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Whenever people ask me what my favorite part of traveling is, the answer is easy…FOOD. I love trying new food wherever I go. I’m from the United States and while I continue to explore my own country, you bet I’m trying all the food I can find. No US bucket list is complete without making some stops at the best food cities! My foodie journey is far from complete, so I asked bloggers from around the world to share their favorite foodie cities in the States. Consider this your foodie travel bucket list and add these 25 best cities in the US for food!

Do you travel for food? Add these 23 food cities in the United States to your foodie bucket list!

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Best Food Cities on the West Coast

1. San Diego, California

By Maria of San Diego Explorer

San Diego is a great city for foodies. Located right on the Pacific Ocean and right on the border to Tijuana, you can enjoy some of the best seafood AND Mexican food in the US. Like many parts of the United States, San Diego is an international melting pot. In every corner of San Diego, you will find restaurants and shops of different cuisines and cultures. As a San Diego local and food lover, I love to try them all. Take a look at my San Diego restaurant guide with my favorite restaurants in the city.

So what foods are a must try when you visit San Diego? Oh there are so many. From California burritos (french fries and carne, supplemented with guacamole, sour cream, and cheese stuffed into a burrito) to Ahi Nachos, you can experience the mixing and mingling of foods from different cultures first hand. And then there are the tacos. You can’t write about food in San Diego and not mention tacos, right? Fish tacos are an absolute staple here in San Diego. A soft-shell corn tortilla with a fresh fish fillet (grilled or fried), shredded cabbage, chipotle-sour cream dressing and touch of pico de gallo on top. It doesn’t get better than that.

You’ll find good food in San Diego for every budget. At my favorite hole in the wall taco shop (Tacos el Gordo), tacos start at just $2.60, while at the swanky Oceanview restaurant Brigantine, you’ll pay over $11 for 2 fish tacos, but they are definitely worth it and the atmosphere is amazing!!!

fried tacos with many toppings on a plate well lit

2. Los Angeles, California

By Ale of Sea Salt and Fog

Los Angeles, California is a food lover’s dream! You can pick any country and find a delicious version of their food somewhere in the Los Angeles area. Add stretchy pants to your California packing list because you’ll be eating all the food in LA!

The San Gabriel Valley, located east of downtown Los Angeles, is THE place to go to find Asian food. Szechuan food is a specialty of the area, with super flavorful noodles and dumplings found at restaurants throughout. Some of the best Szechuan restaurants include Mian, with huge portions for less than $10! An unassuming, but amazing option is Noodle Harmony, in Monterey Park. Their cold mung bean noodles are AMAZING on hot summer days, and their dan dan noodles are super tasty anytime. For everything dumplings, head over to Mama Lu’s – everything here is around $10 and yummy as well.

Of course, Mexican food in Los Angeles is incredible as well (and usually less than $10 per person)! You can find street vendors and taco trucks throughout the city. You can’t go wrong with taco stands in Boyle Heights, or anywhere in east Los Angeles. For tacos, Guisados is a local favorite, and they have multiple locations throughout the city.

If you’re in the center of LA, head on over to Koreatown to Openaire at the LINE hotel. The restaurant is designed to feel like a greenhouse, and is a great date night spot. Their prawn toast is delicious, and a must try. The food here hovers more in the $20+ per person range, but going during happy hour will get you better deals.

Chinese food in takeout containers view from above
Grand Central Market Los Angeles, food market

3. Irvine, California

By Arabela of Spicy Travel Girl

Home to a huge Asian diaspora, the suburban city of Irvine houses an innumerable quantity of restaurants from all across Asia. In fact, there are very few places outside of Asia where you can find such a diversity of truly authentic food. Are you planning to eat Chinese hotpot, dim sum, Korean BBQ, and Filipino desserts all in one day? Then you’ve found the right city! 

Despite having lived in the area for over three years with a food trip to Irvine at least once every week, there are still so many places I would love to try. However, if I could give advice to only one area in Irvine to find the best Asian food, it must be Diamond Jamboree Plaza! The entire shopping plaza, which also houses a huge Korean grocery store, is filled with the most popular chains from China and beyond. Whether it’s the real Haidilao hotpot you’re looking for, delicious Japanese shabu shabu, or fresh pastries and boba from 85 Degrees Bakery, you can be certain to find it all in Diamond Jamboree. And if you’re looking for even more, Seafood City, a giant Filipino supermarket is right in the next corner selling some of the most delicious ensaymadas you’ll eat in the West!

There are so many more restaurants in Irvine I could recommend but I guess I’ll have to stop myself here. Irvine in Southern California is hands-down one of the best cities for food in the US and offers some of the best Asian cuisine outside of Asia, perhaps only rivaled by the amazing food in Koreatown LA.

Asian food in a black bowl on a cutting board

4. Santa Barbara, California

By Kelly of KellyStilwell.com

Beautiful Santa Barbara, on California’s Central coastline, is a stunning city where you can experience the beach, history, architecture, and an amazing wine scene.

