With such an expansive country and so many different cultures, America is bound to have incredible food from coast to coast. Food connects people and can make a trip worth it, simply for the cuisine alone. A fun (and filling) way to get to know a new city is through local dining. To help you find mouth-watering bites across the country, we’re showcasing the 10 best travel destinations for foodies in the United States. We’ve also highlighted some of the most popular food tours in each city. So, read on if you’re hungry for vacations that satisfy not only your desire for travel, but also your taste buds.
#1 | Asheville
This small mountain town is perched in the western nook of North Carolina in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s not usually the first place that comes to mind when thinking about food destinations. But did you know that Asheville has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the States? That means you’ll have plenty of interesting suds to pair with each meal. True, the Appalachian Trail seems like a strange place for a culinary hot spot. But some of the best chefs in the nation have created a phenomenal food scene boasting inventive, offbeat creations. Aside from its impressive restaurant lineup, Downtown Asheville’s pulse is always beating with street performers and festivals while you dine. Popular Tour: Asheville Food Tours
#2 | Charleston
Down home country cooking goes high-class in this South Carolina dining scene. The regional cuisine, known for relying heavily on seafood with a mix of Southern, Caribbean, and African flavors, is what this quaint city does better than anywhere else. Though some restaurants have earned national acclaim for their bright flavors and cultural import, the city is proud of its well-preserved history. Its chefs have reinvented staple dishes like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup, to fit the needs of 21st-century palates. A weekly farmers market located right in the middle of downtown showcases Holy City produce almost year-round. That’s a real treat for cooks! Popular Tour: Downtown Charleston Culinary Tour
#3 | Chicago
A delicious lineup of Michelin-rated restaurants and innovative eateries have redefined the Windy City’s reputation as a top foodie vacation. Don’t worry, you can still find plenty of hearty, iconic cuisine like deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and old-fashioned doughnuts. But Chicago’s culinary offerings extend beyond those staples into an ever-evolving dining culture that’s as big on innovation as it is on flavor. Plus, Chi-Town is home to over 40 James Beard Award-Winning chefs, who ensure that no one visiting goes hungry. Popular Tour: Chicago in a Day: Food, History & Architecture Combo Tour
#4 | Las Vegas
High rollers have to eat too, and in Vegas, they expect to eat well. Sin City has raised the stakes when it comes to cuisine, dazzling tourists with whimsical, over-the-top décor and celebrity chef-backed restaurants. From upscale diners to fine dining, you’ll find culinary choices from the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis and more. Vegas hits the jackpot as one of the best foodie vacations. That makes that 4am breakfast run a little more appealing after a long night on the town. Popular Tour: Downtown Vegas Sightseeing & Foodie Tour
#5 | Miami
Miami’s vibrant nightlife and beaches often overshadow the city’s rich culinary scene. But Miami is one of the hottest foodie vacations in the country. The Magic City offers visitors a mix of Southern favorites and Cuban classics. Meaning, you can eat chicken and waffles for breakfast and Cuban-style frita burgers for lunch. Round out the experience with some creative only-in-Miami specialties like guava ice cream, key lime smoothies, and seasonal plates of stone crabs. Plus, if you ever needed a good reason to travel south during the colder months, don’t miss The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival, a national, star-studded, four-day destination event. Popular Tour: Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami
# 6 | Nashville
Melt-in-your mouth barbecue, warm, flaky biscuits, and cocktails that hit hard enough to make the Billboard Top 20, all qualify Music City as one of the top foodie vacations in the country. Nashville is not only the South’s music capital, it’s home to legendary honky tonks, sweet tea, and the state’s own take on hot chicken—fried and slathered in cayenne sauce, served on white bread. Downtown Nashville is a live-music hub featuring chef-driven restaurants and top-notch whiskey bars. No electric cowboy boots, pink tank tops, or chaps required—just a mask. Popular Tour: Nashville Food and Sightseeing Tour
# 7 | New Orleans
The food scene in New Orleans is just as much a way of life as its vibrantly colored homes and obsession with jazz music. Walking through NOLA, you’ll catch whiffs of the culinary scene long before you see it. Follow your nose to classics like gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets, or stroll through the French Quarter to feast on top eats like po’ boys and muffulettas. A mix of high-end restaurants that put luxury twists on Big Easy dishes and amazing hole-in-the-wall eateries will leave you satisfied after every meal. Popular Tour: New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter
#8 | New York City
The Big Apple, an iconic foodie destination, has been a longtime reputed fine-dining epicenter amongst restaurant enthusiasts. Home to some of the best pizza joints in the nation, a visit to NYC also includes meals inspired by just about every continent, country and culture. You’ll find Jewish delis near Mexican taquerias near Turkish shawarma trucks. And don’t forget the endless selection of mouth-watering eateries in Little Italy or Chinatown. Whether you’re craving mustard-slathered pretzels or dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant, New York City has you covered. Popular Tour: Greenwich Village Walking and Food Tasting Tour
#9 | Philadelphia
Everyone knows that Philadelphia is home of the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall. But as a culinary destination, it’s often overlooked. There’s no dispute that when it comes to the most iconic dish in town, we’re talking cheesesteak. But Philly is also home to historic food-hall cornucopias, a wealth of genuine Italian and Jewish fare, and one of the best selections of vegan restaurants in the country. Plus, the City of Brotherly Love originated the BYOB policy and now boasts more than 200 bring-your-own-bottle restaurants. Popular Tour: Flavors of Philly Food Tour
#10 | San Francisco
In a place where burritos are regarded as a sacred institution, brunch is a regular Sunday affair, and sourdough bread snobbery is a real thing, it’s easy to see why San Francisco is a highly regarded foodie destination. While Pier 39 is the ultimate seafood dining hotspot, the City by the Bay is also home of the farm-to-table movement. Find locally sourced burritos in the Mission or line up for organic dim sum in Chinatown. Set aside a few hours to nibble your way through the city’s massive farmers markets and food halls. Don’t forget to pick up an artisanal coffee and gluten-free pastry in between bites of gourmet fare. Popular Tour: Little Italy and North Beach Walking Tour
Have you visited any stand-out restaurants in the cities we mentioned? Are there any cities you think should have made the list? We’d love for you to share in the comments below!
Check out Erin’s great travel and packing tips for any vacation destination here.
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