2022’s Best Cities for Pumpkin Lovers

Woman making pumpkin pie on her kitchen island in the foreground; a pumpkin sits on the kitchen counter in the background

You don’t have to wait for the Great Pumpkin to appear to start enjoying all things pumpkin. After all, pumpkin spice season started months ago. 

To mark National Pumpkin Day on Oct. 26, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities for Pumpkin Lovers.

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on seven pumpkin-friendliness factors. We looked for cities with easy access to pumpkin patches, pumpkin treats and beverages, and pumpkin-related events.

Check out the best cities for pumpkin nuts in our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights.

Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. The Gourd, the Bad, and the Ugly
  3. Pumpkins by the Numbers
  4. Ask the Experts
  5. Behind the Ranking
  6. Carve Out Your Pumpkin-Filled Holiday Plans

City Rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Overall Rank (1=Best)CityStateOverall ScoreAccess RankEvents RankInterest Rank
1Portland, OROR52.0611222
2Los Angeles, CACA51.39412
3New York, NYNY48.951111
4Miami, FLFL43.6510112
5Seattle, WAWA42.042127
6Worcester, MAMA39.65312172
7Las Vegas, NVNV35.6132114
8Chicago, ILIL32.786123
9Aurora, ILIL32.08512172
10San Diego, CACA31.567128
11Pittsburgh, PAPA31.3064133
12Dallas, TXTX31.296715
13Peoria, AZAZ30.03812127
14Tempe, AZAZ30.0191296
15Phoenix, AZAZ29.5713129
16Milwaukee, WIWI29.24121234
17San Francisco, CACA27.37171217
18Mesa, AZAZ27.25141253
19Glendale, AZAZ26.891512108
20Chandler, AZAZ26.77161296
21Bellevue, WAWA26.60181296
22Scottsdale, AZAZ26.56191291
23Santa Rosa, CACA25.51941159
24Surprise, AZAZ25.332012188
25Oceanside, CACA25.192112159
26Providence, RIRI24.862212108
27Rochester, NYNY24.70231256
28Chula Vista, CACA24.392412108
29Grand Rapids, MIMI24.18271256
30Escondido, CACA24.002512159
30Pasadena, CACA24.002612127
32Houston, TXTX23.6531124
33Long Beach, CACA22.76291251
34Reno, NVNV22.46119178
35San Antonio, TXTX22.3733129
36Elk Grove, CACA21.661271159
37Torrance, CACA21.503012159
38Salinas, CACA21.011341188
39Kansas City, MOMO20.82351241
40Madison, WIWI20.68341263
41Columbus, OHOH20.56411219
42Washington, DCDC20.53281223
43Atlanta, GAGA20.50441216
44Orange, CACA20.383612172
45Glendale, CACA20.313712127
46Boston, MAMA20.27421224
47Baltimore, MDMD20.12451224
48Huntington Beach, CACA20.113812159
49Salem, OROR20.04391291
50Santa Clarita, CACA19.91401278
51San Jose, CACA19.83471219
52Anaheim, CACA19.71431269
53Raleigh, NCNC19.64461234
54Minneapolis, MNMN19.44521218
55Santa Ana, CACA19.05481271
56Irvine, CACA18.97491265
57Fort Lauderdale, FLFL18.87511258
58Fullerton, CACA18.715012147
59Pomona, CACA18.615412127
60Lancaster, CACA18.595312172
61Palmdale, CACA18.475512172
62Buffalo, NYNY18.47581245
63Garden Grove, CACA18.435612172
64Sunnyvale, CACA18.225712124
65Philadelphia, PAPA17.8866129
66Naperville, ILIL17.875912127
67Thornton, COCO17.776012127
68Durham, NCNC17.69621291
68Syracuse, NYNY17.69611296
70Hollywood, FLFL17.68631285
71Fort Worth, TXTX17.33651229
72Henderson, NVNV16.50691278
73Oxnard, CACA16.416812159
74Joliet, ILIL16.067012172
75Aurora, COCO15.90711265
76Bridgeport, CTCT15.717212188
77Pembroke Pines, FLFL15.557312115
78North Las Vegas, NVNV15.497412127
79St. Louis, MOMO15.48761241
80Hialeah, FLFL15.257512147
81Salt Lake City, UTUT15.19771241
82Riverside, CACA14.83781258
83Tampa, FLFL14.82791229
84Denver, COCO14.80821213
85Corona, CACA14.038012127
86Montgomery, ALAL13.931971188
87Miramar, FLFL13.908112147
88Grand Prairie, TXTX13.598312147
