The Best Cities for Foodies to Explore in the U.S.

Evelyn Long

Sep 29, 2021


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One of the best parts about traveling the country is hitting up the best cities for foodies. There are thousands of options in major cities in the United States alone that can take you on a cultural food tour. From fancy restaurants to hole-in-the-wall hometown dishes, indulging in the cuisine in a city is nothing short of a mouth-watering experience. 

Some of the best food cities in America constantly change their menus to cater to diverse palettes and continue bringing in foodies worldwide. Some cities in the U.S. are worth the trip for the food alone because of their mature food cultures. 

Burgers, fries and apple pies are classic American dishes. Still, some cities go beyond American cuisine to integrate a flair of flavors that anyone who loves food should visit. Below are some of the best U.S. cities for foodies to explore.

New York City, NY

New York City is the city that never sleeps, and it’s the city that never stops putting out the best dishes for foodies. It’s known worldwide for its food scene because of the volume of restaurants, pop-up shops and food trucks and the diversity of food it offers. From Michelin-star restaurants to a hot dog cart in the middle of the city, New York City always brings out the best food. When in NYC, try the pizzas, bagels, doughnuts, and if you can, splurge on fine dining.

New Orleans, LO

Take a trip down south to New Orleans, Louisiana, for some of the best food, along with music and never-ending cocktails. Known as the Big Easy, New Orleans offers plenty of Creole and Cajun dishes, like po’boys, gumbo, jambalaya and beignets. The city has tradition flowing through its food, and there are European influences throughout each dish. It’s a city that connects food from both the present and the past. 

Chicago, IL

When visiting the Windy City, be sure to stop at a pizza shop for their classic deep-dish pizza. Also, you must try Italian beef, loaded hot dogs and Garrett popcorn. Each of these dishes is a staple for Chicago cuisine. If you’re looking for upscale dining, you can eat at one of their Michelin-starred restaurants. Depending on the district you visit, you could wind up eating Mexican tacos, Vietnamese food or any other dish you can think of! 

Portland, ME

Are you heading up to New England? If so, you need to stop in Portland, Maine, one of the best stops in the northeast for foodies. Portland has been making its appearance as a top food destination in the United States for the past few years. The city borders the Atlantic Ocean, meaning you can get all the freshest seafood, from oysters to Maine lobster. It’s a coastal food city you don’t want to miss.

Nashville, TN

Country Music Capital or foodie capital? Nashville, Tennessee, is most widely known for its Nashville hot chicken — deep-fried and slathered in the most delicious spices and sauce. Nashville also boasts some great barbeque foods and other Southern-inspired dishes. The cuisine has expanded recently, with plenty of international flavors and rooftop bars.

Philadelphia, PA

Next on this list of best U.S. cities for foodies to explore is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Philly cheesesteak. The historic town is full of restaurants and shops claiming to have the best cheesesteaks, although others insist tourists try the roast pork sandwich. The food goes beyond the famous sandwiches, though, as plenty of international cuisine filters throughout the city. 

Denver, CO

In the western half of the United States, plenty of cities offer a wide variety of foods for every foodie’s dream. Denver, the Mile-High City, is one of them. Although cities around America often offer international dishes, not many offer what Denver does, like foods from Tobago and Trinidad, along with cannabis-infused plates. In a more relaxed part of the city, the River North district, you’ll find plenty of craft breweries and coffee shops.

Houston, TX

There’s no better place to find barbeque, authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, French-inspired meals and Asian cuisine than Houston, Texas. This city is one of the most culturally diverse in the country, which means there are plenty of options to try foods worldwide. Next time you’re in Houston, grab some brisket, food-truck tacos and a Vietnamese dish.

Orlando, FL

Of course, Orlando, Florida made it on this list! Orlando is home to Disney, which is a top destination for foodies around the world. There are so many excellent restaurants in Disney that capture foods from all over the world, especially in Epcot. Besides Disney, though, Orlando has rows of chain food restaurants, and it has been a great test spot for fast-food joints. 

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is a city filled with immigrants and others from around the United States. This has made for quite an exciting food culture, with flavors from nearly every part of the world. Plus, chefs often flock to this city because it’s an easy place to get their start in owning a restaurant, especially with all of the food trucks and pop-up shops. Also, many residents in L.A. are vegan or vegetarian, making it an excellent spot for healthy eating because of all the vegan restaurants.

Portland, OR

There’s another Portland on the west coast that foodies should check out. Portland, Oregon, is home to affordable and high-quality foods. Many restaurants focus on quality ingredients from the farm directly to the fork, and most of the produce is organic. Chefs around Portland use the fresh ingredients to their advantage and are constantly experimenting with a new dish. 

Charleston, SC

You’ll find all of the southern staples in Charleston, South Carolina. Comfort foods like ribs, macaroni and cheese, fresh seafood, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits and fried okra are all around the city. Charleston keeps it simple with its cuisine and doesn’t go outside of comfort food. It’s southern foodie heaven, and the city is filled with history.  

Kansas City, MO

It’s perfectly fine to go to Kansas City, Missouri and indulge in all of the barbequed meats as possible. The city is known as the Barbeque Capital of the World, too. A few restaurants fight for the title as the best place to eat barbeque, and it’s well worth it for foodies to visit all of them. Kansas City is one of the best places in the U.S. for its finger-licking food. 

Boston, MA

Boston packs plenty of food for foodies. It’s one of the best foodie cities in the U.S. Perhaps the most famous dish in Boston is the clam chowder with a side of fresh oysters. Visit the historic city’s old-school-style restaurants, including Union Oyster House, one of the country’s oldest operating restaurants. Besides the chowder and seafood, make sure you try the pizza and hit up a few of their pubs as well as some new modern food trucks.

Honolulu, HI

This list ends with Honolulu, Hawaii, which is a popular destination for tourists and honeymooners. Even though it hides in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it packs a punch with its unique food options. Hawaii has the best pineapple, freshest yellowfin tuna, Poi and local dishes like Loco Moco. Honolulu isn’t known for its food scene, but those who visit are not disappointed with the food. 

Where Will Food Take You Next? 

If you love food and experiencing new flavors, visiting the best cities for foodies on this list will be sure to satisfy your cravings. The United States is a melting pot of international cuisine, so go on a food tour within this great country.

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