19 Best Pizza Cities In The US, Ranked

There's nothing that bonds geographies together like a good slice of pizza. No matter which region of the country you're traveling to or what community enclave you're visiting, you'll likely find many options for whole pizzas or late-night slices to indulge in. And while some cities may have their own distinct style of pizza (like the beloved Neapolitan style or divisive Chicago deep-dish), others offer a medley of different cooking techniques and shapes.

Every city may have pizza, but not every city is a pizza city. We ranked these cities based on several factors, including innovation in ingredients and style and historical connection to pizza. Though, a true pizza city, above all, has a distinct identity and emotional relationship to pizza manifested as a competitiveness or innate need to challenge anyone that says a city's pizza is anything less than the best. Here are our top-ranking pizza cities from across the United States.

19. Miami, Florida

Miami is where the nightlife is good but the pizza is better. Although there might not be a distinct pizza style that Miami is known for, there are a wide variety of pizzerias in the city serving up creative slices and pies. One of the best ones is Andiamo, a retro tire shop turned pizzeria. Its most popular pies include the Godfather, a brick-oven-style pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and mushrooms. If you want a more exclusive slice shop, check out Miami Slice. It's only open for a four-hour service four days a week, but the pizza is more than worth the rush. We recommend the La Salseria, a mozzarella-less pie with a swirl of tomato sauce, vodka sauce, and pesto.

As a whole, Miami offers some diversity in pizza, but it's still coming into its own as a "pizza city." We want to see more off-the-wall pizza joints that reflect the youthful character of South Florida.

18. Ocean City, New Jersey

Although the Jersey Shore isn't near the best pizza city in the United States, it is heavily influenced by various pizza styles. And on the Jersey Shore is pizza-heavy Ocean City. Some of the best pizza spots on the Jersey Shore include Manco & Manco Pizza in Ocean City — which wouldn't be complete without its glittering signage. You'll find thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas here served in both cut slices and whole pies. If you want a more upscale pizza experience, try Piccini.

You'll find myriad pizza options influenced by the flavors of the shore and beyond at this restaurant, including a lump crab Margherita pizza, potato skin pie, and sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. Ocean City ranks in the lower part of our list because there are some solid pizza options, but nowhere near the pizza diversity of other cities.

17. Providence, Rhode Island

You probably don't think of pizza when you think of Providence, but Rhode Island's capital serves up a medley of different regional pizza styles. One of the most unique is the Rhode Island pizza strip — a thick-cut, rectangular piece of pizza topped with ample red sauce and a sprinkle of grated Romano eaten at room temperature. If you think the concept behind this pizza style is gross, you'll have plenty of other pizzerias to sample in Providence. Al Forno, which opened its doors to Providence's pizza scene in 1980, offers grilled pizza. To make this pie, the dough is laid on a grill before being topped and cooked on both sides.

If you're looking for a more classic Neapolitan-style slice, you also have options like the popular Providence Coal Fired Pizza on Westminster Street. While you can find some good pizza in Providence, its relatively small size and population restrict some of the growth that the city could have as a pizza metropolis.

16. Old Forge, Pennsylvania

The 'Pizza Capital of the World' may not be in Italy, but in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. At pizzerias in this Northeastern part of the state, you won't find slices, but rather pieces of this cheesy creation. Unlike other types of pizza, this Sicilian-style pie is made with a thick base, sweet red sauce, and a mixture of cheddar, American, and mozzarella cheeses. You can also order a white pizza double-crusted with the same cheese blend and the herby addition of rosemary. Cucina Rinaldi is just one of many pizzerias offering this style of pie, with one of its top sellers being the shrimp and hot pepper pizza with a red base. If you want a more entertaining pizza experience, stop by Arcaro & Genell for a double-crust spinach and cheese tray and a game of bocce outside.

Old Forge-style pizza is undoubtedly unique, but New Yorkers would likely turn their noses up at this acquired type of pizza. And while the city is good at making the Old Forge style, it doesn't have a plentiful diversity of other styles of pizza.