What you may not know about the American Riviera, is that it’s a food lover’s dream. From fresh seafood to fresh out of the oven pastries and desserts, you’d be hard-pressed not to fall head over heels in love with Santa Barbara.

Though it’s hard to choose, The Black Sheep Restaurant stands out as the best meal I had while visiting the area. I will sometimes make a meal out of appetizers, like the small plate of Boqorones (white anchovies on crostini) and the incredibly fresh scallops. Starters run from $7 up to $15. The menu offers a Catch of the Day and a Risotto of the night. If you’re lucky enough to be there when Tuna Aguachili is on the menu, order it. It was the best thing I tasted in Santa Barbara. Entrees run between $18 and $30.

For a less expensive option, grab a pizza at The Lucky Penny. With several delicious choices, including a gluten-free crust option, prices run from $14-$22 per pie.

Just around the corner, you’ll find Mony’s Tacos. Get in line. It will be worth the wait. A single taco will set you back $1.95. For a meal including rice and beans, the most you would put out is $14 for their famous enchiladas.

Though it’s tempting to skip breakfast, don’t do it. You can’t visit without stopping by Jeannine’s for a cappuccino and breakfast pastry. It’s a Santa Barbara tradition for a reason. Choose from one of a kind pastries, decadent entrees, and nutritious options, too. Prices run from $3.00 for a scone to about $15 for Banana Kahlua French Toast. Jeannine’s is only open for breakfast and lunch.

Tuna beautifully plated on a while plate with dark red chopsticks and a deep red napkin to the right side

5. San Francisco, California

By Sydney of A World in Reach

If you’re a foodie, San Francisco should be at the top of your foodie bucket list. The city’s cuisine is diverse, and whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, authentic Asian cuisine, or a delicious brunch, you are sure to find a ton of delicious restaurants in San Francisco.

When you’re visiting San Francisco, you must sample at least a couple of the regional foods the city is known for. A couple of the most famous are sourdough bread (the city’s famous fog makes for the perfect climate for the yeast needed for sourdough to grow) and Dungeness crab. Although a bit touristy, Boudin Bakery is a great place to sample both of these delights (as well as others like clam chowder). There are a few locations in the city, many of which are close to popular tourist attractions.

San Francisco is home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, so you can guarantee that you’ll find delicious, authentic Chinese food in the city. The city is also home to a Japantown where you can find ramen, sushi, and other Japanese cuisine. In both of these areas, you can pick up a meal that is both tasty and budget-friendly.

No matter the kind of food you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the perfect restaurant in San Francisco to satisfy your appetite.

white clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl on a paper dish on a tan plastic tray from Boudin Bakery in San Francisco

6. Portland, Oregon

By Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear

If you’re looking for amazing food and delicious brews, look no further than Portland, Oregon. You can easily spend your entire Portland itinerary eating away at all of the breweries. Some of Portland’s famous breweries include McMenamins Kennedy House and Rogue Ales. 

McMenamins Kennedy House is one of the coolest breweries because it was once Kennedy Elementary School. Because of this, some of its bars take after school-related names, such as Detention and Honors Bars.

The school’s old auditorium has also been renovated into the Theater Bar serving food and a cold brew along with a movie making it fun for adults and children alike. Here you’ll find popcorn, pizza, burgers, candy and beer. Be sure to also check out their Cypress Room for a delicious full meal of Jamaican coconut curry rice bowls and Aztec salad with a McMenamins Ale.

The food at McMenamins is affordable ranging between $15-$30 depending on the entree. Their happy hour menu is even more budget friendly with items below $10.

Rogue Ales is famous for its quirky Portland collaborations. They have a brewpub in Pearl District called Rogue Pearl Public House. For uniquely Portland beers, be sure to try their PDX Carpet IPA, Straight Outta Newport…Oregon IPA, and Eugene City 3 Bills Golden Ale. They’re particularly known for the cool art decorating their bottles and cans.

If you’re on a budget, definitely check out their happy hour menu from Sundays through Thursdays and their taco Tuesdays for affordable eats and brews. The deviled eggs and the tater tots off of their happy hour menu are particularly yummy. Most items on the menu are under $20 with the happy hour menu items under $10.

Portland’s brew scene is well worth checking out especially if you’re a fan of great food and beer.

dark and cozy family-friendly pub in Portland Oregon with chalkboard menus

7. Seattle, Washington

By Chrysoula of Travel Passionate

If you’re seeking a foodie haven on the West Coast, look no further than the northern city of Seattle. Home to the original Starbucks, an array of freshly-caught seafood and a diverse population, Seattle knows a thing or two about drinks and dining! You could easily stay here all year and devour a plethora of different dishes, but here are a few of my favorites to try if you’re just visiting Seattle for a weekend.

Beecher’s is an artisan cheese shop that makes their own flagship handmade cheese, and they are renowned for having the ‘World’s Best Mac & Cheese’ (big claim, I know!). This can be found at their store opposite the Pike Place Market ($16.50) and I implore you to give it a try and see what you think!

