When most people think of a Bucket List, they envision something truly extraordinary: a once-in-a-lifetime trip or adventure; an expedition that fuels and satisfies even the most insatiable wanderlust. These experiences are generally trips to the country’s most incredible places: national parks, world-renowned attractions, superlative natural wonders. Many of these adventures are outdoors, and while we at OnlyInYourState strive to include diverse lists of bucket-list-worthy adventures that are accessible to all, we recognize that a hike on the Appalachian Trail or cross-country road trip might not be everyone’s
adventure de jour.
But there is something that connects us all, whether we’re advanced outdoor enthusiasts, avid historians, or dedicated conservationists, and that’s food. Food is a universal language we all speak; it’s a lively, connective
experience that’s as much about sustenance as it is about culture, cuisine, and celebration. Whether you’re a street truck aficionado, fine dining connoisseur, or into all things “Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives,” this bucket list is for you. We’ve scoured the country in search of the best trips, towns, and tours that belong on every U.S. foodie’s bucket list, and we invite you to come along with us on these wholly unique, utterly delicious, bucket-list-worthy adventures.
Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA
There’s no place in Seattle more iconic than Pike Place Market; this amazing market sits right by the bustling waterfront, and it’s one of the most photographed places in the Pacific Northwest. Spanning nine acres in the heart of downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market was founded in 1907, making it one of the oldest and largest continuously operating public markets in the country — and one of the most diverse, to boot. There are more than 500 different booths up and running at any given time; the selection of fresh-caught seafood, international fare, and ROYGBIV produce is a total sensory overload, and, as such, it’s helpful to have an expert lead the way. Savor Seattle offers several different food and drink tours, but their signature food tour of Pike Place Market is really something special, and a must for tourists and long-time Seattleites alike.
Portland, Oregon, is a celebrated foodie mecca, known for its international flavors, PNW cuisine, fresh seafood, street food, doughnuts, craft breweries, wineries — the list goes on (and on). And in this bona fide food town, Feast is the city’s proudest culinary fete. Hailed as the premier food and drink festival of the Pacific Northwest, Feast is a celebration of the bounty of the Beaver State: the abundant oceans, fertile fields, and inventive spirit that combines to create something wholly unique and wonderful. From beloved Oregon favorites, like Tillamook ice cream and cheese curds to Oregon ales and Pinots to the freshest catches from the Pacific, foodies have a lot to love (and eat) in Portland.
Between long-standing institutions like Gundlach Bundschu Winery (the third-oldest winery in the state, in fact) to beloved family-run operations like Chateau Diana, wine lovers have a lot to love about Sonoma County. With 99% of Sonoma County’s vineyards certified sustainable, this is the most sustainable wine-growing region in the world, and it’s truly a bucket-list must for oenophiles. But what most don’t realize is that this fertile expanse isn’t just great for grapes; it’s a region where all sorts of produce lives and thrives. In Sonoma County, the eponymous Sonoma Food Tour leads intrepid foodies to the best markets, restaurants, and yes,
wine, in downtown Sonoma. These are off-the-beaten-path secrets shared by Sonoma foodies; the kind of hyper local, amazing destinations the travel guides won’t tell you about. If you’ve yet to experience the culinary splendor of Sonoma County, now’s the time to change that.
Aspen Food & Wine Classic – Aspen, Colorado
Easily the most acclaimed food festival in the country, the Aspen Food & Wine Classic is a celebration of the unique culinary culture of the U.S. Each year, the country’s most acclaimed chefs, up-and-coming stars, and culinary celebrities gather in one of the country’s most glorious mountain towns to commemorate the medium that really does unite us all. Of course, this event is as much for oenophiles as it is for foodies, attracting renowned winemakers from all over to share their finest vintages and bottles. And with the beautiful backdrop of Aspen, Colorado, this is an event that truly is the culinary
experience of a lifetime.
The Picnic – Austin, Texas
The Picnic – Food Truck Park, 1720 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Austin, Texas, is celebrated for its diverse culinary culture, and the city is especially well-known for its food trucks. With several food truck parks across ATX, it can be overwhelming deciding on a starting point, so we recommend going with the *original* food truck park,
The Picnic. Nestled along Barton Springs Road, The Picnic is located right in the heart of the city, and its array of fantastic food trucks will have your mouth rumbling and stomach grumbling as soon as you arrive. Tex-Mex, Thai, Venezuelan, Italian… the culinary world is yours at The Picnic; and, as such, we recommend bringing a big, Texas-sized appetite when visiting this acclaimed foodie destination.
Chicago Food Tours – Chicago, Illinois
Tastebud Tours and Events LLC, 550 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Chicago is such an underrated player in terms of food towns; this Midwest treasure is often pitted against its coastal brethren, but really stands on its own in terms of cuisine. Some of the country’s most celebrated culinary icons hail from the Windy City, in fact, from the eponymous Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs to Italian beef and Jibarito sandwiches. Chicago Food Tours aims to show tourists the best the city has to offer, through myriad accessible and exciting experiences. The Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour is a must for any Midwest foodies; on this 1.4-mile walking tour, you’ll devour five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them. What could be better?
