The 30 Best Foodie Cities in America for 2018

Lobster Roll from Hops & Barley Marketplace at Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival 2018 (Photo by Lauren Bowman)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 9:00 AM ET, Mon October 15, 2018

Foodie Havens

The term "foodie" has taken on an expanded definition in 2018 as Americans are seeking not only creative, gourmet dishes, but craft beverages to pair them with-as well as one-of-a-kind food experiences so they can learn and develop their passion. WalletHub recently analyzed 182 U.S. cities across more than two dozen key indicators of foodie-friendliness to determine America's best foodie destinations.

1. Portland, Oregon

Portland's craft brewery and winery scenes are unmatched and no other city can say it has more coffee shops per capita. Plus, Oregon's largest city ranks 17th out of 182 American cities in terms of affordability, making it an attractive destination for foodies on a budget.

2. San Francisco, California

The Bay Area can't be beaten when it comes to sheer volume, variety and quality of new and exciting foods. San Francisco is also home to the fourth-most gourmet specialty-food stores per capita.

3. Miami, Florida

Only New York and San Francisco boast more restaurants per capita than Miami, a city that showcases mouthwatering foods from all over the world. Miami also ranks second for the most gourmet specialty-food stores by resident count.

4. New York, New York

No city can compete with New York when it comes to food diversity, accessibility and quality. After all, the Big Apple is tied for first in terms of the most restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream and frozen yogurt shops per capita and is all alone in first place for most gourmet specialty-food stores.

5. Los Angeles, California

Visitors to Los Angeles will have plenty of options when it comes to shopping for gourmet foods. And, the Southern California metropolis surprisingly ranks toward the middle of the pack in terms of overall affordability.

6. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is overflowing with theme parks as well as stellar restaurants, trailing only four other cities in terms of most restaurants by heads. Visitors to Walt Disney World's Epcot World Showcase can sample a variety of international style foods.

7. Las Vegas, Nevada

Despite the fact that North Las Vegas is home to the fourth-fewest gourmet specialty-food stores per capita, the Entertainment Capital of the World remains one of America's top 10 foodie destinations because of its robust selection of restaurants and impressive roster of renowned chefs.

8. Seattle, Washington

Similar to its Pacific Northwest neighbor Portland, Seattle ranks high thanks to its remarkable array of craft breweries, wineries and coffee shops. It ties for first in each category.

9. San Diego, California

The diversity and quality of tasty food in San Diego are on par with California's other major cities. However, travelers are likely to find this sunny destination's offerings slightly more wallet-friendly compared to San Francisco or L.A.

10. Austin, Texas

Austin is renowned for its world-class barbecue scene and the city fares consistently well across the key indicators WalletHub analyzed, ranking 15th in overall affordability as well as diversity, accessibility and quality.

11. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is chock-full of unbeatable comfort food but the bustling southern city brings much more to the table. Only 10 other cities rank higher when it comes to food diversity.

12. Tampa, Florida

Elsewhere in the Southeast, Tampa makes a surprise entry at number 12 on the list. The region was recently named one of USA Today's most underrated food cities on the East Coast so the future appears bright.

13. Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City ranks inside the top 10 nationally when it comes to diversity, accessibility and quality for foodies, but cost holds it back and is the reason a dozen cities rank higher.

14. Denver, Colorado

It's easier to get the munchies in Denver and, thankfully, the Mile High City ranks among America's best for hungry and passionate foodies. What's more, craft beer and wine are plentiful in Denver.

15. Washington, DC

Only New York and Seattle fare worse than the nation's capital among cities in the top 25 when it comes to affordability. Still, Washington, D.C. isn't short on sensational offerings whether you're in the mood for creative tacos, fancy pizza or one of Ben's famous chili dogs.

16. Sacramento, California

A phenomenal destination for taco lovers, Sacramento is a sleeper foodie city as it's overshadowed by a plethora of iconic eater-friendly places on the West Coast.

17. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sure, Philly's cheesesteaks are famous the world over. Even so, the City of Brotherly Love is also home to some unbelievably delicious Italian food and loads of other cuisine styles that are relatively affordable compared to the rest of the East Coast.

18. Houston, Texas

Affordable groceries help set Houston apart from other foodie cities. It ranks fifth in that regard and eighth in overall affordability.

19. Oakland, California

San Francisco may have Oakland beaten, but the rest of America has some serious catching up to do with this city as it cracks the top 20 despite being one of only six places in the top 25 to rank 100th or worse in overall affordability.

20. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is celebrated for its charm and history, but it also offers an awesome foodie scene whether you're in the mood for a memorable brunch or a comforting meal some other time of day.

21. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio beats out every other city in the all-important affordability category. It's tied for second in terms of lowest cost of groceries and tied for first for most ice cream and frozen yogurt shops per capita.

22. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati ranks outside of the top 30 for diversity, accessibility and quality, but ranks a noteworthy 13th in terms of overall affordability. What's more, the chili here is undoubtedly some of the best in the country.

23. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond's lights-out foodie scene certainly isn't the primary reason many people visit-it's one of the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs-but there's a lot of edible items to look forward to.

24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is often celebrated for its tremendous beer culture and it ranks fourth in the nation for lowest average beer and wine price. However, visitors will discover plenty of creative and delicious foods to pair with their favorite drinks.

25. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Just north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale possesses its own awesome foodie scene at a cheaper cost. Its proximity to the beach doesn't hurt its allure either.

26. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu offers the most gourmet specialty-food stores per capita of any city outside of the mainland U.S. Nonetheless, grocery costs in the Hawaiian capital are sky-high compared to other places.

27. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is the one "food city" that I just keep coming back to so it's rewarding to find it sitting comfortably in the top 30. Yes, Primanti Bros. sandwiches are worth the hype but that's just the beginning of what the Steel City has to offer your taste buds.

28. Santa Ana, California

South of Los Angeles, Santa Ana cracks the top 30 thanks to its surprisingly impressive diversity, accessibility and quality.

29. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Only San Antonio and Detroit rank higher than Albuquerque when it comes to overall affordability, making the Southwest destination a no-brainer for foodies who want to chow down without breaking the bank.

30. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is much more than mouthwatering ribs but that's certainly an excellent place to start. The Midwest city also possesses some of the country's best street food and it isn't short on variety.

WalletHub reveals the tastiest, budget-friendly American cities.

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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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