Another must-try snack is the Seattle Dog (approx. $5), a hot dog topped with cream cheese and sauteed onions. While this may sound a little odd it’s mega tasty and is perfect for an on-the-go eat on the way to a game.

If you really love Starbucks you may want to queue at the ‘original’ Pike Place location to grab your cup of Joe and take a few snaps ($3-5), but if you don’t fancy the wait you could head to their Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room instead where you can see the roasting process in action.

And of course, as I mentioned earlier, Seattle is known for its seafood, so you’ll want to head to Pike Place Market to dine on their delicious chowder ($8-11). This is one of the best chowders in the country (sorry New England!) and is an absolute must-eat!

Pike Place Market sign that reads Public Market Center in red

8. Walla Walla, Washington

By Nathan of Discover the PNW

Walla Walla is at the South East corner of Washington State. The area is known as Walla Walla Wine Country due to its vast picturesque vineyards and a multitude of over 120 wineries. The town of Walla Walla itself caters to those who travel to the area to taste the wines and explore the area.

More than that, Walla Walla has a unique history and is a beautiful city with that small town feeling where everyone knows each other. The town is full of small shops, galleries, breweries and tasting rooms, unique, delicious restaurants and historic homes and buildings.

Since this is a wine town, where you find good wine you also find good food. Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen is a great intimate restaurant with a small but very delicious menu. Try the Blue Valley Meats Ribeye, Wood Grilled Octopus or Lingcod en Salsa Verde if you can and make reservations as it can get booked up quickly. The prices range from $10-$15 for sharing plates and $20-$40 for mains.

If you are looking for something a little more laid back, cheaper but unique and absolutely mouth watering, head to Andrae’s Kitchen. World renowned chef Andrae Bopp opened up a place in a Walla Walla gas station. Yes…a gas station. Serving some of the most yummy dishes from around the world including brisket tacos, smoked prime rib, halal chicken, voodoo fries and cold brew milkshakes. Ninety percent of the menu is between $10-$15 USD.

A few other spots on my list are the Italian foodie’s Passatempo Taverna ($15-$25), Hattaway’s on Alder (which also serves amazing cocktails) and The Walla Walla Bread Company for breakfast, lunch, and glorious pastries ($10-$15).

Seafood platter with oyseters, habilbut, and greens on a white plate, well lit

Best Food Cities in the Midwest

9. Bay City, Michigan

By Sherry of Traveling Michigan

Bay City, Michigan is a small town located along the shores of Lake Huron. If you love great seafood, exquisite views, attentive servers and a great bar, you are in luck. One of my favorite places to eat in Bay City is Real Seafood, a lovely restaurant with a large deck overlooking the Saginaw River.

The Spice Rubbed Fish Tacos (only $14!) are one of the best fish tacos I have ever had. Enjoying a glass of wine and dining on succulent lobster tails, shrimp, and delicious burgers, while boats idle by is a fantastic way to enjoy a warm summer evening. The prices range from approximately $11 to $40, depending on the dish.

If ultra casual, down home, freaky good BBQ is your kind of thing, you will love Meaty’s Roadhouse BBQ and Sausage Shack. Yep, it’s a shack so you know it will be good. This BBQ joint has wood stacked high out front, a huge smoker billowing smoke out back and several picnic tables to eat outside. Meaty’s has won several 1st place awards in competitions across the state for their pork ribs, beef ribs and beans.

We can’t get enough of the full slab of ribs as the meat is fall off the bone tender.  The Ultimate Sampler is also an awesome choice as it is a meat lovers paradise offering a feast of ribs, chicken, brisket and two sides. Prices range from $7 to $32 so you can definitely find a delicious affordable meal.

Collage of pictures of Real Seafood restaurant in Bay City Michigan; top: view of outside of restaurant; bottom left: drink in signature glass; bottom right: dessert topped with strawberries

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Paulina of Paulina on the Road

If you’re looking for the best cities in the US for food, visiting one of the largest cities in Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is a great option. On a cold Midwestern evening, nothing can be better than enjoying the “comfort” food found here. Milwaukee is appreciated for its menus filled with cheese, beer, and a savory ole’ fish fry. So, Milwaukee does food right—you can experience it anytime you go there. With top-notch budget-friendly restaurants that are often more affordable than most cities, Milwaukee will please your tastebuds with exquisite cuisine and Midwest magic.

More than cheese and beer, Milwaukee offers the best experience when it comes to food. You’ll find a variety of food items like Fish Frys, Frozen Custard, Butter Burgers, Cheese Curds, Real Chili, Brats, and an array of beers. Moreover, you can taste these food items at a reasonable cost in restaurants, such as Oscars Pub and Grill, Milwaukee Brat House, Oakland Gyros, Stone Creek Coffee, and so on! All these restaurants will cost you around $10- $20, which is best for middle-class travelers.

