Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

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Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

The United States is brimming with up-and-coming foodie cities that deserve a spot on your culinary travel list in 2024. While New York and San Francisco will always be hotbeds for innovative cuisine, these emerging destinations offer a chance to experience fresh flavors, local ingredients, and exciting culinary trends. From the tropical paradise of Honolulu with its modern take on Hawaiian classics to the historic charm of Portland, Maine, boasting the freshest lobster rolls, these 10 hidden gems promise to tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to a new wave of American cuisine. So ditch the well-trodden tourist traps and dive headfirst into the culinary adventures that await in these up-and-coming foodie cities!

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Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

Forget the usual suspects! While New York and San Francisco will always be culinary powerhouses, the US is brimming with up-and-coming destinations that deserve a spot on your foodie bucket list. In 2024, these 10 emerging cities will tantalize taste buds with innovative takes on classics, fresh takes on local ingredients, and a vibrant energy that reflects the changing American palate. So ditch the guidebooks and get ready to embark on a delicious adventure. Here’s a taste of the top 10 emerging foodie cities the US will offer in 2024.

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Move over beaches; Honolulu is staking its claim as a must-visit foodie destination. Fresh Island Catch is a constant star, featured in everything from sushi to poke bowls. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dive into the world of poke, where cubed raw fish gets dressed up with vibrant sauces and local ingredients like lilikoi (passionfruit) and macadamia nuts. Beyond the bounty of the sea, explore farm-to-table restaurants that showcase Hawaii’s unique agricultural products, like taro root, pineapple, and ulu (breadfruit).

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

Don’t miss the chance to experience a luau, a traditional Hawaiian feast, where you can savor kalua pig cooked in an underground imu oven, and lau lau, a dish of meat and vegetables wrapped in ti leaves. Honolulu is where ancient culinary traditions meet modern innovation, creating a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

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2. Portland, Maine

Maine’s largest city isn’t just a lobster lover’s paradise. Portland’s charm extends far beyond the harbor, boasting a vibrant restaurant scene that thrives on fresh, local ingredients and innovative takes on classic dishes.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

While succulent lobster rolls remain a must-try, explore a world of craft breweries boasting award-winning IPAs, trendy gastropubs redefining comfort food, and international hotspots serving everything from Ethiopian stews to wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.  Don’t miss the chance to grab housemade ice cream after a stroll down the scenic Eastern Promenade, the perfect end to a day of savoring Portland’s culinary delights.

3. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., sheds its suit and tie for a culinary explosion. Move over, power lunches! Upscale tasting menus rival those of coastal giants, boasting innovative American cuisine with global influences. Ethiopian stews simmer alongside Korean BBQ, reflecting the city’s diverse population.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

But don’t forget the classics: juicy Chesapeake Bay oysters grace many menus, a delicious reminder of D.C.’s unique location at the heart of a historic seafood region. From Michelin-starred marvels to international hotspots, Washington, D.C., is a true melting pot of flavors, sure to tantalize any adventurous eater.

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4. Austin, Texas

Austin’s food scene sizzles with as much energy as its live music. Legendary Texas barbecue reigns supreme, with spots like Franklin Barbecue drawing lines around the block for melt-in-your-mouth brisket. But don’t be fooled by tradition; Austin is a breeding ground for culinary creativity. Food trucks sling everything from gourmet burgers to vegan tacos, while innovative chefs reimagine Tex-Mex classics.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

International flavors abound, from Asian-inspired creations at Loro to upscale Mexican fare at Comedor. Don’t miss the chance to fuel up on breakfast tacos, a local staple available at nearly every corner, before exploring this city’s unique blend of down-home comfort food and adventurous cuisine.

5. Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado: Mile High City Meets Mile High Cuisine. Nestled amidst the Rocky Mountains, Denver’s food scene is as impressive as its scenery. Local farms fuel a thriving farm-to-table movement, with innovative chefs crafting seasonal dishes that burst with flavor. Beyond the expected Rocky Mountain oysters and juicy steaks, Denver boasts a strong emphasis on sustainability and fresh, local ingredients.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

However, the true crown jewel lies in Denver’s booming food hall scene. These renovated hotspots bring together a diverse array of up-and-coming restaurateurs under one roof, allowing visitors to embark on a culinary adventure through global flavors and unique concepts, all within a single location. So, whether you crave classic comfort food or a taste of the unexpected, Denver offers a smorgasbord of delicious delights waiting to be explored.

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6. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville’s music scene may steal the spotlight, but its food scene is quietly undergoing a revolution. Sure, iconic hot chicken is a must-try, served piping hot with fiery spice levels. But Nashville’s culinary landscape boasts so much more. Upscale Southern cuisine is flourishing, highlighting local ingredients with a touch of modern flair.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

Internationally-inspired flavors are also on the rise, with Korean BBQ joints and Ethiopian restaurants adding a global dimension to the dining experience. Don’t miss the chance to explore beyond the main tourist drags and discover the hidden gems of Nashville for adventurous palates.

7. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan, is undergoing a delicious renaissance. Once known for its industrial might, the Motor City is now revving its engines on the culinary scene. Abandoned warehouses have been reborn as trendy gastropubs and farm-to-table havens, putting a fresh spin on classic dishes.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

While you must savor a Detroit-style pizza—a rectangular wonder with a crispy, deep-dish crust—don’t miss the chance to explore the global flavors simmering in Detroit’s neighborhoods. From soul food institutions to Korean BBQ hotspots, Detroit’s revitalized food scene is a must-try for adventurous eaters seeking a taste of urban renewal.

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8. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City might surprise you as an up-and-coming foodie destination. Nestled against the Wasatch Mountains, the city’s strong Mormon community fosters a culture of fresh, healthy ingredients. Local farms and farmers markets thrive, providing chefs with a bounty of seasonal produce. But Salt Lake City isn’t all wholesome grains and greens.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

International flavors are blooming, with a growing number of restaurants serving everything from Korean BBQ to Ethiopian stews. Don’t miss the chance to explore this unique blend of healthy Mormon fare and exciting global influences, all set against a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery.

9. Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, offers a unique culinary experience that goes far beyond stunning vistas. Asheville’s farm-to-table movement thrives thanks to a wealth of local producers, and this focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients finds its way onto menus from casual cafes to acclaimed bistros. But Asheville isn’t just about upscale dining. The city boasts a booming craft brewery scene, with over 50 breweries churning out award-winning IPAs, sours, and lagers, perfectly complementing the city’s vibrant food truck culture and innovative takes on Southern classics.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

Don’t miss the chance to pair a juicy, wood-fired pizza with a crisp Asheville ale, or savor a plate of slow-smoked barbecue with a glass of locally-brewed cider. Asheville’s food scene is a delightful dance between down-home comfort and modern culinary adventures, all set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge peaks.

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10. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico, rounds out our list as a must-visit for adventurous foodies. This vibrant city in the high desert boasts a unique cuisine that blends Mexican and Native American flavors. While the iconic green chili cheeseburger is a must-try, Albuquerque offers so much more. From hatch green chile stews to blue corn pancakes drizzled with local honey, the focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Top 10 Emerging Foodie Cities in the US to Savor in 2024

Don’t miss a visit to a local “chile stand” where steaming hot chiles are roasted to perfection, a true Albuquerque tradition. Albuquerque’s distinct heritage shines through its flavorful and colorful food scene, offering an unforgettable culinary adventure.


1. What kind of cuisine can I expect to find in these emerging foodie cities?

These cities offer a diverse range of cuisines! From fresh seafood in Honolulu and Portland to international flavors in Washington, D.C., and Austin, there’s something for every palate. You’ll also find innovative takes on classics and a focus on farm-to-table ingredients across many of these destinations.

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2. Are there any specific dishes I should try in these cities?

  • Honolulu: Poke bowls, fresh seafood dishes, modern Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Portland, Maine: Lobster rolls, wood-fired pizzas, craft beers.
  • Washington, D.C.: Upscale tasting menus, Ethiopian stews, Korean barbecue.
  • Austin, Texas: Barbecue, breakfast tacos, food truck creations.
  • Denver, Colorado: Rocky Mountain oysters (bull testicles!), Colorado steak, farm-to-table creations.

3. What if I’m on a budget? Are there affordable options in these cities?

Absolutely! Food trucks are a great budget-friendly option in many of these cities, particularly Austin and Denver. Additionally, public markets often have a variety of affordable foods, and many restaurants offer lunch specials.

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4. Are there any vegetarian or vegan options in these emerging foodie cities?

Yes! The emphasis on fresh, local ingredients means there are more plant-based options available than ever before. Austin and Portland, in particular, have thriving vegetarian and vegan scenes.

5. What are some can’t-miss food experiences in these cities?

  • Take a cooking class and learn to make a local specialty.
  • Explore a vibrant farmers market and sample fresh produce.
  • Go on a food tour to discover hidden gems and learn about the city’s culinary history.
  • Enjoy a meal with a view—many of these cities offer stunning settings for outdoor dining.


In conclusion, the United States boasts a wealth of exciting culinary destinations beyond the established foodie cities. From the fresh seafood havens of Honolulu and Portland, Maine, to the international flavors of Washington, D.C., and the unique Southwestern cuisine of Albuquerque, there’s a city out there to tantalize every tastebud. So pack your bags, grab your appetite, and get ready to savor the up-and-coming stars of the American food scene!

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