Definition of Culinary Tourism
1: the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.
Definition of gastronomy
2: culinary customs or style.
Definition of agritourism
1: the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and often to participate in farm activities related to food production.
Whether you call it gastronomy, agritourism, or culinary tourism, the fact remains the same; food-related travel is on the rise!
Traveling to a new destination to purely seek out certain types of local food or beverages is a highly popular activity in the tourism world today, so popular in fact that TripAdvisor's 2017 India Gastronomy Survey showed that 3 out of 5 citizens plan a gastronomic getaway in 2018. As one of the most populated and most travel-oriented countries in the world, this says a lot about the rise of this industry throughout our world.
While eating is, of course, a physical need above all, it is also a social, cultural, and educational facet of life. Food can be a way to get over language barriers, homesickness, and cultural conflicts. It can be a main motivating factor in travel plans, or it can be a delicious bonus to a previously planned adventure.
Exciting edible experiences can be had almost everywhere throughout the United States, and this blog can be used as your guide to all of these wonderful gastronomic adventures! Here are the best culinary tourism destinations for 2018!
- Richmond, VA
This spot was named as one of the top 6 places in the world for food travelers in 2016 by National Geographic Traveler, and things aren't looking to slow down in 2018!
"Richmond’s blend of English, Native American and African-American influences help the city stand out" among Southern food cities, according to the magazine.
Food Tours: River City Food Tours, Real Richmond Food Tours
- New Orleans, LA
There's no denying that one of the hottest culinary destinations in the world is here in New Orleans, from Beignets in the French Quarter to King Cake during Mardi Gras. Of course, you can't leave the city without trying fresh gumbo or oysters at some point, either!
Food Tours: Tastebud Food Tours of New Orleans, New Orleans Culinary History Tours, Doctor Gumbo Tours
- Sante Fe, NM
'Red or Green?'
That is the question you will hear the most during your New Mexico visit, and that is the question that will lead you into your culinary adventure in Sante Fe.
The smell of red and green chilis roasting along the streets will greet you in this quickly growing 'dine local' city, and if you like it hot then try both and order 'Christmas'!
Food Tours: Food Tour New Mexico, The Food Tour Company, Santa Fe School of Cooking Tours
- Chicago, IL
In 2017 Chicago was named the Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit, a title well-deserved for many delicious reasons, from citywide staples like Chicago Dogs and Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn to cutting edge new dishes with unheard-of innovation.
Bar food, fine food, sweet food, ethnic food, you'll find it all here!
Food Tours: Chicago Food Planet Tours, Tastebud Tours, Chicago Pizza Tours
- Charleston, SC
Perhaps one of our personal favorite foodie-friendly cities to travel to in 2018 is Charleston SC, a southern sparkling gem in both food and charm.
Charleston provides travelers with some of the most locally authentic meals that shed light on its tastes and traditions over time. Dining with locals here is one of the quickest ways to get to know the city, from home-style shrimp and grits to fresh peaches and unique local barbeque.
Food Tours: Bulldog Tours, Charleston Culinary Tours, Chow-Down Charleston
- Nashville, TN
Another scrumptious spot for southern sustenance is Nashville TN, one of the most visited culinary destinations in the south! Smoked ribs and fried catfish await in Music City, as do sweating cups of sweet tea and freshly baked pecan pie!
Have a 'When in Rome' moment and find yourself a gooey peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich while you are here too, Elvis wasn't wrong about this delicious sandwich (the King was never wrong)!
Food Tours: Walk Eat Nashville, Nashville Food Adventures, Local Tastes of Nashville
- New York City, NY
Of course, we would be remiss if we did not mention one of the most well-known, exciting, and overall most delicious culinary trip destinations in America, the Big Apple. Even its nickname involves food!
Here in New York City, you can find ANY type of food, from the most authentic dim sum in Chinatown to the most talked about Brooklyn authentic pizza. The city is one of the most highly sought after top chef destinations, bringing both innovation and fame to the foodie scene around the city. Food tours, food stands, and food stores can be found on every corner, and restaurants of every time are found in almost every step!
Food Tours: Foods of New York Tours, Best of Brooklyn, New York Food by Foot
- Austin, TX
A culturally rich mix of new and old come together in Austin Texas, one of the United States most educationally enlightening food stops overall.
Everything is bigger here in Texas, especially the food scene. Authentic Texas-style barbeque meets some of the most authentic Mexican foods you'll have this side of the border, and the cities nightlife also brings some of the most unique bar foods and cocktails. If you are a fan of spicy foods, be sure to try the chili before you go!
Food Tours: Austin Eats Food Tours, Austin Food Tours: Food Tasting Network
- San Francisco, CA
It's hard to place just exactly what makes San Francisco such a great culinary tourism destination, but once you get there you'll understand.
Being a part of Napa Valley brings more than just excellent wine, but also rich local produce selection that is a food paradise for health conscious and sustainable eaters. Fresh chowder bowls, oysters, carne asada, and out of this world pastries on every corner put this city on the map for us!
Food Tours: Avital Food Tours, Local Tastes of the City, Sidewalk Food Tours
- Kansas City, MO
Here is your one-word guide to dining in Kansas City: Barbeque.
The barbeque scene throughout this city takes the cake, with several very popular, very successful, very delicious choices competing for the title of the best throughout the city, from Arthur Bryants to Oklahoma Joes. Going right along with the great barbeque is great beer, this city supporting an excellent local brewery scene.Midwest charm, great sports, and fantastic attractions don't hurt this city's growing popularity, either!
Food Tours: Taste of Kansas City Food Tours, KC BBQ Tours, Kansas City Walking Tours
Want more great culinary travel information? Check out all of our foodie blogs!