Time to gather with your loved ones and feast on fish, fruit, and dumplings to welcome the Lunar New Year.
Which U.S. cities are best for ringing in the Year of the Rabbit?
To find out, Lawn Love ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities to determine 2023’s Best Cities for Lunar New Year Celebrations.
They looked for cities with a large Asian American population, plenty of Asian restaurants, and numerous Lunar New Year festivals and events. Lawn Love awarded bonus points to cities with a Chinatown district.
Lawn Love also considered weather forecasts, fireworks legality, and safety, among 11 total metrics.
Set your best foot forward for the Lunar New Year (beginning Jan. 22) with the help of our rankings below.
New Year in New York
For the second year in a row, New York lucks out as the Best City to Celebrate Lunar New Year.
Home to a whopping nine Chinatown neighborhoods, NYC has the largest population of Chinese and Chinese Americans out of all the cities in our ranking. Paint the town red in Manhattan’s Chinatown, which has the largest concentration of Chinese people in America (and all of the Western hemisphere).
There’s always something going on in The City That Never Sleeps, especially around holidays like the Spring Festival. NYC has the highest number of Chinese and Asian Meetup groups and the third-highest number of Lunar New Year events and festivals.
All that glitters is not gold
Out of 43 California cities represented, only 11 landed in the lower half of our ranking. It’s no surprise California cities fared so well — Asian communities have played a significant role in building the West Coast since the Gold Rush.
This year, San Francisco (No. 2) has the most Lunar New Year events — tied with Houston — and the highest concentration of Asian restaurants. SF also has the second-biggest population of Chinese Americans, while Los Angeles (No. 3) has the nation’s largest population of other East Asians.
Unfortunately, neither of these cities has a great safety record, especially for Asian Americans. Anti-Asian violence has plagued California and escalated since COVID-19 began. Hate crimes against Asian Americans in California rose 178% in 2021.
Today, many cities along the West Coast, including Seattle (No. 8) and 19 California cities, have high rates of hate crimes. For a safer celebration destination, head down to San Diego (No. 10).
Some cities in the South and Midwest aren’t ready to ring in the Year of the Rabbit.
Apart from Chicago (No. 6), only two other Midwestern cities — Cleveland (No. 61) and St. Louis (No. 84) — landed in the top half of our ranking.
Other cities like Kansas City, Kansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Shreveport, Louisiana, fell to the very bottom, alongside Springfield, Missouri, in last place. Each of these four cities has low scores across the board, with few or no celebrations planned and poor safety records.
Southern cities are scattered throughout our ranking. For memorable Lunar New Year celebrations, places like Houston (No. 4) and Austin (No. 9) are your best bet. These two Texas cities have large populations of Asian Americans and plenty of festivals and events to attend.
Whether you prefer gingerbread, springerle, or chunky chocolate chip, freshly baked cookies are a heartwarming trademark of the holiday season.
So, what cities are serving up the best cookies in the U.S.?
To find out, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Cookie Lovers.
They looked for cities with great access to tasty cookies, including late-night cookie vendors and Girl Scout Cookie booths. They also considered TimeOut’s list of “The best cookies in the US,” as well as local interest indicated by Google searches.
Best Cities for Cookie Lovers Rank City 1 Seattle, WA 2 New York, NY 3 Washington, DC 4 Boston, MA 5 San Francisco, CA 6 Sacramento, CA 7 Paterson, NJ 8 Los Angeles, CA 9 Orange, CA 10 Fresno, CA Worst Cities for Cookie Lovers Rank City 1 Amarillo, TX 2 Montgomery, AL 3 Anchorage, AK 4 Durham, NC 5 Rockford, IL 6 Jackson, MS 7 Hampton, VA 8 Bridgeport, CT 9 New Orleans, LA 10 Augusta, GA
West Coast cities took six of our top 10 spots, with Seattle leading the way at No. 1. Seattle has top-quality cookies, with access to plenty of cookie shops, including those open late.
California cities follow closely behind. San Francisco (No. 5) boasts the fifth-highest number of late-night cookie shops per square mile to satisfy anyone who’s up after hours studying, working, or partying.
Sacramento (No. 6) rose to the top with the second-biggest share of highly rated cookie vendors. You can crush your cookie cravings without stepping out the door in Sacramento and Los Angeles (No. 8), which tied with five other cities for the highest number of food delivery services.
Orange (No. 9) has the third-highest number of shops exclusively selling cookies per square mile, and Fresno (No. 10) has the largest share of highly rated cookie vendors.
A batch of East Coast cities baked into our top 10.
After-hours munchies are no big deal in Atlantic-side cities. These cities love their late-night cookie shops and have plenty of them to satisfy their sweet tooths after sunset. New York (No. 2), Washington (No. 3), and Boston (No. 4) each have high access to late-night cookie shops.
New York also stands out as No. 1 in the Popularity category and in access to food delivery services. Additionally, NYC tied with LA for having multiple cookie shops recognized for being the best in the U.S.
It’s easy to find a tasty confection in Boston and Washington, each earning high scores across all Quality metrics. Meanwhile, Paterson, New Jersey (No. 7), has the most cookie vendors per square mile and high scores across the board, except for Popularity and number of food delivery services.
Texans love their Girl Scout Cookies. Five Lone Star State cities — Frisco, Plano, Dallas, McKinney, and Denton — have the highest numbers of Girl Scout Cookie booths, behind Baltimore.