However, Milwaukee’s meal-prices can vary; the average cost of food in Milwaukee is $7 per day, whereas dining out an average meal should cost around $3 per person. Plus, breakfast is customarily slightly cheaper than lunch or dinner. Besides food, you can also go for an hour’s drive for many great day trips from Milwaukee to go antiquing, hiking, and sampling of elegant cafes, in destinations like Kohler, Port Washington, Lake Geneva, Kenosha, and more.

white museum exterior with modern architecturewith a blue sky

11. Chicago, Illinois

By Alanna of Periodic Adventures

Chicago is a fantastic culinary city in the Midwest! Known for dishes like deep dish pizza, a Chicago Italian beef sandwich, Chicago style hot dogs, and the original Rainbow Cone. With over 8,000 restaurants in Chicago, you’re sure to find the best of the best!

For deep dish pizza, try Bartoli’s for a classic, delicious crust or Pequod’s for a signature carmelized crust that Chicago is known for. A personal pizza costs ~ $9, while a large cheese is $21. Deep dish pizzas are thick, so you’ll likely fill up with fewer slices than typical pizzas.

Try a Chicago Italian beef sandwich or Chicago style hot dog at Portillo’s, with many locations around the city. Sandwiches will run you about $9, while hot dogs are only $4…a great option for budget travelers.

Don’t forget dessert. Visit the Original Rainbow Cone, which opened in 1926, to try the famous 5-level ice cream cone with chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistacchio, and orange sherbet flavors. A small cone is $4, a small price to pay for such a historic dessert and one you have to cross off your USA foodie bucket list!

Mirrored sculpture that looks like a giant bean in the heart of downtown Chiacgo, Illinois

Best Food Cities in the South

12. Athens, Georgia

By Alanna of Periodic Adventures

Believe it or not, this small college, football town has so many incredible food options with many restaurants supporting local vendors. In Athens, be sure to try local favorites like Clocked with burger creations like the bacon & peanut butter burger, The Grit for entirely vegetarian and vegan friendly options, Mama’s Boy for incredible biscuit sandwiches (and giant cinnamon rolls), and Last Resort Grill for a nice sit down brunch with Southern staples like fried green tomatoes!

Options in Athens, Georgia are budget-friendly (it is a college town after all). You can get lunch for $5-8 and dinner for $10.

Don’t forget to try the unique craft breweries. Creature Comforts is the most popular and is in the downtown area. You can also try Terrapin, Southern Brewing Co, and Akademia!

If you find yourself passing through or attending a University of Georgia football game, don’t miss the food in Athens, Georgia!

Bacon Peanut Butter Burger

13. Savannah, Georgia

By Kate of Our Escape Clause

Without a doubt, the beautiful southern city of Savannah, Georgia is one of the best food cities in the USA, featuring an absolutely sublime line-up of restaurants and dishes that pay homage to traditional Lowcountry food.

In Savannah, you’ll find a cuisine focused on regional specialties, and find plenty of local ingredients like peaches, okra, grits, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes on tables, served alongside popular southern staples like fried chicken, pecan pie, and biscuits.

Popular foods in Savannah include shrimp & grits, collard greens, pimiento cheese, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hoppin’ john (Southern peas and rice), and macaroni and cheese.

For a special occasion, consider heading to one of Savannah’s most popular restaurants, such as the Olde Pink House, Elizabeth on 37th, Vic’s on the River, or the newer and widely celebrated restaurant The Grey.

For more casual options, staples in the historic district include the Crystal Beer Parlor, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room (be prepared to wait in line, but it’s worth it!), and of course, Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlor, one of the most famous dessert spots in Savannah (try their signature Tutti Frutti ice cream!).

Be sure not to leave town without trying a freshly-made praline, either–River Street Sweets are widely considered to have some of the best in town. They’re best before they’re even cool, so aim for fresh ones and be sure to pop one in your mouth straight away!

grilled salmon in a triangle shape, on a white plate next to golden waffle quarters in a triangle shape topped with butter while someone is pouring syrup on the waffles from above
graphic design banner of 100 things to do in Georgia from a local showing image of woman holding up a peace sign with tree canopy in background

14. Asheville, North Carolina

By Christina of NC Tripping

Asheville is a small Western North Carolina mountain town that has received a lot of recognition for its culinary scene. Also known as “Foodtopia”, Asheville is home to James Beard award winning chefs and restaurateurs who all have an emphasis on local.

While paying homage to its Appalachian roots, there isn’t a single restaurant in Asheville that doesn’t support local farmers. Here, it isn’t just a buzz word, it’s a way of life. Sustainability and local in season produce can be found anywhere, from barbecue to Spanish tapas style restaurants. While hungry diners can find some of the cathead biscuits at Biscuit Head, there are also many fine dining options. From Chef Katie Button’s Cúrate to decadent truffles at French Broad Chocolates, there is something for every palate in Asheville.

