These towns are taking home the bacon.
Do you live for bottomless mimosas, avocado toast and eggs Benedict? We feel you. There’s just something about that boozy, mid-morning meal that’s worth waiting all week for. Come on, is there any greater signal that it’s time to kick back than a lazy Sunday brunch?
While England can claim the introduction of brunch in the late 19th century, we’ve been getting our brunch on in this country since the 1930s. Needless to say, the trend is here to stay. So, what does it take to crack our list of the best cities for brunch?
Crowning the best cities for brunch
Cracking our top 10 isn’t just a matter of taste — there’s math involved, as well. We looked at the number of brunch restaurants compared to the city’s population, along with the density of said eateries. In other words, if a city has enough brunch spots on the map to resemble a densely–packed chocolate chip pancake, chances are it’ll show up below.
10. Rochester, NY
From sunny alfresco brunch in the spring to cozy stacks of piping hot pancakes in the frigid winters, Rochester is serious about its mid-morning meal. Whether you opt for eggs Benedict at The Frog Pond or a boozy bottomless brunch at Honeoye Falls Distillery, you can find the ideal spot to suit your current mood.
And if that mood is especially hungry (or hungover)? Don’t miss Rochester’s claim to culinary fame: the garbage plate. The heaping plate is traditionally piled with your choice of comfort foods like home fries, pasta salad, baked beans, grilled red hots, cheeseburgers (yes, plural) and/or eggs. So, there you go, this monstrous meal is perfectly suitable for brunch.
Bonus: You should have plenty of room in your budget for brunch on the reg. At $1,523 per month, rent in Rochester is the lowest in our top 10 list.
9. Stamford, CT
Located less than 40 miles from New York City, this harbor-side city offers plenty of waterside dining and fresh seafood — crab Benedict, anyone? Whether you’re looking for classic diner fare or a tony hotel brunch buffet, Stamford has you covered.
One tip: If you’re heading to Elm Street Diner, come hungry. You’ll want plenty of room for hearty fares like chicken and waffles and their incredibly decadent milkshakes. Hey, it’s not indulgent if that’s your only meal of the day, right? With rent prices around $2,317 for a one-bedroom, you may need to spend (and eat) strategically.
8. Alexandria, VA
Located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Alexandria is steeped in colonial history. The quaint city oozes charm that spills over into its eateries. Head over to Old Town to feast on crepes at Fontaine bistro, or go for buttermilk biscuits at Stomping Ground.
So, how much will it cost you to call this quaint city home? Budget around $2,170 a month for a one-bedroom. But keep in mind that Alexandria is one of the Virginia cities where rent has increased the most.
7. Atlanta, GA
Shout out to the home of Rent.com, where we do love to brunch. From down-home comfort food to classy, champagne-fueled affairs, we’ve got a little bit of everything here. While we’re partial to Murphy’s and their malted waffles with Irish whiskey maple syrup.
Ready to see why we love calling Atlanta home? You’ll have 130 brunch spots to choose from, and will pay a reasonable $1,642 per month in rent.
6. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital knows a thing or two about brunch. The top city when it comes to brunch density, Washington, D.C. loves a leisurely weekend meal. Fill up on maple bacon grits and bottomless Bloody Marys at Boundary Stone in Bloomingdale, splurge on raw oysters and chilled lobsters at Le Diplomate or feast on tamarind margaritas and unlimited Indian brunch plates at Indique.
So, what will this embarrassment of brunch riches cost you? Budget in around $2,668 in rent each month.
5. Cambridge, MA
The home of Harvard, MIT and a slew of other schools, Cambridge teems with co-eds who are all about their weekend brunch. Good thing they’ve got 37 brunch spots packed into 32 square miles.
Whether your tastes favor surf and turf eggs Benedict, bagels and lox or a sensible smoothie bowl, you’ll have no trouble finding your new favorite brunch spot. Living amid all of those big brains and killer brunch spots isn’t cheap, unfortunately. Be prepared to pay around $2,994 in monthly rent here, making Cambridge the priciest city in our top 10.
