The Ten Best American Cities for Hamburgers

Check out Hopper's picks for the 10 best burger cities in the United States. Succulent and juicy, these cities all know how to make an amazing hamburger!

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Nikki Gloudeman
Hopper Author

On the menu of classic American foods, the hamburger is a signature entrée. Though it’s unclear exactly where or when the burger was first created, it rose to fame at the 1904 America’s World Fair in St. Louis, and hasn’t stopped earning raves since. While simple in concept – beef, bun, cheese, fixings – it has been endlessly innovated upon. The beef itself can take on any number of forms, from Angus to grass-fed to hormone-free, and toppings can include fancy cheeses, spicy sauces, classic ketchup, a fried egg or even (yes) peanut butter. The nation’s best cities for this satisfying dish offer the best of no-frills favorites and unusual twists, while making sure the meat is juicy, the cheese is dripping and the bun is toasted. That’s just the American way.

10. Denver has got plenty of burgers and beer

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Cherry Cricket, Denver – photo by Grondhopper

If you want a burger unlike any you’ve ever had before, stop by Denver’s Cherry Cricket. Wacky but surprisingly tasty burger toppings include grilled pineapple, sauerkraut, an egg any style and peanut butter. For a taste of Denver’s acclaimed brew scene, try Highland Tap and Burger, where inventive burgers – including one with root beer pulled pork and another with white truffle aioli – are best paired with an excellent Colorado draught. Better yet, mix booze and burger by ordering the Chili Cheeseburger, featuring milk stout chili.

See what diners have to say about these hamburger restaurants in Denver:

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Highland Tap And Burger
Denver, Denver Area
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"Highland Tap and Burger score 10/10 in each of the categories" - The Denver Beer Guy
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Crave Real Burgers
Denver Area, Colorado
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"Let's just say that I was the only one at the table that actually finished the entire burger." - TongZilla
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Cherry Cricket
Denver, Denver Area
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"Offers a broad range of tasty foods and a chance to make an excellent burger." - Grondhopper

9. New Orleans is serving up big easy burgers

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Port Of Call, New Orleans – photo by Taryn

The Big Easy knows how to serve up more than Creole and Cajun specialties. Just outside the French Quarter, the nautical-themed Port of Call serves a half-pound burger topped with a heap of shredded cheddar cheese as thick as the meat itself. As a signature touch, the burger is paired with a baked potato that can also be topped with cheese, as well as sour cream and chives. Of course, New Orleans isn’t complete with a pit stop to a restaurant run by local culinary legend John Besh, which makes Lüke another must-visit. The burger here comes piled with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, tomatoes and bacon from Allan Benton, a smokehouse master in Tennessee who sources many of the nation’s finest chefs. This being N’Awlins, two things you can expect at all the top burger spots are a lively atmosphere and friendly Southern service.

Don’t miss these New Orleans burger joints:

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Port Of Call
Marigny, French Quarter
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"In fact, I was absolutely thrilled with my burger." - Daisy
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Charcoal's Gourmet Burger Bar
Uptown New Orleans, New Orleans
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"Still, check out Charcoal’s, they’ve definitely got a unique thing going on." - fleurdelicious-nola
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Lüke
Central Business District New Orleans, New Orleans
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"Bistro style lunch" - Jenny

8. Los Angeles burgers are, like, so L.A.

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Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica – photo by Exile Kiss

In trendy L.A., even the burgers are innovative and hip. In the heart of Hollywood at the classic Roosevelt Hotel, 25 Degrees serves burgers with fixings such as crispy prosciutto, chipotle, arugula and even yellowfin tuna. Order a custom burger or select from one of four expertly crafted standard offerings. Father’s Office, another favorite, is beloved for its unusual “Office Burger,” featuring dry-aged Niman Ranch beef piled high with caramelized onion, bacon, arugula and two potent cheeses: gruyere and maytag blue. The restaurant is strict about not allowing any substitutions, but when the food is so delicious as is, who would want to make an alteration? As is common at L.A. restaurants, Father’s Office also pairs its fare with a fine selection of craft brews.