Because there is such an emphasis on local and organic ingredients, the prices in Asheville tend to be on the higher side, but remember, this is still the South so it won’t hurt your pockets too much! The average meal will probably run $15-18, but you will definitely want to add in a craft beer to that as well. Asheville also has an incredible brewery scene which is a whole different culinary scene to explore on its own!

lavish biscuit sandwich being held in the air on a plate with pulled pork and topped with bacon with a brick wall as background

Related read → Itinerary for a delightfully weird weekend in Asheville

15. Charleston, South Carolina

By Jordan of The Solo Life

One of the best US cities for food-lovers is Charleston, South Carolina. As a Southeastern coastal city, no visit to Charleston, whether it’s a girls’ trip, family vacation, or romantic getaway, is complete without eating seafood or Southern dishes at least once. And while dishes like shrimp and grits, seafood samplers, and anything fried are popular options, Charleston is best known for its specialty dish, the low country boil. This one-pot dish consists of shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and other vegetables and is usually made for large gatherings or parties.

Charleston has many great restaurants that serve its two main cuisines, but for a perfect blend of Southern and seafood, be sure to visit Fleet Landing. This local favorite offers everything from seafood stuffed hushpuppies to oysters to whole fried Flounder. And if a low country boil is of interest, they not only have the classic dish but also a pasta version for a unique twist. With its reasonable brunch and lunch prices, large portions, great location in downtown Charleston, and a spectacular waterfront view, Fleet Landing is worth a visit.

Another great restaurant to visit in Charleston for seafood, Southern, as well as pub food, is Henry’s on the Market. Henry’s not only has reasonably priced food, but also live music, a lovely rooftop bar, and even a nightclub for those interested in the nightlife. Located across from the Charleston city market, Henry’s is convenient comfort food after a day exploring. Whether you are looking for classic Southern fare or the freshest seafood, Charleston is one of the best food destinations in the United States.

Bar and Restaurant named Fleet Landing exterior building in white with navy blue trims

16. New Orleans, Louisiana

By Kelly of Snap Travel Magic

While enjoying the city of New Orleans, the music on Frenchmen Street, the shopping and views of the French Quarter, and the drinks on Bourbon street, don’t forget to stop and take time to enjoy the Creole cuisine and other New Orleans delicacies throughout the city.

You don’t need a big budget to enjoy the incredible food that New Orleans offers. The first stop on your food tour of the city should be Cafe du Monde for the world-famous beignets. One order at Cafe du Monde comes with three beignets and costs $2.65. A beignet is a square donut-esque food covered in powdered sugar.

Coop’s Place is the perfect restaurant for traditional New Orleans food like Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish, and Shrimp Creole. This place is dark, grungy, and the prices are incredible. Expect to wait in line to get into Coop’s-but the wait is well worth it. A bowl of Seafood Gumbo or Jambalaya is only $7.75, while Shrimp Creole is only $11.50.

You can’t go to New Orleans and not have a Po’Boy-a sandwich featuring French bread and meat-usually fried seafood or roast beef. A great place to grab a Po’boy on a budget is Killer Po’Boys-located right in the French Quarter. The average price for sandwiches is $10.

Brunch was made famous in New Orleans, and the city boasts some of the best brunch spots in the city. For those on a budget, you can check out The Ruby Slipper (Prices from $9-$15), Flamingo A-Go-Go (Bottomless rose and mimosas for $10), and The Sneaky Pickle (Vegan and most meals under $10).

For smaller eats that are still budget-friendly, wander along the French Market. You can grab gator on a stick or a personal favorite, the Sno-ball: a shaved ice treat, perfect for the warm weather of New Orleans. Prices are reasonable at around $6-7.

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in New Orleans, check out 10 Awesome Things to do in New Orleans!

View of Jackson Square in New Orleans from across the bustling street on a sunny day

Related read → How to spend 3 or 4 days in New Orleans

17. Lafayette, Louisiana

By Lori of Travelin Mad

There are some amazing food-defining regions in the USA, but perhaps none so much as the French Acadiana food in Lafayette Louisiana, where the fiery spices and unique flavors found in Cajun cuisine meld to define this part of the Deep South, where the bayous meet the Gulf Coast. It’s a gastronomic festival for foodies.

Your first taste should be the fresh seafood right from the Gulf of Mexico. Oysters eaten raw or grilled over a fire and shrimp in étouffée, gumbo, or stuffed in a Po’Boy sandwich are a good start. But the most famous of all is actually a freshwater food — the crawfish (also called crayfish) that draws the biggest crowds. Carnivores should try the famous Louisiana food boudin (pronounced bow-dan), a seasoned mixture of homemade sausage and rice. Delish!

For a night of great food and fun, head to Prejean’s for crawfish pie and an authentic Acadiana Dance Hall experience. Dinner and music will run about $10-15 per person. Don’s Seafood has the famous fire-grilled oysters. And for the quintessential cultural tour of Lafayette, visit McIlhenney’s TABASCO factory on Avery Island for all things TABASCO hot sauce and the best shrimp étouffée ever.

