2024’s Best Cities for Candle Lovers

A smiling woman leans over a table to smell a candle for some aromatherapy.

What better present than a candle to make your loved one’s home smell like gingerbread, evergreen trees, or a locally inspired aroma?

To light up Candle Day on Dec. 2 ahead of the gift-giving season, HVAC Gnome ranked 2024’s Best Cities for Candle Lovers.

We compared the 250 biggest U.S. cities based on 3 categories. We looked at access to candle shops and local candlemakers, candlemaking classes, and supply shops, among 7 total metrics.

Sniff through our ranking below — and learn how candles can affect your indoor air quality and HVAC system. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.



See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top 5 cities.

An aerial view of the New York City skyline at daytime, with the Empire State Building in the center
No. 1: New York | Overall Score: 76

Number of Candle Stores: 128 | Rank: 1
Number of Candle Makers: 32 | Rank: 1
Number of Craft Stores: 149 | Rank: 1
Number of Candle Making Classes: 24 | Rank: 1
Google Searches for Candle-Related Terms Over Past Year: 16,270 | Rank: 1

Local Tips: Stop by the New York location of the world’s oldest candlemaker, Trudon
Cross a candlemaking class off your bucket list at Wick and Pour.

Photo Credit: Roberto Vivancos / Pexels / Pexels License
The skyline of Los Angeles behind the Griffith Observatory on an overcast day
No. 2: Los Angeles | Overall Score: 58.2

Number of Candle Stores: 92 | Rank: 2
Number of Candle Makers: 22 | Rank: 2
Number of Craft Stores: 74 | Rank: 3
Number of Members in National Candle Association: 3 | Rank: 1 (tie)
Google Searches for Candle-Related Terms Over Past Year: 7,160 | Rank: 2

Local Tips: The City of Angels is home to popular candle company, P.F. Candle Co. Savor their cruelty- and phthalate-free scents at the Echo Park Flagship store. 

Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson / Pexels / Pexels License
Lights shine from the towers that make up Houston’s skyline at night
No. 3: Houston | Overall Score: 46.8

Number of Candle Stores: 68 | Rank: 3
Number of Candle Makers: 6 | Rank: 5
Number of Craft Stores: 48 | Rank: 7
Number of Candle Making Classes: 15 | Rank: 7
Number of Members in National Candle Association: 3 | Rank: 1 (tie)

Local Tips: Craft your own signature scent at The Candle Bar or Love & Make

Photo Credit: Adrian Newell / Pexels / Pexels License
Two people bike along a riverside path across from Chicago’s skyline
No. 4: Chicago | Overall Score: 42.2

Number of Candle Stores: 43 | Rank: 6
Number of Candle Makers: 9 | Rank: 3
Number of Craft Stores: 33 | Rank: 12
Number of Candle Making Classes: 18 | Rank: 2
Google Searches for Candle-Related Terms Over Past Year: 5,320 | Rank: 3

Local Tips: Smell through the seasonal fragrances of Adorn Home Fragrance’s woodwick beeswax and coconut wax candles. 

Founded in 1922, Athenian Candle Co. is a staple for finding hand-dipped votives and beeswax candles in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Chait Goli / Pexels / Pexels License
Towers and brick-colored mid-rise buildings make up the skyline in Dallas on an overcast day
No. 5: Dallas | Overall Score: 31.9

Number of Candle Stores: 48 | Rank: 4
Number of Candle Makers: 8 | Rank: 4
Number of Craft Stores: 29 | Rank: 15
Number of Candle Making Classes: 17 | Rank: 3
Google Searches for Candle-Related Terms Over Past Year: 3,000 | Rank: 6

Local Tips: Search through unique and all-natural soy candles crafted by Gluttony Candles. These chef-made candles feature scents like caramel praline, fig and rhubarb, and orange chili pepper to salivate over.
Photo Credit: Huihui Zhang / Pexels / Pexels License

The Upshot

Take a whiff of big cities like New York (No. 1), Los Angeles (No. 2), and Houston (No. 3), which finished at the top of our ranking with the most local candle shops and candlemakers. These cities also offer abundant craft stores and candlemaking classes to appease DIY types.

Access to local votives in some cities like Boston (No. 91), Milwaukee (No. 84), and St. Paul, Minnesota (No. 141), doesn’t parallel the high demand.

Missouri cities St. Louis (No. 7) and Kansas City (No. 10) stand out with the best access to candlemaking supply shops. Meanwhile, crafty cities along the East Coast like Baltimore (No. 8) and Raleigh, North Carolina (No. 22), landed near the top thanks to their passionate candle-loving communities

18 California cities — such as Sunnyvale (No. 244) and Fairfield (No. 247) — melted into our bottom 50 with overall scores of less than 1 point. Not only do these cities lack candle shops and candlemaking resources, but their low Google search volumes indicate an overall lack of local interest

Candles by the Numbers

Candles by the Numbers Infographic
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Behind the Ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Candle Lovers. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 3 categories: Candle Access, Candle Making Access, and Community. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 250 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 250). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 250 due to ties.

Sources: AllAmerican.org, Candlefind, Craft Classes Near Me, Google Ads, Made In the USA Matters, National Candle Association, The Real Yellow Pages, USA Love List, and Yelp

Final Thoughts: Air Filter Check

Whether you’re buying them for aromatherapy, aesthetic decor, or as a last-minute gift, candles make everything better — except for your indoor air quality (IAQ).

Although candles enhance ambiance and eliminate unpleasant odors, burning candles releases particles like soot and volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) in your home, causing indoor air pollution. Candles aren’t the only culprit — toasters, incense, and stovetop cooking pollute the air, too.

Enjoy your candles while keeping your indoor air fresh with our tips below. 

  • Crack open your windows for ventilation when the weather is nice.
  • Install exhaust fans and turn them on while cooking and showering.
  • Change out your HVAC filters every 90 days or when you notice they’re clogged. 
  • Inspect your air ducts annually and clean them when needed
  • Update your HVAC system. 

Does the air in your home seem musty? Use HVAC Gnome to hire a local pro to clean out your HVAC filters and air ducts or upgrade your HVAC system. 

HVAC Gnome is part of the Home Gnome family of home services sites.

Media Resources

Main Photo Credit: Anna Shvets / Canva Pro / Canva License

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.