WHERE WOMEN WANT
10 Engaging Spots for Popping the Question
We can't guarantee that proposing marriage at one of these memorable sites will get you a yes, but it definitely couldn't hurt.
Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Mass.
'Sconset, as it's sometimes called, is so quaint, rustic, and free of brash day-trippers from Cape Cod that it makes Nantucket's other villages seem like Tijuana. Rent bikes at Young's Bicycle Shop near Steamboat Wharf ($25 for the day), but avoid the tandem models, which are romantic in theory only. From there pedal to Siasconset, on the island's eastern shore. Buy some picnic food at the 'Sconset Market, and head to one of Nantucket's most secluded and beautiful beaches. It doesn't matter whether you face the ocean or the bluffs—both are gorgeous. On your way back, stroll along Baxter Road, a grassy lane, to admire the picturesque cottages. It's best in the late summer, when the hydrangeas are blooming.
Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
There are almost as many places in Hawaii for a kitschy proposal as there are for a romantic one. Stay away from man-made attractions like Don Ho's Island Grill and instead opt for a natural setting. Wailua Falls, on the east side of Kauai, is one of the best. Although the 173-foot-high falls are in a lush green setting, they are easily accessible by car. And Wailua Falls has a long history of being a choice spot for romantic bravado: In ancient times, Hawaiian men leapt from the top to prove their manliness (unfortunately, they often killed themselves in the process). And while your friends might not have heard of Wailua Falls, getting engaged here will impress them once you tell them it was in the opening credits of the frequently romantic (and even more frequently campy) TV show Fantasy Island.
Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nev.
Held annually in late summer since 1986, this eight-day festival's intention, as stated on its website, is to "generate society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers, to participation in community, to the larger realm of civic life, and to the even greater world of nature that exists beyond society." (You may also know it as a New Age event where a bunch of naked people come together to make art and party.) And you might expect Burning Man to disavow a tradition like marriage. But it can be the perfect place for a romantic and symbolic proposal: Its principle of communal effort is the pillar of a strong marriage; it's in the beautiful, often very warm outdoors; and its emphasis on gifting means you'll have one heck of an engagement party. But why stop there? Weddings are common enough here (there are about 35 a year) that the official website has a page devoted to how to get hitched there. You may want to propose earlier in the festival rather than later, though—showering can be difficult.
Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.
Thoroughbred horse racing is the sport of kings, so what better way to make your would-be spouse feel like royalty than by proposing at the Kentucky Derby, one of the world's premier horse races? Held annually on the first Saturday in May "the most exciting two minutes in sports" provides all the pageantry needed for a memorable proposal. While general admission tickets to the infield (a mob of alcohol-infused barbarians enjoying things other than a horse race) are easier and cheaper to acquire than grandstand tickets, get the latter. There you can sip $9 mint juleps out of commemorative glasses and check out the expensive, and frequently bizarre, hats. And with plenty of celebrities in attendance, you'll have a great story to share with your friends. For example, if you'd proposed at the Derby in 2007, you'd have been able to brag that you'd gotten engaged in the presence of Queen Elizabeth (probably best not to mention that it would have happened in the company of O. J. Simpson too).
Macworld Conference & Expo, San Francisco
This one's strictly for the fanboys. If you're an Apple-lover and want your love life to be as integrated as your hardware, propose at Macworld. The world's largest trade show dedicated to Apple technology has been held annually since 1985, most recently in San Francisco this past January. Before going, make sure you've saved on your iPhone the Robert Hess Macworld Memorial Events List, which catalogs the parties and other events taking place, and you'll have lots of options for a fun, fully geeky place to propose. If the conference itself isn't romantic enough for you, take a break and propose nearby while hiking in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, or while looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field. Regardless of where you propose, we hope you'll be as self-satisfied about your choice of a spouse as you are about your computer.