Every city tells a story through its museums, restaurants, monuments, and people. Sometimes in a big city it can be hard to find out the narrative a place tells though history. Luckily, food is always there as a universal story-teller and has been since the dawn of times. Even better than some good eats is a fully immersive city-wide food tour. If you can find a city that operates food tours then you are in for an experience of a lifetime.
1. You get to experience a week’s worth of restaurants in one day.
If you haven’t familiarized yourself with food tours, now is the time! Walking food tours allow for adventurous “restaurant hopping” through a series of curated spots in a city. A good food tour will incorporate a city’s hidden gems that you aren’t likely to find on the front pages of a city guidebook. Food tourists can expect to find themselves at a variety of stops ranging from eating meals in farmers markets, 5 star restaurants, food-stands, and other hole-in-the-wall spots.
2. You have the opportunity to physically experience the history in a city of millions.
There are few ways that one can have a sensory experience of history. Food is one one of the rare exceptions and it all starts with a a handed-down recipe. The magic and glamour of a food tour is usually the product of extensive historical research and hours of document sifting in order to find the little known facts that made a city what it is today. The stops along a food tour are a part of something much bigger than a good meal: they are intentional and fit into a web of historical backstory of a city while also integrating architecture, culture, and art into one experience.
3. You can gain “insider” information on what’s currently going on in the city you’re visiting.
Walking food tours are also talking food tours. The conversational exchanges and information presented by tour guides is not only organic due to small group sizes, but also invaluable. In most cases, food tour guides have been hand selected for their passion and insider knowledge of a city beyond it’s food scene. In addition to side conversation, the standard factual parts of food tours often includes exciting information such as which of your favorite movies were filmed at this historical landmark, or what building and industry developments are happening around the corner as you walk from one restaurant to another.
4. Food tours redefine what it means to be a true local.
It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist, frequent visitor to a city, or native born and raised; no matter what your status, there are always unique and untold truths and stories that come from food. While you may be restaurant savvy and enjoy some of a city’s best food accredited to your own explorations and taste, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a day of multiple curated meals in different environments. Locals taking food tours in their own city often say, “I’ve lived in this city my whole life and walked away with more information than I’ve ever had before.”
5. You can venture off the eaten path.
A good food tour will typically shy away from high-traffic touristy areas. You usually won’t find a chain restaurant as one of your food stops in efforts to tell the tale of a city’s history. Food tours thrive on providing unexpected experiences, which means far from the usual!
6. Hospitality takes on new heights.
When you take a food tour, the relationships that the leaders and creators of a food tour have formed with various restaurants is immediately extended to you. Instantly upon entering a stop on a food tour you are part of something bigger than yourself. The legacies and memories of previous tour groups along with the familial relationships of those providing your tour all turn into a big warming welcome from each restaurant you visit on a food tour. When you go on a food tour, you are a VIP at that restaurant!
Food tours are an interactive way to see firsthand the reflections of the stories of ourselves, while humanizing the lives of others. If you find yourself in Atlanta, Atlanta Food Walks can illustrate this innovative culinary story telling in a hands-on learning experience. Tourists and Atlanta natives alike are in for a historical journey through the streets of one of the civil rights capitals of the world (in addition to some killer diverse stops along the way ranging everywhere from soul food, to BBQ, to vegan friendly smoothies). Time and time again, folks born and raised in Atlanta sign up for food tours for adventure and great dining, walking away with just that in addition to a whole new understanding of the city they’re in.