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Best Places to Retire

10 Great Cities for Older Singles

Hoping to meet someone new or find a welcoming place to live alone? Check out these spots

San Francisco

In the 1960s and '70s, San Francisco achieved mythical status as the land of free love. Fast-forward 40 years: Social mores have changed, but San Francisco still reigns as a bastion of active dating across all demographics. It helps, of course, that the city has a fairly compact center loaded with date-friendly diversions — indoors and out — to suit most tastes.

AARP recommends ten cities where older singles can retire- hiking trails above San Francisco

A spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. — Getty Images

San Francisco is among the top 10 metro areas for population density, with more than 800,000 people packed into a central city the size of Disney World.

The city has a diverse and tolerant population, with a strong gay and lesbian community and more than 100 distinct neighborhoods. S.F. is well known for its eccentricities, but it is also a high-functioning city. In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine ranked San Francisco as the world's 12th most important city. San Francisco also ranked ninth on the 2011 list of America's Most Literate Cities. The job market is holding up better than it is in most cities, and foreclosures are much less of a problem than they are elsewhere in California.

Maybe it is the mix of nature's wonders and cosmopolitan allure that sparks romance: Whether you are strolling the wharfs, huffing up one of the city's vertiginous hills, sampling sushi in the Noe Valley neighborhood or cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco seems to shine — at least when it's not blanketed in fog.

San Francisco is among the top 10 metro areas for population density, with more than 800,000 people packed into a central city the size of Disney World.

The city has a diverse and tolerant population, with a strong gay and lesbian community and more than 100 distinct neighborhoods. S.F. is well known for its eccentricities, but it is also a high-functioning city. In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine ranked San Francisco as the world's 12th most important city. San Francisco also ranked ninth on the 2011 list of America's Most Literate Cities. The job market is holding up better than it is in most cities, and foreclosures are much less of a problem than they are elsewhere in California.

Although traffic congestion and commute times are bad in San Francisco, driving is often optional. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) anchors one of the most efficient regional transit systems in the United States, and the system continues to grow. Both San Francisco and its huge woodsy park, the Presidio, have been honored as bicycle-friendly locales.

San Francisco's universities are yet one more place for older singles to meet up. San Francisco State University has an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The University of California, San Francisco, is exclusively devoted to health and medical education, which contributes to a high number of physicians per capita. The region is also an extremely healthy place to live. The metro area has a high proportion of population age 65 and older, and the age-adjusted health status of that population is among the best in the United States.

Next page: A charming, waterfront city that melds scrappy and intellectual. »

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