15. Las Vegas, Nevada

The land of vices sure does one thing right: the pizza slice. There is a lot of synergy in the style of the Las Vegas pizza, resulting from a high volume of pizzerias in the city. Pizza Rock is one institution that offers numerous pizza styles, including Napoletana, Romana (a long thin pizza served three ways), gas-brick oven American, classic Italian, grandma pies (thin, rectangular pizzas), Sicilian, Detroit, California-style, Chicago cracker-thin, and New-York/New Haven pizza.

Secret Pizza is another excellent slice-only pizza spot — if you can find it. It's on the city's third floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, hidden amongst a record-lined hallway. Although there are no tables at this candescent eatery, an array of pepperoni, veggie, and cheese slices is available for indulging in. These pizza spots play into the mystery and the over-the-topness of Las Vegas, but fail to set the city apart as a pizza destination.

14. Phoenix, Arizona

We can't talk about Phoenix's pizza scene without talking about Christopher Bianco's namesake pizzeria. The brand has two pizzerias located in Phoenix and wood-fired pizzas that ship directly to your door. Current offerings at Bianco reflect seasonal produce and products and a deep commitment to artisan pizza style. And while these pizzas aren't entirely innovative, they are always well done in texture, flavor, and craft.

Other noteworthy restaurants on Phoenix's pizza scene include Pomo Pizzeria. Pomo is most famous for bringing the Rimini style of pizza to Phoenix. This pizza is cracker-thin and has some bubbling on the edges, shifting the focus toward the toppings and a delectable blend of cheeses on top. In its entirety, the pizza scene in Phoenix is very intentional and artisan, but not as creative as in other cities.

13. Portland, Oregon

Portland is a very go-with-the-flow city, so it's expected that the pizza is like that, too. One of its best-known shops is Lovely's Fifty Fifty, which was featured in Netflix's "Chef's Table." These pies are almost too beautiful to eat and are topped with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients that would make any localvore's heart sing. Another local favorite is Ken's Artisan Pizza. This shop offers a lot of innovative pizza toppings that play into Portland's playful and artistic nature. These include the "Mortadella & Pistachio," made with pistachio pesto and pickled shallots, and the "Fennel Sausage & Onions," with an optional topping of Calabrian chili peppers. Overall, Portland has a very creative pizza scene that rivals other larger cities, but does not have the identity ties with pizza other places have.

12. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a West Coast epicenter of culture and culinary synergy — and their pizza is no different. One of the city's long-standing pizza shops is Golden Boy Pizza. This pizzeria serves up cheap slices and a thick, Sicilian-style pizza made with a focaccia-like crust and crunchy bottom. Shuggie's Trash Pie offers a different narrative on the pizza.

This shop makes grandma pies with a whey and oat flour crust topped with blemished veggies, devalued cuts of meat, or byproducts that would otherwise go to waste. It's a new take on pizza and a smart take on food waste. There are innovations in San Francisco's pizza scene and ties to the version of a traditional pizza city that we all know and love, but it's not as sensationalized as other regions.

11. Washington, D.C.

The sheer size of Washington D.C.'s metropolitan area opens up many opportunities for diversity in pizza styles and price points. 2Amys is one of D.C.'s best pizza spots; it's located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood and offers an array of Neapolitan pies with a thin center and crispy charred crust. If you're in the Georgetown area, we recommend stopping at 90 Second Pizza. This shop gets its name from its Italian-imported oven, which can cook pizzas in under 90 seconds and delivers the perfect, blistered crust.

This fast-casual pizza shop has many options, including the "90 Second" made with San Marzano tomato sauce, spicy salami, and basil. Washington, D.C. wins some pizza points for its offerings — and for the fact that you can find a couple of good pizza shops in every neighborhood. But, there are too many other options in the metro to just go there for your pizza.

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love has another love — pizza. One of its most famous pizza landmarks is Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown. If you can stop in, try a slice of the tomato pie, made with a thick rectangular crust, or the thin-crust roasted Brussels sprout pizza with lemon cream and red onions.