When you’re stuffed with good food, hit up a Drive-Thru Daiquiri to wash it all down. Only in Louisiana will you find this cultural gem where you can pick from dozens of frozen flavors and get your fruity cocktail to go — a perfect end to this most unique food city in the US!

Tray of various Tabasco sauces at an empty restaurant in Lafayette Lousiana

18. Nashville, Tennessee

By Disha of Disha Discovers

If you’re looking for the best foodie destinations in the United States, look no further than Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville is seriously a foodie’s heaven! Visitors can indulge in traditional Southern food or local creations that aren’t found anywhere else. Whether you decide to visit Nashville for a short weekend getaway or you plan on being there for a longer period, you won’t get tired of the endless food options.

This culinary diverse city is especially known for the Nashville hot chicken. It’s a dish unlike any other. It’s basically fried chicken with intense heat and flavor and it’s served with bread and pickles. Your trip to Nashville won’t be complete without trying it! The best restaurants for Nashville hot chicken are Hattie B’s and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. The lines for these restaurants will be very long, but it’s worth the wait.

Another iconic dish in Nashville is biscuits. You can have biscuits at any time of the day – not just breakfast. You can have these biscuits with just butter or you can slather a delicious jam on them. The best restaurants in Nashville that serve biscuits are Biscuit Love and The Loveless Cafe. In all reality, I tried tons of biscuits in Nashville and I didn’t have a bad biscuit.

The price of food in Nashville varies and caters to any budget. While you can find luxury experiences in Nashville, there are tons of dining options for budget/mid-range travelers and you don’t have to go very far to find them.

BBQ plate on a re and white checkerboard paper sheet including hot fried chicken to the left, macaroni and cheese on the bottom right and french fries on the top right with various dipping sauces in to-go containers on the table above the dish

Honorable mention → Memphis, Tennessee for barbeque spaghetti, the most incredible French toast, and melt in your mouth ribs.

19. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

By Stephanie of Oklahoma Wonders

Oklahoma City is an up-and-coming food city, but the restaurants that are leading the trend are serving updated versions of classic Oklahoma cuisine. Since Oklahoma sites on the edges of the Midwest, Southwest, and the South, our food is a combination of the best of all three regional cuisines! We have lots of fried food but spicier flavors than the Midwest or South.

Some of the best dishes you want to make sure to order here are fried okra, chicken fried steak, and pecan pie. As for our southwestern roots, we have our own spin on TexMex that is slightly cheesier and includes a lot more complimentary queso than you’ll find anywhere else.

Head to Chellinos in Bricktown or Ted’s Cafe Escondido for the best take on Oklahoma’s brand of TexMex. Here you can stuff your face for less than $15 per person excluding margaritas. But don’t skip the margaritas! To drink, check out a cherry limeade sweet tea, though if you order a soda or a pop in Oklahoma make sure to ask for a coke, and then specify which kind. Yes, in Oklahoma we consider Dr. Pepper and Sprite kinds of cokes.

For dessert, Braum’s ice cream is a local ice cream company that you’ll find all over the state. You can’t beat it no matter which flavor you choose, but I recommend you try out the pecan.

Green fried okra piled on a yellow plate with raw okra in the background on a table

20. Miami, Florida

By Jordan of Inspired by Maps

Miami is officially one of the hottest foodie cities in the United States. It provides tourists a unique blend of Southern favorites and Cuban masterpieces — yes, that means you can eat chicken and waffles for brunch then enjoy frita burgers (Cuban style) for dinner. Add several fun-only Miami areas of food experiences such as guava ice cream, ice cream tacos, key lime milkshakes, and tropical stone crab dishes, and it’s no surprise that Miami delivers one of the worlds leading culinary holidays. Not to mention, there are just so many things to do in Miami to occupy your time while you graze from one unbelievable meal to the next.

One of the best places to try out the many incredible dishes of Miami is the newly opened Time Out Market Miami in South Beach, which brings together 17 of the city’s top restaurants and best chefs under one roof. Azucar in Little Havana is a must-try for their amazing ice cream, as is the Bolivar Restaurant just off the Miami beachfront, which serves Colombian modern-classics like Colombian-style beef pie, chicken plantain pataco, and an amazing house cocktail, Refajo. Another specialty Miami experience is Kush, a fun and eco-friendly gastropub with modern Latin food made from scratch and an eclectic offering of craft beer.

