The top three largest cities in the US — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — are foodie destinations in their own right. Visiting these classic US cities never disappoints when breakfast, lunch, or dinner rolls around. However, if you’re looking for other unique foodie destinations, you don’t have to be limited to these three staples. From Charleston to Portland, we’ve searched out some of the best cities in the US to park your fork and please your palate.
Charleston, South Carolina
It comes as no surprise that the oldest city in South Carolina is one of the great foodie cities in the world. Coupled with its stately architecture and gracious hospitality, Charleston’s food scene is one that emphasizes farm-to-table cuisine and covers a wide variety, from fish shacks and barbecue joints to classic shrimp and grits. Charleston serves up the epitome of Lowcountry cuisine, offering a blend of traditional Southern, African, French, and Caribbean flavors. You’ll find just that at places like Husk Restaurant, led by James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Broc and FIG, a purveyor of serving only the freshest, in-season, local ingredient-filled dishes.
Oregon’s largest city is also a haven for a distinctive and quirky urban culture. It comes as no surprise that Portland’s adventurous spirit and open-mindedness also applies to its food scene. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, it takes great pride in its reputation for tasty restaurants and rich food truck scene. The city can thank its surroundings for rich local produce on the menu as well as wines from the Willamette Valley. You won’t be hard-pressed to find loads of neighborhood spots in Portland serving up creative, constantly changing menus that emphasize local products and sustainability. From Russian to Peruvian, the food scene in Portland lends gems like Pok Pok, known for its Thai specialties, and Le Pigeon, spearheaded by James Beard Award winner Chef Gabriel Rucker.
Amidst all of the marble monuments and politics, the nation’s capital has become a go-to spot for chefs and restaurateurs to expand their culinary visions. Picked by Zagat as the top foodie city in the US for 2016, Washington D.C. can thank the constant infusion of different cultures for its great food scene. Foodies get a great deal of bang for their buck here, as you can find almost any cuisine you crave, from Ethiopian to Salvadoran. And as Washingtonians like to dine out a lot, you won’t have trouble finding a restaurant with an appealing menu. You can try acclaimed staples like Rose’s Luxury, known for its groundbreaking and welcoming cuisine, or Bad Saint, named one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Just as you can expect music flowing from the street corners and wrought iron balconies draped in greenery, you can always anticipate a good meal in New Orleans. The city of Southern traditions and Creole cuisine is easily one of the great foodie destinations in the country. Cuisine in New Orleans is all about community. From po’boys to sugary beignets, menus reflect the many cultures that have come through the city. You can visit staples like Antoine’s for French-Creole, celebrity chef establishments like Emeril’s from Emeril Lagasse, or one of the city’s many diverse neighborhoods to see what they deem the best style of gumbo.
Do you have a favorite foodie destination in the US? Share your favorite spots in the country for tasty vacations.