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Best Cities for Pizza in America

Visit these American cities to find some of the best pizza in the country. 

pizza slice with view of city

If one thing is consistent in pizza’s long history, it is the dish’s constant evolution. Flatbreads similar to pizza were eaten in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Pizza as we know it today originated in Naples around the 1700s.

The dish spread in popularity to the United States at the end of the 19th century. It became popular in the mid-20th century.

While pizza can vary in terms of style, there are a few components you can count on. Pizza usually has a crust, sauce, cheese or something like it, and toppings. The thickness of that crust, the exact toppings, and the way the pizza cooks can differ.

When assessing which cities have the best pizza, I am pretty egalitarian with my judgments. Every city likes to claim that its style of pizza is the best in the world.

I like it all, whether it is thin crust, deep dish, cut into squares, cut into triangles, made with white sauce, or vegan. I welcome it all on my plate. 

Read on to discover the best cities for pizza in the United States and how to enjoy the best pizza as you travel the nation.

New Haven, Connecticut

Also known as “apizza,” New Haven-style pizza is all about the crust. While the toppings and sauce are delicious, the crust makes the pizza unique.

The unique flavor of the crust comes from a combination of the fermented dough and the cooking method. This pizza cooks in an oven at 600 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

While I highly recommend visiting New Haven to try this delicious pizza, you can also find this style throughout the country.

If you are in New Haven, I highly recommend Zuppardi’s Apizza. The clam pizza there is a must-try.

Chicago, Illinois

When you think of Chicago pizza, you may think of the iconic deep-dish pizza.

However, Chicago has three types of pizza. The deep-dish pizza has a deep crust with a layer of sauce on top and toppings placed all over the pizza.

There is also tavern style, a thin crust option cut into squares. Stuffed pizza is similar to a deep-dish pizza, except it has a top crust with sauce on top of that crust. 

I love all types of Chicago pizza. Some people consider deep-dish more of Chicago’s contribution to midwestern casserole culture than a pizza.

However you categorize it, there is no denying that Chicago deep-dish pizza is delicious.

My favorite spot for caramelized, super cheesy deep-dish pizza in Chicago is Pequod’s Pizza. Check out other top Chicago pizza shops!

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New York City, New York

New York is where pizza originated in the United States.

It was introduced to the country by Italian Immigrants in the late 1800s. There are a few different types of pizza available in the city. 

However, the type most people think of when they hear New York-style pizza is the Neapolitan-style pizza. This type is served in large triangular slices that are easy to fold and eat.  

Not only is this pizza delicious, but it is a way to experience part of the history of New York. So, the next time you are in New York, grab a slice and fold it as you stroll through Central Park.

Try a slice of deliciousness from Motorino, my go-to pizza place in the city!

Detroit, Michigan

You may know Detroit for its prominent role in the auto industry. However, you may not know that the classic Detroit pizza connects to the auto industry too. 

Back when pizza experienced its most significant rise in popularity, Detroit got in on the action by cooking pizza in rectangular pans made from steel auto parts.

Thanks to that deep pan, Detroit-style pizza has a thick crust and a caramelized texture. Cheese, sauce, and other toppings cover the crust.

This pizza type is delicious. It is surprisingly light and fluffy with plenty of complex flavors. 

Visit Mootz Pizzeria + Bar if you want to experience a traditional Detroit-style pizza and a nice shot of your favorite spirit. It’s what I do whenever I visit Detroit!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

While most pizza styles throughout the United States rely on ancient Roman origins, Philadelphia’s pizza style harkens back to the ancient Greeks.

Rather than the thin crust found throughout most of the East coast, Philly’s pizza has a thick crust, a sweeter sauce, and a smaller amount of cheese. 

I adore the tender and chewy crust offered by Pizzeria Stella in the city. Plus, the toppings are fairly light compared to the amount of crust.

So, this may be the ideal pizza for you if you want something light, and not too saucy. Check out other great pizzas in Philly!

San Francisco, California

San Francisco has a few different types of pizza, including California style and a style unique to the bay area.

California style has a thin crust similar to New York style pizza and toppings consisting of fresh ingredients popular in California.

San Francisco-style pizza is similar. It just uses local and sustainably sourced ingredients. 

While this pizza is usually a far cry from the greasy pies you can find throughout other parts of the country, it is no less delicious. I adore a few slices of this style of pizza when I want a lighter option.

See also  11 Best Sauces To Dip Your Pizza In 

My favorite spot to enjoy a pizza in a city that spoils you for choice is Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. The variety they offer cannot be beaten.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.’s pizza is a relatively new addition to the pizza landscape. It came on the scene in the early 1990s.

This pizza is similar to other thin crust options on the east coast. D.C. style pizza is also known as Jumbo Style since the slices are large, typically measuring around a foot long.