Much of Miami’s Latin style street-food is very affordable, especially in Little Havana. The diversity, accessibility, and quality of the food on offer in Miami are part of what makes this foodie destination so amazing. While the modern Time Out Market and some of the Miami beachfront restaurants will be a (worthy) splurge for budget travelers, your tastebuds are unlikely to be disappointed.

yellow and white classic car parked out front of a hip Miami restaurants called Avalon, which is displayed in a neon turquoise sign, perfectly symmetrical to the parked car

Related read → Ways to save in South Beach, Miami (including avoiding accidentally double tipping at restaurants because they already include gratuity in your bill)

Best Food Cities in the East

21. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

By Kanupriyaa of My Lost Camel

Pittsburgh is a humble town in the middle of Pennsylvania and admittedly it won’t be the first to come to mind when you think of travel or cuisine. It is surprising then that one of the best Parisian Creperies in the world is located in a corner of the Shadyside district – Cafe Moulin. They know what they do best and have a small menu that focuses on sweet and savory crepes specifically. The best way to eat these is of course to start with a savory choice like the Spinach and Feta Crepe filled with cheese and the tangy thick piping hot bechamel sauce that immediately wakes you up, followed by the Cheese Cake Crepe with the creamy mascarpone and oozing dark chocolate paired with the sweet berry compote that overwhelms your senses. The crepes here will ruin your taste buds for any other creperies in the world, that’s how good they are.
And ultimately this is what Pittsburgh restaurants do best. They surprise you. The Farmer+Baker serves the freshest farm fresh food, the romantic Cafe at the Frick under the twinkling lights is the best place for a date and finally the most delicious pie in the city is served at Pie For Breakfast.
Pittsburgh is one of the best cities in the US for food and if you happen to visit it be sure to try some of these restaurants for an amazing gastronomical adventure.
Crepe with raspberry sauce on top and whipped cream on the side, on a white plate on dark wood table

22. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

By Derek and Mike of Robe-Trotting

One of America’s best foodie destinations is the great city of Philadelphia. There are, of course, the normal Philly foods that come to mind when you think of the city. However, there are so many great restaurants and food options that don’t have the national profile of the cheesesteak.

That’s still a good place to start – Philly’s most famous food. If you’re looking for a cheesesteak in the city avoid the tourist trap cheesesteak stands of Pat’s and Gino’s. A better option is Jim’s Steaks on South Street or you can ask a local their favorite steak shop.

Other local favorites are the Philadelphia soft pretzel, you can find Philadelphia Pretzel Factory stores all over the city. Also make sure to try water ice, a unique frozen dessert, especially during the summer months. In South Philadelphia’s Italian market you’ll find the city’s best bakeries. Try a piece of tomato pie, a local dish that’s similar to a thick pizza served cold without cheese. That description does not do it justice, the taste is amazing.

One of the best food halls in Philadelphia is the famous Reading Terminal Market. There you’ll find all sorts of food vendors serving hot meals and local produce. Philadelphia also boasts some of the country’s best fine dining. Consider one of the exquisite restaurants along Philadelphia’s 13th Street corridor. With choices like Sampan, El Vez and Double Knot you can’t go wrong.

For a nice meal out, local favorite or a classic cheesesteak – Philadelphia is a great city to eat your way through!

Philly cheesesteak sandwich with red sauce on top plated on a green tray

Related read >> Where to visit in the USA during summer (Milwaukee is on the list!)

23. Provincetown, Massachusetts

By Vicky of Buddy the Traveling Monkey

One of the best cities in the US for food is Provincetown, Massachusetts. Located on Cape Cod, it’s a fun destination to travel to for the day or for a weekend getaway. Provincetown is known for its artsy and carefree vibe, but it’s also known for its fresh and delicious seafood.

Lobster rolls, in particular, are a specialty of the area. One iconic restaurant suggested in all of the tourist guidebooks is The Lobster Pot. If you want to go somewhere less touristy, visit Pepe’s Wharf Restaurant instead. It’s a local favorite and considered to have the best lobster roll in Provincetown.

We recommend having the hot lobster roll (you have to distinguish between hot and cold) for $24. It was poached in taragon butter and served on a toasted hot dog bun. It came with French fries and cole slaw on the side. It was so good! You could tell the lobster was fresh and each bite was buttery and tender.

Pepe’s is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner. Besides the great seafood, Pepe’s also has a patio and deck so you can eat your meal while looking out onto Provincetown Harbor.

Decadent lobster roll with french fries as a side on white and blue checker paper

24. Washington D.C.

By Nicole of Bucketlistlists

Washington, D.C. is one of the best cities in the US for food and should be on everyone’s USA bucket list!

The city is known for being a melting pot of food. You can expect to find incredible street food vendors, iconic family owned restaurants and even now there are even 18 restaurants with the highly coveted Michelin Star. You will find absolutely no shortage of insanely delicious food in the city.

Some of the best places to eat are:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl – An iconic city staple, even former Presidents have dined here. Plus, it’s budget friendly!
  • Hill Country BBQ – One of the best BBQ joints in all of Washington, D.C. and they have all the fixins and are located directly off the National Mall for easy access.
  • Inn at Little Washington – The only three star Michelin restaurant for the area, the menu is always changing and it’s going to cost several hundred dollars BUT for a splurge this would be where to do it. The food is unreal.
  • Food trucks along the National Mall – You can expect to find just about anything and it is all budget friendly (few dollars) and you can take it to go to enjoy on the Mall.
Barbeque food including slaw on the left, prime rib centered, mac and cheese in the bottom right corner, and two cornbread muffins in the top right corner, all on a brown paper dish.

