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8 Cities With The Best Bakery Scenes

Looking to explore a city’s sweet side? Look no further. These eight cities are home to some of the best bakeries in the country.

By Claire Hannum on October 7, 2021

Stock photo of a bakery case filled with pastries
iStock/devteev

Bar crawls and restaurant visits are a great way to get to know a city, but when you get down to it, a destination’s true heart is in its desserts. Any city where you can find a pastry made with love is a city where you can make yourself at home and forever satisfy your sweet tooth in the process. These US cities have some of the top bakery scenes in the country, with legendary local sweets you simply can’t leave without trying.

1. Cedar Rapids, IA

Cedar Rapids’ vibrant Czech and Slovak communities make for a rich cultural heritage – and some tasty treats. The city specializes in kolaches, a Central European pastry made of fluffy dough and a rich filling of fruit or savory goodies. Get them hot at Sykora Bakery, Golden Delight Bakery, The Kettel House, or the aptly named My Mom’s Bakery in nearby Ely.

2. Honolulu, HI

As if beautiful beaches and endless sunny days weren’t enough, Honolulu is also home to some of the best malasadas in the US. These donut-like Portuguese pastries are a local staple thanks to Hawaii’s Portuguese community. Leonard’s Bakery draws crowds every day of the week lining up for the confections and even disperses “Malasada Mobiles” throughout Honolulu for quick treats on the go. Liliha Bakery, a 70-year-old institution, also stocks delectable malasadas alongside other unforgettable treats. If you want to try a whole new ballgame to supplement your malasadas, check out Holey Grail Donuts, which changed the Honolulu pastry scene by serving up taro-based donuts.

3. Fargo, ND

Fargo is the home of an iconic American sweet: the chocolate-covered potato chip, or as they’re called around these parts, Chippers. If you’ve never tried one for yourself, trust us: you’ll love the perfect combination of sweet and salty flavors. Make a beeline for Widman’s Candy Shop to try some for yourself.

4. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte gives a new meaning to the concept of southern hospitality. With top-notch cookies and cupcakes at hotspots like Honey Butter Bakery, Sweetest Thing Bake Shop, and Cosmic Cookie Bakery, your sweet tooth will want for nothing. And for mornings when you wake up craving a taste of Europe, Renaissance Patisserie offers an array of intricate French pastries, including the city’s only selection of Kouign-Amanns!

5. Albuquerque, NM

A trip to New Mexico isn’t complete unless you eat your weight in sopapillas, a light-as-air fried pastry with Spanish heritage that can be enjoyed sweet or savory. Padilla’s Mexican Kitchen and Sadie’s offer up some of the best sopapillas in Albuquerque. They’re the perfect snack to enjoy after a chile-filled New Mexico meal.

6. Green Bay, WI

Wisconsin’s state pastry is a little something called a kringle: a Scandinavian pastry that is something like a sweet, lightweight variation on a pretzel. The kringle epicenter is Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe in Green Bay. Uncle Mike’s was named the creator of the country’s best kringle, and after just one bite, you’ll see why.

7. Buffalo, NY

Buffalo is the birthplace of the pastry heart, a buttery concoction of French pastry dough shaped into a heart with a heaping layer of frosting. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pastry heart anywhere outside of Buffalo, but here, holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter (or “just because” days!) wouldn’t be the same without it. Luigi’s Bakery, Chrusciki Bakery, and Eileen’s Centerview Bakery are great places to try it for yourself.

8. Lafayette, LA

Lafayette offers up the very best of all the sweet treats Louisiana is famous for – and then some. With tasty destinations like T-Coon’s and Cajun Market Donut Co, you’ll never want for powdered sugar or fried, gooey goodness around these parts. For French delicacies (including king cakes when Mardi Gras rolls around), stop by Poupart Bakery, a local institution that’s been offering up Acadian treats since the ’60s.

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