The Best Food Festivals in the USA

The 15 Best Food Festivals in the USA for Innovative Eats

One of the best things about American food is that it means so many different things. Your mind might picture burgers and fries, though the jury’s out on where burgers come from, and French fries are supposedly from Belgium. But that’s kind of the whole point. America’s favorite foods trace their roots from all over the world, which is why US food festivals are filled with foods found worldwide!

Still, some food festivals are distinctly American, like celebrations of America’s Dairyland and other agricultural hubs. With so much diversity, it’s no wonder why there are so many food festivals in the US. 

If you’re a foodie looking for your people, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best food festivals in the US, from celebrity-filled bashes to small-town celebrations of America’s food production. Eat your way through these festivals, and we guarantee you’ll have a whole new appreciation for American cuisine. 

The 15 Best Food Festivals in the USA

1. Indulge in a Taste of Chicago

Best Food Festivals in the US: Taste of Chicago

There’s a reason why Taste of Chicago is one of the most famous food festivals in the world. This September festival is actually the world’s largest food festival. Now going strong for over 40 years, this American food festival brings together more than 35 of Chicago’s best food vendors, as well as live music, community dance lessons, karaoke competitions, and much more.

One of the best things about this festival is that it’s not just all about food. You’ll get a true taste of Chicago beyond the food, getting a glimpse into the arts, music, and many more offerings of this beloved city. The festival itself takes place at Grant Park, but other events tied to the festival happen throughout the city.

2. Eat Around the World at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

Best American Food Festivals: Epcot Food and Wine Festival

You might think that theme park fare has to mean burgers and chicken fingers, but if you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, especially during the International Food & Wine Festival, you know that doesn’t always have to be the case. 

During this festival, which typically runs between August and November at the least, you can eat and drink your way through six continents. Add in some family-friendly activities, live music, and more unique offerings, and you’ve got the makings for one of the most unique American food festivals!

3. Chow Down on Some Iconic Maine Lobster

Famous Food Festivals in the US: Maine Lobster

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Maine’s famous lobsters, but did you know there’s a whole festival dedicated to it? Taking place in Rockland, the five-day Maine Lobster Festival is one of the best US food festivals and a true celebration of Maine’s coastal communities.

The festival’s focus is, of course, lobster, but you’ll also get to enjoy family-friendly activities and events, like the Great International Lobster Crate Race and one of Maine’s largest parades. 

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4. Celebrate the Boysenberry at Knott’s Berry Farm

Best Food Festivals in the US: Knott's Berry Farm

Over in Buena Park, you’ll find a unique American food festival that celebrates the roots of one of California’s best theme parks. Knott’s Berry Farm got its start thanks to the boysenberry, so every spring, the theme park celebrates the berry that started it all with the Boysenberry Festival. The festival features tons of sweet and savory treats, locally-made wine and craft beer, musical stage shows, and much more.

5. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Northwest Chocolate Festival

Best American Food Festivals: Northwest Chocolate Festival

If you’re like me, chocolate is always calling your name, so you and I would fit right in at Seattle, Washington’s Northwest Chocolate Festival, one of the best food festivals in the US for those with a sweet tooth. This weekend-long event in October is made for chocolate lovers of all kinds. 

Whether milk or dark is more your jam, you’ll find a vast selection of artisan chocolates here. Enjoy tastings, learn about the world of chocolate, and gain a new appreciation for your favorite treat. 

6. Experience a Taste of Sonoma

Best Food Festivals in the USA: Taste of Sonoma

The summertime Taste of Sonoma is one of the most famous food festivals in the US for a reason. Taking place in one of the most iconic wine regions in the world, Sonoma Valley in California, Taste of Sonoma allows you to sample wines from more than 100 wineries, dine around the region’s best food trucks, and chill out in themed lounges. 

Wine not your thing? You’ll also find a beer garden for those looking for a hoppier alternative.

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7. Spot Celebrity Chefs at the SOBEWFF

For another famous food festival, head on over to the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, or SOBEWFF for short. This four-day foodie paradise is where to go if you’re looking for a truly star-studded event. 

This huge American food festival features over 100 events to check out, with more than 500 food and wine experts, including celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri and Maneet Chauhan. 

