Few things satisfy all culinary tastes like a burger. Whether you like it smashed, in slider form, stuffed with cheese, or pub style, the combination of a mouth-watering burger and personalized topping slays hunger and conquers cravings.
Fortunately, no matter where you live, you don’t need to travel far to get your burger fix. Excellent burger joints are located across the U.S., with menus that range from experimental (latkes on a burger, anyone?) to backyard basics. In no particular order, here are 20 burger cities to check out.
1. Chicago, Illinois
Those living in the Windy City (and pretty much everywhere else) know Chicago is famous for hotdogs and pizza, but it’s also not afraid to throw down a bustin’ burger. In 2022, the Food Network proclaimed the burger at Au Cheval as the best in the country.
Like a basic burger with your craft cocktails? Check out Ludlow Liquors. Want a little fusion with your All-American meal? Mott Street’s a go-to.
2. New York, New York
New York might be home to the nation’s third most expensive burger (Le Burger Extravagant at Serendipity 3), but that’s the exception rather than the rule. The diversity of cuisines in the Big Apple means some serious burgers that pack a punch.
The affordable, everyday burgers at S&P get the job done with a basic patty, cheese, and traditional toppings, but you can also find some culinary artistry in burger form at Nowon. This burger marries Korean flavors with a solid chuck and short rib burger, topping it all with a hefty pickle spear.
3. Los Angeles, California
Everyone may recognize In-N-Out Burger as an icon of LA, but there’s so much more to LA’s burger scene. Bill’s Burgers in Van Nuys comes with a side of grumbling, courtesy of the roadside stand’s owner, but the simple burger is one of the best in the city.
For those in upscale zip codes, your burger experience might be a bit different. If chowing down means silver utensils and pinkies up, Ludo Lefevbre’s Petit Trois le Valley is for you. And you can’t miss Pie 'n Burger, the self-proclaimed birthplace of the cheeseburger.
4. Houston, Texas
When it comes to burgers, Houston has no problem offering everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Burger Bodega throws down a traditional smash burger but also plays with the definition of a "burger" by selling an equally scrumptious chopped cheese.
Flip 'n Patties cashed in their chips, took their food truck, and turned it into a brick-and-mortar shop selling burgers with Filipino-inspired toppings like banana ketchup aioli and longanisa sausage.
Want to focus on the beef? Stick with a classic and hit The Burger Joint, a Houston mainstay that serves up local Texas-raised beef.
5. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore is best known for blue crabs and pit beef, but while you’re there don’t sleep on the exceptional burger offerings at John Brown General & Butchery. The meat is ground onsite and fresh, and that puts their charbroiled patties over the top.
Prefer something on the wild side? Hit one of Abbey’s Burger Bistro’s three locations to choose your own burger adventure with selections such as New Zealand deer and wild boar.
6. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is home to honky tonks and a bustling food scene, and the best things in life happen when those two things collide. One of Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint’s famous burgers is named after Nashville’s native sons (The Elvis) and features peanut butter and bacon.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden is another Nashville favorite. They are great for a casual pop-in but also host gatherings and community events.
7. Kansas City, Missouri
Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue’s cameo on Ted Lasso was a well-deserved homage to this fine exemplar of the slow-and-low, but Kansas City, Missouri also serves up plenty of tasty burgers.
Town Topic is a local hot spot that dates back to the 1930s, serving traditional diner fare, including a classic cheeseburger. Looking for a nationally-recognized burger that’s a bit more innovative? Westport Flea Market’s got your back: The Food Network named it one of the best burgers in the U.S.
8. Portland, Oregon
After perfectly ground and seasoned beef, the bun is a critical ingredient. Deschutes Brewery and Public House feature house-made burger buns created by the pastry-chef-turned-owner, and it was one of two Portland restaurants rated in the top 100 burgers across the U.S. by Yelp.
The other one, Mr. Bento Burger, is not technically in Portland but is worth the short drive. Sticking to the city limits? Check out Killer Burger, voted Best of Portland for four years running.
9. San Francisco, California
Something about the Bay area’s chilly weather and luminous fog horns makes it irresistible to burger lovers. And it’s no wonder: San Fran highlights the bounty of both ocean and land in a wide variety of burgers that range from the everyday workhorse to flights of culinary fancy.
Beep’s Burgers is a solid burger option that is no-frills and perfectly put together, but if you’ve got a bit more to spend head to Charter Oak for a burger that many consider the best in the area. Mission Bowling Club is another great option, and it made the number five spot on 2022’s list of best burgers.
