12 U.S. Cities With Food So Good People Go There Just to Eat

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When planning a vacation, how much time do you devote to researching the culinary delights that await you? Is it an afterthought, or is it one of your major considerations? If the eats are as important to you as the sights, check out this list of can’t-miss American cities and their most famous dishes. 

1. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas
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Texas is famous for its meaty chili, barbecue, and Tex-Mex food enabled by the many ranches raising beef cattle. Austin’s culinary scene is so iconic that you can even book food tours to try every buzz-worthy restaurant. Franklin Barbecue’s brisket has been called “some of the best BBQ in Austin” by Texas Highways Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Anthony Bourdain. Aaron Franklin, the pit master, is responsible for the succulent, flavorful smoked meat. If you want to try any, get there as early as possible since it goes fast. 

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Christmas Village in Philadelphia, USA
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Of course, the famous steak sandwich, the Philly Cheesesteak, started in this East Coast metropolis. Whether you are on the Easy Cheese or provolone side of the debate, there’s no shortage of options for trying the iconic sub. At the top of Visit Philadelphia’s list is the Reading Terminal Market. 

This public market has been open for 130 years, providing residents and visitors with food, kitchenware, souvenirs, and more beneath a historic railroad shed. At breakfast and lunch, guests may pick from various eateries serving anything from traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare to Cajun dishes, hoagies and cheesesteaks, sushi and Filipino standards, and much more.

3. Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
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Much like Austin, Houston has a wealth of barbecue and Tex-Mex options. But this city has been a melting pot of cuisines for 180 years, which has resulted in some inspired fusion dishes Eater Houston recommends. These include the smoked duck gumbo at Rainbow Lodge, the tacos birria at Tacos Doña Lena, and the smoked beef rib Panang curry from Khoi Barbecue. 

4. New York City, New York

New Year's Eve in Times Square - New York City, USA 
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Is a trip to New York City complete without a slice of New York-style pizza? Or a bagel with schmear and lox? What about a “dirty-water” hot dog from a street-side hot dog stand? Suffice it to say, there’s an abundance of famous food to try when you visit the Big Apple. Eater New York also recommends trying a Jamaican beef patty from Concourse Jamaican Bakery, Falafel at Mamoun’s, and an Egg Cream from S&P. You might have to extend your trip so you have enough time to try all the famous food in New York City! 

5. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, CA
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Arguably, the most famous dish in San Francisco is cioppino, an Italian-American stew that combines fresh fish, shellfish, and veggies in a tomato broth. However, San Francisco is also famous for its pastries, including the Kouign Amann at B. Patisserie and the Apple Fritter at Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop. If you want something more savory, try the cheese-topped short ribs, the Kalbijjim at Daeho Kalbijjim & Beef Soup. 

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston - DP
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Dozens of harbor-side restaurants will offer their take on the famed lobster roll, a roll loaded with buttery lobster pieces. If you get tired of rich lobster, try some dishes that bear the city’s name: sweet-and-meaty Boston Baked Beans or perhaps some sweet Boston Cream Pie. While in the historic city, you should also try the iconic clam chowder and other seafood delicacies like oysters. 

7. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
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L.A. is known for its entertainment culture, amusement parks, and creative population. That creativity extends to dining, with L.A. restaurants earning global acclaim and making it onto Food Network shows. If you want an iconic sweet treat, visit the 24-hour Glendora shop, The Donut Man, for a strawberry donut. According to Discover Los Angeles, you’ll also want to try the famous chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s and the French Dip sandwich at Phillippe the Original.

8. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
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The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex has various delicious cuisines, including Tex-Mex, barbeque, and soul food. The city’s culinary fame is largely owed to its position as a crossroads of Mexican and American cultures.  

However, modern-day Dallas is a veritable melting pot of cuisines, thanks to the inventiveness of its citizens. You’ll want to try the Tex-Mex chili con queso, smoked brisket, and soul food staples like country-fried steak and collard greens. 

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
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While New Orleans is famous for Mardi Gras parades and parties, its fame is nearly equivalent to its delicious cuisine. Tourists line up around the block to get a taste of beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde. The French Creole culture of the southern city has contributed many delicious dishes, from gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice to barbecue crawfish and oysters. For more casual fare, try a po’boy sandwich. You’ll eat well in the Big Easy! 

10. St. Louis, Missouri

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
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St. Louis boasts a thriving restaurant industry, yet the city’s traditional cuisine is what most people associate with the city. For decades, locals have enjoyed staples like toasted ravioli and frozen custard. St. Louis also has its own take on pizza, with a thin crust and creamy provel cheese. Try St. Louis-style ribs, gooey butter cake, Fitz’s root beer, and a St. Paul sandwich at St. Louis Chinese restaurants. 

11. Chicago, Illinois

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Sure, the Windy City is famous for its incredibly thick-crust pizza, which some thin-crust purists compare to a casserole, but that’s not the only thing to try in Chicago. Prepare for a wait if you try to get some Chicago-style popcorn from Garrett Popcorn, a mix of cheese and caramel popcorn. You also might want to try a Chicago-style hot dog, which features a Vienna beef hot dog topped with yellow mustard, fluorescent green relish, chopped white onions, sport peppers, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, and a touch of celery salt on a steamed poppy seed bun. 

12. Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado
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Denver, known for its mountainous landscapes attracting ski and outdoor enthusiasts, also shines in its culinary scene. Renowned for originality, the city’s food culture prominently features local ingredients and traditions. Denver’s signature dishes, like Rocky Mountain oysters and succulent bison, highlight regional specialties. These offerings, including meats sourced from the Rocky Mountains, are unique to the area, reflecting the city’s history and culinary heritage. For a taste of Denver’s diverse flavors, options range from bison tacos to the lighter, Eater Denver-recommended Massive Attack salad at Work & Class.

12 Best Mexican Vacation Destinations If Good Food is Your Priority

Mexican man and woman eating - Marcos CastilloShutterstock
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There are so many reasons to visit Mexico: the rich history, the stunning beaches, the unique blend of European and indigenous cultures, and—of course—the food.

If you’re one of those people who plan their entire vacation around what they get to eat, here are 12 Mexican cities you should definitely add to your bucket list.

12 Best Mexican Vacation Destinations If Good Food is Your Priority

12 Best Places to See Stunning Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the U.S.

hot air balloons
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There’s nothing more magical than seeing hundreds of hot air balloons gracefully floating through the air. Hot air balloon festivals are the perfect place to learn more about these whimsical vehicles, meet their pilots, and take a ride.

While there are hundreds of hot air balloon festivals across the United States, these 12 offer the most stunning scenery, the most balloons, and the maximum amount of fun for the whole family.
Check out these 12 amazing hot air balloon festivals all across the United States.

12 Best Places to See Stunning Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the U.S..

Want to Eat Healthy on Vacation? Here’s How

girl eating healthy food
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Vacation season for many people means eating unhealthy foods. It’s easy to indulge in fast food, processed snacks, and sugary drinks when you’re on the go. If you indulge in these cravings, you may eventually return home looking and feeling bloated and unhealthy.

What can you do to ensure you’re eating healthy on vacation? Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too – to enjoy local cuisine without packing the pounds?

Finding healthy food options while traveling and observing best practices is possible. With some planning, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals no matter where you go.

Here are some tips for eating healthy on vacation.

Want to Eat Healthy on Vacation? Here’s How

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.