Taking long walks on sandy shores, and setting off sparklers in empty parking lots. Backpacking across Europe, hitting all the major cities; or riding shotgun from the East Coast to the West. Kissing as fireworks explode high above your head, feeling like this could last forever. And realizing that, in just a few short weeks, your relationship with this fun, intriguing person - who’s opened your mind in ways you never could have imagined - just might come to an end.
Oh, the pleasure (and pain) of seasonal romances. Somehow the knowledge that our newest love connection comes pre-stamped with an expiration date isn't enough to stop us from falling for that special someone. While it may feel like it will last forever, the reality is that it may be pretty hard to keep the spark alive once fall rolls around.
So what is it about summer romances that makes them so irresistible? Is it the sultry weather and skimpy clothes? Or is it the fact that we get to take a break from the real world and focus all our time and energy on the things we love? Perhaps it's the skimpy clothes – let’s face it, it’s been a long time since those chiseled abs and long legs have made an appearance. Whatever it is, knowing your relationship probably won’t survive the summer shouldn’t stop you from getting to know someone special and having a good time. After all, all good things must come to an end; and that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while it lasts.
Whatever your reason, summer is the season for promises of a fun time with no strings attached (though the romantic among us may be hoping to attach a few strings come September). Whether you're studying, interning, working abroad, or just taking some time out to explore a new place, here’s a list of the hottest places to find love this summer.
Paris, France: that city branded in our collective memories from countless novels and movie scenes as the place for romance. Hang out in a Parisian garden and wait for a suave and accented Frenchman to approach you and show you the ropes; or get yourself to an impressionist museum for a classy lady (who may or may not be impressed with your rendition of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”). You're in for a summer of wining and dining on the finest Parisian wines, breads and cheeses, as well as stimulating intellectual conversations about French history and literature as you float down the Seine (and if you manage to score that most classic of kisses in front of the Eiffel Tower, then consider the summer a resounding success).
9 Las Vegas
You might not find love here but you're guaranteed to find lust. It isn’t called “Sin City” for nothing: if you're looking for non-stop action this summer, Las Vegas is the place to be. From the classic MGM Grand to the modern Venetian, the city’s hotels and buildings seem engineered to attract tourists. There should be no trouble meeting someone while walking along the Strip; and if there is, head on over to one of the city’s many clubs and lounges for a good time. If you can pull yourself from the slot machines long enough to snag a sinful beauty, take them to the Bellagio fountains for some romantic hand-holding, or cozy up for some nice conversation at a late-night bar. (Or you could take advantage of the other meaning of “strip.” Just remember, what happens in Vegas…)
8 Rio De Janeiro
There are a lot of hot bodies to go around during Carnaval; unfortunately, the February festival is not the most convenient event to attend if you’re on American summer time. But don't fret; there’s still plenty to do during Brazil’s winter months. The weather is cool at around 77 degrees but still warm enough to hit the beaches and meet someone (though you may have to bring a sweater). If you and your sweetheart are still feeling a bit chilly, dance the samba at one of the many street shows, or crawl your way through several Brazilian pubs. (Or you can slide between the sheets for your own private dance session; that’s sure to warm you right up.)
7 Hong Kong
English is an official language in this place where East meets West, so language should be no barrier to love. Hong Kong is full of places to meet people: the hot spot Lan Kwai Fong, located in Central, is known for its vibrant nightlife and an attendant potential for meeting strangers in dark, lustry bars. Meanwhile, the stylish Soho entertainment district provides a classier place to mingle. Find yourself a rare gem in the Pearl of the Orient, then take a junk (a traditional Chinese ship) to one of Hong Kong’s secluded islands for a private lunch. End the night on a high note by riding the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak, and gaze upon the city lights in all their glorious splendor.
6 Gold Coast
If you’re looking for surf and sun, head down under to Australia’s Gold Coast. The weather is pleasant year-round, so the winter months are still pretty warm. Surfers Paradise is an area full of nightclubs, bars, and shopping centers that are packed day and night. Find yourself a thrill seeker and spend the day at one of the city’s many amusement parks. You’re advised to avoid Wet’n’Wild Water World during the winter, unless you fancy catching a cold, but don’t worry; there’ll be plenty potential for other, ahem, wet and wild rides during your stay.
5 Cape Town
For those of you not too keen on sunshine, consider heading south for the winter. Winter is Cape Town’s best keep secret: tourism is down, so not only are lodgings, restaurants, and attractions less expensive, but your chances are higher of meeting that local lad or lady who can show you all that Cape Town’s winter has to offer. If you manage to capture a nature lover’s heart, take them on a surf break, or for a hike up Table Mountain, or go whale watching; winter is the peak time for all of these activities. Afterwards, get some R&R at a traditional and exotic African spa, or cozy up for some wine and a lavish feast at one of the city’s many magnificent restaurants.
If you just have to hit the sand while the summer sun is blazing, then Miami's the place to heat things up. Miami is regularly cited as one of the best cities to find love; so grab your swimsuit and prepare to woo or be wooed on the shores of South Beach. There’s no shortage of places to socialize, so take advantage of the vibrant nightlife and find yourself someone to love. Once you've got your sun-kissed cutie, head to South Pointe Park for some fun in the sun, or take your summer love to new heights with a helicopter ride over the city.
Those of the Asian persuasion will have no trouble meeting people in this city of 13 million. Tokyo’s divided wards make it easy to find someone with similar interests, whether that’s geeking out over video games in Akihabara or shopping for upscale luxury items in the Ginza. If the nightlife is more your scene, spend the evening at one of Shibuya’s many night clubs, restaurants, and bars. Once you've found your soulmate, ride to the top of Tokyo Tower and chat while you take in an amazing view of the city.
2 San Francisco
The Bay Area has nightclubs, lounges and bars teeming with singles looking to have a casual, fun time. As the area’s cultural center, the city also offers options for anyone with an intellectual bent. Looking to expand your mind? Head to Nightlife at the Academy or After Dark at the Exploratorium. Once you've found your mind mate, have lunch at Crissy Field over stimulating conversation, or ponder the mysteries of the universe as you walk hand in hand across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you ever tire of talking, the two of you can take a hike up the Twin Peaks for a spectacular view of the city at night. San Francisco is truly a great place for romance, all year round.
1 New York
Known for its arts and culture, this diverse city has a little something for everyone. There are over eight million people crammed into 305 square miles, so you're sure to find someone who’s everything you're looking for (and more). Visit Central Park during one of its open-air performances to find that special someone who shares your passion for 17th century theatre. If the outdoors aren't your thing, there are many other museums, theatres, art galleries, and nightclubs where you can meet people. Whether it’s a quickie in Queens or a hook up in Harlem – or a timeless kiss in the middle of Times Square – make your dreams come true this summer in the City of Dreams.