The Best West Coast Road Trip Destinations for Foodies
Planning a West Coast road trip? You don't want to miss these fun foodie stops, from north to south.
Seattle: Visit Pike’s Place Market
This iconic, century-old marketplace is a must-do for the start of your trip. See fresh fish being tossed across the aisle, check out the original Starbucks, enjoy decadent mac and cheese at Seattle staple Beecher’s Handmade Cheese or grab a bag of mini doughnuts covered in powdered sugar, sprinkles or cinnamon at Daily Dozen Doughnuts.
Seattle: Take in the Iconic Skyline
While many tourists journey to the top of the Space Needle, we recommend going to the top of the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center. That way you’ll see the skyline including the Space Needle! After taking in the views, swing by Ivar’s Fish Bar for some fish and chips. (Remember your trip later by whipping up your own fish and chips at home!)
Port Angeles, WA: Visit Olympic National Park
Get out of the city and enjoy breathtaking views. From glacier-capped mountains to rainforests, the park has something for everyone to enjoy. Stay in the cozy Five SeaSuns Bed & Breakfast, and splurge on your meal after hiking all day at Alder Wood Bistro, a highly rated spot serving up local, wood-fired New American fare.
Looking for lodging? Check out the best bed and breakfast in every state.
Astoria, OR: Visit The Goonies Location
Movie buff? Check out Astoria, where much of The Goonies was filmed, including the famous house and other landmarks from the movie. While there, dine at Buoy Beer Co., which serves up seafood and microbrews with unbeatable views of the water and sea lions basking in the sun.
Portland, OR: Be Deluxe
If you’re looking for some retro Hollywood glamour, book your stay at the art deco Hotel deLuxe. It celebrates Hollywood’s Golden Age, featuring a 1950s-style cocktail bar and black and white movie images in the lobby. (You might get to try one of these vintage drinks!) Grab donuts for breakfast at nearby Blue Star Donuts, which offers unique flavors like Buttermilk Old Fashioned and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Portland, OR: Visit Powell’s Books
Find a new read at the Powell’s Books flagship store, which is so large you’ll need a map to navigate it. What goes well with books? Ice cream! For a unique take on ice cream, try Salt & Straw, which features flavors like Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs (that’s all one flavor!) and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper.
For more unique ice cream, check out the 13 craziest ice cream flavors in the country.
Pacific City, OR: Enjoy a Local Beer
After a stay inland in Portland, head back out to the coast and visit Pacific City. In addition to stunning views, grab a local microbrew at Pelican Brewing Company. Their beachfront taproom and restaurant allows you to stick your toes in the sand as you dine. Here’s a super simple beer pairing guide that could come in handy!
Arcata, CA: Visit the Redwoods
How do you plan a California road trip? Get a healthy dose of nature and good eats. After exploring the forests, beaches and grasslands along the Northern Coast (remember to pack some trail mix!), relax at Cafe Brio in Arcata, an artisan bakery and cafe that features farm-to-table fare and homemade pastries.
Napa Valley, CA: Ride a Wine Train
With so many wineries here, it’s hard to decide which ones to visit. Make the decision easy by booking a tour on a wine train. The Legacy Tour from the Napa Valley Wine Train takes you to some of the oldest wine estates in Napa. It makes a great girls’ weekend—check out eight more ideas for a girls-only foodie getaway.
Marshall, CA: Eat Oysters
What are the best Pacific Coast highway restaurants? You’ll find one as you drive south on the Pacific Coast Highway toward San Francisco. Hog Island Oyster Co. is a reservation-only restaurant that’s famous for the oysters it harvests from the bay and supplies to local restaurants. Book a shuck-your-own picnic complete with a complimentary shucking lesson, and brush up on your oyster facts before you go!
San Francisco: Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
No trip to San Francisco is complete without taking photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the best views can be found at the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can find stalls selling succulent crab and amazing clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls.
Try making bread bowls at home with this quick and easy method!
San Jose, CA: Go Shopping
Browse through the San Jose Flea Market to find hidden treasures and antiques. With more than 2,000 vendors, it’s one of the largest in the U.S.! Be on the lookout for flea market kitchen finds you shouldn’t pass up. After shopping, head down the road to Adega, a Michelin-star Portuguese restaurant boasting a wine cellar of some of the best Portuguese wines.
Monterey, CA: See the Sea Life
Set on the coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the most highly rated aquariums in the country. Get up close and personal with the sea life – there are more than 45 interactive exhibits to explore! After the aquarium, continue south to the Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel for award-winning fine dining. Even wine aficionados will find something new to try in the impressive 2,500-bottle wine cellar.
Ever wonder if the shape of the wine glass matters? We have the answer.
Big Sur, CA: Pick up Pastries
Another one of the best restaurants on the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur Bakery is a staple. Whether you stop for some coffee and one of their homemade pastries or try their wood-fired pizzas, the food and rustic atmosphere make this a must-see.
Santa Barbara, CA: Enjoy Happy Hour
Check out the Enterprise Fish Co. for the fresh seafood during their happy hour. They serve up small plates of oysters, calamari and other fresh options along with adult beverages in a fun, casual atmosphere.
It’s a well-known fact that seafood is good for you. Here are the biggest health benefits of eating more seafood!
Los Angeles: Find a Treat at The Original Farmer’s Market
This historic landmark first opened in 1934, and it’s one of the most popular spots in L.A. today. From juice bars and fresh produce to shops and sit-down restaurants, there’s something for everyone at the market. Here’s one thing to leave at home when going to any farmer’s market.
Los Angeles: Explore Hollywood
One of the most popular attractions in L.A., Hollywood can’t be missed. Find your favorite stars on the Walk of Fame, or hike near the Griffith Observatory and see the famous Hollywood Sign up close. After a packed day, treat yourself to some ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery or a cocktail at Musso & Frank Grill, which has been open since 1919 and visited by Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. While there, try one of these classic cocktails your grandparents loved.
San Diego: Eat Tacos & Drink Beer
Well known for tacos, San Diego also has a popular craft brewery scene. If you’re in the mood for tacos, try The Taco Stand for Tijuana-style tacos served up in a store made to resemble a Mexican taco stand. Late night taco craving? Try La Puerta, which is open until 2 a.m. For beer, try award-winning AleSmith Brewing Company or viking-inspired Longship Brewery.
Then, when you get home after this epic trip, we bet you’ll want to switch up your go-to tacos with one of these delicious recipes.
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