Kentucky Bourbon Trail – Bardstown, Kentucky
Old Talbott Tavern, 107 W Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY 40004, USA
The Bluegrass State’s most celebrated spirit takes center stage on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which features no less than 41 top-tier distilleries. The connection between the Bluegrass and bourbon is inextricable, with the state responsible for producing 95% of the world’s supply of this sultry spirit. Popular stops along this trail include Jim Beam, Bardstown Bourbon, and Maker’s Mark — but it’s not all
libations on this iconic tour. Located in charming Bardstown in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon Country, the Old Talbott Tavern dates back to the late 1700s, and is hailed as the oldest bourbon bar in the world. Visitors can come and order from over 200 varieties of Bluegrass bourbon (bourbon flights are available for those who wish to sample multiple varieties), and dine on bourbon-infused dishes like bourbon-glazed chicken and bread pudding, for a well-rounded, chef’s kiss, culinary celebration of the spirit that put Kentucky on the map in a big way.
French Quarter – New Orleans, Louisiana
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA, USA
There is a soul to New Orleans — a living, breathing spirit that’s truly unique to the city. This
joy de vivre is positively palpable, and something that can really only be experienced. While famous for Mardi Gras, the spirit of New Orleans is far deeper than the pomp and revelry of this event. Food, in particular, is a huge part of the NOLA experience, and there are some truly iconic spots you’ll definitely want to visit. From the beignets at Café Du Monde and the muffalata from Central Grocery & Deli to the fried oyster po’ boy from Mother’s Restaurant and the seafood gumbo from Antoine’s, New Orleans is a place that is colorful and delicious and larger-than-life, and best experienced through food.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival – Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney World® Resort, Orlando, FL, USA
Not only is Walt Disney World Resort known for taking visitors around the globe with its attractions, but the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival offers a culinary
tour de force of some of the world’s finest food and wine. Sip and savor your way across six different continents, eating and drinking until your heart’s content at this annual food-filled jubilee, one of the most popular in both the park and Orlando, Florida. Featuring dozens of delicious food booths representing cuisine from all across the country, this is easily the most family-friendly foodie fest in the U.S. Of course, exploring Epcot in and of itself is an experience not to be missed, but if you really want to level up your trip, make sure you visit during this epic festival.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world, Seaside is a delightfully unique waterfront community in Florida that has quietly become one of the most coveted vacation destinations in the state. In addition to incredible boutiques, charming retailers (including an independent bookstore and record shop), and an adorable grocery, the town’s Central Square is home to a world of cuisine, from fine dining restaurants to a lineup of food trucks on Airstream Row. Within this lively food hub, adventurous foodies will find all sorts of delicious eats, from the crave-worthy Cubanos and Pan con Tortilla from Cocina Cubana to the epic, Southern-fried platters from Barefoot BBQ. If you’re more of a
traditionalist, the Nutella Crepes from Crêpes du Soleil will make you very, very happy — as will the cheeseburgers from Pickle’s Burger and Shakes.
Charleston Culinary Tours – Charleston, South Carolina
Over the past few years, Charleston, South Carolina, has quietly become one of the coolest cities in the South. With its towering trees and iconic architecture, Charleston is one of the most beautiful towns in the U.S., with a historic district that’s both fascinating and irresistibly charming. Anchoring this town, though, is a vibrant food scene that really is an inextricable part of the city’s cultural identity. Charleston’s Historic French Quarter and City Market are two of its most iconic places, offering visitors immersive historical context with a heaping side of amazing cuisine. Charleston Culinary Tours celebrates the city’s food culture during its engaging, guide-led excursions that combine elements of a historical tour with a culinary adventure. From historic pubs and French bistros to classic Southern cooking and Lowcountry cuisine, there’s no better way to experience Charleston, South Carolina, than to eat your way through town!
Foods of NY Tours – New York City, New York
New York City is a marvelous culinary melting pot where pretty much every type of global cuisine is represented. And Foods of NY Tours aims to help folks see this wide, wonderful world, visiting some of the city’s most iconic and under-the-radar markets, neighborhoods, and restaurants. Obviously, NYC is known for its pizzerias, delis, and diverse boroughs, but there is so much more to see and taste in the city than what’s in the guide books or “Top 10” listicals. Offering both walking tours and bus tours, food tasting afternoons and all-day excursions, Foods of NY Tours visit the best eateries and epicurean hubs in the city, and truly is a must for all gourmands, foodies, historians, and cultural enthusiasts. (In other words, pretty much everyone.)
Maine Day Ventures – Portland, Maine
320 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Lobster and chowder, blueberries and beer, Portland, Maine, is an underrated culinary mecca in the Northeast. Portland’s annual Harvest on the Harbor festival celebrates this culinary culture each fall, but visitors and locals alike can revel in the city’s most delicious fare year-round with Maine Day Ventures. On these guide-led walking tours, adventurous foodies will sip, taste, and slurp their way through Portland, Maine, eating seafood that’s quite literally been pulled from the town waterfront and ales straight from the fermenters. These tours are a must for foodies, but especially seafood fans — whether you’re into massive lobster rolls, comforting clam chowder, or raw oysters, you’ll get a full taste of the Atlantic on this only-in-Maine adventure.
In addition to, of course, the food, the best part about all of these adventures is how accessible they are. These are bucket-list experiences anyone can enjoy, as long as they bring a sense of adventure — and hearty appetite — to the table.
Address: Aspen, CO 81611, USA
Address: Walt Disney World® Resort, Orlando, FL, USA
Address: Old Talbott Tavern, 107 W Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY 40004, USA
Address: The Picnic – Food Truck Park, 1720 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Address: French Quarter, New Orleans, LA, USA
Address: Portland, OR, USA
Address: Seaside, FL 32459, USA
Address: Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA
Address: Tastebud Tours and Events LLC, 550 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Address: 320 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA