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The humble pizza has spread its influence from one original New York City outpost to the rest of the US where almost every city has palaces, places, and parlors dedicated to the humble pie. Today, brigades of pizzaioli display their dough-spinning arts in kitchens nationwide.
You’ve likely tried a New York City slice, but have you toured Cleveland’s Little Italy, or hopped on Chicago’s pizza history luxury bus? Have you dined on Neapolitan pizza in the heart of San Francisco? If you’ve ever wondered how to organize a trip purely around pizza, here’s how—from one pizza-obsessed coast to another.
What could be better than tasting freshly-made mozzarella, checking out a classic Italian bakery, and listening to stories about New York’s Little Italy neighborhood? Add pizza to the mix by visiting one of the oldest pizzerias in the US. Some say this is where the first pizza in the US was born.
Once you’ve seen Little Italy, it’s time to explore farther afield. Thankfully, there are first-rate pizzerias all over town. Move from Little Italy to Greenwich Village, where you can explore the post-bohemian scene, learn about the neighborhood’s cultural history, and sample slices from Neapolitan to Sicilian.
Still in New York City, cross the East River into Brooklyn and Williamsburg, a foodie hotspot if New York has ever had one. In Williamsburg, you can taste your way through neighborhood specialties from Polish sausages to southern barbecue and homemade ice cream before visiting the star of the show: a local favorite pizza joint simply called “Best Pizza.”
Boston’s best pizza scene is in The North End, where Little Italy and the Freedom Trail converge. Here, visitors can see where the American Revolution began, walking among historic buildings from the Paul Revere House to the USS Constitution while tasting top pizza slices along the way. There’s no better combo in town.
Lesser known than the Italian-American neighborhoods in New York City and Boston, Cleveland’s Little Italy sits on the east side of town along a historic section of Mayfield Road. Like the neighborhood, the pizza scene here is vastly underrated. It’s home to some of Cleveland’s best Italian food—think homemade pasta and thin-crust Neapolitan pizza fired up in brick wood-burning ovens.
The deep dish may reign supreme, but Chicago’s pizza obsession is made from mixed ingredients. On late Saturday mornings, guides on the Pizza History and Tastings bus teach travelers about the city’s 10 favorite types of pizza, and take them to various neighborhoods to sample four varieties. Of all the ways to eat pizza in Chi-Town, this one—that lets you sample so many in one tour—takes the, well, pizza pie.
If you’re visiting Chicago, you might ask yourself: “Is this a pizza or hot dog town?” Thankfully, you don’t have to choose one or the other on this downtown food and walking tour of the ultimate Chi-town favorite food combo—stuffed deep-dish pizza and Chicago hot dogs. Upgrade the experience with pours of local beer for a true taste of the Windy City.
Not too long ago, kitchen kingmakers crowned San Diego among the top pizza cities in the US. Thanks to an influx of chefs from Italy, who have imported old-world know-how, San Diego is now one of the top cities on the US pizza map. The best pizza spots are in—you guessed it—San Diego’s Little Italy, a harborside, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood north of the Gaslamp Quarter.
San Diego’s Little Italy is a heavy tourist draw—it can be hard for visitors to tell the traps from the authentic pizza spots. This tour can help avoid the guesswork and find the local gems. Get the neighborhood low-down, visit a historic house once owned by a prominent Italian fisherman, and tuck into some of the West Coast’s finest pizza.
Explore the world-class pizza scene in the Pearl District, a historic neighborhood straddling Portland’s Old Town and the Willamette River. This 2-mile (3.2 kilometers) walking adventure through the heart of Portland makes stops to sample at least half a dozen pies from a handful of trendy pizzerias—from street-corner parlors to cozy spots serving pizza with focaccia and cocktails.