Calling all foodies! One of the best things about traveling to new places is trying new things. And if some is a foodie, they are no stranger to going to new cities just to try certain foods. While some might think it’s a little extreme, the foodie lifestyle is nothing to scoff at by any means. If someone is looking to spice up their taste buds with a few new options to try, they should check out this list! From smaller, quaint cities that have an upscale restaurant scene no one should miss to major cities that feature whole in the wall restaurants we didn’t see coming, there’s no limit to what food these cities across the United States can offer.
Whether their niche is soul food, seafood, European, Asian, or all of the above, there’s definitely something on this list for everyone. Each city might have its own specialty, but all of them are amazing at providing the type of food that have our mouths watering for more. Fortunately, many of them also offer affordable options, so eating out doesn’t always have to break the bank either. Check out the top 25 cities every foodie should visit as soon as they get a chance.
24 Baltimore, MD
While it doesn’t scream vacation, it screams food. Baltimore’s food options range from cocktail lounges to black-tie bistros and food halls. Even though the city offers a plethora of options, one thing that remains the same is its specialty for seafood. Some of the top restaurants in the city include Rye Street Tavern, Loch Bar, Woodberry Kitchen, Bar Vasquez, and Sandlot. Another type of cuisine that’s on the rise in Baltimore is soul food thanks to Ida B’s Table.
23 Birmingham, AL
Who would have thought Birmingham had such a great food scene? If you’re a foodie, you should definitely put this city on your list to visit. Much of this is in part to Food & Wine landing in the city and bringing much of its staff with it. Now, places such as Pizitz Food Hall and Italian restaurant Fero are getting put in the spotlight as some of Birmingham’s top spots. Still, it certainly hasn’t lost its flavor for Southern cooking.
22 Lexington, KY
Located just outside of Louisville, Lexington is making a name for itself thanks to its culinary cuisine. It now holds the entire state’s first ever food hall called, The Barn. It’s also known for its craft ice cream at the popular Crank & Boom. If you’re a foodie craving something fresh, Pasture by Marskbury Farm provides pasture-raised fried chicken while Atomic Ramen offers Japanese ramen. Shake Shack is also a well-known franchise that has found a home in Lexington, bringing the city’s foodie ranking up quite a few notches.
21 Austin, TX
It’s no secret the city of Austin as a whole is slightly weird. While it might turn some off, it’s this idea that makes Austin a foodie’s playground. Tourists and locals have agreed that its barbecue and Tex-Mex options are the best to experience in the city. But while foods like chili and fried steak are a little more risky, they’re definitely worth trying. Another major win in the food scene of Austin are the food trucks! Who doesn’t love a good food truck?
20 Atlanta, GA
This city is certainly one to be reckoned with in the wonderful world of foodies. Miller Union’s is officially an award-winning restaurant while many of the city’s famous chefs have also found a home in Twisted Soul, Canoe, and Saltyard. Foodies can get their fill at annual events such as the Taste of Atlanta in October and the Southern Wing Showdown in June and enjoy all the city has to offer. Of course, the food scene wouldn’t be complete with southern cuisine such as the city’s new Old Lady Gang restaurant.
19 Sonoma, CA
While people aren’t necessarily booking trips to see all things Sonoma, foodies should! The city is quite a historical one which serves as a major advantage when it comes to the amazing food it offers. They might feature a few more holes in the wall than foodies are used to, but most know that those places are often the ones with the best kept secrets when it comes to delicacies. The ones in Sonoma are popular American and Italian cuisine diners. And it’s not too expensive either!
18 Indianapolis, IN
The charming Midwest circle city is known for its unforgettable breakfast spots (although they typically close in the early afternoon). From Café Patachou to Lincoln Square and First Watch, Indianapolis is definitely in the running when it comes to a great city for foodies to visit. It’s beloved Mass Ave. is a haven for local and tourist favorites thanks to popular spots like Pizzology. Spots like Milktooth, Stella, Bluebeard, and Pioneer are also what keep the city’s food scene buzzing.
17 Richmond, VA
The Southern charm of this city is certainly represented in its cuisine Paired with its art scene and colleges in the area, Richmond is quite the contender for a foodie’s favorite city. Sub Rosa is known for its pastries and Metzger Bar and Butchery provides quite a unique German cuisine. Also, the pop-up dinner event at Longoven has taken the fun of meals to a new level. For future reference, the restaurant is planning to open a permanent location in Scott’s Addition.
16 San Diego, CA
San Diego is a foodie’s dream come true. Not only because it offers amazing food, but the meals are also colorful and aesthetically appealing and can be captured in photos that are perfect for a food block. One of the most talked about areas in San Diego when it comes to food is none other than Market Street. Whatever you’re craving, this street has it whether it’s cheeseburgers or acai bowls (if you’re looking for something healthy). And of course a good old classic burrito too.
15 Los Angeles, CA
To say Los Angeles is a melting pot of cuisine around the world is an understatement. You name it, L.A.’s got it. From Japanese to Mexican to American, the city’s selection of food options is remarkable. One of the places that sparks the most conversation is Garden of Eden, that offers what is rumored to be the best produce and seafood in the United States. Considering Los Angeles is home to Hollywood stars, it’s no surprise the more high-end eateries are what’s preferred. But even its fast-food options like In & Out get national recognition too.
14 Charleston, SC
While it’s a small town, Charleston is certainly a city for all foodies alike. The idea that it’s a smaller city actually benefits it as many of the items cooked in restaurants are fresh and could have been harvested just around the corner, making Charleston a leader in the farm-to-table industry. Even though it doesn’t feature all types of cuisine, it’s certainly able to keep up with the latest food trends. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a simple shrimp and grits meal.