89Sacramento, CACA13.43871226
90Orlando, FLFL13.39891221
91Detroit, MIMI13.25861246
92Oakland, CACA13.14841264
93Austin, TXTX13.10951214
94Tulsa, OKOK12.95881258
95Carrollton, TXTX12.918512188
96Tacoma, WAWA12.65901265
97Moreno Valley, CACA12.469112147
98Fort Collins, COCO12.419212122
99Springfield, MAMA12.229312172
100Tucson, AZAZ11.91961238
101Indianapolis, ININ11.53991226
102Dayton, OHOH11.38971296
103Warren, MIMI10.959812198
104Cleveland, OHOH10.831021226
105Vancouver, WAWA10.721001273
106Pasadena, TXTX10.5410112188
107Omaha, NENE10.521051241
108Ontario, CACA10.251041285
109Charlotte, NCNC10.23123126
110Alexandria, VAVA10.221031296
111Bakersfield, CACA10.171081252
112West Valley City, UTUT10.1410612147
113Arlington, TXTX10.111071271
114Little Rock, ARAR9.9410912108
115San Bernardino, CACA9.931111290
116Fontana, CACA9.8911012115
117Garland, TXTX9.8411212115
118Louisville, KYKY9.841151249
119Rancho Cucamonga, CACA9.7511312147
120Akron, OHOH9.6211412127
121Hayward, CACA9.4411612127
122Eugene, OROR9.2911712122
123Plano, TXTX9.231181278
124Fresno, CACA9.171221246
125Cincinnati, OHOH9.141261234
126Oklahoma City, OKOK9.121211249
127Yonkers, NYNY8.9012012127
128Jacksonville, FLFL8.831281229
129Frisco, TXTX8.761251285
130Chesapeake, VAVA8.7312412127
131Overland Park, KSKS8.381291275
132Jersey City, NJNJ8.341301278
133Fremont, CACA8.061311275
134Des Moines, IAIA7.961321296
135Lincoln, NENE7.861331296
136Memphis, TNTN7.601361258
137Fort Wayne, ININ7.511351296
138Roseville, CACA7.3713712159
139Olathe, KSKS7.3313812188
140Greensboro, NCNC7.321411278
141Springfield, MOMO7.3214012124
142Colorado Springs, COCO7.291441248
143Mesquite, TXTX7.2813912172
144Wichita, KSKS7.211421278
145Stockton, CACA7.081431285
146Spokane, WAWA6.971461273
147St. Paul, MNMN6.951491238
148Charleston, SCSC6.9014512124
149St. Petersburg, FLFL6.731471275
150Lakewood, COCO6.661481291
151Corpus Christi, TXTX6.491501285
152Knoxville, TNTN6.281511265
153Boise City, IDID6.181521291
154Virginia Beach, VAVA5.941551253
155Toledo, OHOH5.9115412127
156Sioux Falls, SDSD5.8915312159
157Nashville, TNTN5.731611229
158Denton, TXTX5.6115612127
159New Orleans, LALA5.591581269
160Huntsville, ALAL5.5115712127
161Modesto, CACA5.4915912108
162Paterson, NJNJ5.3716012172
163Richmond, VAVA5.171641253
164Murfreesboro, TNTN5.1516212115
165Cape Coral, FLFL5.0416312187
166Winston-Salem, NCNC4.9016512127
167Irving, TXTX4.8416612115
168Rockford, ILIL4.6916712188
169Jackson, MSMS4.6616812172
170Albuquerque, NMNM4.641721238
171Newark, NJNJ4.6416912147
172Chattanooga, TNTN4.4917112127
173Shreveport, LALA4.4617012188
174Birmingham, ALAL4.121751258
175McKinney, TXTX4.0717312147
176Amarillo, TXTX3.9217412159
177Lexington, KYKY3.891761296
178Norfolk, VAVA3.7317712159
179Clarksville, TNTN3.6817812159
180Killeen, TXTX3.6417912127
181Baton Rouge, LALA3.6318012108
182Lubbock, TXTX3.5118112108
183El Paso, TXTX3.231831237
184McAllen, TXTX2.9318212172
185Savannah, GAGA2.771841296
186Hampton, VAVA2.0218512198
187Waco, TXTX1.8618612172
188Tallahassee, FLFL1.831881296
189Mobile, ALAL1.8218712147
190Midland, TXTX1.6418912188
191Augusta, GAGA1.6219012172
192Port St. Lucie, FLFL1.6019112127
193Anchorage, AKAK1.4719312121
194Brownsville, TXTX1.4419412147
195Columbus, GAGA1.4319212172
196Newport News, VAVA0.9919512159
197Fayetteville, NCNC0.7919612127
198Kansas City, KSKS0.3419812147
199Laredo, TXTX0.2420012115
200Macon, GAGA0.2419912198
Infographic showing the Best Cities for Pumpkin Lovers, a ranking based on access to pumpkin patches, community interest, events, and more
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics in the above infographic.

