Lucky for you, this country features culinary gems from coast to coast. Think you know the best foodie cities in the U.S.? See if your projections match up with our top 10 list.
What makes a great foodie city?
Any serious epicure prioritizes restaurant choice and variety of cuisine on their wish list of where to live. Good news: You no longer have to guess if the city you’re considering calling home is actually one of the best foodie cities in America. We’ve done the math for you.
So what makes these the best foodie cities in the country? Restaurant options, and plenty of them. We looked at no fewer than 104 different cuisines to see how many different choices exist in any given city.
Whether you’re hungry for falafel, pho or fried chicken, the higher the city on the list, the better the chance that you’ll never meet a craving that isn’t satisfied.
But first, a quick housekeeping note. Yes, we realize that there are three No. 9s in our “Top 10″ list below, and 11 total entries. There was an unprecedented three-way tie for the No. 10 spot just to keep us on our toes. So let’s start there, with our trio of lucky number nines:
9 (tied). Portland, OR
How do you feel about street food? If you like a good food truck, it’s time to meet Portland‘s “food carts.” These culinary treasure troves stay put (unlike trucks) and organize in “pods” that make it easy — and practically required — to sample flavors from several different spots in one go.
There are no fewer than 500 food carts here, and the food rivals some of the city’s best restaurants. So what do they serve? Everything … truly. From barbecue to Vietnamese, and pretty much everything in between.
Portland’s not just about man buns and mustaches, though you’re bound to see both in a city that’s proud for being called “weird” — along with naked bike rides, vegan strip clubs and all the quirks you can handle. If that sounds like your speed, expect to spend around $1,747 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
9 (tied). Seattle, WA
When we talk about the food in Seattle, we obviously need to start with the iconic Pike Place Market. From fishmongers and fresh oysters to specialty food shops and spicy noodles, this admittedly touristy place is ground zero for true gourmands. Like the city at large, the century-old market offers a truly tasty variety of straight-up outstanding cuisine. And yes, also flying fish photo ops.
Eat your way around the city and you could start with steaming bowls of pho, savory Chinese pastries or to-die-for smoked salmon — paired with some of the country’s best coffee.
Ready to set down roots and begin the culinary journey of a lifetime? Expect to pay around $2,214 in rent per month for a one-bedroom. Don’t worry, it’s in your budget. The median income here is a healthy $93,481.
9 (tied). Houston, TX
f you think Houston‘s culinary scene starts at brisket and ends with enchiladas, it’s time to broaden your gastronomic horizons. Yes, barbecue and Tex Mex are big here — this is, after all, one of the best cities for meat lovers — but that’s really just the beginning. From Czech kolaches (savory breakfast pastries) to Cajun crawfish, you’ll find diverse flavors to suit your every mood.
If you’re ready to hunker down in H-town, budget a reasonable $1,241 per month for your housing costs. Sure, it can get pretty steamy in these parts, but fret not. You’ll find plenty of crisp salads and frosty ice cream to cool off with here in the Lone Star State.
If there’s one thing that can unite politicos across party lines, it’s good food. And you’ll find plenty of it here in the nation’s capital.
In the mood for Korean fried chicken? D.C.’s got you covered. Feel like cracking into Chesapeake blue crab? You’re in the right place. Oh, you want Michelin stars? Yep, D.C.’s got those, too. Find diverse flavors for any budget that will happily fill you up for years to come. And don’t sweat your waistline. With an impressive walk and bike score, it’s easy to work it all off.
Ready to find a neighborhood that’s just right for you? You’ll find ample options here when it comes to both housing and restaurants. Plan to spend around $2,406 in monthly rent — and as much or as little as your food budget allows for all the amazing flavors the city has to offer.
From all-you-can-eat buffets and tony steakhouses to celebrity chef outposts, you may think you know all there is to know about eating in Vegas. Think again. This desert city’s food scene goes well beyond the Strip, and you could spend a heck of a lot longer than one crazy weekend exploring all of the different flavors that make up this vibrant city.
People have been flocking to the Vegas suburbs in droves over the past few years. Why? In addition to the fantastic culinary scene, there’s no state income tax — not to mention 300 days of sunshine per year. Sound pretty good? Plan to spend around $1,311 a month for rent.
5 (tied). San Diego, CA
What’s not to love about sunny San Diego? Endless sandy beaches, a vibrant downtown and yes, an amazing food scene. All that sunshine powers a bounty of fresh produce, while the sea serves up uber fresh seafood.
