We’ve come a long way from Where The Boys Are, the 1960 flick about four college girls who hit the road in search of eligible men. Today, such crucial relocation choices can’t be left up to chance. So The Daily Beast set out to quantify the best American cities for where to meet a great guy—one who’s smart, fit, fun, and most importantly, single.
Our methodology was straightforward. First, we measured cities with 500,000 or more residents. Suburbs, which have a far higher percentage of married people, weren’t included in the sample.
Click Below to View Our Gallery of the Best and Worst Cities to Meet Men
Second, we focused primarily on which places had the highest numbers of eligible men, percentage-wise. (In terms of meeting someone in any given place, it’s the ratio that matters.) We initially defined eligible as single (sorry, philanderers) and 18-to-49 years old. Data came from the U.S. Census. That critical number—the biggest pool of youngish, single men—encompassed 60% of the weighting.
Third, to further burnish the idea of “eligible” as a good catch, we gave credit to cities with the highest percentage of single men with four-year college degrees. While individual charm and success vary, as a whole, this rewards men with brains and future earnings power (since a college degree typically adds $1 million to a person’s lifetime salary). We weighted this 20%.
Fourth, it doesn’t do any good to have eligible men around if there’s no way to meet them. So we rewarded cities with the most gyms per capita, which serves as a proxy for recreational opportunities (and also helps on the eligibility front, assuming fitness is a virtue). That’s 10%. And finally, nightlife—specifically, bars, restaurants, clubs, and theaters per capita, as measured by Citysearch—were weighted 10%.
That’s how we’re playing the game. With that, here’s where the boys are: America’s 36 biggest cities, ranked from first to worst.
1. AtlantaWhether it's the southern hospitality or the sub-tropical breezes, something about Atlanta is attracting all the right men.
2. BostonWith over 50 institutions of higher learning in the Boston area, the city has always been an ideal destination for the young and upwardly mobile.
3. SeattleMicrosoft, Boeing, and other tech companies that have sprung up around Seattle draw thousands of smart, educated guys from all over the world.
4. San FranciscoWith those smarty-pants from Google and Facebook buzzing around on their scooters, intelligent guys with great careers are plentiful in San Francisco.
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul The Land of 10,000 Lakes might safely be renamed the Land of 10,000 Dates.
6. Washington, DCA city that's all about networking unwinds at some of the best happy hours in the country, and unlike its hipper neighbor New York, people actually have time for a social life.
7. AustinAn exuberant nightlife, year-round festivals, and thousands of U.T. undergrads make the state capital a haven for art and tech lovers alike.
8. MiamiWhat it lacks in educated men (it ranked 24th in number of bachelors degrees) Miami makes up for in gyms and social life, coming in at #2 and #1, respectively.
9. San DiegoLike Miami's beach bunnies, San Diegans tend to have great tans, great hair, great bodies, and because of the city's high cost of living, lucrative jobs.
10. DenverA growing arts district, top-notch microbreweries, and the nearby Rocky Mountains make the city scenic, fun, and appealing to outdoorsy singles.
11. Portland, ORAn emphasis on free-thinking makes it a place where even aging hippies can find love.
12. Columbus, OHThe scene is dominated by Ohio State, and available Buckeyes are out every night at the bars on Park Street.
13. ChicagoWhat pulled the Windy City down to number 13? An apparent dearth of gyms.
14. Los AngelesIt may be the glitz and sunshine, not the higher learning, that's attracting transplants to the city of angels. Intellectual types might fare better heading north or east.
15. BaltimoreAt its heart, "Bawlamer" is still a working-class enclave, where hardy men have lingered to work in manufacturing and shipping.
16. MilwaukeeForbes ranked America's brewery capital among its top cities for singles this year, with high marks in job growth and "coolness."
17. TucsonThough there are plenty of single men here, this perennially sunny city may not be the hottest spot to find a date.
18. HoustonThis city is particularly hurt by a lack of single men compared to its competitors.
19. NashvilleThe country music industry attracts songsters to the city's Music Row, and local bars are loaded with crooning cowboys slinging their guitars, hoping to make it big.
20. Tampa-St. PetersburgThe area's proximity to beaches ensures a vital nightlife and men who stay in shape.
21. Dallas-Fort WorthIf you're looking for sophisticated urbanites, head for Dallas. If pickups and Wranglers are more your style, poke around Fort Worth.
22. DetroitUnemployment doesn't bode well for a city's dating scene, and the U.S. headquarters of the auto industry has had a grim run.
23. New York CitySex and the City tricked a nation of women into believing that New York was the ultimate destination for single women looking for love.
24. PhoenixThis nondescript desert metropolis doesn't offer much in the way of meet and greets; it scored low for social life.
25. PhiladelphiaA major-league city, to be sure, but we're sorry to say that Philadelphia resides in the bush leagues when it comes to men.
26. CharlotteAfter New York City, Charlotte is the country's banking capital, making it the home to a number of young yuppies in training.
27. San JoseCompared to its more cosmopolitan sister city to the north, San Francisco, the geekier San Jose has a hard time hosting singles who want to mingle.
28. IndianapolisThe Indianapolis 500 might as well refer to the number of eligible men left in this city.
29. MemphisYou're more likely to find a good BBQ joint here than a guy with washboard abs.
30. Las VegasAll those wedding chapels must be for out-of-towners -- for singles unfortunate enough to live in Sin City, good luck getting hitched.
31. AlbuquerqueThis sleepy southwestern town has Native American folklore and petroglyphs, but slim pickings for social life.
32. Oklahoma CityThe Oklahoma Christian University lists Krispy Kreme as one of 76 places to take your date in Oklahoma City. Another suggestion: Sam's Club, for the free samples.
33. LouisvilleSituated in the heart of the Bible Belt, most of the men here are already taken.
34. San AntonioSo unless there's a convention in town (and there usually is) the options in this city can be few and far between.
35. Jacksonville, FLThis is the city that never seems to end, sprawling for nearly 900 square miles. Despite all that space, Jacksonville has hardly any single guys.
36. El Paso, TXEl Paso came in dead last in three of our four categories (single guys, social life, and gyms) and nearly last in education.