I need to filter my custom post type "events" by Taxonomy Meta Field "city". But I can't make it work and need some help?

This is what I already have. But no results...

function aa_pre_get_posts($query)   {
    if (is_admin() || $query->get('post_type') != 'my-events') return;

    if(isset($_GET['city']) and trim($_GET['city']))
                'relation' => 'AND',
                    'taxonomy' => 'my_location',
                    'orderby' => 'meta_value',
                        'meta_query' => [[
                        'key' => 'city',
                        'value' => sanitize_text_field($_GET['city']),
                        'compare' => 'LIKE'
add_action('pre_get_posts', 'aa_pre_get_posts');

So, what's wrong?

1 Answer 1


This isn't possible via WP_Query, but more importantly, this would be stupendously expensive. Taxonomy queries are expensive. Post meta queries are super super expensive. Like queries are also expensive.

Finding all posts that have a term that has a meta that is like X, is an astoundingly expensive/slow query. Writing this out as a custom SQL query is the only option, and I would be surprised if the query finished in under 10 seconds. It could easily bring down a database server if your site gets a moderate or higher level of concurrent traffic.

Would it not be orders of magnitude faster and simpler to have a city taxonomy? If you need to filter or search for posts by something, use taxonomy terms. Meta is not for searching

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