From fish tacos and carne asada to wood-fired pizza, Southeast Asian cuisine and fabulous local wine, prepare to wow your palate. And did we mention that Mexico is just 17 miles away? Expect plenty of spillover from all those south of the border flavors.
This tasty bounty does, however, come at a cost. It’s not exactly cheap to live by the coast in California — but it could be worse (looking at you, SF and L.A.!). You’ll pay around $2,402 per month in rent, but expect to pull in a salary just shy of $80K a year.
5 (tied). Philadelphia, PA
The City of Brotherly Love loves cheesesteaks. And hoagies. And Tastykakes…are you getting hungry? Same, yo. Let’s not forget soft pretzels, crab fries and scrapple. OK, you get the picture. How are you going to get anything done when there’s all that good food to sample? At least you can keep moving — Philadelphia boasts excellent walk and bike scores.
If you don’t mind a little snow (ahem, 22 inches a year), and think you can find a healthy balance between indulging your cravings and not overdoing it, perhaps Philly is for you. The price tag? You’ll pay an above-average $2,152 per month in rent for a one-bedroom.
3 (tied). San Francisco, CA
San Francisco has changed a lot over the last decade, thanks to as a wave of tech companies that have pushed housing prices to the upper limit.
However, one crucial factor has remained constant — and probably even improved: the food scene. From crusty sourdough bread to Dungeness crab, the city offers an embarrassment of culinary riches. It’s also the best city in America for local restaurants.
Let’s address the elephant in the room … it costs a lot to live here. Rent is downright astronomical, with a one-bedroom clocking in around $3,560 per month in rent. But there is some good news! For one, rent prices are dropping. A lot.
And then there’s the job market, and the plump paychecks you can expect to cash in on. How plump? The average salary here in the City by the Bay is $112K. Rest assured, there will be plenty of those six figures left in your budget for some truly amazing meals.
3 (tied). Los Angeles, CA
Tied with its NorCal rival, Los Angeles is also the third-best foodie city in America. The culinary gems here run the gamut, from killer fish tacos and carnitas to pupusas, pork belly ramen and salmon sashimi — and, yes, plenty of top chefs and Michelin stars sprinkled into the mix.
You’ll find global eats from around the world throughout these sprawling environs, and there’s nary a flavor craving you can’t trek down.
There’s a lot more to living in Los Angeles than Hollywood and beaches. Namely, the endless neighborhoods in between, each one boasting its own foodie finds from food trucks to fine dining.
Ready to find the LA neighborhood that’s best suited for you? Budget around $2,970 per month for rent.
2. Chicago, IL
Should we start by mentioning deep dish pizza? How could we not, really? Oh, you want to talk about steak? Italian beef sandwiches? The truth is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chicago‘s food scene.
There’s a reason Bon Appetit magazine named Chi-town “Best Food City in America” back in 2017. Four years later, it’s only fallen one notch in our top 10. Knowing where to start your culinary adventures is overwhelming, but this is a very good “problem” to have if you tend to let your stomach lead.
If you don’t mind the winters, Chicago’s ready to welcome you with open arms. And for those glorious sunny days, you can’t do much better than the walk and bike scores here — all the better to work off those occasional indulgences. All this flavor is yours if you pay around $2,232 per month in rent.
1. New York, NY
And the best foodie city in the U.S. is … do we even need to say it? No surprise that New York comfortably takes our top slot.
As much as some of the cities in our top five may like to debate it (looking at you, California), no city can beat the Big Apple when it comes to diverse restaurant options that draw foodies from all over the world.
Where else can you find literally whatever you want to eat — at any hour? From classic diner fare to pizza, soft pretzels and five-star cuisine that spans the globe, NYC has it all. In spades.
The city also boasts the highest walk score on our list, just shy of perfect at 99. If there is one drawback, it’s probably the rent prices. A one-bedroom here will cost you around $3,794. But just remember, a one-bedroom in the big city is practically a penthouse when a shoebox studio is an entry-level norm.
The top 50 best food cities in the U.S.
Okay, so there aren’t too many surprises on our top 10 list — we can’t dispute the data. However, we can cast a wider net to highlight the 50 best foodie cities in America (technically 51 because of ties).
