Romance can happen anywhere. But depending on various factors, some places are considered to be just a little more romantic than others. With Valentine's Day just a day away, Instacart, an on-demand grocery delivery service, wanted to see which city was home to the biggest romantics in the United States as part of their 2nd Annual Romance Index. While many cities in the top eight were repeats from last year, there's no reason why you can't have more romance wherever you live.
Unlike other top lists that typically rank cities based on the number of romantic hot spots, Instacart picked 12 universally romantic terms to see where in the U.S. people searched for those terms the most. The search terms they looked at were the classic symbols of love: chocolate, flowers, strawberries, champagne, truffle, cookies, dessert, hearts, roses, wine, candy, and of course, Valentine.
Unsurprisingly, Instacart saw a spike in romance-related searches in the month of February. Overall, "chocolate" was the most searched for term followed by its classic partner, "strawberries" in second place. Searches for "heart"-shaped items such candies, cookies, and pizza also saw the biggest increase on the service during this time of year.
Instacart also found that some cities tend to search for romantic terms more than others. So here are the most romantic cities in the U.S. and ways to bring more romance into your relationship even if you don't live there:
For the second year in a row, people in Boston searched for romantic terms the most, making it the most romantic city across the country.
If you don't live in Boston, that's OK. You can totally bring more romance into your relationship right where you live. As Jennifer Seiter, relatioship expert and co-owner of Ex Boyfriend Recovery tells Bustle, it's all about thinking outside of the box. "Try something new together," Seiter says. "If you can find something that's thrilling like a theme park, sky diving or zip lining, you will become closer as a couple. Based on research, people find their partners more attractive when they try new things because they attach the excitement they get to the person they experience it with." So don't be afraid to try something new.
In 2017, Atlanta was fifth in the least romantic cities list. This year, they're in second place. So they definitely made quite a jump. According to Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist, Afton Strate, getting curious about your partner is one really great way to bring more romance into your relationship. "One of the many gifts that can come from romantic relationships is that we have the opportunity to learn new things about our partner as we navigate life transitions and personal changes," Strate says. "I encourage both the premarital and long-time married couples I work with to continue to be curious about your partner to grow emotional intimacy, respect, and fondness toward your partner."
Strate suggests using the The Gottman Institutes's Card Deck App to inspire great date-night conversations. Who knows? Maybe next year your city can make a big jump like Atlanta did.
Austin may be the third most romantic city this year. But last year, they were actually the third least. Like Atlanta, they also made a pretty big jump.
If you want to add more romance into your relationship wherever you live, Strate suggests recreating your dream date as one really great way to do it. "I suggest thinking of your most memorable date with your partner and try to recreate it," Strate says.
For instance, if you felt really connected to your partner on a vacation to Italy, try taking an Italian cooking class. You could also spend time visiting places in your city that have special memories for you as a couple like where you first met or the place where you said "I love you" for the first time. "Spending time reflecting on how your relationship has grown and the places that hold special memories is a beautiful way to foster romance," she says.
Like last year, Philadelphia remains at fourth place. According to Strate, being romantic doesn't have to include going out and spending a lot of money. "There are several [date-in-a-box] services that couples can use such as Date Night In, Datelivery, DateBox Club, Unbox, and Crated with Love to name a few," she says. These date nights in a box often feature different themes and help couples connect through things like food, games, music, and activities.
Charlotte is a newcomer on the list and was found to be the fifth most romantic city in the U.S. this year. As Julie Spira, award-winning dating coach and relationship expert, tells Bustle, "The art of romance begins when you decide to do something fun together." So when it comes to romance, you don't have to take it so seriously.
Like Charlotte, Oakland was a newcomer on the most romantic cities list this year. According to Spira, one great way to add romance to your relationship is to take the pressure out of it. "Take turns taking the lead and scheduling the outing for your date in order to keep the mystery in and the pressure off," she says. "Creating memories with your significant other, wherever you may roam, is what makes a relationship more romantic."
7. Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. actually dropped from third to seventh place this year. If romance has dropped off in your relationship the longer you've been together, Strate says, connecting in your daily routines is one easy way to get it back.
"It's important to understand that connection with your partner can come in many forms outside of romantic dates," she says. " I find that many of the couples that I work with who are married with kids need to find ways to connect in their day-to-day routines." According to her, connecting in in your daily life could look like having coffee together before work, cooking dinner together, talking about your day on the phone during lunch, or even working on a household project together.
This year, Chicago also dropped two spots to number eight. As Chicago-based couples therapist, Theresa Herring, LMFT tells Bustle, if you want romance, you need to create the space for it. "Make emotional and physical space for intimacy," Herring says. "Romance and intimacy are hard to obtain if you're stressed and/or distracted by your physical environment. Make sure that you're managing your stress levels, feeling connected to your partner, and keeping your physical space conducive to intimacy."
According to Instacart, the least romantic cities this year are Indianapolis, Raleigh, Orlando, Seattle and Denver. Overall, it doesn't really matter if you live in Boston or Atlanta, or even one of the "least" romantic cities. If you put in the time and the effort, you can have romance in your relationship wherever you live.