25. New York City, New York

By Alanna of Periodic Adventures

New York City is another food haven in the United States! A melting pot of cultures, in New York City you can find every type of food under the sun!

Try classic street foods like NYC pizza and hot dogs. You’ll see street carts all over the city and especially in high tourist areas like Times Square. While it might be tempting to frequent these because of convenience, try it to try it, then move on! Also, give Junior’s cheesecake a try if you’re near Times Square. The slices are HUGE and so decadent…another NYC classic!

There is a large Jewish community in NYC so you’ll find some of the best bagels, delis, and specialty bakeries! Katz’ Delicatessen is one of the most famous Jewish delis and has been serving the community since 1888! For bagels and bakery items (like rugelach and black & white cookies), I recommend Lenny’s Bagels. They only cost $3 and many locals frequented this spot from what I could tell.

One of the best things about NYC is that many crazy food trends started here. Try out some novelty items like crazy shakes at the original Black Tap, edible cookie dough at Do, and cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Whatever your culinary pleasure, you’re sure to find incredible food in New York City.

lit up restaurant at night in Times Square New York City

Hungry for more? Read these other foodie travel posts:

United States:

Places to eat in Athens, Georgia

Guide to Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market

What to eat & drink at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

What to eat in New Orleans

What to eat in 24 hours in NYC

Around the World:

Local’s favorite places to eat in Dublin, Ireland

The BEST donuts in Dublin, Ireland

What to eat in Israel – including the BEST rugelach ever!

Come look thru the lens of my 13-year-old self in my Japanese food photo diary

atlanta things to do, georgia road trip

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Do you travel for food? Add these 23 food cities in the United States to your foodie bucket list!
You need to visit these bloggers' favorite USA food cities! Read this travel guide for the best food travel ideas and destinations including Los Angeles, Seattle, Savannah, Washington DC, and many more! Plus get an idea of how much USA food costs and what foods to try in the States!
Read this foodie travel guide for bloggers' top unforgettable foodie destinations in the USA including food cities like Nashville, NYC, Providencetown, and more!
25 best cities for food in the United States. Click here to see the ultimate foodie map and read about the United States best food travel destinations!


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Recent PhD graduate and hyper-planner of Periodic Adventures, my goal is to share travel inspiration, budget tips, detailed guides, and fun travel stories!

Comments:

  • What a tasty post you have put together! I really like spicy food so a cajun experience might be on the cards for me!

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  • I’m such a foodie and one of my favorite parts of traveling is the food as well! I love this list and it is making me itch to go out and eat my way through all of these cities! I have been to a few or at least heard of most of them, except Bay City, MI. I am from the Midwest, but have never heard of Bay City. The food sounds fantastic, you can’t beat good seafood and BBQ. It’s harder to get in the north too so good to know where to go!

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    • Kathleen

      I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and have eaten all over the state, as well as some of the best foodie cities in the US and other countries. I have dined in Bay City, but cannot imagine it would make anyone’s Top Ten list, especially with nationally ranked cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids. Southeastern Michigan is home to all of the chefs and restaurants that were recognized as semifinalists by the James Beard Foundation in 2023. The winners hail from Detroit, mostly, then Ferndale, Clawson and Berkley, which are all within miles of each other. Ann Arbor got a nod, as it should. It’s a huge college town with loads of places to visit as well. I’d hate for out of towners to miss out on the best that Michigan has to offer, specifically Detroit and its metro area where brillant chefs are opening exciting new concepts.. Lake Michigan coastal towns are ripe with excellent restaurants and to-die-for sunsets. To the west, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and the Saugatuck area. Northern Michigan surrounding Traverse City is not only a vacationers dream, but is host to some of the best restaurants in the state. Of course, there are a couple nice spots in Bay City — Gatsby’s comes to mind. However, with all due respect, it’s wildly unfair to include it on a list with the likes of San Francisco, Washington DC and Chicago. It would be like including Modesto California, and not San Francisco. Michigan has so much more to offer.

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  • Oh, now my list of places to visit has grown even longer. I love discovering a new town through it’s food scene.

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  • OKay, this post has me drooling over here! So many yummy places to explore! The mac n cheese in Nashville caught my eye the most haha!

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  • What a list! So happy to DC made it on here – we truly do have such diverse cuisine. Saving this for later!!

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  • I am not a foodie, but this post has me drooling and craving for so many things! Those lobster rolls and that Cheesecake Crepe – now I really want to visit Boston and Pittsburg again! I used to stay in Seattle and have crossed Walla Walla while going to Portland so many times, but never thought of stopping over there. Thanks to you, now I know. Loved the list 😀

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  • Sam

    Loving your list and can deff agree with LA, DC, NYC, and Philly being food heavens! Looking forward to making it more around the USA to all the foodie spots!

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  • Wow everything looks amazing! I would love to try the fish tacos in Cali- and I love Chicago pizza ❤️❤️

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  • Montana

    Sooooo many good places I can’t wait to try!! Thank you for this informative post!

    reply...

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