Phoenix rose all the way from last year’s No. 42 ranking into the top five in 2023 in Clever researchers’ quest to find the best pizza city in America.
Phoenix’s rise in 2023 thanks to the annual study’s addition of two new metrics: the average Yelp rating of pizza restaurants and a pizza reputation survey.
The average price of a large cheese pizza in Phoenix is $14.83, which is 27% cheaper than the average price in the 50 cities we analyzed ($18.81).
Phoenix is home also to 3.8 pizza joints per 100,000 residents, which have an average Yelp rating of 4.2 stars, the fifth-best result of the 50 cities we studied.
Phoenix also has a pretty good reputation for pizza. When we surveyed 1,000 people about their top pizza cities, 17% of Americans listed Phoenix in their top 5.
While Detroit came in as the best pizza city in America for the 2nd year in a row, San Antonio came in as the worst along with Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City.
The 10 Best Cities for Pizza
We didn’t want our rankings to feel half-baked, so we included multiple factors to ensure the greatest all-around pizza cities rose to the top. Here are the best of the best.
1. Detroit, Michigan
|🏆 The Best Place for Pizza: Great prices, solid restaurant ratings, an high online search activity make Detroit the country’s best pizza city for the second consecutive year.|
Once again, Motor City finds itself topping our pizza podium, with multiple metrics working in its favor.
The average price for a large cheese pizza in Detroit is $14.83 — 27% cheaper than the typical cost ($18.81) among all cities reviewed. Only a handful of cities have lower prices.
Detroiters also show a measurable passion for pizza through their internet activity. We analyzed 25 pizza-related search terms and found Detroit has the highest Google Trends score (99 out of 100) of any city in our study — 52% higher than the average score of 65.
Baked into that calculation is Detroit’s No. 1 Google Trends score for BBQ chicken pizza, No. 1 score for Detroit-style pizza, and No. 2 score for meat pizza.
2. Hartford, Connecticut
|🐕 Feeling Husky? Hartford’s pizza scene will leave you feeling full just miles from the home of the UConn Huskies. The city has a plethora of pizza with 15.5 pizza shops per 100,000 residents.|
Hartford clearly values pizza’s Mediterranean roots. It has the highest Google Trends score for both Neapolitan and Greek pizza.
Hartford matches that passion for variety with superb value. A large cheese pizza in Hartford costs an average of $15, making it 25% cheaper than the typical city’s price of $18.81.
As a bonus, Connecticut’s capital also ranked second nationwide in our recently released list of America’s best coffee cities. It’s clear that — whether you like your indulgences baked or brewed — it’s hard to top Hartford.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
|😌 Mass-ive Pizza Passion: Beantown boasts a mean pizza scene. The city ranks above average in every metric we used, including a pizza passion score of 83 — 28% higher than the average city’s score (65).|
This patriotic city has transformed into a pizza paradise. Boston has 12.3 pizza places per 100,000 people — 46% more than the average city in our study (8.4 per 100,000).
People across the country are starting to notice Boston’s pizza prowess. When we asked 1,000 people to name their top five pizza cities, 15% of them included Boston, the best result for any New England city.
In terms of variety, Boston also ranks in the top five nationally for Google searches of Greek pizza (No. 2) and pizza bagels (No. 4).
4. Phoenix, Arizona
|📈 Most Improved Pizza City: Just as a Phoenix rises from ashes, the city of Phoenix rose all the way up from last year’s 42nd spot to our top five in 2023.|
Phoenix soared in our rankings this year because of the addition of two new metrics: the average Yelp rating of pizza restaurants and a pizza reputation survey.
Pizza restaurants in Arizona’s capital have an average Yelp rating of 4.2 stars, the fifth-best result of the 50 cities we reviewed. When we surveyed 1,000 people to ask for their top five pizza cities, 17% of Americans mentioned Phoenix.
