So you had a little too much to drink. Say you wake up, a splitting headache, a strange place, and there’s a tiger in your bathroom. As are the wise words of Phil from The Hangover Movie, “To a night the four of us will never forget!” These “unforgettable nights” sometimes cost us a little more than the mai tai from the day before, when we’re nursing ourselves back to pre-hangover health.
Apart from the Hollywood film, hangovers are no laughing matter, but there are ways to fix yourself up and get on your way. Some cities do this better than others, offering places like IV hydration clinics to right the wrongs of your dehydration-inducing decisions. On the other hand, there are cities across the US with dive bars abound and only a few pharmacies in sight for purchasing Pedialyte and Advil.
It’s worth planning your wild nights out with recovery in mind. That’s why we’re giving you the best and worst cities for hangovers. Don’t worry, if you’re still feeling the effects from last night, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you so all you have to do is choose your city (and drink) of choice.
We looked at the 20 most populated cities across the US and evaluated them against four hangover factors. The two positive factors, access to IV hydration therapy and availability of 24-hour food joints, were then weighed against the two negatives, or hangover-inducing, factors of bar density and excessive alcohol consumption rates.
San Jose won “best place to have a hangover” with a score of 100, followed by Phoenix at 97.8
Not far away, San Francisco was confirmed to be the worst hangover city
Factors like IV hydration clinics, 24-hour food joints, and binge drinking rates were calculated into the overall score
The Best City for Curing your Hangover
Keep the pain away in San Jose! California’s third most populated city earns itself the number one place of hangover recovery across the country. The Golden State at large has already earned itself a reputation for homeopathy, new-age medicine, and $18 smoothies so it makes sense that one of its cities takes pride in post-hangover health.
Weighing out the four main factors for top hangover cures: quantity of IV hydration clinics, availability of 24-hour food joints, and low levels of bar density and excessive alcohol consumption rates, earned San Jose the highest hangover score: 100.
Beyond the main hangover points, San Jose boasts a number of hangover helpers. The sun shines 300 days out of the year there, allowing all who visit to sweat out the sins of the night before and soak up the vitamin D.
San Jose is also known for its wine production, where the majority of alcohol consumption consists of this beverage. According to the National Institute of Health, amongst the most binged drinks by beverage type, beer accounted for 67.1%, liquor for 21.9%, and wine accounted for 10.9% of binge drinks consumed. So to say, San Jose’s top drink of choice, wine, is the least binge-able alcoholic beverage. Sip, sip, hooray to no hangovers!
Best Spot for a Hydrating Post-Hangover Boost
IV hydration clinics are becoming quite the thing in the US. In 2022, the IV hydration market was valued at 2.32 Million USD. Its rapidly growing popularity is making it a top choice for many trying to quickly treat their hangovers. Of the factors contributing to our Hangover Score, IV hydration clinics were positively noted to help the cause. Which cities are best known to replace their tequila shots with electrolytes?
With 65 IV hydration clinics (adjusted per capita) Denver, Colorado ranks number one in this aspect (number 4 overall). The second city with the most IV clinics per capita was Phoenix, Arizona.
Which Cities are Best for the “Drunchies”?
Lovingly called the drunk munchies, a comfort Taco Bell order at 2 am is a must for many to remedy the effects of drinking. For the nights we just need that cheeseburger right before the sun comes up, we’ve discovered the cities to do it best.
San Jose once again comes out on top for the city with the most 24-hour food joints per capita. Late-night diners have been facing the impact of the many always-open restaurant closures across the country, but this city has been weathering the post-Covid storm with the majority of their 24-hour food options remaining in business, unlike other cities like Philadelphia which have seen a sharp decline.
Did you let the drinks flow a bit too much throughout the night? Head over to the Alamo state to make things right! The numbers two and three on the least 24-hour food joints were San Antonio, Texas with 82 food joints, and Dallas, Texas with 71 food joints per capita. Houston also earns itself a respectable fourth place at 63 24-hour food joints per capita, making Texas top of the charts for all late-night food options.
It’s worth noting that major fast-food chains and convenience stores were omitted from the count.
Who’s Drinking Us Under the Table?
A very important factor was overall alcohol consumption. We calculated the excessive alcohol drinking rate into the Hangover Score. Drinking in excess is the number one cause of hangovers so it only makes sense for the booziest cities to be the worst for recovery.
Cheers to Chi-town as Chicago earns itself the booziest city in the US at 49%. San Francisco takes second place at a 36% excessive consumption rate. San Diego follows in third place at 34%.
Dive Bars and Bad Decisions
What would a hangover be without a good ol’ fashion bar crawl to make it worthwhile? Bar density has a large impact on hangovers, creating cause to be the final factor of the Hangover Score.
When we adjust for population, we find that Dallas, Texas has the highest bar density with 7.94 bars per 10,000 people. For second place, Los Angeles takes the cake, or the cocktail, at 4.36 bars adjusted per capita. Heading up north we find that Denver, Colorado has the third-highest bar density at 3.15 bars per 10,000 people.
The Worst City for Hangovers
The results (and regrets) are in. The worst city for having a hangover is San Francisco, California. Having some of the highest rates of binge drinking and bar density paired with the lowest rates for 24-hour food access and IV hydration clinics, San Francisco rightfully earns its name.
A (dis)honorable mention to the number two worst hangover city, Dallas, Texas. 24-hour food joints are ample, but so is the bar density and consumption rate making it a boozy, bad place for nursing your hangover.
How’s that for Hangovers?
Get to sippin’ on that bloody mary, put on those cucumber eye patches, and plan your hangover-free trip to the best cities across the country for hangovers, like San Jose and Phoenix, Arizona. Make sure to avoid places like San Francisco and Dallas if you don’t want to have 3-5 business days to recover. And just remember, it’s not a hangover, it’s a margarita flu.
Using quantitative observation and secondary data we were able to collect the different metrics from the 20 most populated U.S. cities where we then weighted each factor according to importance and its relative level of effect on hangovers. We then combined these numbers to create an average scoring ranking of the average hangover figure for each city.
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