Craving a little travel and a lot of scrumptious food? Then it’s time to plan a trip out to a food-loving city. You could go all the way to Italy for Italian food, but if you want to keep good food in closer reach, then there are endless fabulous options right here in the States. If you’re a crawfish, hot sauce, fried chicken, or gumbo lover, then it’s time to explore the south—it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. To plan your voracious vacation, check out what we consider some of the best southern cities for food lovers—you won’t regret digging in at these spots!
Charleston, South Carolina
A variety of culinary influences from around the world are what make this spot such a foodie paradise. Seafood is an absolute must in Charleston—the city is right next to the harbor, so you can get your hands on some of the freshest seafood. If that doesn’t catch your attention, come for the fried chicken, low-country boils, okra soup, and—thankfully—so much more. It’s a must-visit.
Must-Visit Restaurants: Bertha’s Restaurant, Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Leon’s Oyster Shop, Chubby Fish, and The Grocery
New Orleans, Louisiana
Probably the most iconic southern foodie city, New Orleans’ food has drawn people in for years. Part of that may come from the enchanting and lively atmosphere, but even more of that is how the food is always golden. Every street you turn down you can find gumbo, crawfish, red beans and rice, or something else equally iconic and delicious. There’s a lot to love about the city—from its vibrant nightlife to its constant rhythmic music, you’ll never want to leave.
Must-Visit Restaurants: Willie Mae’s, Vincent’s Italian Cuisine, Barrow’s Catfish, La Petite Grocery, and Commander’s Palace
While Nashville is also a great choice for food and drink lovers, Memphis has a little something special that kicked it to our list. For the most part, you’ll find major indulgences and a ton of barbeque that puts other barbeque to shame. It’s the official cuisine of the city, so try out a bunch of places to find your favorite. Come for the food and stay for the atmosphere.
Must-Visit Restaurants: Hog & Hominy, Ernestine and Hazel’s, Payne’s Bar-B-Que, Central BBQ, and Garibaldi’s
Asheville, North Carolina
Coined the “Paris of the South,” Asheville is a melting pot of culture, art, architecture, amazing beer, and a food scene that puts others to shame. You could spend weeks perusing all the different cafés, restaurants, and dives, but there a few things you have to try. Wander the streets and stop in when you get a whiff of something good—because chances are, it’s life-changing.
Must-Visit Restaurants: Buxton Hall Barbecue, Chai Pani, Burial Beer Co., Rhubarb, and Cúrate
Last on our list takes you to the Lone Star state and thrusts you into deliciously prepared, diverse cuisine. Its proximity to Latin America and Louisiana gives you a fresh burst of flavors and dishes. But you don’t just get Tex-Mex and Cajun; you get tasteful vegetarian cuisine, seafood-focused menus, and so much more to munch on. Come for the sunshine, architecture, and scrumptious food.
Must-Visit Restaurants: Indigo, La Lucha, One-Fifth, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, Coltivare, and Brennan’s of Houston