Vacations are for one thing and one thing only—exploring the best places to eat. For your next school break or holiday, plan a trip around these food cities to make sure you're getting the best out of your vacation. Thrillist compiled a list of the best food city in each state, but here's where you should eat in each of those cities. 

Birmingham, Alabama

shrimp, chicken, onion rings
Virginia Dodenhoff

Get your classic meals here in the South. Birmingham will give you a taste of the beef, fish, and traditional Southern food that we crave. Dress it up at famous eateries like Hot and Hot Fish Club or Tau Poco.

Juneau, Alaska

fish, seafood, ice, mackerel
Erin Thomas

Fish, fish, and more fish. If you love to eat seafood, you'll love Juneau. Get your fix of fish tacos and aesthetic fish dishes in this chilly state. Better yet, catch your own salmon.

Tucson, Arizona

chocolate, ice cream, ice, cream, caramel
Chloe Raissen

Although Tucson isn't the most popular city at first glance, the food will win you over.  Cafes fill the area, as well as Asian restaurants and other chains like Shake Shack. Go to this under-rated city in Arizona for the best food.

Little Rock, Arkansas

pasta, garlic, spaghetti
Gabriella D'Ambra

American food is what you'll get in Little Rock.  With cuisines like Mexican and classic burgers, you'll get the classics in Little Rock. Don't forget to feed your sweet tooth at Mark's Donut Shop

San Francisco, California 

cheese, bacon
Brooke Ly

I know, I know, you were probably thinking LA. However, San Fran screams food and culture. San Franciscans are serious brunchers. But don't forget about Chinatown and bread bowls at Fisherman's Wharf.

Denver, Colorado 

cream, cheese, bread
Hannah Bibbo

Denver has more food character than you think. Some of the top spots include Rosenberg's Bagels and Delicatessen and Work & Class, but my mouth waters looking at menu items at D Bar Denver.

New Haven, Connecticut 

pizza, bacon, pepperoni
Bella Halley

It's never a bad time for pizza and seafood. Get them both in New Haven. Chef Bun Lai has an interesting perspective about eating invasive species and shows that at his sushi restaurant that you need to check out. If you're feeling like a classic meal, head to Louis' Lunch, where they serve big burgers.

Wilmington, Delaware

potato, sweet potato, sweet
Olivia Clifton

While Wilmington, Delaware may not be your first destination for a vacation, the food scene is definitely growing You'll find great places for breakfast and lunch, and a plethora of seafood and Italian spots. Make sure to try out Big Fish Grill for quality seafood on the riverfront. 

Miami, Florida  

sushi, tuna, bacon, wasabi, avocado
Anna Ciambrone

Only fun, party vibes are brought up when speaking about Miami. Explore the heat and the energy with some great food. Check out Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Red, the Steakhouse, Miami Smokers, Harry's Pizzeria, and Blue Collar Restaurant. But we can't forget the dessert options to fill our cravings and balance out the heat. Places like Azucar Ice Cream Company and Robert Is Here Fruit Stand will totally cool you down

Atlanta, Georgia

candy, cookie, pastry, cake, chocolate, sweet
Hannah Mayblum

Atlanta has more food character you think. Doughnuts aren't just doughnuts at Sublime Doughnuts. Try their Maple Cheddar Bacon Doughnuts (my mouth is watering looking at the picture). And pizza isn't just pizza at No. 246, where breakfast pizza will give you the carbs you need for the day. Dim Sum is also popular, as well as your classic Southern cuisine

Honolulu, Hawai'i

Shae Chambers

Okay, I may be biased because I'm from Hawai'i, but this state has the best food. Hawai'i isn't only known for their beaches and greenery, but also a clash of cultures that is displayed in their cuisine. Find the best shaved ice, poke, spam musubis (even at 7/11!), plate lunches, and acai bowls in paradise. Honolulu is for sure one of the top best cities to eat at! 

Boise, Idaho

avocado, egg, guacamole, fried egg, bacon, chicken
Maria Wang

Burgers are good, but Boise burgers are something you've never tasted before. Find your classic cheeseburger with a twist at Fork or literally your best sandwiches at Best Sandwich Shack. Other cuisines are featured in the city like Hawaiian or Japanese food.

Chicago, Illinois 

dairy product, bread
Sho Niimura

Chicago has a ton of innovative food options. It is home to many chef and restaurant awards. Any food you get will be presented in an Instaworthy shot. Take your pick from high-end restaurants or the cheap food stands that serve hot dogs and pizza. Food in big cities are #loml

Indianapolis, Indiana  

pizza, cheese, dough, crust, sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, frozen pizza
Amy Yi

Here's another place that has good pizza. Napolese Pizzeria, Bazbeaux Pizza, Jackamo Upper Crust Pizza, and Pizzology will be your go-to pizza places. And for the most aesthetically pleasing meals, and more of your Instaworthy shots, Milktooth is the place to get your not-so-basic meals such as waffles, grilled cheese, pancakes with a punch. 

