America is filled with charming, bustling cities. Orlando, New York City, and Chicago are some of the most visited US cities, and there are other less popular cities scattered across the US with just as much appeal and character. Some travelers enjoy exploring the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles, while others seek out the best river cruise in the city of Chicago.
American cities are known for more than their unique neighborhoods and fun attractions, however. Foodies often visit the US cities with the best food to enjoy their exquisite cuisine. From delicious dumplings to deep-dish pizza to fresh seafood, each of these US cities offers mouthwatering meals.
UPDATE: 2023/04/10 22:33 EST BY JAIMEE TERESE
Discover more of the best foodie cities in the US
Who doesn't enjoy a delicious meal, a strong cup of coffee, or a master-crafted cocktail? This list has been updated to include four more US cities with the best food that will tantalize the taste buds thanks to their culinary offerings. Wine and dine through 14 of the best foodie cities in the US. Bon Appetit!
14. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
13. Charleston, South Carolina
No one does comfort food like the South. The South Carolina city of Charleston is known for its Southern comfort food, including warm cornbread, fried chicken, and boiled peanuts. Don’t forget dessert, as a chilled glass of iced tea or slice of peach pie rounds out any Charleston meal.
Delicious dishes can also be found in Charleston’s French Quarter, the perfect spot for first-time visitors. Travelers enjoy trying shrimp and grits, lobster, or short ribs. A few popular seafood restaurants in the area include Revival, High Cotton Charleston, and Magnolias. With a dizzying amount of incredible eats, Charleston is unquestionably one of the top food cities in the US.
12. Portland, Maine
Another East Coast city with spectacular seafood is Portland, Maine. Located on Casco Bay, this city boasts beautiful coastal views, historic buildings, and delicious restaurants. The Portland, Maine travel website calls Portland the city to visit to enjoy lighthouses, lobster, and beaches.
When visiting this area, be sure to try the lobster rolls and Maine lobster cakes. Portland also contains a prevalent food truck scene. The Eastern Promenade and Thompson’s Point are two spots typically bustling with food trucks and picnics.
11. Portland, Oregon
Another city named is Portland known for its stellar food is Portland, Oregon. When looking for things to do in Portland during a weekend trip, travelers should consider shopping at a farmers market or dining at a local restaurant. Portland is also known for its coffee culture, with top-notch options for a caffeine fix.
The farmers market at Portland State University takes place every Saturday of the year, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as booths containing local cuisine. The restaurants in Portland also do not disappoint. From clam chowder to bacon donuts to juicy burgers, a wide variety of dishes are available all over the city.
10. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a Mecca for fashion, celebrities, and food. One aspect of LA that makes it a foodie’s paradise is Grand Central Market. This ginormous food court has been a downtown LA staple since 1917. With dozens of vendors and a wide range of dishes, Grand Central Market is the perfect spot to explore and try new dishes.
- Address: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
- Hours: 8 am-9 pm daily
9. Nashville, Tennessee
There is so much more to do in Nashville besides listening to country music. Visitors need to explore the food scene and try the delicious downtown dishes. For the foodies who are obsessed with barbeque, Nashville is a must-visit US city. When local experts listed their favorite BBQ spots in Nashville, they mentioned Butchertown Hall, Shotgun Willie’s BBQ, Peg Leg Porker, and Mary’s Old Fashioned Pit Bar-B-Que.
Nashville is also known for its exciting nightlife. Head to Broadway and grab a delicious drink at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge or Whiskey Bent Saloon.
8. New York City, New York
New York City, the city that never sleeps, is often recognized for its delicious bagels and signature New York-style slice. These alone make it one of the best food cities in the US. Some argue that Tompkins Square Bagels makes the best bagels in town, while others swear by Russ & Daughters’ bagels. Travelers looking to explore the bagel scene should book a tour with NYC Bagel Tours.
- Duration: 2 hours
- Cost: $59 per person
When in the city, travelers should also explore the best foodie neighborhoods in New York City, including Chinatown, Brighton Beach, and Belmont. There is no shortage of dining options for all tastes and budgets, from street food and delicatessens to the fanciest fine dining.
7. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is another US city with a stellar food scene. Like New York City, San Francisco is home to a slew of foodie neighborhoods, including Chinatown, North Beach, and The Mission, making it one of the best foodie cities US states have to offer across the country. Each neighborhood offers something different, from Chinatown’s pork buns to The Mission’s tacos.
