The 24 Best Foodie Cities In The US

The United States is undoubtedly a foodie paradise, thanks to the diverse population and wide range of cities offering inspired takes on classic regional favorites. We've selected the top foodie destinations in the country that highlight the best of the best. With varied options like New York City bagels, fresh Hawaiian poke, Philly cheesesteaks, Fenway franks, she-crab soup, and Cuban sandwiches, there's something for every palate on our culinary journey.

All of the cities we've profiled here have something in common; they've reached into their traditional and regional roots to showcase epic food that's truly unique. While some dishes like Chicago's famous deep-dish pizza are replicated countrywide, for the complete experience you're best off going to the source. So buckle up and prepare for a foodie road trip that spans the country. Discover new dishes among delicious local favorites from cities that epitomize the vast array of culinary options in the U.S.

1. Buffalo, New York

The humble rust-belt city of Buffalo, New York, is also a first-class foodie destination, serving up authentic Polish food, beef on weck, and of course, its signature Buffalo chicken wings. Also known as Buffalo wings or simply wings, these treats originated at Anchor Bar as a happy accident, according to the National Chicken Council. The popular finger food relies on a delicate balance of spicy hot sauce, butter, and cool blue cheese for its classic flavor. Although five-alarm deep-fried wings are a traditional Buffalonian treat, you can get yours mild or medium instead.

Beef on weck is another hometown fave, comprised of thinly-sliced beef, horseradish, and a Kaiser roll. Toss on a bit of beef au jus for a messy but heavenly sandwich that you will fall in love with. Buffalo has a massive Polish population serving up authentic pierogi, placek, and golabki that taste as if they came straight from your babcia 's kitchen in Warsaw. Head to the city's East Side Broadway Market for true, tasty Polish fare.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, is such a foodie hot-spot that even the rich and famous flock there for Cajun-style down-home cuisine. With New Orleans' colorful past and eclectic mixture of culinary influences, it's no surprise that this city is on the map for must-dine American destinations. One of the biggest jewels in New Orleans' crown of flavor has got to be gumbo. The spicy and hearty stew is full of fresh local shellfish, bell peppers, and plenty of onion for a rich taste you won't want to miss.

Another staple that will stick to your ribs is a muffuletta sandwich, consisting of a layer of olives topped with plenty of cold cuts and sliced cheese, as per Serious Eats. The soft pillowy bread is large, round, and covered with sesame seeds, making the perfect base for the winning combination of flavors. If you have a sweet tooth, New Orleans has got you covered too. Don't skip the famous fresh hot beignets, the state's signature donut (via National Geographic).

3. Burlington, Vermont

One of the most loved exports from Burlington, Vermont, is its sharp cheddar cheese, so it's not surprising that this hippie haven makes some of the best mac and cheese in the country. Get it loaded up with sharp, smoked, or mild cheddar for a creamy, delicious bowl of gooey nostalgia. Although Burlington's macaroni and cheese is tasty enough to warrant planning a road trip ASAP, it's far from the only comforting creation that The Green Mountain State offers.

Burlington is also home to Ben & Jerry's, the iconic small-batch ice cream company that truly put the city on the map. Ben & Jerry's makes plenty of wacky and wonderful flavors, and you can sample them on-site at the original store. During the fall or peak leaf peepin' season, foodies who visit Vermont can try a local classic: cider donuts. NPR recommends enjoying the baked goods with a crisp glass of cider for a classic fall pairing. To warm up, sip on hot tea or coffee against a backdrop of Vermont's famous changing leaves.

4. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, might be the darling of the West Coast for its unbelievable nature, miles of bike trails, and eco-friendly vibe, but it's no slouch in the foodie department either. Portland has some of the best farm-to-table dining options in the whole country, that let you immerse yourself in the cuisine as you appreciate the abundance of local ingredients. Plate & Pitchfork regularly hosts several-course dinners preceded by a farm tour to familiarize guests with regional ingredients utilized in inventive and tasty ways.

According to CNN, Portland also has a thriving street food and food truck scene, spanning several different types of cuisines and preparations. Best of all, you can find them virtually everywhere. Perhaps most surprising is Portland's Eastern European food culture. Places like the Roman Russian Market are massive, authentic marketplaces where hungry visitors can pick up smoked fish, cake, and sausages straight from the old country. You can dine on-site or grab some goodies to enjoy back home.