The Gourd, the Bad, and the Ugly

(Pumpk)inspired Portland, Oregon

Step aside, Floydada, Texas, and Morton, Illinois! You might be the national and world capitals of pumpkin, but for the second consecutive year, the City of Roses — or better yet the City of Pumpkins — reigns supreme as our No. 1 destination for pumpkin lovers. (Now, don’t let that go to your melon, either, Portland!)

Taking the pumpkin cake in the “Access” category, Portland boasts the highest number of pumpkin patches, in addition to bakeries, coffee shops, and breweries galore serving up pumpkin-flavored goodies.

Portland’s residents have the appetite to match the city’s breadth of choice in pumpkin spots, too: Portland ranked No. 22 overall in Google searches for keywords related to their favorite fall treat.

Go Big or Gourd Home

Big cities squashed the competition this year, which caught us off gourd.

In 2021, our top pumpkin cities varied from large population centers like New York to small towns like Bridgeport, Connecticut. This year, however, major cities like Los Angeles (No. 2), Miami (No. 4), and Chicago (No. 8) dominated our top 10.

That’s because of a major recalculation of our ranking that gave bigger cities the upper hand, especially in Access. 

Smaller cities might boast relatively more pumpkin patches because they generally have more land, but larger cities are packed with more options for pumpkin treats. Pumpkin fans also tend to visit farms significantly fewer times per year than their favorite pumpkin hangouts in their neighborhood.

Rough Patch for the South

You’d think the pie-loving South would be a better region for pumpkin lovers, but you’d be wrong. 

Making up our bottom 10 cities are mostly Southern cities. Kansas City, Kansas (third worst), and Anchorage, Alaska (eighth worst), are the two exceptions. In last place is Macon, Georgia, bested by Laredo, Texas, by a mere 0.003 points, but that’s nothing to gloat about when Texas’ state squash is literally the pumpkin.

There’s a perfectly logical explanation to this outcome, though. The South is notoriously bad for growing pumpkins, mostly because of extreme heat and humidity in the region. Disease is another problem.

For example, farmers in South Georgia struggle to grow pumpkins compared with those hailing from North Georgia, where the climate is less punishing. That bears out in our ranking: Savannah, for instance, ranked No. 185 overall, whereas Atlanta managed to pull way ahead at No. 43.

Pumpkins by the Numbers

Infographic showing the various pumpkin-related stats about pumpkin history, U.S. consumption, state pumpkin production, and more

Ask The Experts

We all know pumpkins make a tasteful fall decoration and lots of tasty treats, but what else do you know about them?

Our panel of experts take a deep dive into the world of pumpkins, from how to grow them to what to do with your jack-o’-lanterns once November rolls around. Read their thoughts on the following questions below.

