Are you a culinary explorer with an appetite for discovering new flavours and experiences? Look no further! The USA offers a rich tapestry of gastronomic delights waiting to be explored in 2024. From the smoky BBQ pits of Texas to the vibrant food markets of Boston, America’s top foodie cities are calling your name.

Join us as we guide you through the best places to eat in the USA, highlighting the top foodie destinations and must-visit culinary hotspots for your 2024 foodie adventure.

Best Foodie Cities USA 2024: San Antonio

Best Foodie Cities USA
San Antonio River Walk Downtown Reach – Photo © Al Rendon

San Antonio is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in the USA and known for its Tex-Mex cuisine, including the famous chilli con carne.

Two Bros. BBQ Market is a barbecue spot that stands out for its family-friendly ambience and authentic Texas barbecue.  The Jerk Shack offers a vibrant escape to the Caribbean in San Antonio. This restaurant specializes in Jamaican cuisine and is renowned for its Jamaican jerk chicken. The jerk shrimp tacos, served with mango salsa, is another popular dish. Tre Trattoria, located at the

San Antonio Museum of Art brings Italian flavours to San Antonio. At the same time, Curry Boys BBQ, located near the lively Olmos Basin Park, offers a fusion of Texas barbecue and Asian (Thai, Vietnamese) spices. This fusion of flavours from different continents makes San Antonio’s culinary scene exciting.

The Culinary Institute of America campus is in the heart of the historic Pearl District and infuses the city’s culinary culture with creativity, innovation, and a passion for food. For a taste of what the Institute is cooking up, visit Savor at Pearl for meals prepared and presented by advanced students under the guidance of professional faculty.

San Antonio is the home of Taste Texas: The Texas Wine & Food Festival, which this year takes place

8-10 November. The festival is so highly regarded it has been sponsored by the James Beard Foundation from its outset. Set against the picturesque La Villita backdrop in downtown San Antonio, the festival gathers celebrated local and national chefs under the James Beard banner to create a four-day celebration of food, wine, and cultural gastronomic experiences.

Read this for more on restaurants in San Antonio

Best Foodie Cities USA: Tucson

Best Foodie Cities USA
Cinco de Mayo in Tuscon

With locally driven restaurants, up-and-coming chefs and artisans, and a grounding in regional cuisine, Tucson, Arizona’s food scene has to be experienced to be understood. Moreover, as the first and one of only two cities in the USA designated a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, Tucson has a rich and diverse culinary scene. It is built on years of agricultural history and heritage that spans 5000 years of continuous farming practices, encompassing distinct Mexican and native traditions.

The Mexican food scene in Tucson is a melting pot of passion and heritage. With sizzling street food and family-owned gems hidden in colourful barrios, it offers an array of dining options from fine to funky. Specifically, the Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food is an adventure of incredible tacos. Additionally, the Sonoran Dog, Tucson’s version of the American hotdog, is an award-winning local delicacy. Furthermore, Downtown Tucson is home to the oldest family-run, continuously operating Mexican restaurant in the United States.

Visit Tucson has also launched its newest Field Guide, spotlighting a trail of local Mexican restaurants around the city to give locals and visitors a taste of Tucson, home to the USA’s best Mexican food.

Best Foodie Cities USA

The Farm to Table scene supports farmers and ranchers who form the backbone of Tucson’s agricultural legacy. At Tucson’s Farmer’s Markets, fresh food can be found all year round. Visitors can shop sustainably grown and locally sourced seasonal food. Sonoran Desert delicacies like traditional heirloom crops (such as tepary beans), edible native plants (like prickly pear fruit), and regional artisan products (bread made with mesquite flour) in addition to familiar provisions like garlic, herbs, tomatoes, eggs, honey and more can be found in these markets.

For more foodie information

Foodie Destination: Louisiana

Louisiana has thousands of miles—if you count bays and inlets—of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. This makes it one of North America’s most productive shrimp, oyster, and crab fisheries. Louisiana seafood offers great variety. The state produces more than 850 million pounds of seafood yearly. It is the second-largest seafood producer and largest commercial fishery in the U.S. 

Read also: Discover The 10 Best Airports in the World for Food

Furthermore, crawfish are abundant in Louisiana from late winter through early spring. Likewise, Louisiana blue crabs are quite a delicacy and can be found late spring through early fall. They are a sweet, succulent treat in dishes ranging from crab dip appetizers and marinated or fried crab claws to crab and shrimp gumbo.