The flavors are similar to what you find in a New York-style pizza.  

When I visit Washington D.C. I never miss out on the opportunity to grab a slice of this pizza from one of the many pizza spots that offer jumbo slices. Not only is this pizza delicious, but it is fun to share with friends. 

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is a generally fantastic spot for food of all kinds. It combines the use of fresh ingredients with culinary sensibilities found in larger cities.

There is not necessarily a single type of pizza that Portland is known for.

However, most pizza in Portland strives to perfect and modify existing styles with some artisan flair. 

My favorite thing about Portland’s pizzas is the creativity shown in them. Portland is a great city to visit if you want innovative pies that do not rest too hard on tradition.

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty is an icon in Portland for a reason. They have thoughtful pies with unique and seasonal flavor combinations.  

Boston, Massachusetts

Like Philidelphia, Boston takes its pizza cues less from ancient Greece, rather than ancient Rome. These pies bake in pans, so you end up with a medium-thickness crust.

However, the city does not have as defined a pizza culture as other parts of the country. As a result, the city has room to play with both some classics and new trends in food. 

In addition to the Greek-inspired pies, Boston also has other types of pizza, including Neopolitan.

If you visit Boston, a great way to have a classic thin crust slice is by visiting Regina Pizzeria. Posto is where you should visit if you want a beautiful wood-fired pizza with some unique ingredients.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles used to have a reputation for bad pizza. However, that reputation changed, and Los Angeles is a great place to get pizza.

The pizza in Los Angeles is similar to the pizza found throughout California. It has a thin crust and plenty of fresh, sustainable ingredients. 

There are plenty of good pizzas and flatbreads throughout the Los Angeles area. One of my favorites is Pizzeria Mozza. All of the pizzas I had there were great.

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If I had to choose a favorite to recommend, I would suggest the Funghi Misti or the Squash Blossom.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Like most things in Las Vegas, the pizza in the city is over the top.

A lot of the pizza in this city is similar in shape and cook to Detroit-style pizza.

However, with Las Vegas being a bit of a melting pot, there are plenty of other types of pizza around, from Neapolitan to Roman to gluten-free. 

It is difficult to go wrong with any pizza in Las Vegas. Some of my favorites include Old School Pizzeria and Pizza Rock.

My favorite at Old School is the Apricot pizza, and I love the variety offered by Pizza Rock. My favorite there is the Cal Italia pizza.

Miami, FL

The last time I visited Miami, I had a pizza craving that I was worried I could not fulfill.

Luckily, I discovered that the city contains plenty of amazing pizza.

While Miami, Florida does not have a specific pizza style, that does not mean the city is short on delicious pizza. 

Several different types of pizza from around the country are available in Miami.

Lucali offers amazing pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven. Square Pie City has tasty Detroit-style pies.   

Providence, Rhode Island

Locals call Providence pizza “strips” thanks to the long rectangle shapes.

It originated in the early 1900s. This type of pizza is very similar to focaccia bread.

The thick crust is topped with sauce, but no cheese. These strips are also served at room temperature. 

While pizza in Providence is a little different from most pizza places you can find, it is closer to the food’s original form.

If you are used to cheese on your pizza, you may worry that you will miss it. However, I love this pizza so much that I do not care it has no cheese.

Plus, I love that it is a good option for my vegan and lactose intolerant friends. My top spot to visit for pizza when I visit is Cosmic Pizza Steak & Wieners and its awesome pizza combos.

Buffalo, NY

You may know about Buffalo sauce and Buffalo wings, you may assume that Buffalo-style pizza is similar.

However, this style of pizza is unique. It has a fluffy crust of medium thickness, semi-sweet sauce, and a ton of cheese. The caramelization of the cheese is a key component of this pizza. 

Buffalo-style pizza always hits the spot for me if I am craving different types of pizza at once.

This type of pizza is ideal if you love Detroit-style pizza, but want a slightly thinner crust.

It is also great if you want a crust with medium thickness with more caramelized cheese.

Enjoy a traditional pizza from Hearth & Press if you ever visit Buffalo, and thank me later.


Leave a Reply
  1. Zupparsis pizza is in west Haven and uses a simple deck oven, and although their pies are good, they lack the chew and pull of one of the new haven classic brick ovens like modern, bar, Sally’s or Pepe’s. Doesn’t have to be coal fired – modern hears with oil- but the oven needs to be brick, NOT A SIMPLE DEFK OVEN- to be legit new haven pizza.
    And also being in the city of new haven helps.

  2. With so many migrants to South Carolina, Greenville have a wide variety of styles of pizza. Of course sometimes original is better, try Belladina’s Pizzeria in Greenville, SC

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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