49. Seattle, Washington
This year Seattle is not going to let Portland, its little sister three hours south, get all the foodie-destination credit. One culinary neighborhood to watch is Capitol Hill, and in 2016, it’ll be easier than ever for visitors to get there. The Seattle streetcar system is adding a line to connect the area, and Link, the light rail, is also building a line to take visitors right from the SeaTac airport to Capitol Hill. The most in-demand tables there include Lionhead, a Sichuan-inspired spot by Jerry Traunfeld (former chef at the Herbfarm), and Soi, a husband-and-wife team serving Thai food from the Isaan region. Don’t miss the new Capitol Hill Hot Cakes—though it sounds like a brunch destination, it’s actually a “molten chocolate cakery” nighttime spot that also has soft-serve you can top with potato chips and roast-your-own marshmallows for s’mores. Seattle’s exciting news expands past the city proper as well: 16 miles northeast is the McMenamins Anderson School, a 1931 Art Deco–style former junior high school in the town of Bothell that’s now a hotel. The classrooms and ball fields are gone, replaced with three restaurants, two bars, a brewery, movie theater, indoor pool, and outdoor fire pits—making it a school you actually want to spend the night in.