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Single in the City 101

Game, Set...Match?

Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page P02

As Valentine's Day nears, the call of the singles grows louder: "There are no good [insert gender] in D.C." Well, complain no more. For those looking for Mr. or Miss Right, we've scoped out four cities -- Austin, Colorado Springs, San Diego and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. -- with some of the country's largest populations of young professional singles. Then we identified some of the cities' swinging venues, both indoors and out. (The cities were ranked by Sperling's Best Places, a Portland, Ore., research company.) Now it's up to you to make a match.

--Andrea Sachs

Austin

866-GO-AUSTIN, www.austin texas.org

MERRYMAKING: For bars/restaurants swarming with singles, cruise SoCo, along Congress Avenue. Other hot spots: Oslo (301 W. Sixth St.), for metrosexuals and the women who primp like 'em; Iron Cactus (606 Trinity St. and 10001 Stonelake Blvd.), for tequila shooters; and Cuba Libre (409 Colorado St.), for manicures and martinis, followed by men.

CULTURE CONNECTION: Alamo Draft House Cinema (409 Colorado St.; prices vary) has oddball events, including a "Muppet Movie" sing-along. Too weird? Students ogle art at the Blanton Museum (23rd Street at San Jacinto Boulevard; free), while the Umlauf Sculpture Garden (605 Robert E. Lee Rd.; $3.50) features 130-plus works by Charles Umlauf in a fairy-tale setting.

OUTDOOR FUN: Run, bike or gawk on the 10-mile Town Lake Trail. If you prefer singles on wheels, the Veloway, in Slaughter Creek Park, is a 3.17-mile paved asphalt loop dedicated to bikers and bladers. For all other sports -- hacky sack, soccer, volleyball -- head to Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Rd.), which also has a pool and an outdoor theater.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

877-745-3773, www.experience coloradosprings.com

MERRYMAKING: Bar-hop Tejon Street, a bustling two-block area downtown. Party spots include Rum Bay (No. 20), which is split between a dance club and dueling pianos; the Ritz (No. 15), for food and bands in tight quarters; and the hops-happy Jack Quinn's (No. 21).

CULTURE CONNECTION: The Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.) covers all the arts, and has a monthly gathering with food, wine tasting and high-brow conversation. Applaude the amateur thespians at Theatreworks at the Bon Vivant Theater (3955 Cragwood Dr.) at the University of Colorado.

OUTDOOR FUN: In these parts, if it has elevation, then it's hikeable. Try Pikes Peak, Waldo Canyon or the new Red Rock Canyon. Biking up the steeps is also popular, especially along the Santa Fe Trail and through the Garden of the Gods.


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