10. Seattle, Washington
Dick’s Drive-In makes a nostalgic smash burger slathered in grease, ketchup, and mustard, and although locals revere this community-minded greasy spoon, others might object to its inclusion on any "Best Burger" list.
Still, Seattle is a foodie town with many bars, taverns, and fancy sit-down eateries with burgers that make it worthy of a "Burger City" title. Try 8oz Burger and Co. with its burgers named for the steep streets of the city, or head to local favorite Uneeda Burger for burgers that walk the line between down-home and upscale.
11. Denver, Colorado
Hit the slopes, then head downtown to chow down on some of the most delicious burger sandwiches in the country. The Mile-High city is home to Split Lip, a delicious cook’s laboratory where classically trained chefs have a go at some of the most mouth-watering burgers in the state.
If you want to eat burgers like a local, head to Crown Burgers, a family restaurant that’s been slinging beef for three decades.
12. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit has a no-nonsense food scene that is home to some of the most consistent and delicious burgers in the U.S. Motz’s delivers on the traditional slider with over 90 years in business. At $2.50 a burger, the price is right (or splurge and add a quarter for a slice of cheese).
Watch the game and grab a burger at Nemo's, where for 50 years the owners have been cooking a simple but delicious burger menu that includes vegan options.
13. Las Vegas, Nevada
High rollers know the most expensive burgers in the U.S. are located in the casinos in Las Vegas, but you don't have to hit the jackpot to get a great burger. This city attracts tons of creative culinarians looking to make a great hamburger for all budgets.
Try the Fat Choy Burger at Fat Choy to cure that lingering morning-after-the-night-before stomach, or dive into the No Pants Burger at Absinthe in either a carnivorous or vegan version.
14. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Make no mistake: the most famous export from Minneapolis may be Prince, but the second most famous is the Jucy Lucy, a cheese-stuffed burger that oozes tons of meaty flavor. Find that local delicacy at Matt’s Bar (which claims to be the originator of the JL).
Cutting back on dairy? Not a problem. Head to The Nook for juicy burgers with (and without) cheese.
15. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philly’s gastropub culture drives its thriving burger scene, but local chefs are paring burgers down to their delicious essentials, making this city one of the best cities for beef on a bun. Kensington Quarters in Fishtown grinds its own beef for a perfectly juicy burger served largely unadorned. On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Lucky’s Last Chance, a joint that thinks nothing of adding pineapple and bacon to its patties.
Fortunately, you can always meet in the middle at Fountain Porter, where a solid burger sets you back just five bucks.
16. Miami, Florida
Miami residents both new and native may be seeking sunshine and palm trees, but they have to eat, too. This city is unexpectedly burger-forward, with many choices that range from the simple, always delicious burgers at Blue Collar Miami to the perfectly cooked and juicy Wagyu burger at Proper Sausages.
Looking for a date-night place with a delicious burger (plus more drinks and snacks)? Pinch Kitchen is the go-to, apres beach spot.
17. Atlanta, Georgia
What do sweet tea, peaches, and juicy, flavorful burgers have in common? They’re all a big part of Atlanta’s culinary landscape.
Hit The Chastain for caramelized onion aioli on two perfectly seared patties, or get in line early Sundays for the mouth-watering double cheeseburger from Evergreen Butcher & Baker. But get there early: these often sell out.
18. Austin, Texas
Austin keeps it weird, but there’s nothing strange about how delicious their burgers are. Locals know that Dan’s Hamburgers are always going to be solid (and should be eaten with an order of curly fries).
Looking for something famous and also worth the hype? Leroy & Lewis was featured on Somebody Feed Phil, where half of Phil’s cheeseburger was stolen by the hungry crew.
19. St. Louis, Missouri
Missouri’s got two great burger cities on the list so you’re covered no matter where you are in the state.
One of the newest burger stands to throw its hat in the beefy ring is Intergalactic Burgers. Located in the City Foundry food hall, this spot comes by its culinary chops honestly, with ties to upscale restaurants like Polite Society and Bellwether.
Looking for a basic burger with a five-star pedigree? 5 Star Burgers is the place for you, with burgers finished over an open flame. If you’re trying to save a few bucks, mini versions are offered for just a couple of dollars during happy hour.
20. Cleveland, Ohio
Baseball, rock-n-roll, and burgers: there’s nothing Cleveland can’t do. Such a good-time vibe is the perfect setting for burgers and beers, and two of the best — Gunselman’s Tavern and Heck’s Cafe — offer two different experiences. Get a plain burger to go at Gunselman’s, or linger with friends at Heck’s 120-year-old restaurant in Ohio City (or an airy warehouse in Avon).
Either way, you’ll be glad you made Ohio a burger destination.