In addition, the Louisiana Oyster Trail is a trail experience focusing on Jefferson Parish restaurants serving Louisiana Oysters. October through April is the prime season for these succulent, large Gulf Coast delicacies. Nevertheless, they are available year-round.

Louisiana’s Food: An Insider’s Guide | Explore Louisiana

Best Foodie Cities USA: New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant tapestry of flavours and festivities. Additionally, food trucks reign supreme on every corner, from bustling festivals to historic churches. They also line the electrifying Mardi Gras route and showcase a world of cuisines. Moreover, New Orleans shares its passion for food and drinks with festivals where anyone can sample, sip, and savour this foodie city’s best-tasting offerings throughout the year.

Thousands of wine and food lovers gather each spring in New Orleans for one of the city’s most extravagant rites of passage, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. Moreover, the five-day event features unique programs throughout the city for lovers of food and wine. In addition, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, continues the New Orleans blues tradition.

Furthermore, it brings together top performers from southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Musicians and vendors captivate audiences with soulful blues melodies and mouthwatering BBQs, making it a musical and culinary delight. Lastly, it’s a feast for the senses, making it a must-attend musical and culinary delight.

The 2024 James Beard winners for New Orleans include Jewel of the South, which won Outstanding Bar, and Dakar NOLA, which won Best New Restaurant.

New England

Best Foodie Cities USA 2024 – Photo ©Maine Lobster Festival

Many of New England’s culinary traditions trace their origins to Colonial times. Back then, European settlers’ food sensibilities mixed with what they learned from native peoples about preparing the bounty harvested from land and sea.

Native Americans first produced a genuinely indigenous food, maple syrup. They marked the harvest with a “sugar moon” celebration of the last full moon before spring. Real maple syrup is made by tapping maple trees and evaporating the collected sap to create a concentrated liquid. It is a breakfast staple used today to top pancakes and waffles.

Read also: How to eat your way around Algarve, Portugal

Sugarhouses—many small-scale, family-run operations—produce maple syrup in every New England state. Vermont is the biggest producer in the USA and the world’s largest producer of ‘grade A Fancy’ syrup. The sap harvest in March and April is the time to visit if you hope to see a sugarhouse in action. The maple associations in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut host special events and tours during this time. If you can’t get enough maple syrup, head to the Vermont Maple Festival every April.

Lobster is a famous delicacy in New England, especially Maine lobster. The fishing industry is closely monitored and sustainable. You can try a lobster roll at various eateries like Abbott’s Lobster in Connecticut or McLoons in Maine. Also, the Maine Lobster Festival is from July 31 to August 4, 2024.

New England won big at the James Beard Awards 2024 with Atsuko Fujimoto winning Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, David Standridge of the Shipwrights Daughter in Mystic, Connecticut winning Best Chef in the Northeast, and ZU Bakery in Portland, Maine winning Best Bakery.

Click here for more on New England’s Heritage foods

Best Foodie Cities USA: Boston

As Boston’s culinary scene explodes with flavour and innovation, its vibrant Food Halls are taking the spotlight. Additionally, these dynamic hubs combine a medley of cuisines under one roof. They blend international flair with local charm and present a tempting array of choices that cater to every palate.

In addition, visitors can stroll through the Boston Public Market, where 35 local artisanal vendors and food producers offer a mix of fast-casual meals, fresh produce, and speciality food items. Situated within the historic Haymarket, this bustling marketplace hosts various food-centric events every season.

Just a few steps away, you’ll find yourself at the legendary Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The marketplace is home to Quincy Market and was opened in 1742. This iconic food hall is frequented by tourists and locals alike. Additionally, visitors can stroll along the hallways while taking in the sights and smells of over 75 vendors cooking in their open kitchens. In Fenway, the Time Out Market beckons with 16 handpicked global cuisine restaurants, curated by Time Out. This gastronomic paradise offers a world of flavours reflecting the rich diversity of Boston’s food scene.

High Street Place in Downtown Boston offers a vibrant foodie destination with 20 fabulous vendors curated by Greater Boston’s culinary experts. There’s something for every craving, from modern sushi to gourmet sandwiches, salads, shellfish towers, and award-winning cocktails. Plus, enjoy artisanal pastries, authentic Italian dishes, and international street food.

Bites of Boston Food Tours offers food tours in Boston’s tastiest neighbourhoods. The tours feature a mix of historical and cultural details combined with delicious local cuisine. They accommodate dietary requirements and are held throughout the year.

