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Two things I love most are eating and saving money. And thanks to miles & points, I can do both at the same time!
I’ll show you how to stay for free at hotels in 7 US cities known for great street food, 5-star restaurants, and world-famous food festivals! So you’ll have more money to spend on your taste buds!
I’ve been researching Hilton hotels, because for a limited time, the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express comes with 100,000 Hilton points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s the highest bonus ever!
I’ll give food enthusiasts ideas for how to use Hilton points to accomplish their delicious goals!
Best US Restaurant Cities 2017
Until May 31, 2017, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express have increased sign-up bonuses. And I’ve never seen a higher bonus on these cards!
The AMEX Hilton Honors card now comes with 80,000 Hilton points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Previously, the highest bonus was 75,000 Hilton points with a minimum spending requirement that was $1,000 lower.
And the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card comes with 100,000 Hilton points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Plus, you’ll now get a free weekend night certificate after the first anniversary date of card approval! The certificate is good at just about any Hilton hotel (with a few exceptions).
Here are some ideas for foodies looking to use their points in the US!
1. Hilton New Orleans Riverside
Hilton New Orleans Riverside is very close to the New Orleans’ rich French Quarter district. There are tons of amazing restaurants in the French Quarter. And because you’re near Cajun country, you’ll have the chance to try some out-of-the-ordinary dishes, like turtle soup or alligator sausage!
I found award nights at this hotel for 32,000 Hilton points.
Some of the oldest and most prestigious restaurants in the US are in New Orleans. Antoine’s Restaurant is the oldest family-run restaurant in the US, and is the original creator of the famous Oysters Rockefeller. It’s located in the heart of the French Quarter, just a 15 minute stroll from the Hilton new Orleans Riverside.
You’re also a 15 minute walk from the highest rated restaurant in New Orleans, GW Fins. Folks say that it has the freshest seafood in New Orleans. And some TripAdvisor commenters say it’s one of the best restaurants they’ve experienced in the US.
The restaurant is also vegetarian friendly! 🙂
2. New York City – Hampton Inn Manhattan Chelsea
New York City has something for every kind of foodie! And the Hampton Inn Manhattan Chelsea is situated in a pretty great spot to try some of the best New York City has to offer.
I found award nights at this hotel for 53,000 Hilton points.
One of my personal favorite vegetarian restaurants in New York City, Hangawi, is a 15 minute walk away from the hotel. And everyone should check out the fascinating and diverse Chelsea Market, with lots of yummy food choices.
You can even make an 8 minute walk to get to what Business Insider calls the best restaurant in the US, and one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, Eleven Madison Park. It serves between 8 and 11 courses for both lunch and dinner. But be prepared to pay a LOT (their 11-course meal costs $295 per person, excluding alcohol).
Another highly rated restaurant, less than a mile from the hotel, is Cookshop.
Folks on Yelp highly recommend the pork chop! But this restaurant is also vegetarian friendly, with dishes like Cider Braised Beet Salad, and a Roasted Spinach & Cheddar Scramble, which has caramelized onions, creme fraiche, and buttermilk biscuit.
But several folks on Yelp warn that the restaurant is usually packed. So reservations are a good idea, because “walk-ins” might be waiting a long time. If you do have a long wait, you can go to the Intelligentsia Coffee shop next door.
3. Austin – Hilton Austin
I love living in Austin, in part because of all the incredible food! If you want to surround yourself with culinary options, check out the Hilton Austin, right in the middle of the city.
Award nights here are consistently 60,000 Hilton points.
Austin is known for its street food, particularly its food trucks. They’re everywhere. And some serve some delicious food.
The top-rated truck in Austin is Boteco, a Brazilian-themed truck less than a mile from the Hilton. Vegan food truck Arlo’s is also very popular, just an 8 minute walk from the hotel. They make their burgers from lentils and millet.
And a 15 minute walk from the hotel is Franklin’s Barbecue, a crazy popular restaurant where folks will wait hours and HOURS in line for nationally acclaimed smoked beef brisket.
