Food tours are an introduction to both cuisine and culture.

Advertisement
Young females hanging out in city eating pizza
Credit: Brook Pifer/Getty Images

Travel and food just seem to go together. When we're away from home, we eat at restaurants and often try dishes that we don't prepare in our own kitchens. Also, cuisine and culture are inextricably related, so when we travel internationally, we might dine on foods that are unfamiliar, and that's part of the experience of learning about a place and the people who live there. In fact, many experienced travelers plan a food tour as a way to get acquainted with a new destination.

Food tours combine tasting new dishes with getting to know a country, cuisine, or even a different part of your own town. Guides are usually locals who are well acquainted with the neighborhoods they cover, and they offer details on history, architecture, and culture along with introductions to new dishes or places to buy ingredients. Often the conversations within the group are not only part of the entertainment, but they provide ideas about things to do or places to go.

Food tours are a perfect staycation activity even if you're not traveling. You might find a new favorite dining spot or add a new recipe to your repertoire. Whether you're on a food tour near home or thousands of miles away, one more plus is that you'll be walking — burning a few calories as well as learning about the neighborhood, meeting new people, and expanding your tastes with an authentic experience.

New York City

A variety of tours covers many of the cuisines found in the New York City and Long Island area, including Italian foods, Chinatown specialties, Long Island's wineries, Brooklyn distilleries, food trucks, and Staten Island pubs.

Tour New York's food scene with experienced guides and learn how certain dishes shape the city today. Enjoy sizable tastings covering iconic New York snacks, lunches, dinners, and desserts. Between stops, you'll hear about the Brooklyn Bridge, see local street art, and enjoy breathtaking skyline views.

Los Angeles

Eating tacos at Guisados Tacos in Los Angeles, California
Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

This guided tour visits six unique stops including a French bakery, the historic Grand Central Market, cheese shop, and the iconic Bottega Louie. In addition, guides point out landmarks like the Bradbury Building and Biltmore Hotel while you skip the lines to enjoy LA's best tacos, BBQ, and sweets.

Choose a tour of the Farmers' Market or explore historic Old Pasadena, East LA's Latin flavors, or Thai Town. On the La Española Meats VIP Tour, guests shop and dine with the Dona Juana family, purveyors of authentic Spanish charcuterie, cheeses, wines, and imported specialties, ending with a patio lunch of tapas and paella followed by homemade churros.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Cafe Du Monde Beignets and Cafe Au Lait in New Orleans
Credit: Getty Images

A variety of tours are offered, including a three-hour walking food tour with six to seven tastings of NOLA specialties like gumbo, jambalaya, muffaletta, and more. Visit famous eateries and learn about the history and culture of New Orleans while exploring the Crescent City's streets. Small groups, cocktail tours, and cooking classes are available as well.

Sample appetizers during a walk through the French Quarter, stopping at two to three restaurants and selecting a variety of appetizers and deserts as well as a cocktail if desired. Informal conversations will cover the history and culture of New Orleans. Guides are natives of the city who can answer questions as their guests learn about the food and attractions of New Orleans.

Savannah, Georgia

People outside Savannah's Candy Kitchen on River Street in Savannah
Credit: Getty Images

The First Squares tour blends gourmet food with visits to the historic squares of Savannah, making stops along the way at six different restaurants and food boutiques. Family-friendly, small groups, and knowledgeable tour guides connect Savannah's history to the foods. Tasting stops include an award-winning honey store, British pie shop, a trendy eatery, pub, and more.

The Dessert Tour is a three-hour excursion that includes a variety of sweets along with a bit of the city's background as you walk through historic downtown Savannah. Visit a Cheesecake Market, sample coffee cake, and visit Savannah's Candy Kitchen for praline samples and nibble on cookie samples from Byrd's Famous Cookie Company. End your tour on the historic riverfront with brownies and ice cream.

Miami, Florida

Little Havana is a popular tourist destination in the historic Eight Street area with colorful store fronts.
Credit: RAUL RODRIGUEZ/Getty Images

Join a small group to explore Miami's Cuban cuisine and culture while you visit a traditional bakery for a guava pastelito, taste a beef picadillo empanada, sip fresh-squeezed guarapo juice, learn about the tropical fruit, and snack on a croqueta de pollo, and more, ending with Abuela Maria's ice cream. You'll also see an authentic cigar factory, street art, and local parks.

The South Beach (SoBe) tour takes guests through five different restaurants and cafes — favorites of locals — with tastings that include Miami Nouvelle cuisine, ethnic dishes, and ice cream. It's an architectural, historic, and cultural walking tour, and guests will see Miami's Art Deco buildings and hear stories of the city's past.