America’s Best Wallet-Friendly Food Cities

October 24, 2018 Updated: October 24, 2018

Personal finance site WalletHub has released a ranking of the country’s best and most affordable food cities, where home cooks and adventurous diners alike can fill their stomachs—without emptying their wallets.

The ranking compares the local food scenes of 182 U.S. cities, including the country’s 150 most populated, based on two key dimensions: “affordability” and “diversity, accessibility, and quality,” measured across 29 key indicators. Those indicators range from the cost of groceries and a restaurant meal to the number of eateries, farmers markets, food trucks, and food festivals per capita.

Portland, Oregon, takes the top spot in the overall ranking. Based on affordability alone, San Antonio, Texas, rises to number one; and when it comes to diversity, accessibility, and quality, New York City reigns unsurprising king.

New York City also claims the most restaurants (7.58 per square root of population, 32 times more than the city with the fewest, Peoria, Arizona) and the most gourmet specialty-food stores (1.38 per square root of population, 46 times as many as West Valley City, Utah, in last place).

Meanwhile, groceries are cheapest in Texas (the state is home to four out of the top five cities with lowest costs), and most expensive in Hawaii (Honolulu and Pearl City tie for highest costs).

For affordable beer and wine, Indianapolis offers the lowest prices, while Seattle boasts the highest—as well as the greatest number of craft breweries and wineries per capita, in a five-way tie with Santa Rosa, California; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; and San Diego, California.

Here are the top 20 cities in the overall ranking.

Top 20 Food Cities in America 2018

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. San Francisco
  3. Miami
  4. New York
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Orlando, Florida
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Seattle
  9. San Diego
  10. Austin, Texas
  11. Atlanta
  12. Tampa, Florida
  13. Chicago
  14. Denver
  15. Washington
  16. Sacramento, California
  17. Philadelphia
  18. Houston
  19. Oakland, California
  20. Charleston, South Carolina
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