5. Asheville, North Carolina

If the Deep South isn't the first place that pops to mind when you think of creative vegetarian cooking, then Asheville, North Carolina, would like to have a word. For a city famous for its meats, it sure does lean hard toward veggies. The Asheville Vegan Society highlights a variety of vegan-friendly options found on just about every corner. These eclectic eateries aren't serving up the greens as an afterthought. From food trucks and juice shops to fine dining restaurants according to The Beet, you can satisfy your cravings without skimping on flavor. 

Wash your veggie plate down with a pint or two of Asheville's legendary suds. As a certified brew town and one of the best beer cities in the states per Rand McNally, thirsty foodies can sip on everything from porters to stouts. In addition, Asheville's prominent location in the heart of the Appalachian mountains makes it a prime destination to sample regional favorites like tasty apple butter, ramps, and huge slices of country ham (via Explore Asheville).

6. Boise, Idaho

Although you can find quirky regional favorites like the famous ice cream potato (a sweet take on a loaded potato, per Atlas Obscura) in Boise, Idaho, the northwestern city has plenty more tricks up its sleeve. From Basque cuisine to crispy addictive finger steaks, there's plenty to love from the potato capital of the world. Finger steaks are a regional classic and they rival just about any slab of steak that you can find in high-end Texas restaurants. The secret is in the preparation.

According to The Spokesman-Review, high-quality cuts of meat are marinated in seasoned buttermilk then coated in a flour-based batter and deep-fried. They're served with a generous helping of French fries and cocktail or barbecue dipping sauce. Meanwhile, Boise's beating heart is its Basque culture CNN reports, and foodies can sample chorizo, paella, and other delights all around the city. Finally, Boise's ice wine puts it on the map, and Idaho Press explains that the cold climate and soils produce some fantastic blends.

7. Chicago, Illinois

True foodies know that to take a break from paper-thin slices of pepperoni pizza, you should head straight to Chicago, Illinois where the local deep-dish pizza is an experience in itself. BBC describes the hefty rich combination of sauce, cheese, and fillings, which is almost like digging into a casserole or pie, complete with layers of comforting pizza flavors. If you want to sample deep-dish like a true Chicagoan, make sure to break out your knife and fork.

Other foodie favorites include Chicago Italian beef, a hearty sandwich stuffed with thinly sliced seasoned meat and roasted peppers on a French roll, Allrecipes explains. You can choose hot, sweet, or a mixture of different peppers to crown your beef sammie. Of course, if your inner carnivore is still hungry for more, there's always the Chicago-style hotdog to satisfy it. Chicago hot dogs come with a number of different toppings including tomato, pickle, onions, pepper, relish, and mustard.

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

Even if you've had spaghetti with meat sauce and cheese before, we're willing to bet that you've never sampled it quite the way it's done in Cincinnati. According to WVXU News, Cincinnati chili is a glorious Greek-inspired blend of spaghetti, homemade chili, onions, beans, and a heaping pile of cheese. In The Queen City, they don't use cheese only as a garnish. Instead, it's a significant component, blanketing the entire dish in a finely shredded layer. Although you can pick up a plate on pretty much any street corner, most locals flock to the two chains started locally — Gold Star, and Skyline Chili.

While Cincinnati chili will undoubtedly satisfy your need for savory, cheesy, meaty goodness, this city isn't short on sweet foods either. Peanut butter and chocolate buckeyes are a regional favorite, voted as the top sweet snack in the state according to a survey by Funky Chunky (via WLWT News). Meanwhile, Graeter's Ice Cream is a sweetshop institution serving up creamy ice cream and nostalgic treats to visitors and residents alike since 1870.

9. Miami, Florida

For Cuban-fusion flavors with a side of sunshine, head to Miami, Florida. Miami rivals NYC as one of the most exciting cities in the United States, where you can find high-end clubs and miles of pristine beaches, alongside fresh fare from the sea, thick Cuban sandwiches, and generous slices of key lime pie. According to State Symbols USA, the latter is the official state pie of Florida, and no city nails the delicate balance of tart key limes and velvety sweetened condensed milk quite like Miami.

Miami's proximity to the ocean means that you can enjoy an impressive selection of seafood. Ceviche is one of the city favorites, a mixture of seafood slowly marinated in citrus and served with vegetables and herbs. Countless restaurants experiment with flavors so be sure to explore Eater Miami's top ceviche spots. But, perhaps the one dish that Miami is most famous for is its Cuban sandwiches. These sammies are stuffed with ham, roast pork, mustard, cheese, and pickles, and pressed together to allow the flavors to mingle.

