2021’s best cities for pumpkin lovers

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Pumpkin nuts (not to be confused with the “pumpkin nut” latte from Starbucks) need somewhere to enjoy the Great Pumpkin this autumn, but where?

LawnStarter ranked 2021’s Best Cities for Pumpkin Lovers ahead of Halloween and National Pumpkin Day on Oct. 26.

We compared nearly 200 of the biggest U.S. cities, looking for easy access to pumpkin patches, lots of pumpkin-related events and high community interest.

We also searched for cities with plenty of bakeries and coffee shops, where you might be lucky enough to find delicious pumpkin treats and pumpkin spice lattes.

Find out which 10 cities squashed the competition (and which 10 had a lack o’ lanterns) below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from our report.

Highlights and Lowlights

  • Portland: City of Roses or City of Pumpkins? Our number one best city for pumpkin lovers is Portland, OR, where you’ll find plenty of pumpkin patches to visit and lots of opportunities to grab a pumpkin spice latte. Portland took the top spot in the “Access” category because its counties have the most pumpkin patches, and it boasts the second-highest number of coffee shops among all the cities in our ranking.

Despite its easy access to pumpkin goodies, Portland ranked #145 in Popularity. That’s because it fell to #159 for (pumpk)inspired events and festivals, even though it ranked at #23 for community interest (based on Google search data). So why isn’t the City of Roses meeting the demand, and where do all the pumpkin lovers go to celebrate their favorite gourds?

  • Día de los Muertos Takes Texas: Texas is one of the largest pumpkin producers in the country, so why did cities in the Lone Star State fare so poorly in our ranking? Houston is the highest-ranking Texas city at #73, and seven others landed in our bottom 10.

Texans seem to have a general lack of interest in pumpkins. Most of the largest Texas cities ranked low for pumpkin-related Google searches and the number of pumpkin-themed events held nearby. Texas might be full of pumpkins, but the pumpkin lovers are elsewhere.

One reason could be the popularity of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Texas. Thanks to neighboring Mexico and the large Latino population, you’re more likely to find Texans celebrating Diá de los Muertos with sugar skulls and marigolds than decorating their front porches with jack-o’-lanterns.

  • Illinois – The Pumpkin State: Illinois produced about 564 million pounds of pumpkins in 2020, making it the largest pumpkin grower in the U.S. by a long shot. For perspective, the country’s next four largest pumpkin producers (California, Indiana, Texas and Virginia) yielded about 400 million pounds combined. You’ll find four Illinois cities in our top 100 best cities for pumpkin lovers, including Aurora (#10), Chicago (#22), Naperville (#41) and Joliet (#70).

All four cities are about a two-hour drive from the small town of Morton, which has been dubbed the Pumpkin Capital of the World since 1978 because around 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin comes from Libby’s Processing Plant in town. Morton wasn’t quite large enough to make it into our ranking, but it’s certainly a must-see site for pumpkin fanatics.

Our full ranking and analysis, along with a fun Pumpkins By the Numbers infographic, can be found here.

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