Supermarkets are the new "it" destinations for TikTok travelers

Grocery store tourism is having a moment

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
asian grocery store
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Vauvau

The next stop on your travel itinerary may be the snacks section on Aisle 8. Supermarkets are becoming full-on destinations for tourists, and for good reason. Not only are they free to visit and typically air conditioned, grocery stores offer a glimpse into local culture, the way people live in any certain area, and allow visitors to stock up on regional fare at a low price.

And TikTokers are catching on to the appeal of supermarket tourism. TikTokers are posting videos exploring various grocery stores, showcasing unique finds, souvenir-worthy items, great deals and other specials to bring out for a picnic or an Airbnb meal. 

A recent Thrillist piece explores the fad highlighting local grocery stores as a shopping and observational venue in any given destination. 

Open-air and historic markets like the Boquerìa in Barcelona, The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, and Mercado de la Merced in Mexico City are long-sought-after destinations, full of tourists and tour guides offering curated visits to these culinary destinations.

But even stateside, supermarkets can be a peek into regional culture. Visitors to Los Angeles flock to Erewhon for celebrity-favorite smoothies, billionaire-bracket-priced produce, and all types of specialty healthy food. Tourists in Texas can visit HEB, which offers fresh tortillas and plenty of Texas-sized packages of beef. The legendary Northeastern chain Wegmans is certainly a destination for those who covet their sushi counter or hoagie shop, and in The Hamptons, Citarella is the legendary Ina Garten's grocery shop of choice. 

Individual and enormous specialty stores like Cincinnati's Jungle Jim's International Market, New Jersey's Mitsuwa Marketplace (there's even a bus from New York City), and Atlanta's Your DeKalb Farmer's Market are destination-worthy. 

And we can't forget local Costcos—from Honolulu to Mobile, Alabama, Costco Warehouses offer different wares and local specialties, and members and enthusiasts of the brand may enjoy browsing the variety. 

You may not plan an entire vacation around a grocery store, but maybe you should. And even if you don't, be sure to check out a nearby Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Kroger or Mariano's next time you see a supermarket a bit different from what you have at home. 

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