Still, Americans seem to underrate Phoenix’s pizza potential. The city also brings affordability to the table. The average price of a large cheese pizza is $14.83 — 27% cheaper than the average price ($18.81) in the 50 cities we analyzed.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|🦅 Eag-er for Pizza: Despite a disappointing Super Bowl finish, Philadelphia can still brag about its pizza scene. The city’s pizza restaurants average 4.1 stars on Yelp, the seventh-best average of all cities we reviewed.|
Philadelphia climbed into this year’s top five from No. 9 in 2022. The city owes its success in part to a high number of pizza restaurants per capita. Its rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people is better than the 8.4 pizza spots per 100,000 in the average city.
Philadelphia residents frequently search the web for pizza-related terms, scoring an 85 in our Google Trends metric — 31% higher than the average city’s score (65). Philly’s overall score includes ranking No. 2 in search activity specifically for tomato pie and pizza margherita.
Philadelphia could’ve ranked even higher, but was penalized for holding … higher-than-average prices for pepperoni pizza ($22.00 vs. $21.79).
6. San Diego, California
|☀️ Best Pizza Under the Sun: San Diego is home to some of the best pizza places in the U.S. The city’s pizza restaurants have the highest average Yelp rating (4.2 stars) of any city we studied.|
San Diego is starting to meet its pizza potential. Despite having the highest average Yelp rating for pizza shops, the city still offers great prices, with a large pepperoni pizza costing about $18.33 on average — 19% cheaper than the typical price of $21.79.
People across the country are starting to take notice. About 24% of the 1,000 Americans we surveyed consider San Diego a top five pizza city. The only cities with higher percentages were New York (41%), Los Angeles (40%), and Chicago (35%).
7. Denver, Colorado
|🐎 Pizza Country, Let’s Ride: Denver’s passion for the Broncos is nearly rivaled by its passion for pizza. The city ranks No. 6 in online search activity for pizza with a Google Trends score of 87 — 34% better than the typical city’s score of 65.|
Denver’s pizza scene is clearly on the rise, moving up from No. 29 in 2022. The Mile High City has 9.5 pizza restaurants per 100,000 people, 13% more than the average city’s 8.4 per 100,000 people.
The city’s pizza restaurants have an average of 4.1 stars on Yelp, the 12th-highest rating of the 50 cities we analyzed.
In terms of local preference, Denver ranks No. 1 nationally for online search interest in pan pizza.
8. Miami, Florida
|🏖️ 305 Reasons to Eat Pizza: Great restaurant reviews help make Miami the best pizza city in Florida. The city’s pizza shops shine with an average of 4.2 stars on Yelp.|
Miami must be starting to attract some positive pizza attention: 17% of the 1,000 Americans we polled ranked it as a top five pizza city. That’s the highest percentage for any city outside of New York, California, or Illinois.
Miamians frequently search the internet for pizza-related terms, earning a Google Trends score of 77 — 18% higher than the average city’s score (65). Its overall score includes ranking No. 1 nationally in search interest for sausage pizza.
9. Buffalo, New York
|🧑🔬 Culinary Creators: Buffalo has gone from pioneering the chicken wing to priding itself on pizza culture. The city has 17.9 pizza restaurants per 100,000 people, the most in the U.S.|
Buffalo is clearly enthusiastic about its pizza, with more than twice as many spots to snag a pie compared to the average city we examined (8.4 per 100,000 people).
Buffalo scored an 85 in our Google Trends metric for searches of pizza-related terms. Its score is 31% higher than the typical city’s score (65) largely thanks to its No. 1 ranking for search interest in these three terms: breakfast pizza, tomato pie, and New York-style pizza.
10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|🤷 Pizza-burgh Pride: Pittsburgh makes its second consecutive appearance as a top 10 pizza city thanks in part to how often locals search the web for pizza-related terms. The city’s Google Trends score of 95 is the second-highest in the country, trailing only Detroit (99).|
High marks for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are what make Pennsylvania the best state for pizza. Pizza restaurants in Pittsburgh average 4.1 stars on Yelp, which is better than the typical city’s rating of 4.0.
The Steel City complements that quality with quantity. Pittsburgh has 15.3 pizza restaurants per 100,000 people — the fifth-highest rate of all 50 cities we reviewed and nearly double the average city’s pizza shops per capita (8.4 per 100,000).