When Franklin’s Barbecue runs out of meat, they close. So folks arrive before sunrise with their lawn chairs to the front of the restaurant to get a decent spot in line for when the doors open at 11:00 am.
4. San Diego – Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown
Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown is surrounded by fantastic restaurants, as well as the beautiful San Diego Bay. So you can enjoy top-notch food along the waterfront.
I didn’t have much luck finding cheap award nights at this hotel! There are plenty of nights available for 47,000 Hilton points.
Just a 9 minute walk from the Embassy Suites is Carnita’s Snack Shack. Folks love it because they incorporate pork into just about every dish (the pork belly is especially popular!). And it’s right on the bay with lots of shaded outdoor seating!
Just a short walk from the hotel is Embarcadero Marina Park North, where you’ll find festivals for folks with extra cultured taste buds, like the Uncorked Wine Festival, or the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival.
You’ll learn about the newest and most delicious restaurants and foods in the streets of San Diego when you attend the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. San Diego has some of the most amazing food in the country!
5. Portland – Hilton Portland & Executive Tower
Portland is very walkable. And the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower is located downtown, near a lot of fun restaurants! I found award nights for 32,000 Hilton points per night.
Maurice, one of Portland’s hottest spots right now, is an 8 minute walk from the Hilton. It’s a unique “pastry luncheonette” cafe, with sweet and savory foods. You can find things like Bird Seed Coconut Tea Cake, Black Pepper Cheesecake, and Créme Brûlée Pops!
And make sure to check out the delicious Heart Pizza, just half a mile away from the hotel, where their specialty stove cooks your pizza in just 90 seconds!
The Hilton is also a short walk from the original Voodoo Doughnut, one of the most famous places in Portland! There is always a long line out the door at Voodoo Doughnut for their creative (and sometimes questionable) doughnut flavors.
6. San Francisco – Parc 55 San Francisco
Parc 55 San Francisco is a 4-star Union Square hotel, located near plenty of top-notch eateries. You’ll spend 40,000 Hilton points per night at this hotel.
A ~15 minute walk from the hotel is The Saratoga, a 2-level cocktail bar. Folks especially like the Dry-Aged New York Steak in cognac peppercorn sauce, and the “Toga Tots,” which are loaded with cheddar cheese, chorizo, and scallions.
August 1 Five is one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco at the moment, and it’s less than a mile from the hotel. It’s an Indian restaurant with colorful and traditional food, focusing on the dishes of northern and central India. Folks like the tandoori items on the lunch menu, and the specialty cocktails available all day.
And don’t forget, San Francisco is known for its sourdough bread! Take an Uber to Tartine Bakery, which makes what some folks consider the best sourdough in San Francisco! It’s just 2 miles from the hotel.
7. Chicago – Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel
Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, is a 4-star landmark hotel in the theater and financial district. It’s close to several attractions, like Millennium Park and the famous Cloud Gate. But more importantly, it’s close to great food!
I found rates at this hotel for just 29,000 Hilton points.
Less than a mile from the hotel is Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, headed by Michelin-star chef Rick Bayless. Topolobampo was rated the #3 best restaurant in Chicago, and the best Mexican fine dining in the country, by the Chicago Tribune.
Just an 8 minute walk from the hotel is Grant Park. Every summer, you can go to Grant Park for the “Taste of Chicago” food festival, a gigantic fair with lots of pop-up vendors and food trucks to try. Plus, there are lots of fun activities and live music!
Foodies can use Hilton points to stay at great hotels in excellent culinary spots around the US.
Book the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown within walking distance of the Embarcadero Marina Park North in San Diego, where you can catch seasonal food festivals like the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival and the Uncorked Wine Festival. Or stay at the Hampton Inn Manhattan Chelsea, near Eleven Madison Park, rated the best restaurant in the US, and one of the top 10 restaurants in the world!
Which US destination would you recommend for an avid foodie?