Travel & Leisure
updated 9/7/2011 7:49:46 PM ET 2011-09-07T23:49:46

What’s more important for a great singles scene—the cocktails, or the conversation?

According to Travel + Leisure readers, the martinis win. In this year’s America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers evaluated 35 cities on factors such as boutique hotels, coffee bars, mass transit, and which bar scenes lend themselves to meeting interesting people. Among the best cities for singles, there was plenty of crossover with cities that ranked highly in another category—the wild weekend —whereas being noted for attractive locals wasn’t always enough to make a city come out on top for singles.

One all-around winner was the No. 9 city for singles, Denver, where the bar scene has a down-to-earth vibe (the city ranked No. 2 for microbrews ), and the locals ranked well for being fit, attractive, and smart to boot. “I’ve often heard Denver referred to as ‘Men’-ver by out-of-staters,” says Amber Connor, a Denver native, “because they’ve heard that the city is a hub for really good-looking men.” It’s not so off base, she concedes. “We do have more of the rugged, outdoorsy type here.”

Other cities, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, ranked well for singles thanks to their combinations of good live music, great restaurants, and diverse populations. As for the “losers” in the singles category, Salt Lake City (No. 34) may be perceived as too squeaky clean, while Anchorage (No. 33) has long had a rep for having too many men and not enough ladies to throw much of a singles party. Orlando (No. 30), on the other hand, has perhaps too many “partiers” drinking from sippy cups.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to watering holes if you want to meet eligible singles. In Denver, you’ll find plenty of available locals at sporting events while in San Francisco (No. 12), museums and art galleries increasingly host happy hours that act as an alternative singles scene.

And in Austin—which won the silver in the singles category—the key to meeting people may be doing some daily errands. “One unofficial singles joint,” says Austin public relations exec Marisa Amador, “is the Whole Foods Market headquarters in downtown. You can’t graze the salad bar without spotting a good-looking young professional.”

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