USA Travel Bucket List: Best Food in the USA

One of the joys of traveling through the United States is discovering the diversity of food that is available. Regions, states, and cities have their own specialty fare, ingredients, and must-visit restaurants and markets. Even those travelers who don't consider themselves gourmands may be inclined to plan an itinerary around a favorite food item, such as Chicago pizza or Memphis BBQ; or around a culinary landmark, like a Michelin-starred restaurant.

The following is a list of some of the must-eat foods and must-visit restaurants, markets, and snack shacks across the USA. The items in this list are in no particular order.

01 of 20

Fish in Seattle

Purveyor holding large fish
Pike Place Market
4435 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116-4108, USA
Phone +1 206-938-7576

 Watch the flying fish at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Visit Rachel the Piggybank while shopping in the fish market, collectible shops, and specialty food vendors. Originally established in 1907, the Fish Market has gained an expansion called the MarketFront.

02 of 20

Tabasco in Louisiana

Tabasco Museum
32 Wisteria Rd, Avery Island, LA 70513, USA
Phone +1 337-373-6129

You can take a tour of the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island in Louisiana, but if you're just passing by, you can read what it's like to work as a Tabasco taste tester.


03 of 20

Michelin-Starred Resturants

Scandinavian bouillabaisse
Michelin Guide

Michelin-Starred restaurants are considered the pinnacle of dining (though there has been some blowback on that). Nevertheless, many foodies may aim to dine in at least one — if not all — of the Michelin-starred restaurants in the USA.

04 of 20


Close-Up of meat on plate
Eric William Ozbun / EyeEm / Getty Images

BBQ is made differently in each nook and cranny of the country. You can sample each one of the USA's many different styles of BBQ, from Memphis-style to Kansas City to Texas barbecue brisket

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Spicy New Orleans

Seafood gumbo with bread
Bill Boch / Getty Images

Indulge in the spicy flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisine in New Orleans. Trying their gumbo is a must and you can't leave without trying the pralines. 

06 of 20

Cuban Food in Little Havana

MiamI tourists order from window of Little Havana restaurant
Boogich / Getty Images

 Enjoy authentic Cuban eats in Miami's Little Havana. Indulge your palate with their arroz con gris, while indulging your eyes and ears with the culture and the language.

07 of 20

Jewish Delis in New York City

Pastrami sandwich
Carnegie Deli
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Phone +1 212-254-2246

Go on a crawl of Jewish Delis in New York City. Some of the renowned Jewish Delis in New York City include Katz's and Carnegie Deli.


08 of 20

New York Bagels

Bagels on display, on a New York sidewalk.
Lonely Planet / Getty Images

Eating an authentic New York bagel is a must. Try one from one of the delis listed as the best places for New York City bagels.

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09 of 20

Ethnic Neighborhoods

Street of San Francisco Chinatown

Sean Duan / Getty Images

Some of the best food in the entire nation is cooked in various cities' ethnic neighborhoods. Some areas worth exploring for their culinary contributions include San Francisco's Chinatown and Saint Louis's Italian-American neighborhood The Hill, which is particularly known for its fried ravioli.

10 of 20

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Barrels of Kentucky bourbon
John J. Miller Photography / Getty Images
1325 S Hurstbourne Pkwy #105, Louisville, KY 40222, USA
Phone +1 502-548-8302

Bourbon whiskey is particular to the United States, and the best place to experience it is along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. You can pick up a "passport" which will get stamped at every distillery and once completed, you'll receive a t-shirt for your journey.

11 of 20

Wine Country

Woman drinking wine, Mountain Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
Martin Sundberg / Getty Images

Everyone should visit California wine country, which includes regions north of San Francisco such as Napa and Sonoma, as well as the Central Coast such as Paso Robles.

12 of 20

Seafood Along the Coasts

Maryland Blue Crab
JuniperCreek / Getty Images

With thousands of miles of coastline on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico, the United States can boast many seafood traditions. Two of them worth adding to a bucket list are dining on lobster in Maine and blue crabs in Maryland.

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Pizza Corners

Chicago deep dish pizza
LauriPatterson / Getty Images

Pizza is Italian in origin, but it has its own traditions in the United States. Both New York pizza and Chicago pizza deserve to be on the bucket list.

14 of 20

Burger Joints

Man holding homemade angus beef burgers with bacon whisky jam
Eugene Mymrin / Getty Images

Try one, if not all, of the best burgers in the USA

15 of 20

Old Eating

Union Oyster House
Paul Marotta
26 Marlborough St, Newport, RI 02840, USA
Phone +1 401-849-3600

Dine at one or all of America's oldest restaurants. They include the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island; Union Oyster House in Boston; and Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.

16 of 20

Lowcountry Cuisine

Shrimp boil stew
A13ean/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Visit coastal Georgia and South Carolina to try Lowcountry Cuisine.

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Green Chiles in New Mexico

Chicken chile verde
sbossert / Getty Images
1807 Don Lewis Dr, Artesia, NM 88210-9340, USA
Phone +1 979-220-2090

Spice up your trip taste buds with some New Mexico green chiles. Check out the best restaurants for green chile dishes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

18 of 20

Tex-Mex in Texas

Chili con carne tacos viewed from above
istetiana / Getty Images

Try the Tex-Mex cuisine in Texas. Texas Monthly, the authority on all things Lone Star State, has published the 50 Best Mexican Restaurants in Texas.

19 of 20

Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

Philly cheese steak sandwich with potato wedges
Thomas Firak Photography / Getty Images
1237 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, USA
Phone +1 215-468-1546

Have a Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Will you go to Pat's or Geno's, the best-known cheesesteak sellers in the city, or another vendor? 

20 of 20

Good Eats in Hawaii

Assorted food at luau
Burke/Triolo Productions / Getty Images

If you're willing to cross the ocean to our furthest state, you have to go to a luau in Hawaii. What's not to love about the warm weather, the salty air, and Hawaiian cuisine?

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List of Best Foods in the USA