There’s nothing quite like the feeling of anticipation of waiting to try a new and mouthwatering food. Whether it's a savory pasta dish, a greasy slice of pizza, fresh sushi, a refreshing boba tea, or a decadent ice cream, it's always nice to have a little treat for your taste buds at the end of a long day. When it comes to college living, most students are in a whole new town, where part of the journey is learning the food scene and the best places to go. Spice up your experience by making a food bucket list for your move!

A food bucket list is a long list of restaurants and foods you want to try when you are in a new area. It can include coffee shops, bars, restaurants, farms, diners, and more. Not only is it an awesome excuse to eat great foods, but it also allows you to explore the culture of the new town you are in! Food is such a huge part of our everyday life and social scene. The cuisine in your college town will shape your four years and can lead you to exciting new experiences. Invite some neighbors down the hall to hit some destinations with you, and it can also be a great way to build friendships.

Finding the Best Bites

When I first moved to college, I was living in an all-freshman dorm and eating at dining halls with the No. 1 food in the country. I’m not going to deny it, the food at UMass Amherst is top-notch. Most of the meals are sourced from farms in nearby towns, guaranteeing freshness. Don’t even get me started on the dining hall sushi bars! Over time, though, I started to get antsy being on campus all the time. I wanted to explore more of my college town, but didn’t know where to start. I made it a goal of mine to do a little excursion into town once a week with friends, and we made a long list of places we wanted to try in town. All it took was one bus trip a week into downtown, and a whole new (and delicious) world unfolded for me.

The first destination on my food bucket list was a bagel shop called Bruegger's Bagels. This stop was highly debated about by upperclassmen. Some people swear by their bagel and cream cheese, while others say that The Works is the bagel shop to be at. Overall, the debate could lead to physical fights. I remember racing to the bus stop with some new friends who lived in the building next to me. We squeezed onto the bus and were able to see some restaurants with great vibes on the way to the shop. Once we arrived, we found a table in the back and chatted there for about three hours! I learned the next week that Bruegger’s is way better than The Works, but I also found a new crew of foodies to explore a new town with. Socializing and learning with new people is a huge part of college, so why not spice up this experience with a food bucket list?

Once I got back from this bagel shop, I was obsessed with the idea of exploring new food places. I asked some upperclassmen about their favorite places in the area, and this sparked all sorts of animated conversations. Everybody needs to eat food, so it’s a subject that anyone can jump in on! I started frequenting the downtown of my college town more often and found other little shops like book stores and vintage shops that I loved as well. I went from feeling overwhelmed in a new town to feeling like a regular!

Not only did my food bucket list help me feel at home, but it also makes me the encyclopedia of food to my friends! When people are googling where to eat in town, I already know the best pub to eat wings at, the best coffee shop to cram for finals in, and the greasiest diner to cure the hangover blues. The best part of food bucket lists is that there is always more to explore! Whether that means taking a trip to the next town over or asking the person next to you what their go-to menu item at a bagel shop is, you can always find a way to expand upon your food bucket list.

How to DIY Your Own Food Bucket List

At this point, I bet you are thinking about starting your own food bucket list! In my opinion, word of mouth is one of the best ways to start! You can start by asking your RA what their favorite food to DoorDash is. See where the junior in your discussion goes to get breakfast on Sunday morning. Ask the girl going to class where she gets her coffee from. This method not only sparks great conversation, but it can also spark new friendships!

Another great way to add to your bucket list is by using your phone. Whether that means looking through food TikTok in your town, reading Google reviews, or browsing through menus on your favorite food delivery app, you are sure to find something trendy and delicious. You could even start your own food TikTok page! Once you discover one good restaurant, follow your nose and check out a bakery down the street. You can even ask your server about their go-to places in your college town.

These methods are sure to find you something to try and maybe even love. Whether you want a meal to brighten up a tough day, something to sweeten up a long weekend, or a way to celebrate an awesome midterm grade, the food bucket list can become your college town map!