8. Taste Your Way Around SoCal Taco Fest

Best Food Festivals in the US: SoCal Taco Fest

If you’re looking for the best tacos in the US, you’ll likely be directed to San Diego, California, so it only makes sense that this sunny, seaside destination would be where you’d find the summertime SoCal Taco Fest.

Held at Waterfront Park, this festival features live music, lucha libre wrestling, chihuahua races, beauty pageants, and, of course, all the tacos you can eat.

9. Go Vegan at Seed Food & Wine Week

While many food festivals in the US are aiming to provide more plant-based options, it’s still pretty rare to come across a food festival that’s dedicated to vegan fare, so we just had to give Seed Food & Wine Week a shoutout. But this Miami-based festival offers so much more than just plant-based food.

In addition to vegan wine, beer, and craft spirit tasting, this January event also features cooking demonstrations, dinners curated by celebrity chefs, workout classes, wellness workshops, urban gardening lessons, and a Plant-Based Burger Battle! 

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10. Jam Out at Waikiki SPAM JAM

Best American Food Festivals: Waikiki Spam Jam

SPAM is a fixture of Hawaiian cuisine, making Waikiki SPAM JAM one of the most unique food festivals in the US. This springtime staple starts out with a signature block party featuring SPAM dishes from several local restaurants and entertainment inspired by Hawaiian culture. 

The SPAM celebration keeps going for a two-week festival, in which local restaurants offer SPAM treats as a part of the Can to Table Restaurant Week. 

11. Get Cheesy at the Cheese Curd Festival

Famous Food Festivals in the US: Cheese Curd Festival

You may have heard Wisconsin called “America’s Dairyland,” as the state is famous for its cheese production, but there’s one town in particular that’s famous for being the “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin.” Ellsworth is where you’ll find one of the cheesiest American food festivals, the Cheese Curd Festival, home to 6,000 pounds of cheese curds!

During this June celebration, you’ll enjoy everything from poutine to cinnamon sugar dessert curds. Also on the menu are wines, beers, and hard ciders, which you can sip and savor as you check out live music and a classic car show.

12. Experience the Fluffy Joy of Beignet Fest

Best Food Festivals in the US: Beignet Fest

New Orleans has so many food festivals, but Beignet Fest is one of the most beloved. What’s not to love about those delicious, fluffy pillows of fried dough? Now taking place in November, Beignet Fest offers dozens of beignet-focused dishes from local restaurants and food trucks. 

Alongside the food, you’ll also enjoy family-friendly activities, including live music and a Kids Village. The event is put on by the Beignet Fest Foundation, which uses the funds raised at Beignet Fest to support local nonprofits that help children with autism. 

13. Celebrate Idaho Spud Day

Idaho is famous for its potatoes, so why not celebrate the spud at Idaho Spud Day? Held on the third Saturday in September, Idaho Spud Day takes place in Shelley, where you’ll find potato-themed treats, as well as many potato-themed activities. 

From the potato-picking contents to the potato sack races to the Miss Russet Beauty Pageant, it’s an American food festival that’s got a true country spirit.  

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14. Have Summer Fun at the National Cherry Festival

Best American Food Festivals: National Cherry Festival

For another uniquely American food festival, head to Traverse City, Michigan, for the National Cherry Festival. Traverse City, nicknamed the “Cherry Capital of the World,” is home to an eight-day celebration of all things cherries each summer. 

Featuring over 150 events, from parades to cherry pie eating contests, the National Cherry Festival is a family-friendly festival with plenty to do. Enjoy carnival rides, fireworks shows, and tons of cherry-themed treats.

15. Sample Smorgasburg

Technically speaking, Smorgasburg isn’t exactly an American food festival. It’s a weekly event that you can find in three locations in New York City, as well as in Los Angeles, Miami, and Toronto. But I just couldn’t resist giving this outdoor food market a shoutout on this list of US food festivals because every location of Smorgasburg is filled with tons of unique offerings. 

Where else can you get the fluffiest pancakes you’ve ever seen, colorful bao buns, rainbow grilled cheese, and maple lemonade all in one place? Only at Smorgasburg!

There you have it! The 15 best food festivals in the US. What’s your favorite American food festival? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author:

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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