Phoenix Ranked 9th Most Romantic City in U.S.: Our Valentine's Guide Explains Why

Mowry & Cotton restaurant  is one of many places for romance in the Phoenix area.
Mowry & Cotton restaurant is one of many places for romance in the Phoenix area. Courtesy of Mowry & Cotton
Not that we put a lot of stock on all those promotional rankings lists that proliferate around the holidays, but we figured we might as well accept a little love when it's offered for free.

Something called Instacart, which bills itself as the North American leader in online groceries, has named Phoenix as the ninth most romantic city in the U.S. It's our first appearance in the company's annual top 10 sensuous cities.

"Coming in hot, the Valley of the Sun is a newbie on the most romantic cities list," Instacart wrote about us in a press release. "Phoenicians can attest that '(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave.'"

Like we've never heard a weather joke.

Apparently, the rankings are based the Instacart Romance Index, which measures how often residents search romantic terms like "strawberries," "whipped cream," "wine," "cherries," "dessert," or "oysters."

Perhaps we're just hungrier than other folks.

Regardless, we placed behind Baltimore (seriously?), Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Houston, San Antonio, Boston, and L.A. New York City was the No. 10 least romantic city and, of course, Detroit was No. 1 in that category. Not surprising for a city that offers a special Valentine's Day dinner: chicken served face down in a pool of gravy.

Like Detroit has never heard a crime joke.

But if you're looking for more reasons why Phoenix is so romantic, check out our Valentine's Day guide that we've been compiling just for your special day. Click on the headlines for the full lists.

10 Romantic Date Ideas in Metro Phoenix
You've secured a reservation at one of the best restaurants in town and a hotel room at a four-star hotel. (You have, haven't you?) Your night is well-planned. But what about the day? And for that matter, what about the rest of the weekend?  Luckily, Phoenix offers plenty of romantic activities for homebodies and adventure seekers alike. Many of these activities are also available year-round, because why should the romance stop on February 15?

No shortage of Valentine's Day goodies at the Red Apron Bakeshop. - COURTESY OF RED APRON BAKESHOP
No shortage of Valentine's Day goodies at the Red Apron Bakeshop.
Courtesy of Red Apron Bakeshop

14 Bakeries With Valentine's Day Treats

While Valentine's Day is typically known for chocolates and romantic dinner dates, there are other options for those with the inclination for extra calories to enjoy. Yes, bakeries across the Valley are offering some insanely decadent sweet treats. Baked goods are sure to brighten anyone's day, even if they happen to be a V-Day pessimist. So whether you’re a cookie fanatic or a cupcake lover, here are 14 bakeries with some delectable Valentine's Day specials.

8 Super-Romantic Restaurants
Luckily for those looking to book tables for two, the Valley has an abundance of restaurants that fit the bill. Some are fancy, some are casual, but they will all set the mood. From intimate rooms of flickering candles, coved ceilings, and wooden floors to sunset-bathed patios with twinkle lights, here are eight of our favorite romantic restaurants in greater Phoenix. And check out which one of our restaurants was named the second most romantic in the country.

If That's Not Enough, 40 Places to Celebrate Valentine's Day
The pressure is on. Men and women everywhere are searching for the right place or way to spend Valentine's Day. Whether you prefer casual or upscale, the Valley has you covered. Grab a fun cocktail, eat ice cream in the middle of the day, or enjoy a staycation at a resort with a classic romantic dinner — these local spots aim to put you in the mood to celebrate. Here are 40 metro places to spend Valentine's Day in the Valley.

And Still More: The 15 Best Patios for Outdoor Dining
While the summer’s away, it’s recommended you grab all the outdoor time you can in Phoenix. Sure, you can hike or take advantage of the many numerous outdoor activities the Valley has to offer, but what about grabbing a drink and enjoying a meal in an atmosphere consisting of cool air, twinkle lights, and light chatter? We suggest hitting the patios of these 15 eateries in metro Phoenix.
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Stuart Warner was the editor of New Times from 2017 to 2019. He has been a journalist since the stoned ages of 1969, playing a major role on teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of the biography JOCK: A Coach's Story.