10 Most Expensive Cities to Buy Groceries
Everyone has to do groceries, no matter where you live. While we know cost varies greatly from one store to another—a 2016 grocery analysis found that Aldi offers the most savings, out of five national grocery chains—the same can be said for the cost of groceries from one city to another.
But we don’t want you to forget why these amazing cities are so great, despite their grocery prices. So, we’re sharing which cities are most expensive for grocery shopping, while also remembering the cuisines make them unique and amazing in their own right.
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10. Los Angeles
Despite being the second-largest city in the United States after New York, Los Angeles is relatively low on the list of costliest places to eat. It came in at tenth place, with an estimated monthly grocery cost of $348.18 per person.
Los Angeles boasts a great diversity of ethnic food in its various neighborhoods—if you want to learn more about this, check out the documentary City of Gold. The home of Hollywood is well known for its authentic Mexican and Asian cuisine, along with classic “soul food.”
9. New Orleans
The next most expensive city after L.A. is the Big Easy, where a month’s worth of groceries costs about $355.51 per person. While the cost of groceries in New Orleans may be relatively high, it makes up for this in utility costs, which are relatively low.
New Orleans is famous for its Cajun cuisine. The food culture of New Orleans emerged from the blending of Creole and French influences in the region, leading to a distinctive taste of classic dishes like red beans and rice. Its position on the Gulf of Mexico lends itself well to dishes like jambalaya, made with fresh seafood.
Not too far from New Orleans is the next most expensive city on our list: Miami, Florida. With scenic views and legendary beach parties, Miami is a fun place to live. But to fuel your laid-back, beach bum lifestyle, you’ll need about $360.19 per month for groceries.
If you’re looking for local recipes in Miami, you may hear people refer to “Floribbean” food. This hybrid of “Floridian” and “Caribbean” accurately describes the tastes of Miami. Immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America brought their authentic dishes to the mainland, where they were combined with American influences to create a distinctly “Floribbean” taste.
Trading the Gulf for the Atlantic, we travel to the East Coast to find our next most expensive city to cook in. Boston is a great place to work and play, and a moderately expensive place to eat. A month’s worth of groceries costs about $361.93.
As the only New England city on our list, Boston is an iconic example of East Coast cuisine. Its clam chowder is famous for a reason; Boston boasts some of the freshest and tastiest seafood in the country. In addition to the chowder, fish and chips are a must-try dish.
The Windy City offers a wide variety of great eating options, but is most famous for its deep-dish pizza joints. When you’re not eating out, however, cooking your own food will cost you—a month’s worth of groceries in Chicago costs roughly $372.04.
Chicago’s most popular diners and dives reflect the tastes of the working class, who built the city from the ground up. Pizza and hot dogs are two staples, each boasting their own “Chicago style,” and are rarely emulated properly anywhere else.
With a monthly grocery cost almost identical to Chicago’s, the cost of living in Philadelphia is not much different. Expect to pay about $372.22 per person per month in the City of Brotherly Love.
It’s hard to think about Philadelphia food without picturing the Philly cheesesteak. This iconic sandwich was born in the 1930s, at the hot dog stand of the Olivieri brothers. When they decided to slap some sliced beef and melted cheese onto a hot dog bun, they likely had no idea that the sandwich would become a classic.
We’re headed back to the West Coast as we approach the most expensive places to eat in the United States. Good seafood and other fresh staples don’t come cheap; residents of Seattle pay about $377.78 each month on groceries.
Seattle is known for many things: rain, mountains, and… flying fish? The Pike Place Fish Market is world famous for its quirky fish-handling technique, with grocers tossing fish back and forth.
3. Washington, D.C.
The great seat of the United States is not only a city of great historic importance, but a blossoming community of food culture. Buying groceries in Washington, D.C. isn’t exactly cheap, with a month’s worth of groceries setting you back about $393.77.
One of the best parts of Washington, D.C. is the abundance of food trucks and the growing food truck culture. These restaurants on wheels can be seen all over the city, serving everything from lobster to milk and cookies.
Coming in second place on our list of most expensive places to buy groceries is the larger of the “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis. This Midwestern oasis is a city on the rise, with prices to match. A month of groceries averages about $414.60.
Interestingly, Minneapolis is known for its love of traditional Nordic cuisine, often with a modern American twist. This flavor palate includes such rich and earthy ingredients as root vegetables, wild greens, venison, and dried mushrooms.
1. New York
The reigning champion of expensive groceries will likely come as no surprise. Being the city with the highest population in the United States, New York has a cost of living to match. Coming out well ahead of any other city on the list, the cost of groceries in The Big Apple is about $440.37.
New York makes up for its high grocery costs with amazing cuisine that varies depending on where you are. Ever since its early days as the original “melting pot,” when ethnicities were immigrating to Ellis Island, the city has boasted delicious and authentic food from just about every culture you can imagine. Different neighborhoods are known for their certain flavors, and New Yorkers can virtually “eat around the world” just by traveling around the city.