Some can’t-miss burger joints in Los Angeles:

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Father's Office
South Central Los Angeles, Los Angeles
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"Angelenos swear by Father's Office's beef burger as the best in town." - George Aquino
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Rustic Canyon
Santa Monica, West Side Los Angeles
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"I forgot how good the burger was. Juicy and savory." - kimchiconqueso
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25 Degrees
Hollywood, Los Angeles
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"Walking to 25 Degrees feels like you're traveling back in time to another era." - Exile Kiss

7. New York burgers: you can dress ‘em up or you can dress ‘em down!

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Brindle Room, New York City – photo by Noah

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to add “burger” to your foodie list of Manhattan must-eats. In the bohemian West Village neighborhood, the gastro-pub Spotted Pig features whimsical pig statues and pictures and offers one of the city’s finest burgers – chargrilled, topped with Roquefort cheese and served with a pile of crisp shoestring fries. Another top spot, Burger Joint, is a bit of a surprise: a small divey joint tucked inside the luxe Le Parker Meridien hotel (there’s also an outpost on 8th Street). Order the “works” from the lively counter for a juicy burger stacked with onions, tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard, ketchup and pickles. Of course, these are just a couple standouts from among an astounding array of burger finds here. And in foodie New York, it’s hard to go too wrong.

Some of NYC’s top spots for burgers:

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Brindle Room
East Village, Manhattan
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"Brindle Room's dry aged burger is a nice 'fatty' burger" - Patrick Bradley
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Burger Joint
Greenwich Village, Manhattan
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"always a queue at the Burger Joint but it's most definitely worth the wait" - foodmeupscotty
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The Spotted Pig
SoHo, Manhattan
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"It was no easy feat picking just one entree from a menu laced with options" - Quya

6. Find gluten-free, grass-fed, single source and farm-fresh trimmings in San Diego

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Burger Lounge, San Diego – photo by maverickpalate

As one would expect of this Southern California city, San Diego has mastered burgers that are sustainable, local and healthy(ish). Burger Lounge, with several locations throughout the city, uses grass-fed, single-source beef, which it serves with farm-fresh veggies and organic cheese. Even the bacon is “nitrite free,” and those who are gluten-free can order a special bun or nix the bread for a lettuce wrap. Carnitas’ Snack Shack, meanwhile, uses pastured beef from Niman Ranch, vegetables from local farmers markets, and specialty bread baked locally. Not all establishments follow this mold, though: At Hodad’s, a laid-back spot in Ocean Beach, straight-up burgers, cheeseburgers or bacon cheeseburgers come in a basket with fries or onion rings.

Take a closer look at some awesome San Diego burger joints:

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Burger Lounge
Mid-City, San Diego
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"it's still good, using all grass-fed beef, and they do a tuna burger now too." - Chris Pople
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Carnitas Snack Shack
Mid-City, San Diego
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"A very tasty burger and a personal favorite." - Ben Heldt
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Hodad's
Point Loma-Ocean Beach , San Diego
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"Overall, this is a very good burger." - Paul Perilman

5. Sinfully decadent burgers in Las Vegas

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I Love Burgers, Las Vegas – photo by Carole9073

In this city of indulgence and sensationalism, it’s only natural that one of the most talked-about restaurants in town, the Heart Attack Grill, serves a “quadruple bypass burger” with nearly 10,000 calories – and, as an extra Sin City flourish, has waitresses dressed as nurses who slap patrons who don’t finish their meals. While it’s best for health purposes to split the monster burger, it’s tasty enough to justify some (limited) indulging. Of course, Vegas also has a classy, internationally influenced side, and the burger scene reflects this, as well. One favorite is I Love Burgers, where gourmet selections with grass-fed beef feature ingredients such as kimchi, truffle cheese and onion marmalade. This popular restaurant has two locations: one in Town Square and one at The Palazzo.

Everyone loves these three burger spots in Las Vegas:

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I Love Burgers
Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas
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"I love a well made burger and these did not disappoint." - Hilda
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Blt Burger
Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas
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"It’s maybe a bit on the expensive side, but not too bad." - mt
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Heart Attack Grill
Downtown Las Vegas, Las Vegas
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"it's about the experience, the celebration of gluttony" - Alex Zaliauskas

4. There’s nothing weird about the delicious burgers in Austin

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Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Austin – photo by Sachiko Shiota

Houston isn’t the only Texas city that knows how to do a burger up right – Austin, too, is well worth scouting out. Here, Lone Star State cattle country meets hipster culture at restaurants such as Hopdoddy, where black Angus beef, ground in-house daily, is hormone and antibiotic free. The toppings are also a nice mix of the traditional and the hip, ranging from steak sauce to brie cheese. Casino El Camino follows a similar formula of the traditional with an edge. The burgers are pure Texas: charbroiled Angus beef with toppings such as Serrano chilis and jack cheese. But the ambience, replete with dark lighting, gargoyle statues and a blaring jukebox, signals this is definitely music-loving “keep it weird” Austin.

