Tacoma wins big on

Valentine’s Day is over and gone, but Tacoma’s newly gained reputation as the most romantic city in North America is one that locals aren’t likely to stop crowing about for months to come.

When Yelp, the popular site that displays user ratings of restaurants, clubs and stores, announced on Feb. 7 that their calculations put Tacoma ahead of every other city in the United States in the romance department, peoples’ attentions were gripped.

The process Yelp went through to determine which city scored the top spot was largely based on proportions.

According to Yelp, “It all starts with identifying a set of romantic queries.” Essentially, they looked at Yelp searches for things considered romantic—chocolate covered strawberries, romantic restaurants, lingerie and the like.

However, simply counting how many searches each U.S. city made in these categories would give unfair advantage to the really large communities on Yelp, like New York City.

“We take this into account by dividing by total search activity in a city to calculate the proportion of romantic queries,” Yelp reported.

Tacoma took the top spot, then, because more people here have romantic matters on the brain during the days that precede Feb. 14.

The reactions to Yelp’s declaration range from smug to indignant, depending on whether they come from Tacoma or Seattle. Indeed, the fact that Seattle didn’t even make it into the top five listing has seemed to raise some long-lived contentions between the Emerald City and its sister city to the south.

Seattle Weekly blogger Curtis Cartier remarked that Tacoma (which he referred to as “Tacompton”) “is a city less known for cupids shooting arrows than for Crips shooting handguns.”

Seattle PI blogger Vanessa Ho went on to irreverently clarify, “Tacoma—gritty port city overshadowed by Seattle, former mill town with aroma issues—is the most romantic city in the entire country.”

But defenders of Yelp’s choice, like those at South Sound Magazine, chose to focus on the waterfront restaurants, glass spinning studio and unique opportunities, like watching the South Sound roller derby teams.

Whether it’s with shock, appreciation or disgust, Yelp’s surprising results are sure to keep locals talking for as long as Tacoma-only spots like Point Defiance, Ruston Way and the Museum of Glass hold their allure.