Charmed Life

Our Favorite Dating Apps, Ranked

Plus we give you Baltimore-centric date suggestions for each.

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and there’s no time to lose. Not sure where to start? We’ve got the down-low on today’s top dating apps and where to take your match. Whether you’re a tried and true dating app pro or you’ve had one too many mismatches, Baltimore abounds with date-night spots for every level commitment.

Best if you’re up for anything: Tinder

The O.G. of dating apps, Tinder is where swiping left for “no” and swiping right for “yes” all began. It’s the virtual land of possibilities. Just select your radius and get swiping. Find a match, send a message (or wait for them), and let fate take it from there! Perks: if you and your squad are looking for a group of new friends, just use Tinder Groups and match with others nearby.

Date idea: Drinks at a neighborhood bar—easy to ditch if the night goes sour, or end up out all night if you hit it off. Try Max’s Taphouse, Southern Provisions, or the upstairs of the Ottobar.

Best for easy conversation: Hinge

Known as a slightly more serious in the dating app arena, Hinge is all about connecting with people with whom you have actual interests in common. Set up your profile using your most authentically “you” selfies, and get honest about your hopes, dreams, or quirky stories with the app’s sentence starters. You’ll set your radius and have a pool of Hinge users to swipe. If you match someone, start the conversation or pass it to them.

Date idea: Happy hour trivia is a great way to see if your common interests have a spark. Try Five and Dime Ale House (Wednesdays), Sláinte (also on Wednesdays), and fun Birroteca theme nights (Mondays).

Best for daring women: Bumble

Women-forward and time-sensitive, Bumble is all about filtering out what isn’t meant to be. You each have your best selfies and most clever bios set, but the ladies call the shots—it’s up to the women to make the match and start the conversation within 24 hours. If it’s meant to be, you’ll both be chatting away within hours.

Date idea: Get out of your comfort zone with fun and unique dinner spots like Ekiben, the various food stalls at R. House, and bivalves by the dozen at The Local Oyster in Mount Vernon Marketplace.

Best for no-BS: Coffee Meets Bagel

Not into the whole meeting strangers in public thing? Coffee Meets Bagel pairs you with people with whom you have mutual Facebook friends. Men get 21 bagels to swipe through every day at noon and then the ball is in the ladies’ court. Women can only see a round-up of people who’ve already “liked” them and meet their set criteria. But, the catch is women only get five matches per day and have only 24-hours to respond. For same-sex couples, you only get to see one best match a day. It’s probably the most restrictive dating app, but it works for those looking for connections already close to their circle of friends.

Date idea: Seems a bit on the nose, but might we suggest these area coffee spots to start? Try 3 Bean, Ceremony Coffee, or Dovecote Cafe.

Best for women looking for women: Her

More than your average dating app, Her is a source of LGBTQ+ news and events designed for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. Looking for a match? Simply select a profile and like. But the limit doesn’t end there, besides plenty of date potentials, there’s endless opportunity to find your community nearby.

Date idea: See if you two are musically compatible at these spots around town—Metro Gallery, The Crown, and Flavor (for Queeraoke Fridays).

Best for the missed opportunity: Happn

We admit that this concept is a little creepy, but Happn uses GPS tracking to show you various matches that you’ve crossed paths with geographically. Missed the name of the person you were chatting up in the grocery line? No worries. If they’re also on Happn, you yourself can align the stars.

Date idea: Clearly you both lead an active and cultured lifestyle, so why not check out our local museum guide and visit places like the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum, or American Visionary Art Museum.

Best for an instant match-maker: Plenty of Fish

A dating app that threatens to give matchmakers a run for their money, Plenty of Fish has people swearing by the solid connections they’ve made from this ope pool of matches. In-depth personality questions and chemistry assessments help to pair you up with your most compatible partner.

Date idea: IPA or Stout? You can learn so much about your date while tasting craft beers. There are plenty of places to try in town, but check out the fun events in the taprooms of Monument City Brewing, Charm City Meadworks, and Union Craft Brewing.