Another notable pizza destination is Stina Pizzeria, a Neapolitan pizza shop with rotating pies like the spicy soppressata with a honey drizzle or the Mediterranean-inspired white pizza with short-rib bacon, caramelized onion, and Aleppo yogurt. Philadelphia offers pizzerias with numerous price points and styles, meaning you can get your favorite type of pie within a short distance. But pizza just isn't what Philly is known for — unlike its super famous cheesesteaks.

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee might not seem like the definition of a "pizza city," but it does have one thing that many of its other competitors don't — its own style of pizza. An uber-thin crust with a rectangular slicing pattern distinguishes the Milwaukee-style pizza from different popular pizza styles. Some of the best-known spots in Wisconsin's biggest city to get this pizza style include the Calderone Club, Balistreri's, and Zaffiro's. If you're stopping at the former, we recommend the Calderone Special (Milwaukee-style, of course) with Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, and onions. Although the Milwaukee pizza style remains dominant in the city, there are also some other spots where you can get Neapolitan pizza, Detroit-style pizza, or a grandma pie.

Milwaukee's pizza scene is placed in the middle of our ranking because it has some character but largely lacks the pizza innovation of other cities. Plus, have you ever heard of Milwaukee pizza until now?

8. Denver, Colorado

Denver's pizza scene wouldn't be anything without Blue Pan pizza. It's a little bit of an upgrade on the traditional Detroit-style pizza and includes a mixture of brick, white cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses. Our favorite is undoubtedly the Brooklyn Bridge, made with ricotta, pepperoni cups, Italian sausage, chopped garlic, and Sicilian oregano. And while you can try the cracker-thin Chicago-style pizza or traditional New York pies, it's more worth ordering the Detroit.

Although Blue Pan takes most of the stardom of Denver's pizza scene, some other smaller pizzerias are also notable. Marco's Coal-Fired is most famous for its thin pies, but you'll also find Sicilian-style pan pizza that has undergone a five-day crust fermentation for maximum flavor. Although Denver has some good pies, it fails to have a uniform style that reflects its community pizza culture.

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is heavily influenced by Italian immigration and food culture, which has fundamentally transformed its pizza scene. Its numerous accolades and diversity of pizza styles move this city up in the rankings, but it fails to have its own distinct pizza style.

You'll find everything from Neapolitan-style pies to the South Shore's favorite bar pies. Area Four is one of the famous pizza joints in the city and was even patronized by President Barack Obama in 2015. The North End's Regina Pizzeria won TripAdvisor's Best Pizzeria designation in 2018 for its perfect crust and use of quality ingredients. We recommend trying "The Giambotta" — a red pie with pepperoni, Regina sausage, salami, mushrooms, peppers, onions, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese. If you're in the North End (Boston's Italian section), you must stop at Ernesto's for a slice — and by the slice, we mean quarter of a pie.

6. St. Louis, Missouri

Like our other top pizza city contenders, St. Louis has its own defined pizza style — a cracker-thin unleavened crust topped with Provel (a refined cheese product that many insist shouldn't even have the classification of "cheese" because of its moisture levels). Imo's Pizza is one pizzeria that has served this style of pizza since 1964 and remains an institution in the St. Louis pizza community.

If you are suspicious of Provel or the thinness of the St. Louis-style crust, you can also find many different options for pizza in the city. Pi Pizzeria offers deep-dish cornmeal-crusted pizzas, while JJ Twig's Pizza & Pub offers a famous "double-decker pizza" with two layers of thin-crust pizza fashioned together with a braided edge. While there is some identity behind having a style of pizza named after your city, St. Louis tends not to flaunt its pizza-rich history.

5. Los Angeles, California

The City of Angels has been named the best pizza city in America for its innovative cultural fusions and diversity of pizza styles. You'll find brick-and-mortar locations like L.A. Birrira fusing Mexican taco culture with pizza, or Rafo's Cafe putting kebabs on pizza. The pizza scene also has various styles, including Quarter Sheets' Detroit-style pizza, and Tokoyo-Neopolitan style with pinched-dough crusts at Pizzeria Sei.

