In many ways, international districts — the Chinatowns, Little Italys, and the like — are what make cities cities. They give cities character, and allow visitors and locals alike to immerse themselves in another culture without ever leaving America. One of the best ways to experience another culture? Eating the food, obviously! These are the best restaurants in 15 international districts across America.
If you live in a major city and don’t spend time exploring the ethnic neighborhoods, you’re missing out. They’re teeming with life and vitality, and are the closest that you can get to traveling internationally without traveling internationally. Just spending an afternoon walking through a Chinatown can teach you more about Chinese culture than any textbook.
But if you really want to experience an international district, the smartest move is to eat your way through it. “Ethnic” food in non-ethnic neighborhoods tends to be watered down and altered to reflect the American palate; when the restaurant is catering to natives, however, the menu can be completely different from what you’re used to, and visiting these restaurants is a great way to expand your culinary horizons.
So read on to learn about 15 of America’s most thriving international districts of major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington, and Baltimore. The next time you visit one of these cities, forego the familiarity of downtown and visit an ethnic neighborhood for a good meal; if you step outside of your comfort zone, we bet that you’ll be rewarded.