Des Moines, Iowa

cheese, bacon
Emily Weaver

Des Moines features the classic American foods (I'm sure you've heard enough about pizza already, but if you do want pizza then go to Fong's Pizza). However, the most trendy place in Des Moines has got to be cafes/bakeries such as La Mie Bakery for artisan breads, HoQ Table for fresh with fresh, local ingredients, Americana for Sunday brunch, and Tacopocalypse for Sunday brunch or other meals by a taco chef. 

Lawrence, Kansas

cinnamon, cinnamon roll, cream
Alexandra Miller

Luckily for the University of Kansas students, there are numerous places around campus to eat, and good ones too.  A couple cafes are Milton's, where you can sit down and enjoy a trendy meal, and The Roost, where they have breakfast and lunch (but also my favorite, pastries). Another option for college students who always have a busy schedule and need to get a quick bite to eat, there are food stands like Pigwich or shacks like RJs Bob-Be-Que Shack

Louisville, Kentucky 

pasta, shrimp, noodle
Liam O'Daniel

All I can say about Louisville is that it embraces diversity. This city has a perfect mix of casual places, cafes, classic American joints, and cultured cuisines. For a nice meal, head over to Lilly's Bistro for a south-side taste. Burgers and sandwiches aren't just the usual bread with meat. Learn about the world through different cultures of food such as Mayan, Vietnamese, Mexican, French, and American.

New Orleans, Louisiana

tea, coffee
Joseph Kim

To switch things up a little bit from the typical American foods, New Orleans has specialty foods that they're known for. Beignets at Cafe Du Monte, the company burger at The Company Burger (it's not surprising if that's what they're known for), the half and half po-boy at Domilise's, fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House, gumbo at Dooky's Chase's, and BBQ shrimp at Pascal's Manale.

Portland, Maine

Sabina Hartnett

Did you know that Portland isn't only in Oregon?  It is also a popular city in Maine and it is a top destination city for food. One of the most popular restaurants in Portland is Duckfat. Everything is made with duck at this place, even their fries which are fried in duck fat. A hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant called Miyake is known for their authentic Japanese food. And don't be fooled by this food truck called El Corazon. Their most expensive item is a $7 burrito and it is a top-notch choice. 

Annapolis, Maryland 

fish, seafood
Jenna Moxley

"Seafood city" is what we should call Annapolis. Find seafood at a decent price at Cafe Normandie, seafood with a waterfront view at Carrol's Creek Cafe, creative seafood at The Chart House, intimate seafood dining at O' Learys Seafood, and casual American seafood dishes at The Rockfish. Wow, that's a lot of fish.

Boston, Massachusetts 

goody, pastry, cake, candy, cream, chocolate, sweet
Nicole Lacasse

A popular city means trendy food places. Due to the chilly weather in Boston, there's no doubt that they have cute cafes and coffee shops. Check out Flour Bakery (for the sticky bun), Tatte Bakery & Cafe, Thinking Cup, L.A. Burdick, and The Paris Creperie (get the frozen Nutella hot chocolate). 

Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Maiya Hoard

Filled with pubs and breweries, Grand Rapids is a great city fo burgers and beer. Find fine dining at a decent price at the Grove or grab American food at Green Well Gastro Pub.

Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Heather-Jade Stanley

This is another city filled with pubs and breweries. Butcher & the Boar is a popular hangout, but oddly enough they're mostly known for their foot-long hot dog.

Oxford, Mississippi

bacon, egg, cheese, cheddar
Megan McKinstry

And sometimes the not-so-pretty dishes are the most popular things to eat. Compared to other cities with very aesthetically pleasing dishes, Oxford is home to traditional southern American food. Other Southern spots include City Grocery, Ajax Diner, McEwen's, and the Second Line

Kansas City, Missouri 

pork, beef
Delaney Borders

Kansas City is known for its BBQ and you'll find that their food is legit. If you're vegetarian, you may want to try another city in Missouri. Try Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que for the best tasting barbecue and they even have a Portobello for the veggie-eaters. For a quick bite and a pork loin sandwich, Pigwich has a combo meal just for $8. And what's a meal without beer (of course, if you're 21)? Beer Kitchen has got you covered with drinks to pair with your mac and cheese and truffle fries. 

Bozeman, Montana 

chicken, pork
Kristen Kornbluth

If you are feeling like eating chicken, check out The Roost Fried Chicken where you can order their signature fried chicken with mac and cheese, fried okra, and boiled peanuts. Bozeman also offers Japanese food, Korean food, and Southern Asian cuisine.

