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Here are the most romantic—and affordable!—places to spend Valentine’s Day in the U.S.

Can’t buy me love (kinda true but also not true)

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

Valentine’s Day comes not just with love, but also with expectations: artisanal chocolates, flowers, a fancy dinner out, cocktails, maybe some jewelry…. Pretty soon, you are looking at an ATM statement with some bad news to relay to you.

Here with help is WalletHub. Its personal finance folks learned that 46 percent of Americans say that inflation is affecting (read: ruining) their Valentine’s Day plans this year. So they launched into work by analyzing the 100 biggest American cities to figure out which one can deliver the best heart-shaped holiday without busting the bank. They meticulously looked at 25 romance-based metrics, like how many florists there are per capita, whether it’s likely to rain on the 14th, and how much a three-course meal might cost a moony-eyed couple. Hopefully you live in or near the cities that scored well on the survey. If not, Netflix and chill?

Here are the top three cities:

1. San Francisco, CA. Here, affordability is kind of a joke, but San Francisco got high marks for nice weather to accommodate that romantic hike and picnic in view of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as a good score for activities such as dining out and drinking. Plus, this city by the bay has a high number of chocolatiers.

2. Seattle, WA. Recreate your favorite Meg Ryan rom-com moments while finding beautiful gifts at the same time. Seattle has the most affordable jewelry shops rated at least 4.5 stars, and you’ll also find affordable restaurants and florists.

3. San Diego, CA. Relaxxxx into the night: San Diego has the most wellness and spa centers per capita in the country. And for dinner, its restaurant options are wonderfully diverse, more so than most other cities.

The rest of the list is:

4. Portland, OR
5. Las Vegas, NV
6. Atlanta, GA
7. Chicago, IL
8. Honolulu, HI
9. Orlando, FL
10. Scottsdale, AZ
11. Washington, DC
12. Denver, CO
13. New York, NY
14. Pittsburgh, PA
15. San Jose, CA
16. Virginia Beach, VA
17. Austin, TX
18. Los Angeles, CA
19. Boston, MA
20. Sacramento, CA

One last word of wisdom. WalletHub found that 24 percent of Americans don’t expect a purchased gift for Valentine’s you can either coast on low expectations, or knock it out of the park by getting something sweet but affordable.

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