Top 8 backpacker cities to visit in the USA

Bobby Dyer

Trying to find the best backpacker cities to visit in the USA?

When you travel the world you want to stay at the best places. You want to hit the local spots, grab a bite to eat, and have a drink or two. We’ve chatted with the best hostels in the USA and have listed their suggestions on great places to check out!

New York 

Stay at the HI New York on the Upper West Side

Locals recommend eating at Flor de Mayo – a unique mixture of Spanish and Chinese cuisine. Check out Thai Market for some great Thai food. Drink at the Lion’s Head Tavern – good cheap fun. Have to check out some of NYC’s dive bars – check out Broadway Dive.


Stay at the HI Boston in the Theatre District

Locals recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Jacob Wirth – a cool German/American spot. Chinatown is very close, with lots of great options. Check out Dumpling Cafe. For a drink check out Beantown Pub – a good old fashioned Irish pub. Have a drink at Cheers – the actual bar used in the TV show – ‘where everybody knows your name’.


Stay at the unique and funky Freehand in the River North neighborhood downtown

Locals suggest a slice of Chicago pizza at Giordano’s, or a Chicago hot dog from Portillo’s. Check out their bar – The Broken Shaker. Head out to Wicker Park and grab a drink at Big Star while exploring some of the suburbs.


Stay at Beds And Drinks which is only 2 blocks from the beach in the heart of South Beach

Locals will tell you to check out Pizza Rustica for great pizza. Try the Five Guys that is close by for a delicious burger. You’re spoilt for choice in Miami – but these guys suggest hitting up Nikki Beach for your South Beach club experience.

New Orleans 

Stay at The Quisby for some southern hospitality, and a great location!

Locals will tell you to eat at Parkway Bakery – it’s been a great neighborhood hangout since the early 1900s with amazing food
Grab a drink at The Holy Ground Irish Pub which is right near the hostel and sure to inspire fun times

San Francisco 

Stay at ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel in Chinatown.

Hole-in-the-wall eateries are huge in SF. For Pizza check out Golden Boy Pizza. For burgers, check out a spot that Anthony Bourdain showcased – Sam’s, it’s a local institution. For a drink, or 2, or 3 – check out Kozy Kar, locals will tell you it can get a little crazy, but fun for a beer garden (and SF doesn’t actually have many) check out Zeitgeist – they’ve got a great beer selection


Stay at Fire House Hostel in the heart of Austin!

Check out Veracruz All Natural for some great tacos from a food truck. In Texas, you have to BBQ, so check out La Barbecue and eat too much. Check out the local bars that are recommended like Stay Gold Drinks Lounge is also another popular local spot to grab a drink.

San Diego

Stay with us at ITH Hostels in Little Italy, Pacific Beach, or Balboa Park!

Grab some tacos from South Beach Bar and Grille in Ocean Beach. Queenstown Public House is a great spot to grab delicious food in Little Italy. Get down and dirty at Waterfront, San Diego’s oldest tavern and an institution. Check out the dueling pianos at Shout! House and be amazed.

Please let us know if you have any other destinations to recommend for the best backpacker cities to visit in the USA!

Cheers guys, safe travels!

Cofounder of ITH Hostels. I love traveling, hosting, gardening, golfing, fishing, and sailing.