We all know the best Mid-Century Modern coffee tables are found in Downtown Phoenix. Authentic street tacos are on the west side. And discounted turquoise jewelry can be bought en masse in Old Town Scottsdale. In the Valley, we’re pros at shopping local. But what if what you’re looking for isn’t so tangible? Can we still apply the same “shop local” concept to dating?
“I don’t want to date someone in Glendale if I live in Scottsdale,” says Robyn Moore, 28, a single woman and owner of Scottsdale publicity firm Mack Media Relations. Enter mobile dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, which let you specify the distance you’re willing to go for a potential mate, up to 100 miles from your current location. “There are so many different types of people here,” Moore says, but scale that app tracker down to 10 miles or less, and you’ll start to see some patterns. “The tough part is finding a connection.”
We traveled to four corners of the Valley for a very scientific investigation – read: swiping left and right – into the world of dating local. (Due to reporting restraints, the following is from the perspective of straight women.) Plus, per Moore’s recommendation of coffee or drinks for the first date – “I refuse to go on a first date that’s going to require a lot of time” – and a fun activity on the second, or “somewhere that gets you out of your comfort zone,” we offer some hyper-local date suggestions.
OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE
Within 5 miles of: Scottsdale Fashion Square
Look here for: White collar dudes who moonlight as gym rats, shirtless selfies, clever pickup lines.
The good: More career-driven than other parts of the Valley; many list job title and place of employment immediately after their name.
The bad: Too many users leave off bio information completely, skirting by on looks alone. No one’s that cute.
First date: Cartel Coffee (7124 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, cartelcoffeelab.com)
Second date: Swing away at Topgolf (9500 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, topgolf.com)
Within 5 miles of: Roosevelt Row
Look here for: Young professionals, artist types and Arizona transplants. Bearded band members on one hand, lawyers, grad students and medical professionals on the other.
The good: The most diverse group of profiles reside in DTPHX – you’ve escaped the ’burbs.
The bad: A lot of users “aren’t looking for anything serious”; one guy, no joke, was looking for “business opportunities” – a direct quote.
First date: Lux Central (4400 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, luxcoffee.com)
Second date: Use that art history degree at First Friday art walk (artlinkphoenix.com/first-fridays)
Within 5 miles of: Heritage Marketplace in Gilbert
Look here for: Slightly older, more established bachelors, possibly with children from previous relationships, techies and/or gun enthusiasts and hiking addicts.
The good: Many users are looking for something long-term and say so in their profiles.
The bad: Several freshly split divorcés only looking for “FUN” are par for the course.
First date: Postino Wine Café East (302 N. Gilbert Rd. #102, Gilbert, postinowinecafe.com)
Second date: Namaste together at goat yoga (azgoatyoga.com)
Within 5 miles of: Glendale historic district
Look here for: Outdoorsy types, athletes, pickup truck owners, people who have likely been to Country Thunder more than once.
The good: Adventurers and explorers galore (i.e. photos of snowboarding, camping, jet skiing, rappelling, etc.).
The bad: See above. If your idea of a vacation is more pool lounging than hiking Havasupai, look elsewhere.
First date: Papa Ed’s Ice Cream (7146 N. 58th Ave., Glendale, papaedsicecream.com)
Second date: Tour Cerreta Candy Company (5345 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, cerreta.com)