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February 07, 2011

The Most Romantic City on Yelp is...

It’s almost that time of year: boxes of chocolates are multiplying in drug stores, dinner reservations are hastily being made and bouquets of roses ordered. My friends: love is in the air! Or, you’re drowning your sorrows over margaritas. Either/or.  

In honor of this Day of Love, we thought we’d take a peek behind the scenes here at Yelp and see what exactly you yelpers are searching for come Valentine’s Day! Based on our search data from 2010 we were able to uncover:
  • When yelpers start doing their Valentine’s Day research
  • What cities are most actively searched in the quest for love
  • Which cities are most inclined to put a ring on it
  • And last but not least, what are the most popular Yelp businesses in our biggest cities come February 14th
Let’s kick things off with the timing of the research. You’ll be glad to know the majority of yelpers don’t procrastinate (too much). Based on 2010 activity, we see “romantic-type” queries more than double site wide the week before February 14th -- with an extra oopmh on the 13th.


OK, so which cities are doing the most homework on how to spoil their loved ones? We can figure out which city is likely going to get their groove on come the night of February 14th by using the Wilson Score of the proportion of romantic search / total search for the week before Valentine’s Day.

Say what?

It all starts with identifying a set of romantic queries such as searches for “romantic restaurants”, “chocolate covered strawberries”, and even “lingerie”, which occur in a statistically significantly greater proportion the week before Valentine’s Day than at other times during the year. The next obvious step to take would be to count up the number of romantic searches by city and order by that count, right? Unfortunately, that just isn't fair. Cities that are massive Yelp communities, like New York, may have a much larger absolute number of romantic searches. We take this into account by dividing by total search activity in a city to calculate the proportion of romantic queries (if you want to get super technical, the lower bound of the Wilson binomial confidence interval, but basically a proportion). That gives us a much clearer and fairer picture of just which cities have set their hearts on matters of the, well, heart!

But we’re not here to talk about math - we’re here to talk about love! Without further ado, The 5 Most Romantic Cities on Yelp are...
  1. Tacoma, Washington
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Santa Cruz, California
  4. New Haven, Connecticut
  5. El Paso, Texas          
Ladies (and gents!), take note, we didn’t stop there. Based on engagement-type queries, we also determined The 5 Cities Most Likely to Put a Ring on It on Valentine’s Day...
  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  2. Burlingame, California
  3. Palo Alto, California
  4. Brooklyn, New York
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
By using the same formula, we can also calculate which businesses in our top Yelp cities saw the most, er, love, the week before Valentine’s Day:
  1. Atlanta: Pasta Da Pulcinella
  2. Boston: Taranta Cucina Meridionale
  3. Brooklyn: Zenkichi
  4. Chicago: Geja’s Cafe
  5. Dallas: Dakota's Restaurant
  6. London: Bistrotheque
  7. Los Angeles: The Little Door
  8. Miami: Il Gabbiano
  9. Montreal: Au Pied De Cochon Montreal
  10. New York: One if By Land, Two if By Sea
  11. Toronto: Scaramouche Restaurant Pasta Bar & Grill
  12. San Francisco: Acquerello
  13. Seattle: Chez Shea
Unfortunately, not everyone always feels the love (cue sad trombone) The Least Romantic City on Yelp is: Hamilton, Ontario. But whether you’re in Hamilton, Ontario; Tacoma, Washington or one of the 8 countries Yelp is in worldwide, it’s not too late to start your own Valentine’s Day search -- and we may just know a great site for that.