2023’s Best Cities for Hot Dog Lovers

Three young adult women smile and laugh while sitting outside eating hot dogs.

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

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Infographic showing the Best Cities for Hot Dog Lovers, a ranking based on access to hot dog vendors, consumer ratings, topping contest awards, and whether a city hosts a hot dog eating competition
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics above.

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

Morning light reflects across New York City’s skyline.
No. 1: New York | Overall score: 65.89

Access: 8
Consumer Satisfaction: 3
Competition Awards: 2
Popularity: 1

Local tips: Classic New York hot dogs are simple — topped with mustard, sauerkraut, and onion relish or sauce. Get lunch at the original Nathan’s Famous on Surf Avenue in Brooklyn, or grab a Nathan’s hot dog to keep you full during a Yankees game. 

Try tasty Hoyt dogs — beef franks with maple mustard — from Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn. If you’re not in NYC, they ship nationwide.

Photo credit: Roberto Vivancos | Pexels | Pexels License
Two people bike along the water overlooking the Chicago skyline.
No. 2: Chicago | Overall score: 54.65

Access: 4
Consumer Satisfaction: 2
Competition Awards: 11
Popularity: 2

Local tips: Much like deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style dogs are thick with layers of toppings like relish, raw onion, sport peppers, and tomato. Find one at Wolfy’s, a local legend since 1967.

Try a Francheezie — a beef hot dog that’s split open, filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then deep-fried — at The Bagel Restaurant.

Photo credit: Chait Goli | Pexels | Pexels License
The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 3: Los Angeles | Overall score: 53.90

Access: 41
Consumer Satisfaction: 1
Competition Awards: 1
Popularity: 5

Local tips: Pink’s Hot Dogs has been curbing Hollywood’s hot dog cravings since 1939. The menu boasts a legendary chili dog, along with 39 other hot dog options, many of which are named after beloved celebrities and films. 

Get tickets for the ballpark to try the Dodger Dog, “the most iconic hot dog in baseball.” They even offer a plant-based option for vegan fans.

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson | Pexels | Pexels License
The Washington Monument overlooks stately buildings in Washington, DC.
No. 4: Washington | Overall score: 38.14

Access: 19
Consumer Satisfaction: 19
Competition Awards: 11
Popularity: 3

Local tips: A U Street staple since 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl still serves up their original homemade chili and half-smokes — a signature dish in the city. Lucky for out-of-towners, they can ship a batch right to your door. 

Photo credit: Anna Lowe | Pexels | Pexels License
A woman reads on a field looking over townhomes and skyscrapers in San Francisco.
No. 5: San Francisco | Overall score: 38.12

Access: 2
Consumer Satisfaction: 51
Competition Awards: 11
Popularity: 8

Local tips: Level up with a gourmet hot dog from Umai Savoury Hot Dogs
Sausage lovers should head to Rosamunde Sausage Grill to try one of 15 varieties, including duck and fig, wild boar, and chicken cherry sausages.

Photo credit: Juan Salamanca | Pexels | Pexels License

Key insights

The gist

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.

Standout stats

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.

Beefy competition

  • 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.

Bountiful bangers

  • 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

Casing California

  • 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.

Regional recipes

  • 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.

Far-flung franks

  • 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.

Devouring dreams

Expert take

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. 

  1. What is the best type of meat or combination of meats for making a flavorful hot dog? 
  1. What are the best brands of no-meat hot dogs for flavor and quality?
  2. Is there such a thing as a “healthy” hot dog? Why or why not?
  3. What is one lesser-known regional hot dog style that everyone should try? 
  1. What are three of the most unusual toppings that actually taste good on a hot dog?

Ask The Experts

Anthony Brooks
Chef, Faculty Culinary Arts
Anthony Brooks
Chef, Faculty Culinary Arts
Bates Technical College

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

Honorable mentions

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.
  • 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.

Media resources

Main Photo Credit: iStock

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.