10. New York City, New York

Ask any New Yorker and they will tell you that their city has the best food in the world. And after tasting your share of bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza, you might be inclined to agree. The Big Apple has some seriously iconic dishes, and one of the most prominent has got to be its super-thin pizza (via Serious Eats). The huge triangular slices can be picked up on virtually any street corner in Manhattan. Be sure to fold them in half to savor layers of cheese, sauce, and thin-crust in every bite. 

Cheesecake is another exceptional NYC dish, praised for its dense texture and ideal sweetness. Although you can top it with a drizzle of chocolate or berries, it's perfectly acceptable to be a cheesecake purist and savor every bite of cream cheese and graham cracker crust alone. For a snack at any time, bagels undoubtedly scream NYC. According to NPR, the secret to the city's delicious bagels lies in the boiling process, yielding a crisp exterior and chewy interior.

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Visit the City of Brotherly Love for comforting, humble foods with familiar ingredients served up in classic Philly style. If you're looking for haute cuisine, you might want to hit up New York or San Francisco, but for some of the best bar food in the country Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the place to go. If you're craving Philly cheesesteaks, the namesake city does them best. Taste Atlas describes wafer-thin slices of beef and melted cheese on a crusty roll that is guaranteed to hit the spot every time.

The city's hoagies are pretty darn good, too, just don't confuse them with subs unless you want a stern talking-to. The combination of meat, veggies, peppers, and cheese will satisfy your hunger, and Philadelphia Magazine has dozens of recommendations to get your fix. If you're still hungry try Philadelphia's soft pretzels, giant salty baked goods slathered with mustard and delicious to the final crumb.

12. Juneau, Alaska

In the far northern region of the United States, Juneau, Alaska is the place to go for excellent game meat and seafood. Adjacent to the Arctic circle, this city is charming, historical, and full of great food like reindeer meat, fresh salmon, and gigantic portions of Alaskan crab. Although there are plenty of continental United States cities that can boast incredible seafood and game, Juneau has a unique combination of both.

Juneau Empire reports that reindeer sausage is a local favorite that's perfectly spiced, not too gamey, and familiar enough to be enjoyed by many palates. Get it for breakfast with fresh eggs and toast or as a special mid-day snack. For seafood lovers, Juneau's bounty is off the charts and you won't find it fresher elsewhere. Foodies can snack on massive portions of Alaskan crab or salmon pulled out of the chilly North Pacific waters hours prior to being served.

13. Houston, Texas

The Lonestar State is a foodie destination for all things meat and Houston, Texas, is the center of it all. This bustling Texan city is where you can find some of the best and most generous portions of steak in the entire country. Hungry visitors can also sample local cuts of meat prepared over an open flame or seared for extra juicy results. Served with creamy mashed potatoes, spinach, or fresh vegetables, these steaks are well-worth hopping on a plane for. Plus, you'll get a dose of old-fashioned Southern hospitality to boot.

The steaks aren't the only reason why foodies flock to Houston: Traditional Texas barbecue is king here. The meaty meal is minimalistic and slow-cooked brisket is seasoned with salt and pepper for a tantalizing treat that doesn't require any additional garnish or sauce (via Thrillist). For a tasty snack, try a kolache, a Czech pastry that Saveur notes is very popular in Texas. The soft pastries are filled with everything from fruit jellies, poppy seeds, and even cheese or meat.

14. Boulder, Colorado

Adventurous foodies will want to check out Boulder, Colorado, for favorites like Rocky Mountain oysters, freshly-cooked bison, and refreshing pints of local beer. The city sure has a lot going for it. According to The Denver Post, Boulder ranks fourth in the country for breweries per capita. That means no matter your taste or suds style, you can find something to fit the bill in Boulder.

Smart foodies know the bar snack that pairs perfectly with the city's cold IPA is Rocky Mountain oysters (via NPR). This fried, meaty, salty appetizer is actually made out of bull testicles. Although the meat in question might throw you off at first, don't knock them until you try them. Rocky Mountain oysters are delicious fresh out of the fryer, with meaty flavors and a smooth consistency. If testicles are a bridge too far for you, there's always a juicy, fresh bison burger nearby.

