Here at GoodFoodPittsburgh.com, we’re not shy about of love of Pittsburgh’s food scene.
However, we’re not afraid to admit that there are plenty of other top-notch food towns across the country. Luckily for us, Pittsburghers don’t need to hop on a plane to check them out.
Just a short drive from Pittsburgh, hungry diners can enjoy fresh oyster with a view of the water, or shop foods from around the world in an open-air market.
Below we have listed a few of our favorite renowned food cities within driving distance of Pittsburgh. If you’re late on planning a summer vacation, or just looking for a weekend getaway, we’ve got you covered.
Get read to grub, because here are…
The Best Food Cities to Visit from Pittsburgh
Driving time: 3.5 hours
People are often surprised to learn how close Buffalo is to Pittsburgh. They’re also surprised to hear the city has a thriving culinary scene. Despite what you’ve heard, it’s not all about Buffalo wings in The Nickel City (although they are delicious). Get ready for craft cocktails, southern comfort food, and trendy toast bars. For many, the highlight (or downfall) is the fact that Buffalo’s bars stay open until 4:00 a.m. (if you dare). In 2016, Travel + Leisure Magazine named Buffalo America’s favorite city. Go see what the buzz is all about in this burgeoning foodie city.
Food: Breadhive Bakery & Cafe, West Side Bazaar, 5 Points Bakery, Black Sheep, Lloyd Taco Factory
Drink: Founding Fathers, Public Espresso + Coffee, Buffalo Proper, Remedy House, Tommyrotter Distillery
Driving time: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Shepherdstown may be tiny, but it’s crammed with tons of flavor! If you’re looking for a quaint, New England-style town without the 9+ hour drive, head to this colonial village in West Virginia, located just across the Maryland border. In a few short blocks, Shepherdstown offers upscale American cuisine, delicious taquerias, trendy cafes, and even fresh-pressed juice. In addition to having delicious food, Shepherdstown is simply a charming and relaxing spot for a overnight escape from the big city.
Food: Press Room, Maria’s Taqueria, Pressed Flour, Blue Moon Cafe
Drink: Town Run Tap House, Lost Dog Coffee, The Mecklenburg Inn
Driving time: 4.5 hours
Pittsburgh’s food scene is often compared to that of our Rust Belt cousin, Detroit. While the Lions got nothing on the Steelers, it’s actually a compliment to be compared to the blooming food town of Detroit. Similar to Pittsburgh, passionate chefs and hungry diners have been stimulating this once struggling city. In a single day it’s possible to enjoy famous pie for breakfast, smoothies and shawarma for lunch, and round off the night with an artisanal cocktail, made with spirits distilled a few feet away.
Food: Sister Pie, Peepos, Al-Ameer Restaurant, Rose’s Fine Food, Seldon Standard
Drink: Detroit City Distillery, Oloman Café, Anthology Coffee, Batch Brewery, Sugar House
Driving time: 4 hours
“Food town” might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the name “Lancaster,” but after a weekend in the charming town, you might just be singing a different tune. Located across the state from Pittsburgh (80 miles west of Philadelphia), there is plenty to do and see on a trip to Lancaster. In 2017 Thrillist named Lancaster one of nine “surprisingly great u.s. food cities you have to visit,” and in 2016 The New York Post called it “The New Brooklyn” (pause for effect). When visiting Lancaster you really can have it all, from one-of-a-kind Amish baked goods, to acclaimed coffee and freshly brewed IPAs. We’ll see ya there!
Food: The Belvedere Inn, Maison, Luca, Horse Inn, The Pressroom
Drink: Passenger Coffee, Pour, Square One Coffee Roasters, Wacker Brewing Co
Finger Lakes, NY
Driving time: 5 hours
While Pittsburgh has no shortage of water (hello, three rivers!), we don’t have many spots to enjoy “lake life.” Instead of hanging out at the questionable Lake Erie, drive a little further to New York state’s “hidden in plain sight” Finger Lakes. This picturesque lake country is nationally recognized for its burgeoning wine industry. There is no shortage of spots to grab a drink, or a bite to eat. Throw in some state parks, waterfalls, independent boutiques, and the beautiful Corning Museum of Glass, and you’ve got yourself a perfect weekend getaway!