And if you’re still searching, take the insider route and check out the country’s best cities for chefs.
|Rank||City||Population||Percentage of Cuisines|
|1||New York, NY||8,336,817||84.62%|
|3 (tied)||Los Angeles, CA||3,979,576||79.81%|
|3 (tied)||San Francisco, CA||881,549||79.81%|
|5 (tied)||Philadelphia, PA||1,584,064||76.92%|
|5 (tied)||San Diego, CA||1,423,851||76.92%|
|7||Las Vegas, NV||651,319||75.96%|
|9 (tied)||Houston, TX||2,320,268||74.04%|
|9 (tied)||Seattle, WA||753,675||74.04%|
|9 (tied)||Portland, OR||654,741||74.04%|
|13 (tied)||Dallas, TX||1,343,573||68.27%|
|13 (tied)||Atlanta, GA||506,811||68.27%|
|13 (tied)||Orlando, FL||287,442||68.27%|
|17 (tied)||Phoenix, AZ||1,680,992||66.35%|
|17 (tied)||Austin, TX||978,908||66.35%|
|17 (tied)||Pittsburgh, PA||300,286||66.35%|
|20||San Jose, CA||1,021,795||64.42%|
|22 (tied)||San Antonio, TX||1,547,253||62.50%|
|22 (tied)||Boston, MA||692,600||62.50%|
|25 (tied)||Charlotte, NC||885,708||60.58%|
|25 (tied)||Baltimore, MD||593,490||60.58%|
|27 (tied)||Sacramento, CA||513,624||59.62%|
|27 (tied)||Tampa, FL||399,700||59.62%|
|27 (tied)||Saint Louis, MO||300,576||59.62%|
|30 (tied)||Jacksonville, FL||911,507||57.69%|
|30 (tied)||Louisville, KY||617,638||57.69%|
|30 (tied)||Kansas City, MO||495,327||57.69%|
|30 (tied)||Long Beach, CA||462,628||57.69%|
|30 (tied)||Oakland, CA||433,031||57.69%|
|30 (tied)||Richmond, VA||230,436||57.69%|
|37 (tied)||Indianapolis, IN||876,384||55.77%|
|37 (tied)||Salt Lake City, UT||200,567||55.77%|
|37 (tied)||Fort Lauderdale, FL||182,437||55.77%|
|40 (tied)||Nashville, TN||670,820||54.81%|
|40 (tied)||Tucson, AZ||548,073||54.81%|
|40 (tied)||Arlington, TX||398,854||54.81%|
|40 (tied)||Cleveland, OH||381,009||54.81%|
|44||Colorado Springs, CO||478,221||53.85%|
|45 (tied)||Oklahoma City, OK||655,057||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||Milwaukee, WI||590,157||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||Raleigh, NC||474,069||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||New Orleans, LA||390,144||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||Rochester, NY||205,695||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||Tempe, AZ||195,805||52.88%|
|45 (tied)||Sarasota, FL||58,285||52.88%|
The worst foodie cities in America
So, you’re one of those people who have to remind yourself to eat? You don’t care what it tastes like, as long as it fuels your human form? Great. We’ve got a list you may want to take a look at. Funny how fewer restaurant choices seem to correlate with lower rent costs.
|Rank||City||Population||Percentage of Cuisines|
|2||Jurupa Valley, CA||109,527||6.73%|
|3||Commerce City, CO||60,336||7.69%|
|4 (tied)||Brooklyn Park, MN||80,389||8.65%|
|4 (tied)||Buckeye, AZ||79,620||8.65%|
|4 (tied)||Eastvale, CA||64,157||8.65%|
|4 (tied)||Weymouth, MA||57,746||8.65%|
|4 (tied)||Kettering, OH||54,855||8.65%|
|4 (tied)||Delano, CA||53,573||8.65%|
|10 (tied)||Deltona, FL||92,757||9.62%|
|10 (tied)||Johns Creek, GA||84,579||9.62%|
|10 (tied)||Lorain, OH||63,855||9.62%|
To find the best foodie cities, we looked through a database of more than 8 million business listings and identified 104 unique dining cuisines. We then looked to see how many dining establishments advertise serving at least one of these cuisines in every city in America with more than 50,000 people according to U.S. Census 2019 population estimates.
We determined the cities with the highest percentage of cuisine coverage to be the best cities for foodies. For instance, if a city has 80 percent coverage, that means diners can find restaurants serving 80 percent of all available cuisines in America.
Business listings may not reflect recent openings and closures.
Rent prices are based on a one-year rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments as of April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.