The dating apps are largely for people who are looking for short-term hookups.Some people do find long-term mates via dating apps, but there are lots of people on those sites who are primarily interested in short-term sexual liaisons.
If your goal is to get to know someone and you're on a budget, prioritize dates that allow for conversation, rather than dates that have steep price tags but limited chance for meaningful self-disclosure.
By opting for contexts that allow for easy conversation (e.g., going for a walk in the park, meeting for coffee), you're giving yourself an opportunity to get to know your date, rather than spending money on a date that limits conversation (e.g., for a movie).
Walks on the beach (or in the park) make for a great first date and provide opportunities for unscripted interactions and conversations.
On our second date, my wife and I went to a bookstore and browsed together while having coffee, which naturally brought up shared interests and opportunities for conversation.
A city with a thriving singles population -- otherwise, there will not be a pool of individuals to meet and date among.
Are singles typically a net economic gain or loss for cities?
If you do have to move for work, try to find a location in the area that does this while maintaining a reasonable commute (an hour each way doesn’t allow much time for hobbies). In addition, this has the added advantage of putting you in proximity of potential romantic partners with similar interests and values, should you decide to find a partner.
This will ensure your partner can naturally become a part of your social network and, if the relationship lasts, puts you on the same page in terms of where to live when moving in the future.
This is likely to reduce conflict during transitions -- periods that are often associated with high levels of stress and strain on relationships.