You can also visit Boston’s Local Food Festival.

Tennessee 

Best Foodie Cities USA
Catherine & Mary’s in Memphis, Tennessee.

Music and food go hand in hand in Tennessee. Nashville’s music and food scene hits all the right notes, and visitors can grab a bite to eat or sip their favourite beverage while listening to live music. 

AJ’s Good Time Bar is the perfect place for anyone looking for the classic Lower Broadway experience, historical views, and the kind of country music that made Nashville famous.

The Bluebird Cafe has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space. Additionally, each show can include an up-and-coming songwriter and those whose music is regularly on the charts. Moreover, visitors can enjoy a meal alongside their experience. Furthermore, the cafe offers a weekly entrée feature, a seasonal menu, delectable desserts, and an extensive beverage menu.

Visitors can truly feel the soul of Memphis in restaurants that regularly host live music. Not only can you enjoy soul, blues, rock n’ roll, and even DJs at dining spots around this foodie city, but you can also experience the vibrant energy of the local music scene.

Initially opened in 1991, B.B. King’s Blues Club has remained a favourite for visitors and locals. This eatery offers excellent music and a great menu with a unique blend of blues, soul, and classic rock & roll music that is unique to Memphis.

Speciality ribs are a highlight, but the restaurant also serves other Southern favourites like shrimp and grits, barbecue chicken, burgers, po’boys, and more. Signature drinks (like Beale Street Lemonade and Memphis Margarita), beers, and wines are also available.

Click here for more information on culinary trails in Tennessee

Mississippi 

Mississippi is blessed with a natural bounty of seafood. Dive into the freshest seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, renowned for its world-class quality. You can find Oysters from the Gulf at some of the state’s best restaurants, like Thorny Oyster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In the Mississippi Delta, BBQ enthusiasts will find some of the finest barbeque in the USA at restaurants like Abe’s in Clarksdale. These restaurants have been perfecting their craft for nearly a century, making them a must-visit destination for food lovers.

The Mississippi Culinary Trail showcases the state’s rich tapestry of culinary flavours, highlighting the five regions’ distinct delicacies, restaurants, and food traditions. Indulge in the Delta’s famed Mississippi Catfish, relish the fresh shrimp along the Coast, and enjoy the hearty grill fare in the Hills.

Additionally, Johnnie’s Drive-In on Main Street in Tupelo still serves its famous dough burger. Elvis preferred to enjoy a cheeseburger and an RC Cola. Visitors can have lunch in the Elvis booth, which has a plaque marking it.

For more details on must-try meals and dining hotspots, go to VisitMississippi.

Mesa 

Without a doubt, Mesa is a culinary gateway. The region’s neighboring farms provide a continuous bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy at restaurants and resorts throughout Arizona. Furthermore, the Fresh Foodie Trail® is a unique experience that should be on every foodie’s bucket list.

Farms and agritourism are a big part of Mesa, where the treasured heritage of family farms, organic food, and long-standing festivals make for lasting memories. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a traditional American family farm and 300-acre peach orchard at Schnepf Farms. The farm hosts annual events like hayrides, train rides, and live entertainment. Moreover, the Power Road Farmers Market in southeast Mesa is open daily. This market is over 50 years old and known for its fresh produce and great prices.

Here’s a foodie itinerary for Mesa

Summing things up

Embarking on this USA Foodie Cities Bucket List for 2024 is more than just a journey through flavours. It’s an adventure celebrating the country’s rich culinary heritage and innovation. Each destination offers a unique taste of American culture and tradition. From savouring authentic Tex-Mex dishes in San Antonio to indulging in the freshest seafood along the Gulf Coast. So, let your taste buds lead the way as you explore these vibrant food scenes, meet passionate chefs, and create unforgettable memories. Happy travels and bon appétit!

Cover Photo © VisitSanAntonio.com

Disclaimer: This article is based on a press release by Travel & Tourism Marketing Ltd. All opinions expressed are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission if you purchase through those links at no additional cost. Your support helps keep this blog running, and I appreciate it!

Author

Eleanna is the founder of A Curious Compass and has been blogging since 2013. Her mixed ethnic background has made her curious about the world from a young age. Since her first solo trip at 18, she has visited and lived in many places, like London, Sao Paulo, Paris, and Toronto. Her mission is to inspire people to travel the world in style and get to know the soul of each destination.

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