Omaha, Nebraska

Alexa Denenberg

While many people hate on Omaha for having "nothing to do," don't be quick to judge on their food scene. Omaha consists of many nice American restaurants that are worthy of trying out.  Kitchen Table is a cute cafe that not only has trendy looking food, but also uses local ingredients to make everything from scratch. And for American fine dining, head to Salt 88 and Twisted Cork Bistro.  Omaha food deserves the heart-eye emoji.

Las Vegas, Nevada

platter, meat
Annabel Rhee

Vegas is the place to be when you turn 21. And for those long nights, food is a priority. Vegas has diverse options for food since it's such a tourist hub, but you should try Japanese food at Yui Edomae, Thai food at Lotus of Siam, doughnuts at PinkBox, Italian at Ferraro's, brunch at Andiron Steak & Sea, a nice lunch at Honey Salt, and seafood at Other Mama.  I just planned your whole trip for you!

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

sweet, wheat, pastry, dough, flour, bread
Isabella Martin

Portsmouth is home to many small plate/tapa eateries. Check out Moxy American Tapas Restaurant, Block Six, and Cava. But if you're feeling wild, check out a place called STREET where you can get small plates of different foods from around the world. If you have a sweet tooth go to Ceres Bakery and La Maison Navarre. It won't disappoint.

Jersey City, New Jersey 

sandwich, chicken
Kate Parker

American food gets more trendy as you get closer to New York.  Burgers and sandwiches with a nicer look, brunch is more popular, and cafes/coffee shops are more abundant.  American food strays away from traditional and becomes creative. You can also view the city at Battello, with seafood and also nice American dishes. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico 

chicken, tacos, rice
Ashley Yun

If you want to stay in the states, but want authentic Mexican food, New Mexico is the place to go. Food in Santa Fe is endless with options like The Pantry Restaurant, Sazon, modern twists on Mexican cuisine at La Boca, and Cafe Pasqual's. Make sure to try the Bad Ass BLT at Dr. Field Goods because the hamburger patty is made out of bacon instead of beef

New York, New York

cream, cream cheese, cake, cheese
Sho Niimura

New York is the city filled with fancy clothing, celebrities, expensive shopping, exploring the tourist spots, and of course, food. After all that walking, you'll be in need of food for energy. Grab a bagel, mozzarella stick, Italian, Asian, and pizza while you're in the big city.

Asheville, North Carolina  

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha
Shelby McLennan

People have been raving about Hole Doughnuts in Asheville. Try their toasted almond sesame cinnamon and their cocoa doughnuts. Asheville also has different tastes from around the world including Thai food at Little Bee Thai, Mexican at Mamacita's, Indian food at Mela, Mediterranean at Jerusalem Garden Cafe, and French desserts at French Broad Chocolates.

Fargo, North Dakota 

crust, pizza
Libby Perold

Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and with that comes a diversity of cultures and a range restaurants. For more American fine dining, you want to go to Mezzaluna and Doolittles Woodfire Grill. And for the casual places, try Lucky's 13 Pub and Blackbird Woodfire

Cleveland, Ohio 

milk, mocha, espresso, cappuccino, coffee
Effie Henry

Breakfast at Jack Flaps may be one of the most aesthetically pleasing breakfasts that I have ever seen. Their top menu items include their lemon curd pancakes and their many variations of waffles. For your morning pick-me-up, head over to Pour Cleveland or Rising Star Coffee Roasters. Fancy restaurants highly ranked are Pier W for seafood and Johnny's steakhouse.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  

fish, seafood
Tanya Soni

Oklahoma City has a mix of everything. Seriously, you'll find pubs, breweries, brunch, cafes, burger joints, Italian food, Asian food, seafood, and fine dining. To help you prioritize, check out Cheever's Cafe for brunch (make sure to make reservations), The Mule for sandwiches, The Drake Seafood and Oysterette for a seafood meal

Portland, Oregon  

candy, chocolate, cake, sweet
Isabelle Crary

And here's the Portland that we're probably the most familiar with. You may not find fancy restaurants in Portland, but the food is still gourmet. Sandwiches, doughnuts, ice cream, pizza, food trucks—you name it, Portland has it. If anything put Voodoo Doughnuts on your bucket list.

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

wheat, rice, caramel, sweet, butter, salt, cereal, kettle corn, corn, popcorn
Hunter Honeg

Pittsburg has a complicated history, but its food is very traditional. Head to Primanti Bros.—a classic staple of the city. Or grab the best seafood in town at Robert Wholey's. Before you leave this city, grab a snack at The Pittsburg Popcorn Company. So many flavors to choose from. 

