What is the best way to get to know a new town?
Food tours are a great way to get to know a new town.
Want to get the lay of the land, a quick history lesson, and some restaurant suggestions? Take a food tour on your first day of vacation. Want to see your hometown in a new light? Take a food tour. Want a fun date night with friends? Take a food tour.
Our first food tour was a free food tour by foot in Washington DC on a family vacation years ago. We were hooked! Since then we have gone on food tours on vacations across the globe, always delighted with the tours and the tourists.
On a typical tour, you will meet at a designated spot to start and end your tour. Your tour guide will give a brief welcome and let the guests introduce themselves. It’s fun to hear whether people are local or just visiting. Usually, the tour is a leisurely walking tour of the town, visiting 4-6 restaurants within a few hours and a mile or two of distance in total with some history of the town or restaurants thrown in. Some restaurants will have the chef come out and meet you and give you a description of the food you are tasting or of the restaurant. Free tours give you a bit of time to order and eat take-out at the restaurants if you want to (such as a cupcake bakery or a slice of pizza). Most paid tours have a sample size serving and a beverage or water. We have often been treated to very generous sample-size dishes to whole entrees. It feels good to walk a bit between stops! We have never gone away hungry and the prices of a paid tour are often what you’d spend at a nice restaurant anyway.
We have had tour guides of all ages, yet all share an enthusiasm for their town and their food! One guy was a history buff and kept pulling out amazing local artifacts and documents from his satchel including a heavy platter! They are also a wealth of knowledge about tourist spots and other restaurants if you have questions.
Free tours expect you to pay what you want by tipping the guide at the end and paying for any food you decide to purchase. Paid tours deliver food and beverage at each stop and hope you will also tip the guide at the end. In addition to a monetary tip, leaving a review on social media and websites is a great compliment and help to a business.
Food tour gift certificates make a great gift for the person who has everything or the young couple who has nothing. Do a search for best food tours in your town and in a town you will be visiting this year. Walking tours are great but food tours are one of the best ways to get to know a town and its restaurant choices.
Here are a few food tours we have enjoyed.
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC
Strasbourg, France (walking tour)
Check out these other travel tips:
Table Talk: What town do you now want to do a food tour in? What 4 restaurants would you recommend in your hometown for a food tour stop? (List them for us below in the comment section!)