Where can you relish the juiciest, most delicious wieners?
To mark National Hot Dog Day on July 19, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Hot Dog Lovers.
We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on nine indicators of a “top dog” city, such as access to hot dog vendors, consumer ratings, topping contest awards, and whether a city hosts a hot dog eating competition.
See the wieners and losers of our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.
In this article
- City rankings + infographic
- Top 5 close up
- Key insights
- Expert take
- Behind the ranking
- Honorable mentions
City rankings + Infographic
See how each city fared in our ranking:
Top 5 close up
Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.
Foodie rivals New York (No. 1) and Chicago (No. 2) finish at the top alongside other big cities like Los Angeles (No. 3) and Cincinnati (No. 6). These cities boil up high Access and Popularity, and offer original regional styles worth traveling to taste.
Several mid-sized cities disappoint, with San Bernardino, California (No. 195), and St. Paul, Minnesota (No. 197), charring to the bottom alongside Boise, Idaho, in last place. These cities land at the end among smaller suburban regions, with sparse options for grabbing a tasty frankfurter.
Nobody beats Nathan’s
- New York (No. 1) smokes the competition, with an 11-point lead ahead of its red hot rival, Chicago (No. 2). NYC claims the highest Popularity and the highest number of award-winning mustards.
- Chicago (No. 2) beats New York (No. 1) in Access and Consumer Satisfaction, with 31 top-rated hot dog vendors offering tasty and abundant Chicago-style toppings — just don’t expect to see ketchup on the menu.
Hot dog Empire
- Beyond NYC, New York State is a beacon for hot dog lovers. Rochester (No. 7) stands out as the only top-20 city with a population below 300,000. Famous for white hots, Rochester boasts the 3rd-highest Access to hot dog vendors. Other Upstate underdogs include Troy mini chili dogs, Plattsburgh’s michigan red hots, and dirt dogs.
- Miami (No. 9) smokes up the best Access to hot dog vendors with 1.36 per square mile. On the Pacific Coast, San Francisco (No. 5) enjoys the 2nd-highest Access with 1.02 vendors per square mile.
- Los Angeles (No. 3) boasts the highest Consumer Satisfaction and Competition Awards. LA feasts with the highest number of top-rated hot dog vendors — 41 — and claims the most Hot Dog Ambassadors over the past three years.
- New York (No. 1) and Chicago (No. 2) might hold the best-recognized hot dog styles, but fans can find interesting regional takes nationwide. 31 cities in our ranking serve up original hot dogs — from Italian dogs in Newark, New Jersey (No. 17), to Cleveland (No. 22) Polish Boys to Detroit (No. 31) Coney dogs.
Lone Star links
- With relatively low Access and walkability, Texas cities lack the convenient street wiener stands abundant in cities like New York (No. 1). However, San Antonio (No. 14), Houston (No. 10), and Austin (No. 42) rise in the ranks with impressive Consumer Satisfaction, thanks to their top-rated hot dog vendors.
- The two most distant cities in our ranking — Honolulu (No. 11) and Anchorage, Alaska (No. 34) — land among the top 20 cities with the highest Consumer Satisfaction. Each region offers its own distinct hot dog: Hawaiian Puka dogs topped with tropical relish and Alaskan reindeer dogs finished with Coca-Cola-glazed onions.
- Challenge Joey Chestnut’s legacy — 76 Nathan’s Famous dogs and buns inhaled in just 10 minutes — at one of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contests held annually on Independence Day in New York (No. 1), Washington (No. 4), Cincinnati (No. 6), and Dayton, Ohio (No. 33).
Don’t let etiquette get in the way of your dream hot dog — load it up with all the toppings your heart desires.
We turned to a panel of experts for some culinary inspiration. Read their insights below.
- What is the best type of meat or combination of meats for making a flavorful hot dog?
- What are the best brands of no-meat hot dogs for flavor and quality?
- Is there such a thing as a “healthy” hot dog? Why or why not?
- What is one lesser-known regional hot dog style that everyone should try?
- What are three of the most unusual toppings that actually taste good on a hot dog?
My favorite place in Tacoma would be The Red Hot on 6th Ave. They have a wide variety of hot dogs and sausage dogs served up with a rotational beer menu.
What is the best type of meat or combination of meats for making a flavorful hot dog?
All beef or sausage meat.
Is there such a thing as a “healthy” hot dog? Why or why not?
Turkey dogs are great, but it still comes to what you put on it.
What are three of the most unusual toppings that actually taste good on a hot dog?
Pineapple with jalapeno.
Behind the ranking
First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Hot Dog Lovers. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Access, Consumer Satisfaction, Competition Awards, and Popularity. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.
For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.
Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties.
Delish, Google Ads, First We Feast, Major League Eating, ManTripping, Mashed, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, National Mustard Museum, Serious Eats, TasteAtlas, Texas Monthly, TitleMax, Wikipedia, and Yelp
Regional hot dog variations can be confusing — for instance, you’ll find Texas hots in Northern states and the New York system in Rhode Island. No matter the name, they’re all local legends for a reason.
Check out some more regional icons below.
- Baltimore (No. 25): In addition to serving up tasty sandwiches, Attman’s Delicatessen is known for its bologna-topped hot dogs. Another local twist can be found at Stuggy’s — a hot dog loaded with crab, mac and cheese, and Old Bay Seasoning.
- Cincinnati (No. 6): Keeping locals full for over 60 years, Mr. Gene’s Dog House is a great place to grab a cheese Coney — a wiener covered in chili, cheese, mustard, and diced onions. Skyline Chili is another famous destination for chili and cheese Coneys.
- Cleveland (No. 22): Taste one of Cleveland’s signature dishes, the Polish Boy, at Banter — a restaurant specializing in sausages and poutine.
- Columbus, Georgia (No. 44): Chow down on Dinglewood Pharmacy’s famous scrambled dog — a hot dog smothered in chili, pickles, and oyster crackers.
- Kansas City, Missouri (No. 30): A version of Kansas City’s famous Reuben dog can be purchased at a KC Royals game or in restaurants across town, like The Brick.
- Philadelphia (No. 13): The Philly region is home to some unique hot dog variations, including the fish cake dog and Texas Tommy (invented in nearby Pottstown). Just be careful if you go out to a Phillies game on hot dog night — anticipate a wiener-filled food fight.
- San Antonio (No. 14): Feast on a plate of crispy dogs at M.K. Davis, a family-owned spot established in 1956. Sausage-filled kolaches (or klobasnek) are another popular dish found in San Antonio and Central Texas.
- Seattle (No. 8): Grab an original Seattle Dog — a hot dog topped with cream cheese and grilled vegetables — at Dog in the Park.
Want to fire up the grill this weekend? Hire a local Lawn Love pro to check off your lawn care to-do list before you cook up a batch of perfect hot dogs.
Main Photo Credit: iStock