4. Charleston, SC
Low Country cuisine was born for brunch, and Charleston delivers with classic dishes like shrimp and grits. Downtown’s charming cobblestone streets are littered with brunch destinations, as are the surrounding beach towns.
Here in Charleston, you’ll find everything from down-home Southern institutions to high-brow eateries — and everything in between. Looking for a hearty mid-morning meal? Stop by Daps Breakfast & Imbibe for pork cake hash or The Macintosh for bacon with bone marrow bread pudding washed down with brunch punch. Rent in this sought-after city is a reasonable $1,545 per month.
3. Seattle, WA
Have you ever experienced Seattle in the summertime? The glorious views over Puget sound and 75-degree, no-humidity weather provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely weekend brunch. And while alfresco and waterside dining abounds, some of your best bets happen at old standbys. Hit up Glo’s in Capital Hill for salmon Benedict (this is Seattle, after all), or belly up to Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City for chicken fried steak and eggs.
With 170 brunch spots (the most in our top 10), you can try a new spot every weekend. It’ll take some time to sample all of Seattle’s brunch fare, so why not find the perfect neighborhood and settle in for a while? Rent will set you back around $2,468 per month.
2. Berkeley, CA
Located across the bay from San Francisco, laid-back Berkeley is a fantastic place to brunch. Yes, the city tends to be pretty healthy, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on flavor. Whether you head to Rick and Ann’s Restaurant for the curry tofu scramble or opt for lemon gingerbread pancakes with poached pears at La Note, expect creative brunch fare that packs a flavorful punch.
If your taste buds are tempted to call Berkeley home, budget in around $2,178 per month for rent in one of the best cities for foodies in America.
1. Minneapolis, MN
If you’re not scared off by frigid Midwestern winters, you’ll be rewarded in Minneapolis with glorious summers and the country’s best brunch scene. With 108 brunch spots spread across the City of Lakes, Minneapolis delivers big when it comes to brunch.
So, what’s on the menu? You’ve got scones and gravy at The Lynhall, Cuban hash at Victor’s 1959 Café and buttermilk biscuits and gravy at the Tiny Diner. And that’s just for starters.
There’s no better city in the country to indulge in brunch, and to make Minneapolis even more enticing, the average rent for a one-bedroom is priced among the lowest on our top 10, coming in at $1,473 per month for a one-bedroom.
Top 50 cities for brunch
Looking to live in a region that’s not represented in our top 10? Not to worry. Our top 50 cities for brunch cast a wider net, so you can feed your brunch obsession in the far corners.
Top 10 brunch cities per capita
If ratios are your thing, consider these 10 cities with the most brunch restaurants per resident (per 100,000 residents, if you want to get technical). Translation? There’s a good chance you’ll never have a long wait for a table in these cities, as there are plenty of brunch options to go around.
Top 10 brunch cities per density
Remember that chocolate chip pancake (map) reference? If you’re looking for a city where a brunch crawl is a real possibility, look no further. These 10 cities have the most brunch places per square mile in the country.
And now we must nap…
OK, all this number crunching, mimosa sipping and pancake sampling has us feeling a bit…yawn. A final word. Don’t fret if living in one of these stellar brunch cities isn’t in the cards at the moment. Nobody is stopping you from creating your own epic brunch tradition in whatever city you happen to call home.
The DIY approach has some serious upsides: You can wear your PJs to the table, nobody has to drive and your post-brunch nap is only steps away.
To determine the best cities for brunch, we looked at all cities in the country with more than 100,000 people according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 estimates and then used a database of 8 million commercially licensed business listings to find the total number of restaurants in each area that self-advertise brunch service. These listings may not reflect recent business closures.
We then ranked all 311 cities on our list by the number of brunch restaurants per capita and brunch restaurant density per square mile of land area. Both factors were weighted evenly, and the locations with the best overall score were determined to be the best cities for brunch.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in October 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.