Three burger joints to check out in Austin:

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Casino El Camino
Downtown Austin, Austin
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"The AMARILLO had a good kick to it. Really good!" - D_Rizzle
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24 Diner
6th Street, Austin
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"Very, very good (excellent meat, perfectly cooked)" - MW
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Hopdoddy Burger Bar
South Austin, Austin
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"The best thing about this place is that their ingredients are just so good." - Marie

3. Philadelphia beefs up the burger à la cheesesteak or with chocolate covered bacon on a donut bun

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Pyt, Philadelphia – photo by Philly Food Finders

Philly burgers have quickly become almost as popular locally as the classic cheesesteak sandwich (but only almost). At PYT, one of the hippest spots in town, a pretzel burger stacked with cheesesteak meat pays homage to the city’s signature dish. The restaurant is also known for inventive, calorie-soaked creations such as a burger with chocolate covered bacon on a glazed donut bun – and the beer-battered onion rings make for a splurge-worthy side. Another beloved spot, Good Dog, serves a signature burger stacked with Roquefort, a distinctly flavored sheep milk blue cheese.

Take a closer look at Philadelphia’s top three burger joints:

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Good Dog
Center City West Philadelphia, Philadelphia
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"it still left a lot to be desired at the end of the day" - A Side of Ketchup
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500 Degrees
Center City West Philadelphia, Philadelphia
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"Fresh toppings and very tasty meat." - Jay
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Pyt
Northern Liberties, North Philly
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"When I return, the burger is all I need." - Philly Food Finders

2. Houston burgers have the Guy Fieri stamp of approval

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Christian's Tailgate Grill & Bar, Houston – photo by Devour Houston

This Texas city has long been known as one of the nation’s best locales for a satisfying, meaty burger and it continues to deliver the goods. Christian’s Tailgate is a particularly fine representation of what the city has to offer: its hearty burgers, served in red plastic baskets, are extra-juicy and piled high with melted cheese and additional fixin’s such as swiss mushrooms and (a Houston standard) spicy chili. Lankford’s Grocery, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is another greasy-spoon fave where beefy burgers come dripping with cheese and can be adorned with everything from habanero sauce to a fried egg. Lankford’s has a sign that reads “We are not fancy, but we are MMMM MMMM good.” The same could be said for Houston itself.

See what diners have to say about these Houston hamburger restaurants:

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Lankford Grocery & Market
Montrose, Houston
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"Great, classic burger" - Andy
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The Counter
Houston, Texas
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"I will definitely return to The Counter. The food was delish. The service was excellent." - Devour Houston
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Christian's Tailgate Grill & Bar
The Heights, Houston
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"heralded as one of the finest burgers that Houston has to offer." - Darrell

1. Chicago has your cheeseborgers at the ready

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Billy Goat Tavern, Chicago – photo by Amy

Just how much of a Windy City institution is Billy Goat Tavern? It inspired an entire skit on Saturday Night Live, which poked fun at the restaurant owner’s penchant for screaming out “Cheeseborger! Cheeseborger! Dooublecheese!” Established in 1934, Billy Goat still serves a mean cheeseburger that, while not as fancy as some other offerings in town, gets the basics right. Also earning kudos is Kuma’s, a dive bar where thick burgers on pretzel-bread buns have names inspired by metal bands (the “Black Sabbath,” for instance, is a spicy offering with chili, pepper jack and blackening spice). Between its satisfying burgers, pizza and hot dogs, Chicago may just be the best spot in the nation for hearty comfort food.

Don’t miss these three burger joints in Chicago:

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Billy Goat Tavern
The Magnificent Mile, Near North
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"The Billy Goat Tavern is still frequented by many of Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times writers" - flashmoment
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Dmk Burger Bar
Lakeview, North Side
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"Not the cheapest burger out there, but tasty." - chocoamylatte
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Kuma's Corner
Avondale, Chicago
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"Kuma's Corner" - Jenna
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