Best Foodie Cities in the U.S.
The best part of exploring a new destination? Most of the time, it's the food. From distinctive cultural fare to hometown dishes you won't find anywhere else in the world, a large part of getting to know a city is indulging in its cuisine. Pleasing food critics and locals alike, standout foodie cities in America are constantly changing their menus and adding new eateries, making them worth a trip for the meals alone. Tell us which epicurean hot spots merit a position on this list (and where others should travel) by voting below. Want to experience the culinary offerings? Check out the top foodie tours in these cities »
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San Francisco is a city known for innovation, and that extends to its restaurant scene. With scores of Michelin-starred restaurants, a wealth of farmers markets and plenty of unique hole-in-the-wall eateries, there's no shortage of creative options in the City by the Bay's neighborhoods. Not to mention, it features one of the best food markets in America, the expansive Ferry Building Marketplace.
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The Big Easy offers a plethora of Cajun and Creole staple dishes: gumbo, jambalaya, po'boys ... the list goes on. But what makes the bayou so special is the sense of tradition that's present in every dish, and with the heavy European influences, meals are treated as events that connect the community to both present and past.
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You'll need a few napkins and multiple days to take on the Windy City's food scene. Deep-dish pizza, fully loaded hot dogs, Garrett popcorn, Italian beef – all these dishes are uniquely Chicago. Arguably the culinary capital of the Midwest, travel to this city for the award-winning restaurants that serve up a side of picturesque views of the Chicago River.
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The city that never sleeps is known around the world for a dining scene that's vast in both volume and diversity. There's virtually no type of food travelers can't find in the Big Apple. That alone is an impressive feat, but this gastronomic heavyweight is also home to a high concentration of accolades from Michelin-starred restaurants to James Beard Award-winning chefs.
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Los Angeles is able to do what few other cities can – create a globally representative food scene that's as unique as it is accessible. The city's melting pot of cultures has made its penchant for fusion cuisine famous. And LA's acclaimed street food means that even if you skip the upscale restaurant scene, your palate won't be disappointed (and neither will your wallet).
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While this California region is best known for its sprawling wine country and excellent hotels, the cuisine also keeps people coming back. You'll find award-winning restaurants that offer excellent wine pairing menus made from local ingredients. Just make sure to bring your credit card, as Napa Valley is known for its pricey fine dining.
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What Charleston lacks in diversity, it makes up for in superb low country cuisine served with a side of charming Southern hospitality. Known as rib-sticking comfort food, the authentic Southern staples and fresh seafood offerings have earned this quaint city recognition from a variety of industry experts as a foodie haven.
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The Emerald City undoubtedly impresses with its food markets, but there are numerous restaurants and independently owned food vendors that are worth your attention. Its geography and climate also allow farmers to grow an assortment of produce and protein for the city's masterful chefs to play with.
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In a city where fresh and organic foods reign supreme, Portland's food consistently receives praise from industry experts and travelers alike. The city's geography breeds incredible ingredients and chefs are using them to push the boundaries of experimental cuisine. Plus, you don't necessarily need deep pockets to dine here: Portland is home to more than 600 affordable food carts.
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Barbecue is a given in the largest city in the Lone Star state. But, this up-and-coming culinary destination has a lot more going for it. The culturally diverse city is welcoming innovative chefs with open arms and has emerged as the intersection between Chinese, Vietnamese, Hispanic and Southern cuisines.
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While Southern cuisine is a dominant influence, travelers will find the culinary landscape in Music City has expanded in the last few years. Upscale dining establishments serve up international flavors while mom-and-pop local joints continue to be mainstays, meaning Nashville offers plenty of delicious options.
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All of the meals in this West Coast destination are nearly as colorful as the city itself, making San Diego a great destination for anyone looking to snap a photo of their food before enjoying it. Visitors can stroll down the iconic Market Street to treat their taste buds to one-of-a-kind iterations of everything from cheeseburgers to acai bowls to burritos.
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Like the rest of the city, the food scene in Austin is best described as a bit weird. Barbecue and Tex-Mex are go-to culinary categories, but don't be afraid to try some chili or fried steak. Actually, don’t be afraid to try anything (within reason); some of the best bites can only be ordered from the small army of food trucks roaming the city.
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Sonoma isn’t a large city, but this historic spot in central California has a handful of culinary landmarks that shouldn't be overlooked. Don’t let the outward appearance of the cozy diners scattered across the city fool you, many of these small restaurants hide top-notch American and Italian dishes to feast on. Plus, budget foodies can rejoice in the numerous memorable delis and cafes in the area.
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Seafood and Southern cooking are the main reasons to visit this coastal city in Georgia. The maritime delights include crab, bouillabaisse, oysters and grouper, and they are best served in the ambiance of a riverfront restaurant. Don’t limit yourself to only aquatic dishes though, Savannah also offers all the Southern specialties, which range from superb sandwiches to a dizzying array of grits variations.
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