  1. Do you consider pumpkin a superfood? Why or why not?
  2. Would you say pumpkins are easy or difficult to grow compared with other fruits and vegetables? What makes them easier or more difficult?
  3. What are your best tips for a novice gardener starting their own pumpkin patch in the backyard? In which regions are homegrown pumpkins more likely to thrive?
  4. Which variety of pumpkin would you say is the best for home gardeners and why?
  5. What can home gardeners do to make their pumpkins grow larger?
  6. How does waste from decorative pumpkins impact the environment? What can pumpkin lovers do differently this year to reduce their carbon footprint?
  7. What are some great pumpkin recipes everyone should try?
Benjamin Phillips
Vegetable Crops Educator, Vegetable Specialist
Thomas Turini
Vegetable Crops Advisor
Mimi M. Enright
Program Manager, UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County & Community Food Systems
Benjamin Phillips
Vegetable Crops Educator, Vegetable Specialist
Michigan State University Extension, Southwest Michigan Research & Extension Center

Do you consider pumpkin a superfood? Why or why not?

When I hear the word “superfood” it means “tastes bad.” I would not consider squash a superfood by that definition. It’s just good and adaptable to several types of dishes, both in the summertime and in the fall or winter. In fact, so many of the dishes that involve squash also involve copious amounts of butter, sugar, or salt. So, calling it a superfood doesn’t seem right.

Would you say pumpkins are easy or difficult to grow compared with other fruits and vegetables? What makes them easier or more difficult?

There are three species of squash. Some people use the word “pumpkin” interchangeably with “squash,” and others only refer to decorative jack-o-lantern types are pumpkins. The three types are:

  1. Cucurbita pepo, which includes acorns, delicatas, spaghettis, zucchini, yellow summer squash, and most typical-looking jack-o-lanterns
  2. Cucurbita maxima, which includes Hubbards, turbans, buttercups, kabocha, Jarrahdale, and some of the largest contest-size jack-o-lanterns.
  3. Cucurbita moschata, which includes butternuts, fairytales, and cheese.

The easiest one of those to grow is Cucurbita moschata, the butternut group. They are less prone to diseases and insect pests. There aren’t as many colors to choose from in the butternut group, but the true butternut types are the most versatile in the kitchen with a round seed cavity for scooping like an acorn, and a long neck for cubing and dicing for soups.

Other jack-o-lantern-shaped moschata types are grown commercially for processing into purees for baby food and pie filling. Most of what we eat in this format is from a butternut type because of their ease of growing.

The hardest of those to grow are the Cucurbita maxima types. Some maxima varieties don’t germinate well, they take up the most space when they do sprout, and all of them are quite vulnerable to insects and diseases as they grow. But they offer the longest shelf life once their shells harden and the strongest winter squash flavor. It used to be the preferred processing squash but was replaced with moschata types because of how much they struggle.

Cucurbita pepo varieties fall somewhere in the middle, but it is this species that has a few varieties bred for hull-less seeds for pressing oils and snacking, and several varieties have been bred to be bushier and more compact. There is more diversity in shape, color, and use with pepo varieties. A lot of the small ornamental gourds with spots, stripes, fluted edges, and warts come from this species.

The hardest thing about growing any squash plant is the space that they need. At a minimum, some bush-like pepo varieties need 10 square feet, and at most, some maxima varieties need almost 40 square feet per plant.

What are your best tips for a novice gardener starting their own pumpkin patch in the backyard? In which regions are homegrown pumpkins more likely to thrive?

Give them lots of space in full sun.

Which variety of pumpkin would you say is the best for home gardeners and why?

Butternut is the best because of its adaptability and utility in the kitchen.

What can home gardeners do to make their pumpkins grow larger?

Start with varieties that are supposed to be large (20 lbs. or more), fertilize them with one-quarter pound of urea per 100 sq. ft. two times about six weeks apart, water them a little to get started, and they will take care of the rest.

How does waste from decorative pumpkins impact the environment? What can pumpkin lovers do differently this year to reduce their carbon footprint?

Grow bush types if you want to use less space, fertilizer, and water. Compost vines and fruit when you are done, or let the squirrels and deer take care of the fruit for you.

What are some great pumpkin recipes everyone should try?

Any of the winter squash varieties can be picked young as a summer squash or zucchini substitute, and then other fruits on their vines can be allowed to ripen fully as a winter squash.

