Revealed: The Foodie Capitals Of The US

Who doesn’t love traveling? Going on vacation is a great way to explore the world and the many wonders that it has to offer. Lots of people make it their new year’s resolution to travel the globe.

If you are one of those people, you may be wondering what the ideal destination is. To ensure that you achieve your new year’s resolution, we’ve developed a list of the best foodie US states. We’ve taken data from numerous sources to create this comprehensive list.

These states perfectly combine two of our favorite things: fantastic food and travel. So let’s dive in!

The Top 5 Foodie Capitals Of The US

  1. New Mexico, Index Score 1
  2. Hawaii, Index Score 0.76
  3. Maine, Index Score 0.73
  4. Rhode Island, Index Score 0.71
  5. California, Index Score 0.70

With an impressive index score of 1, New Mexico is the clear winner when it comes to the best foodie states. So if you are searching for an indulgent dining experience, New Mexico is the place to be.

New Mexico is renowned for its rich cuisine, which is influenced by Spanish and Mexican food. Food in New Mexico tends to be packed with spices, which is thanks to ingredients like New Mexico chile peppers.

Up next on the list is Hawaii. It earned this spot largely because of its high number of restaurants per capita. With a low population of just 1.4 million but plenty of restaurants, there are lots of delicious places to eat throughout Hawaii. Hawaii is filled with distinctive dishes that foods will avidly devour. 

The top 5 foodie capitals of the US are rounded out by Maine, Rhode Island, and California. California was able to round out the top ten due to its impressive number of food tours.

The Worst Foodie States Of The US

  1. Arizona – Index Score 0.52
  2. Utah – Index Score 0.55
  3. Indiana – Index Score 0.56
  4. Washington – Index Score, 0.56
  5. Michigan – Index Score, 0.57

As this list highlights, Arizona is the most disappointing state for foodies. It has a combined score of just 0.52. Despite having a large population of more than 7 million, Arizona has a surprisingly low number of restaurants. Consequently, the state’s score for restaurants per capita is quite minimal. 

On the plus side, Arizona has more food tours than many of the other states that are at the bottom of the list. So if you are a fan of food tours, it may still be worth visiting Arizona. Thus, you can easily find out about this history of cuisine in Arizona.

Arizona was followed by Utah, Indiana, Washington, and Michigan. Utah and Indiana are especially disappointing if you appreciate food tours, as there are minimal options here. 

Meanwhile, Washington was not particularly bad in any one category. Instead, it received low scores across the board, hence it’s the fourth worst location for foodies.

Finally, Michigan was fifth on the list of worst states for foodies. The reason why this state avoided being at the bottom of our index was that the price of meals here is relatively budget-friendly. 

If you are searching for affordable food, Michigan is a good choice. So while this location may not be ideal, you can still enjoy some mouth-watering meals in Michigan. 

How Did We Accumulate These Results?

Now that you know all about the best and worst places in the US for unique dining experiences, you may be wondering how we created this list. The truth is that numerous pieces of data were taken into consideration to ensure that the information was as accurate as possible.

We extracted information from trusted sources, such as Tripadvisor, Viator, and Numbeo. Here are the main factors that were considered:

Number Of Restaurants Per Capita

From these reliable sources, we found data regarding the number of restaurants in each state and the population.

This allowed us to calculate the number of restaurants per capita. The larger the number of restaurants per capita, the better. After all, this means that visitors will have wider access to a range of different restaurants. 

As a result, visitors can experience lots of cuisines. It means that foodies can find suitable restaurants no matter their dietary requirements or personal preferences.

Price Of A Meal

Another important factor was the price of restaurant meals in each state. Eating out can be expensive when you’re on vacation, so it’s important to find high-quality food for an affordable price.

Thus, we gave each state a score based on the price of a three-course meal for two people. It made sense to do this, as most foodies will want a lavish three-course meal.

Food Tours

The final factor that we account for was the number of food tours. Also known as culinary tours, these guides are conducted by locals. 

Food tours allow people to experience the culinary traditions and histories of different locations. Most foodies love indulging on these fantastic food tours. They allow visitors to become more informed about a location and its luxurious cuisine.

Overall Scores

After giving each state a score for these various categories, we then gave them each a total score. The states with the highest scores were considered the best foodie capitals in the US, while the lowest scores were put at the bottom of the list.

Final Thoughts

If you are a foodie, traveling is an ideal way to broaden your palate. It allows you to experience the fantastic food of lots of different countries. This enables travelers to taste food that they may never have tasted before.

The good news is that there are tons of locations in the United States that are perfect for foodies. In particular, New Mexico, California, Maine, Hawaii, and Rhode Island are phenomenal places to visit. On the flip side, you may want to avoid Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Utah, and Washington if you consider yourself to be a foodie.

If you are looking for some delicious recipes that are perfect for foodies, here are some outstanding options!


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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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