The sheer size of Los Angeles, along with its proximity to farm-to-table ingredients, elevates its pizza scene above many other smaller cities. It has also attracted other pizza innovators, like Christopher Bianco, to open restaurants within the city. As a result, there is a high demand for high-quality pizza in Los Angeles, and there is certainly no shortage in town. The only thing that Los Angeles lacks is a shared identity across the pizza and a connection to it as a cultural element.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Other pizzerias in cities across the United States have replicated Detroit pizza. But there truly is only one true Detroit. The origin of the Detroit-style pizza can be traced back to one joint: Buddy's Rendezvous. Its creator, Gus Guerra, pressed the dough into a rectangular steel tray (now often anodized aluminum) often used in the automotive industry — which was alive and well in Detroit. Then, the pizza was layered with pepperoni and a mixture of Wisconsin brick cheese before being baked at 550 degrees Fahrenheit and served with the sauce on top of the pie.

You can still grab a slice of history at Buddy's in Detroit or one of its other locations. You can also meander from the traditional pizza at Luigis, where the pizza crusts are topped with sesame seeds. Although Detroit revolutionized the way we think of thick-crust pizza, it lacks some of the identity components that connect it to pizza, unlike our top-ranking cities.

3. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has not one, but two distinct styles of pizza that it lays claim over. The first is the Chicago deep-dish — which is more like a pie monstrosity than a pizza. The other, lesser-known style is the "tavern style" thin-crust — a crispy pizza cut into small squares. The best pizza in Chicago can be found at many different spots, depending on what kind of pie you're searching for. If you're looking to sample Chicago's deep-dish, we recommend trying for a table at Pequod's Pizza, which has been serving its pizza in the windy city for upwards of 40 years. Besides its long wait list, Pequod's is known for the caramelized edges on its pizza and uber-gooey cheese. Vito & Nick's nondescript location and signature thin-crust pies have received high praise from foodies like Dave Portnoy from Barstool Sports and Guy Fieri.

Chicago is one of the top pizza cities because of its distinct styles, but it did not grab our top spot because it has so much else going on with food. Chicago-style hot dogs, anyone?

2. New Haven, Connecticut

We can't talk about pizza cities without mentioning New Haven, Connecticut. If you're not attending or visiting Yale University, you might not think to have a reason to go to New Haven — until you get a bite of Frank Pepe's original tomato pie. The New Haven style of pizza is known as apizza: a coal-fired, thin-crust with signature blistering. The original tomato pie (made without mozzarella, of course) is found at locations like Frank Pepe's (and its competitors, which we think are slightly less delicious), Sally's, and Modern. But you can also find variations like Pepe's famous white clam apizza.

New Haven ranks high on our list of best pizza cities because of Connecticut citizens' sheer competition, loyalty, and pride over apizza. Of course, everyone has their favorite joint — and we'll just judge you if you say anything besides Pepe's.

1. New York City, New York

It's clear that there wouldn't be pizza in America without New York City. The city claims to be the origin of the American pizzeria: Lombardi's in Little Italy. The pizzeria developed the prototype for New York-style pizza, a rather large pizza that is easily foldable and topped with grated low-moisture mozzarella (which is not the same as a Neapolitan pizza) and cooked in a gas or coal oven. New York's pizza scene is so expansive that it deserves a separate bit for one of its most famous pizza boroughs: Brooklyn. One of its proudest institutions is Di Fara, which serves both square and traditional pizza slices and pies from its two locations. The fresh ingredients truly shine in Di Fara's pizza options, which reflect traditional New York-style pizza techniques. Brooklyn is also home to Lucali, a cash-only pizza dynasty that serves a large pizza with basil (and toppings too, but we recommend sticking with the traditional pie) and calzones. Just remember — no reservations, no slices, no delivery.

You can't walk far in New York City without hitting a pizzeria selling by the slice or whole pies. New York City reigns supreme because of its inextricable ties to the development of America's love of pizza. Get yourself a slice and see why.

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.