Food: FLX Wienery, Mac’s Drive-In, Stonecat, Spotted Duck Creamery, Geneva On The Lake
Drink: Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, Hermann J. Wiemer Winery, Red Newt Cellars Winery, Glenora, Two Goats, Two Goats Brewing, Climbing Bines Brewery, Finger Lakes Distilling
Ann Arbor, MI
Driving time: 4.5 hours
Considered by many to be one of America’s greatest college towns, Ann Arbor is an easy getaway from Pittsburgh. Tour the Michigan campus, being sure to stop by the beautiful Law Library, and then cruise over to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, which is open year round. Whether you’re relaxing in a cozy Bed & Breakfast, heading to the Division I sports game of choice, or strolling through the glass-roofed Nickels Arcade (dating back to 1917), there is something for everyone in this trendy town.
Food: Frita Batidos, Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Amadeus Restaurant, Aventura, Washtenaw Dairy, Slurping Turtle
Drink: Comet Coffee, The Last Word, Good Time Charley’s, Homes Brewery, The Bar at 327 Braun Court
Driving time: 3 hours
As one of the easiest road trips (get on I-70 W and don’t stop), Columbus could practically be a day trip from Pittsburgh. However, you’re going to want more than a few hours in this fun city. Hang out in charming neighborhoods like The Short North and German Village, and then soak up local art at the Wild Goose Creative gallery. After filling up on the local cuisine (see below), finish the day by watching the sun set from Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
Food: Jenis Splendid Ice Cream, Paulie Gee’s Pizza, Northstar Cafe, Momo Ghar, Veritas, Cosecha Cocina
Drink: Seventh Son Brewing Co., Mission Coffee Co, Curio
Driving time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
When you’re yearning for a harbor town experience, look no further than Baltimore, which is 4 hours southeast of Pittsburgh. Looking for delicious food? Try Woodberry Kitchen. In the mood for culture? Head to Edgar Allen Poe House. After enjoying a drink at one of the Charm City’s numerous waterfront restaurants and bars, you’ll definitely feel like you’re not in Pittsburgh anymore.
Food: The Charmery, Dylan’s Oyster Cellar, On the Hill, Colette, R. House
Drink: Union Craft Brewing, The Bun Shop, Taps Fill Station
Driving time: 5 hours
You may go to Philadelphia for the history, but you’ll stay for the food. Not only can you find almost any kind of cuisine, but the bar scene in Philadelphia is second to none. It’s a bit of a hike (5 hours is an ambitious timeline, but do-able), but worth it for the neighborhood exploring that you’ll find there.
Food: Weckerly’s Ice Cream, Reading Terminal Market, Zahav, Hungry Pigeon, Bing Bing Dim Sum, Sate Kampar, Stargazy, Helm
Drink: Bok Bar, Charlie Was A Sinner, Yards Brewing Company, Hop Sing Laundromat, American Sardine Bar, Monk’s Cafe, McGillin’s Olde Ale House,
Driving time: 4.5 hours
Our nation’s capital is a short and easy drive from Pittsburgh. Once you’ve gotten your fill of monuments and museum, it’s time to grub in one of America’s top food cities. The list of “must-visit” restaurants and bars in D.C. is endless, so don’t expect to hit them all in one trip. First timers will be drawn to the famous “Georgetown Cupcakes,” but locals know that “Baked & Wired” is the spot to go for gigantic cupcakes. Avid foodies will find that their first food pilgrimage to D.C. will most likely not be their last.
Food: Tiger Fork, Chaia, Minibar, The Dabney, Provision No. 14
Drink: Service Bar, Compass Coffee, Left Door, 3 Stars Brewing Company
Driving time: 2.5 hours
No list of “food road trips” from Pittsburgh would be complete without mentioning Cleveland. While tensions with our Ohio neighbor can be high, don’t judge this city’s food scene by its football team. Similar to Pittsburgh, the number of restaurants in Cleveland is growing faster than the city can keep up. The warm summer months are the perfect time to hit the road and explore the CLE.
Food: Jack Flaps, West Side Market, Happy Dog
Drink: Urban Farmer, The Spotted Owl
Did we forget your favorite food town within driving distance of Pittsburgh? Don’t fret – leave it in the comments below!