Texas border cities Laredo (No. 26) and Brownsville (No. 25) are home to locally acclaimed cookie shops. Brownsville has the second-highest average consumer rating for all cookie vendors, while Laredo has the third-largest share of highly rated cookie vendors.
Sprawling cities like Houston (No. 24) and Austin (No. 35) might lack Access, but that doesn’t mean residents don’t crave cookies. Cookie Quality and Popularity are high in each of these cities. If you don’t feel like driving to the bakery, let the bakery come to you: Houston and Austin each have access to multiple food delivery services.
Amarillo (No. 200), however, was battered down in the rankings. Residents must prefer baking them at home — this city has low cookie Access, Quality, and Popularity.
Chocolate is wonderful on its own, but this luxurious treat also has the superpower to enhance the flavor of other foods like strawberries, bacon, pretzels, and coffee.
To mark International Chocolate Day on Sept. 13, Lawn Love ranked 190 of the biggest U.S. cities to determine the Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers.
How does San Diego stack up?San Diego’s Rank in Some Key Metrics (1st = Best)
- Number of Chocolate Shops – 5th
- Total Reviews for Chocolate Shops – 3rd
- Number of Chocolate Museums – 4th
Where are the best cities to give in to your chocolate cravings?
Lawn Love ranked 190 of the biggest U.S. cities to determine the Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers.
They looked for cities with abundant chocolate factories and high-quality shops selling chocolate, including chocolatiers, dessert shops, and patisseries. They also considered chocolate-themed entertainment like museums, tours, theme parks, and events.
Melt into International Chocolate Day on Sept. 13 with the city rankings and analysis below.
The meltdown: Key insights
Large cities offer plenty of spots for residents (and tourists alike) to find quality sweets.
New York takes the crown of the chocolate empire at No. 1 overall and in the Access category. The city is swimming in chocolate delicacies, being home to over 100 chocolate shops and the most chocolate manufacturers in the country. NYC also has hundreds more coffee shops and bakeries than any other city, so you don’t need to walk far for a chocolatey surprise.
Las Vegas, at No. 3, is its own Chocolate Sin City, far outnumbering the competition in dessert shops, candy shops, and ice cream shops. Chicago (No. 7) follows closely behind, with the second-highest number of chocolate stores and bakeries.
Meanwhile, smaller cities like Sioux Falls, South Dakota (No. 190), Columbus, Georgia (No. 189), and Mesquite, Texas (No. 188) gave a bittersweet performance overall, with scarce options for their small-town chocolate lovers.
Willy Wonka’s West
While California is better known for its health-food trends, the Golden State has a golden ticket in Access to delicious chocolate.
Indulgent San Francisco (No. 2) is home to industry icon Ghirardelli, in addition to a number of smaller artisans and manufacturers. Head down the coast to SoCal cities Los Angeles (No. 5) and San Diego (No. 9), where you’ll find plenty of patisseries, candy stores, and dessert shops to satisfy your cocoa-flavored cravings.
On the northern end of the West Coast, cities like Seattle (No. 6) and Portland (No. 14) also impress with many high-quality chocolate shops and bakeries, coffee shops, and dessert shops.
Can’t talk about the Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers without mentioning The Sweetest Place on Earth: Hershey, Pennsylvania (No. 4).
Founded by the nation’s most familiar chocolate company, Hershey’s, this town is best known for its chocolatey genesis. Hershey might not have a variety of tasty chocolate shops to choose from, but it’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking for the ultimate chocolate-based entertainment.
If you’re just searching for a good bite of chocolate, you might unexpectedly find it in small cities, such as Des Moines, Iowa (No. 19), Pomona, California (No. 26), and Garden Grove, California (No. 16). Des Moines earns the No. 1 spot in Establishment Quality, with the two Cali suburbs falling closely behind.
Behind the ranking
For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, Lawn Love gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below. They replaced the smallest city in sample with Hershey, Pennsylvania, considering it is a popular tourist destination for chocolate lovers.
Lawn Love then grouped the factors into three categories: Access, Establishment Quality, and Entertainment.
Next, They calculated weighted scores for each city in each category.
Finally, Lawn Love averaged the scores for each metro across all categories. They eliminated 10 cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a total sample size of 190 cities.
The city that earned the highest average score was ranked “Best” (No. 1), while the city with the lowest was ranked “Worst” (No. 190). (Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 190 due to ties.)
Trendy threads, vintage vestures, or sophisticated staples — no matter your style, buying secondhand can give your wallet (and the Earth) a break.
How does San Diego stack up?San Diego’s Rank in Some Key Metrics (1st = Best)
- Consignment Shops – 9th
- Goodwill Outlet Stores – 4th
- Average Monthly Google Searches for “Thrift Store,” “Flea Market,” and “Thrift Store Near Me” Over Past 12 Months – 6th
To come up with the ranking, Lawn Love looked at the number of thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets, Goodwill boutiques, outlets, and other specialty thrift shops in each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities. Lawn Love also considered Google search interest in thrifting-related keywords over the past year.
The full ranking and analysis are available here: https://lawnlove.com/blog/
Why is Lawn Love ranking the Best Cities for Thrifting?
The U.S. secondhand market is projected to see its fastest growth, 24%, this year. And secondhand stores aren’t just great for clothes — they offer many items to freshen up your outdoor living space, too.
Breathe new life into used home improvement materials and outdoor furnishings from flea markets, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and other thrift shops — then hire a local Lawn Love pro to complete your yard’s new look.