Providence, Rhode Island 

chocolate, cake, syrup, sweet, toast, french toast
Marie Chantal Marauta

Although Rhode Island is a small state, their food selection doesn't disappoint. French toast and thick bacon create the perfect breakfast combo at Kitchen. And for a nicer brunch, there's Cook and Brown Public House. Other popular places include Seven Stars Bakery, The Shop, Nick's on Broadway, and UMelt

Charleston, South Carolina  

Kristen Kornbluth

Charleston is known for their seafood, especially oysters at Bowens Island Restaurant. Check out Roadside Seafood, which used to be a food truck but was too good to be that small. Other great places for Southern food are the Early Bird Diner, The Glass Onion, Bertha's Kitchen, and Hominy Grill.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 

cookie, macaroon, sweetmeat, sweet, cake, chocolate, candy
Charlotte Nip

Sioux Falls has some signature foods and restaurants that are totally drool-worthy. Check out Bros Brasserie (people highly recommend the pork chops.) Grab a gourmet meal at M.B. Haskett. And for dessert walk on over to CH Patisserie.

Memphis, Tennessee 

pork, bacon
Valentine Bratoff

The only 10 I see in Tennessee is in their BBQ. Grab BBQ nachos at Central BBQ, BBQ spaghetti at Interstate Bar-B-Q, BBQ tofu nachos at RP Tracks, a chopped pork sandwich at Payne's Bar-B-Que, the original barbecue pizza at Coletta's, and Besh BBQ shrimp at The Second Line. Sometimes the messiest food in barbecue sauce is the best. Especially when you get to lick your fingers at the end.

Austin, Texas

steak, baby back ribs, pepper, sauce, beef, meat, pork, barbecue
Photo courtesy of

Another barbecue city of dreams. Make sure to catch the pork ribs when they're on the menu at Rollin Smoke BBQ. Austin puts a lot of effort into making good barbecue great—especially at LA Barbecue where brisket is smoked for more than 10 hours. If you're trying to ball on a budget, Ruby's BBQ and Catering can hook you up with a meal for under $7.  Score. Even Asian food has Texas spice in them. At Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, meat is smoked, including fish and eel. 

Salt Lake City, Utah  

soup, curry, pumpkin
Ben Chan

What surprises me is the amount of Asian food in Salt Lake City. Some of the restaurants with the best reviews are Naked Fish Japanese Bistro (Japanese food), Takashi (sushi), Bumblebee's (Korean food), CY Noodle House (Chinese food), Feldman's Deli (sandwiches), Christopher's Steak House (steaks), and Settbello (pizza).

Burlington, Vermont  

sweet, chocolate, cake, cream, pastry, coffee, pie, bread
Photo courtesy of Scott Grummet

Burlington is all about community building. Whether that means using local ingredients at American Flatbread or donating to a charity at Leunig's Bistro & Lounge, people can bond through one of the best A restaurant that will satisfy everyone's needs is Penny Cluse Cafe. Their signature is their gingerbread pancakes. And for a good cafe with good food and great desserts, Mirabelles Cafe has cakes that are worth raving over. 

Richmond, Virginia 

goody, sweetmeat, cake, sprinkles, pastry, candy, chocolate, sweet, doughnut
Alessia Barcelo

Go to Richmond expecting to eat carbs. You'll be eating doughnuts from Sugar Shack, red velvet waffles from Lulu's, more doughnuts from Mrs. Yoder's, Nutella French toast from 821 Cafe, Cupcakes from Pearl's, Bacon Doughnut Holes from Lucy's, and Pastries from Well-Made Pastry Alliance. Be ready for a sugar high! And for Richmond's must-try items, get Mac'n Cheetos and a Frito Pie

Seattle, Washington 

chocolate, cream, milk
Jackie O'Brien

Seattle has some of the best seafood and best Asian restaurants in the country. Not to mention, Seattle has Pike's Place and the first Starbucks. Asian restaurants in Seattle that you have to check out include Chan, Suika Seattle, Umi Sake House, Wild Ginger, and Bahn Thai Restaurant

Morgantown, West Virginia 

sweet, pastry, bread, dough, biscuits, cookie, cake, scone
Virginia Dodenhoff

Brown biscuits are a hit in Morgantown. Check out the popular barbecue joint Atomic Grill or an American brunch spot called Cafe Bacchus. If you're into beer, Mountain State Brewing Company has homemade house brews that go great with a casual meal or snack. 

Madison, Wisconsin 

Shun Matsuhashi

Madison's food won't disappoint. It serves classic American fare. Try the sweet potato pancakes from Short Stack Eatery, mac and cheese pizza from Ian's Pizza, the Graze Burger from Graze, cheese curds at The Old Fashioned, and The F-Bomb Platter at Banzo

Jackson, Wyoming

steak, potato
Yael Apt

In Jackson, snack on small plates at Bin22, or head to Cafe Genevieve for brunch. You'll find a good salad, eggs benedict, and even something called Pork Candy

The cool thing about every state in America is their diversity in the types of food that serve and the way they prepare it. Food brings people together and good quality food is key to a good travel experience.