Bring the children on the next family vacation - and not just for the theme parks, beaches and museums. Major cities are beefing up children’s menus and embracing families at fining dining restaurants.
Here are four U.S. cities that stand out for their top-notch food scenes, including chef-inspired eateries and regional specialties. Add some spice and flavor to your next family vacation.
Family enjoying beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans — Photo courtesy of Chris Granger for the New Orleans CVB
Long hailed as major culinary destination, New Orleans has more than 1,400 restaurants, making it a phenomenal destination for the foodie family. There is no wrong choice when selecting a restaurant – you'll find great dishes anywhere, from the corner po-boy shop up to a fine-dining restaurant.
Active foodie families will be delighted with the range of adventurous options. Try regional specialty cooking classes, dining on the Steamboat Natchez, or even tasting bugs at the Insectarium.
Culinary festivals run year-round here in N'awlins, from the Oyster Jubilee in the spring to the Po-Boy Festival in the fall. Frequently, local restaurants will serve their amazing dishes to the events, so bring your appetite.
Some foodie family options include tasting po-boys at Parkway Bakery, learning to cook new family favorites at a cooking class at Langlois, visiting The New Orleans School of Cooking, touring the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and enjoying fresh gulf seafood at John Besh and Brian Landry’s Borgne or Israeli cuisine at Shaya, collaboration of chef John Besh and chef Alon Shaya.
A sampling of local Santa Fe favorites — Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Tourism
When families visit Santa Fe they will be greeted by friendly people, who offer a rich menu of unique multicultural things to do for all ages, all in a relaxed, beautiful and easily walkable place.
Families also enjoy food adventures. The mix of Native American, Spanish and Anglo influences is a one-of-a-kind melting pot of nutritional health, savory mastery, cultural exploration and historical discovery. At the fun and tasty Santa Fe School of Cooking, families can learn how the "Three Sisters" (corn, beans, and squash) were grown in perfect and sustainable harmony, and why the majestic chile pepper grows best on the planet there.
Visit the award-winning Farmers Market to meet the farmers and see only-in-Santa-Fe creations. Try Kakawa Chocolate House for historical Meso-American drinking elixirs you’ll never forget, and refresh at Verde Juice with amazing locally-sourced organic cold pressed juice blends. “The City Different” is as progressive, fun, and satisfying as they come.
Housed in the original Sears, Roebuck and Co. building in Atlanta, Ponce City Market is a historic mixed-use community hub focused on artisanal food, fashion and technology — Photo courtesy of Sarah Dorio
Atlanta’s thriving creative class has found a home on the Eastside. With the recent opening of Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall (development to rival Chelsea Market), there is a renewed energy trending though Atlanta’s dining scene. Housed in the fully-renovated 1925 Sears, Roebuck & Company building – the largest brick building in the Southeast – this urban market features a central food hall, leading retail brands, and living and working spaces.
Likewise, Krog Street Market, which opened in 2014 and is often compared to San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, is another locale to which Atlanta’s foodies flock.
Buford Highway also puts Atlanta on the map with such a tremendous amount of international cuisine located within about a seven-mile stretch.
There are a host of chefs that are also making Atlanta a foodie destination … Ford Fry, Linton Hopkins, Anne Quatrano, Hugh Acheson, Kevin Gillespie, Steven Satterfield to name a few. Families can enjoy the mild climate and take in the city’s sports and cultural attractions as well.
Family picnic near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC — Photo courtesy of Destination DC
True, Washington, DC is known for museums, international culture, art and science, but these same qualities are found in the emerging culinary scene.
Home to 180-plus embassies and consulates, DC is an easy to taste the world.
Start with breakfast arepas, Colombian corn cakes stuffed with cheese, eggs and avocados at The Royal. Slurp lunch at a Taiwanese-style ramen shop like Maketto. And save room for Belgian mussels and waffles at B Too on buzzing 14th Street. B Too's chef, Bart Vandaele, was knighted for his service to Belgian culture.
For another more mainstream option, try hot dogs, fries and a side of history at the family-owned Ben’s Chili Bowl, a meeting spot for Civil Rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal history buffs can join George and Martha Washington at the Inn at Mount Vernon.
Food tours through neighborhoods like Georgetown invite visitors to amble and sample, as do the region’s lively markets: the traditional Eastern Market and hip Union Market where guests can assemble a picnic to be enjoyed in the shadow of the Washington Monument on America’s front yard: the National Mall.