15. Providence, Rhode Island

If you want some of the biggest flavors in the country, look to the smallest state in the union. Providence, Rhode Island, specializes in New England classics, exceptional seafood, and great pizza. Rhode Island clam chowder is a great example, which USA Today describes as a variation on Manhattan or New England styles, with all of the briny goodness from the clams and none of the dairy. Instead of creamy chowder, Rhode Island's version is clear and highlights the full flavor of the clams without any additional ingredients.

Providence's pizzas are big enough for the whole family, with a thin crust, plenty of garlicky sauce, and tons of toppings (via Pizza Today). New England Today reports that johnnycakes are another Providence favorite. The pancakes are made with cornmeal, sugar, salt, and either boiling water or cold milk, producing a thin or thick result depending on what side of the debate you sit on, per The New York Times. The outlet notes that they can be topped with jam, syrup, and molasses, served with milk and sugar, or with savory meals instead of potatoes or rice.

16. Charleston, South Carolina

The food culture in Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful blend of fresh seafood and Southern classics. Since it's right on the Atlantic Ocean, you get the best of both worlds with stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that will make you want to come back for more. Charleston Today explains that she-crab soup has been a Charleston favorite since the 1920s. The creamy, decadent soup is packed with chunks of fresh crab meat in a velvety broth, with a light sprinkle of roe on top adding a pop of flavor. The dish is a longtime favorite and a must-try for any seafood lover.

Fried green tomatoes are another local delicacy, per Discover South Carolina. A delicate batter and dipping sauce amplify their tart tang, and the crunchy snack is the perfect sharing dish if you're feeling generous. If you want to sample true Southern cooking, order up a dish of shrimp and grits. The smooth texture of the grits goes well with huge portions of ocean-fresh shrimp. Depending on where you try them, you might even find your grits flavored with ham or a smoky sauce to add complexity to the dish.

17. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California, is the place to go for giant mission burritos packed with fresh ingredients in a steamed wheat-flour tortilla. The burritos are a classic local treat, loaded up with Mexican rice, mixed beans, salsa, plenty of meat, and assorted toppings, Bon Appétit reveals. Although mission-style burritos are sure to satisfy anyone's carb cravings, San Francisco is also home to a unique spin on sourdough bread. According to BBC Travel, this rendition tends to be slightly tangier and doughier than other variations, and it tastes heavenly with a thick smear of butter or a steaming bowl of soup.

Of course, San Francisco's unique seaside location means that you can get delectable seafood just about anywhere. One regional specialty is Dungeness crab, and there's no shortage of places to enjoy it as Eater San Francisco's guide demonstrates. Savor your Dungeness crab whole, or have it stirred into a creamy soup, pasta dish, or formed into rich crab cakes accompanied by a side of vegetables and relish.

18. Honolulu, Hawaii

Foodies know that for an unparalleled dining experience, they should travel outside of the continental United States down to Honolulu, Hawaii. This idyllic, tropical city specializes in fresh seafood and exciting food preparations. It's not hyperbole to say that you will not find a more unique food destination in the country. Poi is a must-sample Hawaiian dish made out of taro or plantain, The Culture Trip explains. Typically served as a side dish, poi could be compared to rice, grits, or potatoes.

Poke is another Honolulu favorite that makes inspired use of one of the island's top ingredients: fresh fish. Poke bowls are teeming with cubes of raw fish and sometimes vegetables or fruit (via TODAY). The preparation is slightly akin to ceviche or sashimi and the perfect way to enjoy Hawaii's fresh bounty. Kalua pig is another regional dish commonly featured at Hawaiian luaus (via Vox Creative). For the full experience, sample juicy slices of roasted pork as you enjoy a traditional Hawaiian ceremony.

19. Memphis, Tennessee

The southern city of Memphis, Tennessee, is home to huge plates of crispy fried chicken, decadent peanut butter pie, and finger-licking barbecue. If you're craving some authentic home-cooked treats, head on down to Memphis. The city's fried chicken put it on the map, and every local restaurant has its own flavorful spin on this classic dish. One of the best is Gus's Fried Chicken, a spicy rendition with piping hot pieces of crusty chicken and perfectly cooked juicy meat.

In addition to getting their fried chicken fix, hungry foodies can snack on Memphis-style barbecue, which Commercial Appeal describes as a sweet and spicy blend of brown sugar, vinegar, tomato, and molasses that pairs well with fork-tender bites of pulled pork. We wouldn't blame you for putting it on everything though as the special barbecue sauce is nearly good enough to drink. Round out your Memphis food journey with a thick slice of peanut butter pie coated in a drizzle of chocolate.

20. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, is locally known as Magic City according to Advance Local, and foodies will undoubtedly taste the wizardry in the food. Many of the city's most popular dishes are local riffs on Southern favorites, served in clever combinations with local ingredients. Take humble chow-chow, which Allrecipes explains is a pickled vegetable relish. The seasonings, combination of ingredients, and expert preparation truly take it to the next level.

You'll see a lot of this type of cooking in Birmingham. Often overlooked ingredients like ox-tail get a colossal glow up when coupled with vegetables and stewed to perfection. Meanwhile, fried chicken and waffles are two common dishes that get a brand new life when they are combined as a sweet and savory meal. The chicken is crisp and juicy, and the waffles are golden-brown with a pleasantly chewy consistency. Tied together with a special glaze and served piping hot, this dish is magical. 

21. Seattle, Washington

If you were around in the '90s, there's a great chance that you remember Seattle, Washington, as the birthplace of grunge (via Britannica), great coffee, and the wave of flannel that became the official uniform of the Gen-X generation. But, aside from chilly rainy weather and steaming hot cups of coffee, Seattle has quite a bit to offer food-wise. It sits right on the Pacific ocean, giving it access to some of the freshest seafood and shellfish in the country.

Oysters are an iconic Seattle food, as well as off-the-beaten-path sea specialties like geoduck, a massive local clam that might not look particularly attractive but can send you straight into foodie nirvana after just one bite. You can also sample regional favorites like Dungeness crab, cod, salmon, and halibut, with restaurants serving up unique creations to satisfy all palates (via Forbes). Although savvy foodies can snack on these treats virtually anywhere in the country, Seattle's unique location means that the black cod on your plate was probably still swimming a mere few hours earlier.

22. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts, is a slice of lobster heaven, with complete access to the bounty of Massachusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Unsurprisingly, foodies flock to Boston for one of their top lobster dishes. It isn't surf and turf — it's the humble lobster roll. The perfect lobster roll starts off with a fresh bun, grilled to ensure that it doesn't get too soggy. The bun is filled up with chunks of tender lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise, optional celery, then topped with butter, salt, pepper, and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice (via Boston Discovery Guide). If you're lucky it might even come with a side of butter for extra dipping.

If lobster isn't your thing, check out Boston's Fenway franks (via Taste Atlas). These hot dogs go through a two-step cooking process and they are served with mustard and relish. Next, satisfy your sweet tooth with the city's namesake dessert: a Boston cream pie. Rich vanilla custard is layered between two sponge cakes and the whole is coated with a luscious chocolate glaze, giving you the best of a cake and a pie in one slice (via What's Cooking America).

23. Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital hits the foodie map for its unique spins on classic dishes. According to DCist, Washington, D.C., is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and its selection of food certainly reflects that. For example, while other cities have donuts, D.C. specializes in crème brûlée donuts, a tasty treat that hits the sweet spot between rich crème brûlée flavors and a dense donut consistency. According to Nomtastic Foods, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is the spot to sample them.

Neapolitan pizza is also on the menu in D.C., striking the right note between New York's paper-thin pies and Chicago's deep dish offerings. Foodies in the know will not miss trying half-smokes after touring the National Mall. The sausage preparation is distinct, and they're first smoked before being put on the grill, according to Washington's Tourism website. The result is an extra delicious sausage that tastes amazing on its own or topped with fresh onions, chili sauce, or a ton of cheese.

24. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona's proximity to the border and strong Navajo culinary influence make it one of the best places in the country to sample traditional Navajo fry bread and savory tamales. Arizona's Native American Navajo community introduced fry bread around 150 years ago, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Its roots are grim, dating back to the so-called Long Walk, where native populations were forced to leave their land with only limited amounts of food and forced to work with what little supplies the U.S. government gave them.

Today's fry bread is light but substantial unsweetened bread that you can eat plain or topped with beans, beef, cheese, or taco fillings. You can also enjoy a sweet version with honey, jam, or powdered sugar. Tamales are another regional favorite where savory fillings like cheese, beans, or meat are steamed in a banana leaf. The result is a creamy concoction with tons of flavor. Finally, the Sonoran hot dog consists of a bacon-wrapped sausage loaded up with pretty much anything you can find in your pantry. Typical toppings include beans, avocado, mushrooms, tomato, mayonnaise, and yellow mustard, per Visit Phoenix.