrating Valentine’s Day. For metrics marked with an asterisk (*), we used the square root of the population to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Budget – Total Points: 50

Note: All of the following cost metrics were adjusted for the median household income of the city.

  • Average Ticket Price for Valentine’s Day Party: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Cost of Three-Course Meal for Two: Double Weight (~9.09 Points)
    Note: We assumed that the cost of a three-course meal for two would increase proportionally across all cities on Valentine’s Day.
  • Prevalence of Affordable 4.5+ Star Restaurants: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Prevalence of Affordable 4.5+ Star Valentine Gift Opportunities: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
    Note: This is a composite metric which includes the following Valentine Gift Opportunities: a) Jewelry; b) Florists; c) Chocolate Shops; d) Cards & Stationery and e) Gift Shops.
  • Average Movie-Ticket Price: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Average Beverage Price: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
    Note: “Beverage” refers to wine, beer and cocktail prices.
  • Beauty-Salon Costs: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Massage Costs: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Taxi-Fare Cost: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Lowest Price for Three-Star Hotel Room: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
    Note: In 2018, 26 percent of U.S. adults prefer a romantic Valentine’s getaway as a gift, according to a Wakefield Research survey. “Hotel Room” refers to a standard room.

Activities – Total Points: 20

  • Restaurants per Capita*: Double Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Diversity of Restaurants: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Cafés per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Number of Attractions: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: “Attractions” include, for instance, museums, cultural performances and zoos.
  • Nightlife Options per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Walkability: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Amusement & Entertainment: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Most Fun Cities in America ranking.
  • Share of Romantic Hotels: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)

Gift Accessibility – Total Points: 20

  • Jewelry Stores per Capita*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Florists per Capita*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Chocolate Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Greeting-Card Stores & Gift Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Wellness & Spa Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Google Search Index for “Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas”: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
    Note: This metric measures search interest for “valentine’s gifts for him”, “valentine’s gifts for her”, “valentine’s day cards”, “valentine’s day flowers” and “valentine’s chocolate”.

Weather Forecast – Total Points: 10

  • Difference Between Forecasted and Normal Temperatures on Valentine’s Day: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
    Note: For this metric, the city was penalized if its forecasted temperature on Valentine’s Day is colder than the holiday’s average temperature.
  • Forecasted Precipitation for Valentine’s Day: Double Weight (~6.67 Points)

Videos for News Use:

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, Numbeo, Kayak.com, Google Ads, Walkscore.com, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Eventbrite, AccuWeather, MassageBook, Expatistan and WalletHub research.

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