One particular spot in San Francisco that every foodie should visit is the Ferry Building. This marketplace hosts a local farmers market that takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Guests who visit on other days do not need to fret, as there are plenty of restaurants, cafés, and coffee shops open 7 days a week in the Ferry Building.
- Address: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94105
- Hours: 7 am-10 pm daily
6. Chicago, Illinois
People planning a vacation in the Midwest should consider exploring Chicago’s best neighborhoods for food lovers. The West Loop is known for its upscale restaurants and bars, while Pilsen features the best Mexican dishes in the city.
Chicago is also known for its famous Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Some of the best Chicago spots to try deep-dish pizza include Pequod’s Pizza, Giordano’s, and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Foodies with a sweet tooth should embark on Chicago’s Underground Donut Tour, stopping at Chicago staples like Firecakes Donuts and Stan’s Donuts & Coffee.
5. New Orleans, Louisiana
Nothing beats Southern cooking. What makes New Orleans food so special is that it is a fusion of different flavors and cuisine. Cajun, Creole, and French cuisine are all New Orleans staples. Some popular dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, and po-boys.
When seeking out New Orleans’ best food, consider dining at Coop’s Place, Napoleon House, or Brennan’s Restaurant. Travelers seeking a more adventurous meal should explore New Orleans’ most unusual dishes, including fried alligator and crawfish sausages. Round out a meal with New Orleans’ signature beignets.
4. Washington D.C.
Not only is it the nation's capital, but Washington D.C. is also one of the best foodie cities in the United States. Visitors will find an emphasis on farm-to-table dining, artisanal coffee and baked goods, and an array of world-class restaurants offering both regional staples and diverse international cuisine.
Explore some of the many small towns outside of Washington D.C. that also offer an excellent food scene. The Inn at Little Washington, for example, is one of the nation's top restaurants and the only D.C. area restaurant with the honor of three Michelin stars.
Washington DC also hosts multiple food festivals annually. Here are just a few to add to the calendar:
- Savor: An American Craft Beer Experience : June 24th
- DC Black Food and Wine Festival : June 25th
- Around the World Cultural Food Festival : August 26th
- Arte Agave and Mezcal Festival : September 9th
3. Austin, Texas
Like many other southern locales, Austin has established a stellar reputation among barbecue enthusiasts to become one of the best food cities in America. Generations of pitmasters have passed down their techniques, and Austin is home to some of the best BBQ in Texas.
It's not all dry rubs and wood smokers, though. Austin is among the US cities with the best food, and that means more than just BBQ. Austin's caffeine culture and coffee shops rival that of places like Portland and San Francisco, with skilled baristas serving up a variety of brews. For beverages of the alcoholic variety, Austin is home to dozens of cocktail bars, breweries, distilleries, and even wineries, thanks to its positioning in Texas wine country.
Seafood enthusiasts should head to the Quality Seafood Market, which has been bringing the freshest Gulf Coast seafood to Austin since 1938.
2. Asheville, North Carolina
A charming city nestled in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has long been a haven for outdoorsy types, artists, and musicians. In recent years, it has also been gaining notoriety as one of the top food cities in the US. Its culinary scene is innovative and quickly evolving, with an incredibly diverse array of offerings.
There are upwards of 120 fantastic restaurants in Asheville, including James Beard Award-winning establishments like Chai Pani, Cúrate, and Buxton Hall Barbecue. Asheville's epic breweries have also etched out a name in the craft beer scene, some of which are considered among the best breweries in the south.
1. Denver, Colorado
Denver has been making appearances on many 'top foodie cities' lists for 2023, including this one! The mile-high city is home to a progressive culinary scene, with area chefs constantly serving up interesting and innovative dishes on their menus.
Union Station (Denver's main train terminal) underwent extensive renovations and is now one of the city's hottest culinary hubs. Think chic Art-deco lounges, sustainable seafood, world-famous waffles, and a European-style market run by a James Beard award-winning chef. Union Station is an absolute must for foodies visiting Denver.
Once an area to avoid, the RINO district is now home to a thriving food scene set against a backdrop of eye-catching street murals. As such, it's become one of the best food cities in US states in the center of the country. Here are some other Denver neighborhoods with dining that won't disappoint:
- Uptown / North Capitol Hill
- Cherry Creek