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This being the era of Facebook and Twitter, it only makes sense that online dating has become one of the main sources for meeting new people.
Online dating sites, from top contenders such as Plenty of Fish,to more niche sites such as Christian Mingle,drew nearly 626 million visits in January, according to Experian Hitwise.
But where are the best cities for singles to take the online dating plunge? Look at cities with the biggest pool of online daters, according to eHarmony,Match.comand the up-and-coming HowAboutWe,where people meet their match based on the types of dates they propose.
By Ellen T. Lee, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 8 February 2012
New York’s population of more than 8 million — with transplants from around the world arriving by the minute — means there is always someone ready to find love online and off. The city tops eHarmony’s list for male and female singles, ages 18 to 80.
Best of all, with the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square as a backdrop, New York has no shortage of romantic, movie-scene-ready date locations.
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, after all, found each other at the top of the Empire State Building in the classic "Sleepless in Seattle." Or, more recently, Justin Timberlake demonstrated his love for Mila Kunis in Grand Central Station in the romantic comedy "Friends with Benefits."
And for the ultimate experience, what could be more romantic than a horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park?
The nation’s capital is an active scene for singles — particularly for those under 30, according to HowAboutWe.
With the idealism in mind of the classic Frank Capra movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the District draws a high number of do-gooders, and that may be why it's popular for couples on dates to participate in a volunteer project.
The Beltway also offers plenty to do for singles looking to get out, from taking in the latest exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery to grabbing a bite in places where the First Couple has dined, such as Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Best to get your bikini and surfer body ready. San Diego’s balmy weather and sandy beaches mean that the swimsuit factors into a high number of online dates here, from sun tanning on the beach to going for a swim, according to HowAboutWe.
For dates that call for more clothes, popular date ideas include taking a walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo,home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, strolling through the gardens of Balboa Parkor screening a film at the old-fashioned South Bay Drive-In Theatre.
There’s a good reason Tony Bennett crooned “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
It’s easy to fall in love as you hop on a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf or take in the city lights from the top of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. The city’s Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury neighborhood were where the Summer of Love took place in 1967.
Today, the Bay Area is known more for hackers than hippies. Home to tech giants such as Google and Facebook, it has plenty of tech-savvy early adopters ready to try new dating services, such as Skout, a mobile dating app, and Zoosk, which taps into Facebook to help make matches.
Home to Harvard, MIT and so many other colleges and universities, is it any wonder that singles in Boston like to meet at bookstores? According to HowAboutWe, singles are three times more likely to meet up in places such as the Trident Booksellers & Cafe,than in any other big city.
Books not your thing? That’s OK, because Boston has many other charms. Catch the Boston Red Sox at historic Fenway Park or go to TD Garden to see the Boston Bruins of the NHL or the NBA's Celtics. Then grab a pint at the Cambridge Brewing Company. For more romance, how about an evening stroll through the Boston Public Garden?
Los Angeles may be home to the stars — and the stars-to-be — but it also draws plenty of hearts ready to captured.
Singles in Los Angeles are among the most active, proposing dates that involve hiking, yoga and running, according to HowAboutWe.
Celebrity sightings is another popular activity in Los Angeles. Catch up-and-coming comedians at the Upright Citizens Brigadeor keep your eyes open at known celebrity haunts such as Koi,where Joe Jonas, Jennifer Hudson and former couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have dined;the Ivy, where Hollywood power players lunch; and Spago, the restaurant of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
Don't just take Eminem's word for it. Detroit is the place to be for singles, with the Motor City among the top 10 markets for eHarmony.
Start out with a visit to the Motown Historical Museum,where you and your date can see where hits such as “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “My Girl” were made.
Then, take a gamble on love with a stop at the MotorCity Casino & Hotel, a popular date spot, or head over to Greektown for a bite. For a late night feast, maybe you and your date can decide once and for all which place cooks up the best chili dog,Lafeyette Coney Island or American Coney Island.
Turn on the Southern charm. Atlanta ranks No. 1 for singles over 40, according to HowAboutWe. It also has a large pool of women in their 30s looking for love, according to eHarmony, with Atlanta placing in the top five.
Be inspired by the romance of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in "Gone With the Wind," which Margaret Mitchellwrote in her home of Atlanta. Or, for a darker romance, scout out the locations where the popular television series “The Vampire Diaries,”is filmed.
A little unexpected, maybe, but makes sense, when you think about it: Kansas City knows how to say just the right thing. And you can pick up a few good lines to romance your date at the Hallmark Visitors Center,headquarters of the card making company.
K.C. is one of HowAboutWe’s top five places for singles over 40. Here, finding romance can be combined with enjoying the many cultural offerings in the city. Take in a ballet or symphony performance at the Kauffman Centerfor the Performing Arts. Stroll along the riverfront. Or, check out the work of independent artists at the Crossroads Arts District.
Need a little more action? The Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL and baseball's Royals offer sports fans the opportunity share their love of the home team.
It may be the Windy City and be known for its wicked-cold winters, but weather never stopped love from blooming. Take advantage of the chill by going ice skating at the Rink at Wrigley; the John Hancock Observatory, the world’s highest ice rink; or at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in downtown’s Millennium Park.
Chicago is also the place for aspiring chefs and foodies, according to HowAboutWe. So how about taking a cooking class at the Chopping Block Cooking Schoolor sampling the food at date-night hot spot the Signature Roomat the 95th at the top of John Hancock Center?
The city of brotherly love also commands a vibrant online dating scene.
Indulge in sweets at The Franklin Fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream shop and soda parlor. Sample independent bands at the Trocadero Theatre.Do you find history romantic? Stroll around Independence Historical Parkin the heart of old Philadelphia, where you can see the Liberty Bell and John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Or tap into your inner nerd at The Franklin Institute Science Museum,where by walking through the giant heart, perhaps you can unlock the secrets of love. And don't forget to raise your arms in triumph, "Rocky" style, at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (pictured at left).
Everything is big in Texas, including online dating. Dallas appears on the top 10 lists for both Match.com and eHarmony.
And with the popular television series Dallasreturning to the airwaves this year, you can be sure there’s romance and drama in the air.
Or maybe you would rather keep things simple: Go bowling at 300 Dallasor visit the sea life at the Dallas World Aquarium, two popular date spots.