Butternuts have a longer shape than most other winter squashes and so they handle more like a zucchini or yellow squash if you choose to harvest them early.

Also, something I learned from my in-laws is to poke holes in a slice of pumpkin pie with your fork, and then pour about 1 oz of bourbon into it. That’s delicious.

Thomas Turini
Vegetable Crops Advisor
University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension Fresno County

Would you say pumpkins are easy or difficult to grow compared with other fruits and vegetables? What makes them easier or more difficult?

Compared to other vegetables, pumpkins are relatively easy to grow. Depending upon temperatures and variety, seeding to fruit maturity is 90-120 days.

What are your best tips for a novice gardener starting their own pumpkin patch in the backyard? In which regions are homegrown pumpkins more likely to thrive?

Site selection and water management can make the difference between success and failure. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or part shade.

Regions with well-drained soils, dry conditions during the summer, and warm but not extremely hot temperatures are optimum for pumpkin production. Under rainy conditions, there will be greater challenges with plant diseases caused by bacteria and fungi. In areas with extremely high temperatures, such as in the southwestern desert areas, whitefly damage and issues with fruit set due to high temperatures can make summer production very difficult.

Which variety of pumpkin would you say is the best for home gardeners and why?

Most pumpkins produce large vines and require 8-12 ft. per plant. One of the more common varieties is Howden, which produces orange fruit of 15-25 lbs. on a vine that can easily reach 8-10 ft. in diameter. Jack O’ Lantern produces an orange fruit of a similar size.

What can home gardeners do to make their pumpkins grow larger?

Pumpkins range in size from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds and the greatest influence on size is varietal selection, but within varieties, soil fertility, water availability, and temperature can have an influence on fruit size. There are several species that are considered pumpkins, and the fruit ranges dramatically in size, shape, and color.

How does waste from decorative pumpkins impact the environment? What can pumpkin lovers do differently this year to reduce their carbon footprint?

To minimize the impact to the environment, pumpkin waste can be mixed into compost piles with leaves and other organic waste, and eventually, it will break down.

Mimi M. Enright
Program Manager, UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County & Community Food Systems
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension

Do you consider pumpkin a superfood? Why or why not?

Pumpkins are high in vitamins (A, B1, and B6) and minerals.

Would you say pumpkins are easy or difficult to grow compared with other fruits and vegetables? What makes them easier or more difficult?

Growing pumpkins is very time-oriented –– starting early enough in spring (March on the coast and April inland, after frost) to get good growth before the heat starts and plenty of growing time during and after the heat cools down.

Pumpkins can climb, they can sprawl, or they can flow down a hill, so you need space. As long as they get consistent water at their base, plenty of compost (manure or compost tea are helpful), and plenty of sunshine they are pretty easy to grow.

What are your best tips for a novice gardener starting their own pumpkin patch in the backyard?

In which regions are homegrown pumpkins more likely to thrive? Since pumpkins take up a lot of space, it is important to reserve an area for vines to spread when you plan your summer garden. Consistent water is important, especially inland. Pumpkins do best on the coast because of the moderate temps with little or no frost.

Which variety of pumpkin would you say is the best for home gardeners and why?

Starting out with very small varieties is very satisfying as the yield is huge. Growing large pumpkins are dependent on variety. Study seed packet descriptions or seed catalogs to get the size you want. Seeds from friends that grow large pumpkins are helpful. Here are some of our favorites that do well for us in Sonoma County, California:

  1. Big Max: 50-100 pounds; favored for creative carving.
  2. Cinderella (Rouge d’Etampes): 20-25 pounds; favored for cooking and baking; is flattened, deep red-orange; 10 in. in diameter.
  3. Jack-be-Little: 3 in. across and 2 in. high; miniature, decorative fruit
  4. Small Sugar: 5-6 pounds; the classic choice for pumpkin pies.
  5. Baby Bear and Bushkin: a few feet long; small-medium-sized fruits; their sweet flesh is prized for baking; suitable for growing in a container
  6. Jack O’Lantern and Autumn Gold: intermediate sizes; good for carving or cooking.
  7. Dill’s Atlantic Giant: 400-500+ pound mammoth pumpkins; not true pumpkins, but a related species of winter squash

What can home gardeners do to make their pumpkins grow larger?

