Historical landmarks, sandy beaches and snowy mountaintops aren’t the only attractions that draw in tourists. Food has a special way of touching hearts and making places feel special.
If that’s the driving motivator behind your travel plans, TripAdvisor is helping you narrow down your vacation destination search. The site recently released its latest annual list of top food destinations in the U.S. and the results are diverse.
TripAdvisor determined the top cities by looking at the quality and quantity of reviews that restaurants received on its site from October 2022 through September 2023.
So if you’re a foodie or are just trying to broaden your culinary horizons, these cities will have you leaving stuffed and satisfied.
10. San Diego, California
San Diego is home to several award-winning restaurants, including one, called Addison, that has a rare three-star Michelin rating. Others star James Beard-nominated chefs, an honor that restaurants and chefs strive for.
This city isn’t only well-known for its upscale eateries but also for its seafood, tacos, California-style pizza, and wine and beer.
9. Asheville, North Carolina
Travel + Leisure Magazine called Asheville one of the best food cities in the nation in 2023, and USA Today rated Asheville as the fifth-best beer city. The year before that, Yelp labeled it as the Top Foodie City in the U.S.
8. Boston, Massachusetts
Seafood is a major part of Boston cuisine, with staples including the lobster roll, oysters and fried clams. If seafood isn’t your thing though, the city is also loved for its bar-style pizza and North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches.
Boston also has a well-known Chinatown, and many of its neighborhoods have pockets where Vietnamese, Armenian and Caribbean food can be enjoyed. This city has something to offer everybody.
7. Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, a city built on barrier islands, has a trendier vibe compared with its coastal neighbor, Miami. Miami Beach plays on its unique atmosphere with dazzling Art Deco architecture, a coastal feel and upscale dining. And there’s no shortage of seafood to try — as well as food with Latin influences.
6. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville restaurants Audrey and Locust both made it onto The New York Times’ 50 Restaurants We Love Most in 2022 list. The city also is known for being the birthplace of “Nashville style” hot chicken — which has an interesting origin. To sum it up, the legend goes that the iconic hot chicken was created as revenge by an angry wife whose husband then made a business out of it. It’s still running and known today as Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.
Locals also love fried bologna sandwiches and “meat ‘n’ threes,” for which customers pick one meat out of an array of choices and three vegetable side dishes. Those “vegetables” can include items like hush puppies and mac-and-cheese.
5. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah offers plenty of Southern comfort with popular regional foods like shrimp and grits, sweet tea, potato pie and low-country seafood boils.
Experienced foodies say that visitors absolutely can’t miss The Grey. Located in a restored 1938 art deco Greyhound bus terminal, it offers diner-style food and serves four- and six-course meals. It also turns one of Georgia’s favorite foods, boiled peanuts, into hummus.
4. New York City
New York City has a stacked list of foods that it’s known for. Some of those include the cronut, bagels with cream cheese and lox, pastrami on rye — and of course its pizza.
The city is home to more than 20,000 restaurants, and it would take 22.7 years to make it to all of them, according to one estimate. If you don’t have that kind of time, at least make it a priority to visit Katz’s Delicatessen, Scarpetta or Absolute Bagels.
3. Maui, Hawaii
Popular foods served on the Hawaiian island of Maui include its seafood, Spam-based dishes, homemade pies and malasadas — a deep-fried pastry dessert.
The local food scene on Maui has a diverse and rich history, evolving from contributions of the varied migrants to the islands: Chinese, Polynesian, Filipino, Korean and Spanish just to name a few.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
Culinary creations have a long history in this hub of trade and commerce since colonial times. Native American tribes used ingredients like corn, beans and squash, which later became staples of “low country” residents along the state’s coast. Some of the area’s signature dishes are influenced by the seasoning and other staples carried over to the continent as a result of the slave trade.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city experienced a culinary revival known as the “Charleston Renaissance,” when Southern comfort food integrated itself into the city’s culture.
Charleston now is home to James Beard Foundation award-winners including the chefs at FIG, Husk and Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans food has been heavily influenced by the French, Spanish and Creole cultures that have dominated the city for more than 300 years. Creole cuisine, according to the National Museum of American History, reflects that cosmopolitan combo of American, French, Spanish, Italian, West Indian and Mexican tastes. Gumbo, a popular regional stew, is considered an excellent example of this cultural blending.
New Orleans has a hearty list of James Beard Foundation award-winning eateries including (but certainly not limited to) Commander’s Palace, Dooky Chase’s and La Petite Grocery.