13 Chicago, IL
While it’s known for its deep-dish pizza, the Windy City has much more to offer foodies than that. (Even though their deep-dish is what certainly attracts foodies from all over to begin with.) On top of the city’s claim on pizza, Chicago is also a great city for foodies because of its quality range from high-end to hot dogs. Plus, you’re never short of a place to treat your taco cure with true authentic Mexican restaurants within just a few blocks of each other.
12 Napa Valley, CA
Ranked in the top 5 of best foodie cities in the country (it sits at the number 6 spot to be exact) Napa Valley’s wine country is what has put it on this list. But that’s not all. It’s the amazing cuisine that’s paired with the prestigious wine that makes it a place foodies should visit stat. Considering its location, be prepared to pay a hefty price. Still, it’s certainly worth it. Plus, the money goes back to the community as most of the menus feature locally grown ingredients.
11 New Orleans, LA
It might be perceived as a small city, but it’s certainly able to feed the big appetites of foodies who call it home and visit. Known for its world-renowned creole dishes and beignets, New Orleans has certainly made a name for itself in the food department. If you have yet to try some of the most popular places in the city, check out a few: Guy’s provides pork chop po’ boys topped with cayenne, and Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is great for those days the weather reaches three-digit temperatures.
10 Detroit, MI
Detroit might be known for a lot of things, and it’s good food is certainly one of them. The Apparatus Room just opened last year but has already made its way to breaking out from the seemingly overcrowded food scene in the city as its often booked to capacity. Aside from the traditional Coney Islands in the city, Detroit is also known for its farm-to-table restaurant Lady of the House and its Thai restaurant Takoi. Plus, the D can’t be left without an amazing soul food place such as River Bistro, owned by NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire.
9 San Francisco, CA
From open kitchens to communal tables, San Francisco can safely brag on having some of the best food in the country without getting a major side eye. The best part? Nearly everything is freshly grown, making it one of the most Vegan-friendly cities in the United States. Another aspect that make San Fran dining attractive to visiting foodies is its high-end restaurants that Millennials have proven they love. The city also touts one of the first pop ups in the nation, Tadich Grill, that was originally established as a coffee stand for gold miners back in 1849.
8 Houston, TX
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including its food options. While it’s the fourth largest city, the American food isn’t what put the city on the list. Known as the perfect combination of Los Angeles and New Orleans, Houston is recognized for its Asian-Cajun seafood boils and its Vietnamese cuisine that can be found out Saigon. Word is its Chinese food could battle that of Beijing. Plus, rumor has it seafood restaurants Caracol and Cuchara offer some of the best Mexican food in town.
7 Seattle, WA
This city is known for more than being the founding place of the beloved Starbucks. But it definitely has good food for foodies too! The plus side is the farm-to-table aspect considering its rural areas often harvest lots of produce and protein that makes its way from the farm to top restaurants sooner than later. Its Pacific Northwest location is a factor of Seattle hosting some of the nation’s best salmon, shellfish, clams, and other types of seafood as well as popular Asian cuisine like sushi and salad.
6 Philadelphia, PA
There’s a reason it’s called a Philly cheesesteak and is sold all over the United States. But we all know the place to get the best one is in Philadelphia. Considering Philadelphia touts being a blue-collar city, it’s no wonder it features more than 50 breweries that the everyday workforce can enjoy. It also has unique neighborhoods known for their eateries like Fishtown and East Passyunk. It’s certainly the place foodies can come eat, drink, and be merry.
5 New York City, NY
Sure, we can undoubtedly say that NYC is one of (if not the most) overrated city, especially when it comes to the food quality. Still, it’s greatness cannot be ignored. Whether you’re a foodie and a proud New Yorker or someone visiting the Big Apple, it’s more than safe to say there’s a place any foodie can get lost in in the city. Let’s just say it has more than 45,000 restaurants, 200 different cuisines, and some of the most unique restaurants in the nation and world.
4 Washington, D.C.
Oh, the capital of the U.S. Who knew it can whip up amazing Indian cuisine? It also has amazing Spanish restaurants in its more than 2,000 restaurants. While D.C. isn’t necessarily known for its food like other cities on the list, it certainly shouldn’t be looked over. Along with special cuisines like Indian and Spanish, Washington D.C. also features quaint countryside inns that provide food one could liken to an original homecooked meal. If you’re a foodie, you should definitely give this underdog a try.
3 Nashville, TN
Even though Nashville has been known for its southern cuisine, it has certainly grown into much more for foodies to enjoy in recent years. From expensive and high-end dining to mom-and-pop spots, Nashville’s variety is nothing to ignore. As for specifics, its deep-fried entrees and barbecue along with popular sides like macaroni and cheese and baked beans is what has foodies coming back to Nashville these days. On top of soul food, Nashville is getting into more international cuisine as well such as Italian, Mexican, and even Mediterranean.
2 Portland, OR
It’s clear that the West Coast is buzzing with places foodies can enjoy when they visit. So Portland definitely needs to be on the list. Here’s why: it’s breakfast spots and fast food eateries like Burgerville are to die for. Let’s just say Burgerville features raspberry milkshakes and Walla Walla onion rings that are extremely popular. While it’s no secret Portland lacks a variety of fine dining restaurants to choose from, the city’s food scene is doing just fine without it.
1 Raleigh, NC
While some of its nearby quaint towns like Charleston, Durham, and Asheville have been taking some of its attention, Raleigh is still standing strong in the game of exquisite cuisine. From Poole’s Downtown Diner to Herons and La Farm Bakery, Raleigh is undoubtedly keeping it spicy and interesting to guarantee it’s not among the forgotten cities for foodies. A few other notable restaurants include Bida Manda, Courtez Seafood and Cocktail, and St. Roch Fine Oysers + Bar. Foodies can definitely enjoy their food in this city.
References: Washington Post, US News, Zagat