Large pumpkins need lots of room, and removing some of the flowers or small pumpkins will send energy into growing very large pumpkins. Encourage production of one or more large pumpkins by pruning off smaller ones. Vines will then send energy to the remaining fruits.

Wait, however, until undesired fruits reach 4-6 inches in size to allow time for plants to self-prune, then nurture the remaining fruits.

How does waste from decorative pumpkins impact the environment? What can pumpkin lovers do differently this year to reduce their carbon footprint?

Giving pumpkins to livestock, wildlife, or compost piles is sustainable. Eating pumpkins and their seeds (roasted) is a healthy, nutritious, and delicious snack.

What are some great pumpkin recipes everyone should try?

Pies, breads, ice creams, lattes, stew in pumpkins (Argentine favorite).

Here are more hints & tips for successful pumpkin growing from the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County: https://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/Food_Gardening/Additional_KG_Articles/Pumpkins

Behind the Ranking

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below. 

We then grouped those factors into three categories: Access, Events, and Interest.

Next, we calculated weighted scores for each city in each category. 

Finally, we averaged the scores for each city across all categories. 

The city that earned the highest average score was ranked “Best” (No. 1), while the city with the lowest was ranked “Worst” (No. 200).

Notes: 

  • The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties among cities.
  • “Pumpkin-related keywords” include “pumpkins,” “pumpkin recipe,” and “National Pumpkin Day.”
MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Access
Number of Pumpkin Patches6040Max. Value
Number of Farmers Markets20167Max. Value
Bakeries per Square Mile202.98Max. Value
Coffee Shops per Square Mile10.026.12Max. Value
Number of Breweries Serving Pumpkin or Pumpkin Spice Beer1011Max. Value
Events
Number of Pumpkin-Related Events201Max. Value
Interest
Average Google Searches for Pumpkin-Related Keywords Over Past Month113010690Max. Value

Sources: BreweryDB, East TN Family Fun, Google Ads, PumpkinPatchesAndMore.org, TripAdvisor, and Yelp

Carve Out Your Pumpkin-Filled Holiday Plans

A delicious and gourdgeous holiday season is all about careful planning.

Here are a few more tips on how to stretch the life of your pumpkins so you can enjoy your favorite gourd throughout the fall and winter holidays:

Time your pumpkin purchase right. 

Buy your gourd about one week before carving it. For best results, choose a heavy, externally flawless pumpkin. The stem should be fresh, green, and 3 to 5 inches long, not dry. They’ll last longer in cooler weather, too.

Pick the right pumpkin.

Pumpkins are like snowflakes: Each is unique — and not just in terms of looks. Different pumpkins are used for filling pies (mostly from Morton, Illinois) versus carving jack-o’-lanterns. You can still use your decorative pumpkins for fall dishes, but they likely won’t taste as flavorful or produce as much pulp.

There’s a third kind of pumpkin: Craft, faux pumpkins that you can carve and decorate without dealing with all the gutsy mess.

Don’t discard your pumpkins right away. 

Save the pumpkin guts and seeds. Roast the seeds for a tasty and nutritious snack, and use the guts to make pumpkin bread, soup, cider, and other dishes. You’ll find that your body loves pumpkins as much as you do — pumpkin is an excellent source of nutrients!

Upcycle your pumpkins.

If you don’t want to carve your pumpkins, paint them instead. Pumpkins can last up to 3 months if stored under the right conditions. That means you can reuse them for decoration when the winter holidays roll around. Here are 60 ideas to inspire you.

Check out more creative ideas for using your pumpkins post-Halloween from LawnStarter. 

Want your pumpkins and other fall decorations to stand out this year? Surround them with a lush, healthy, and trim lawn with help from LawnStarter’s local pros. When you’re ready for the decorations to come down, we have you covered for post-Halloween yard cleanups, too.


Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer, editor, and classical literature student based in Colorado. When she isn't reading or writing, she enjoys goofing off with her cats and spending time in nature.