America’s 9 Most Vegan-Friendly Cities

“The Voice” judges and celebrity couple Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton embrace it. So do former President Bill Clinton, actress Natalie Portman, pop superstar Madonna and tennis legend Venus Williams.

All of these high-profile people count themselves among the millions of American devotees of veganism. In the U.S., 3% of adults follow entirely plant-based diets, according to  2018 Gallup poll. The same survey found that 5% of American adults are vegetarians.

2019 survey commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group showed that 20% of U.S. adults always or sometimes eat vegan meals when they’re dining out, while 4% of American adults stick to veggie-only diets all the time (including 2 percent who identify as vegans).

While the ranks of vegans in the U.S. remain relatively slim, plant-based diets appear to be gaining ground. The National Restaurant Association categorized vegan-centric cuisine as a top U.S. dining trend, while restaurant and hospitality consulting firm af&co highlighted the rise of plant-based “meat” and vegan seafood.

So, where do America’s vegans find their meatless nirvana?

To cultivate the definitive list of most vegan-friendly cities in the U.S., we did a mash-up (not unlike potatoes or peas) of five rankings of the country’s top cities for vegans, giving equal weight to each ranking. We then calculated the cities’ overall scores.

Rankings We Used

Here are the sources of the five rankings we relied on:

Each of those rankings examined different sets of data. For instance, Apartment Guide looked at the per-capita count of vegan food, vegetarian bistros and organic dining options in U.S. cities. Meanwhile, WalletHub considered 17 key indicators of vegan and vegetarian friendliness in U.S. cities, including vegan restaurants, the cost of a meat-free groceries and the per-capita share of salad eateries.

Most-Vegan Cities in the U.S.

In the end, the country’s two largest cities — Los Angeles and New York City — harvested the top spot on our list. Each city earned a best-vegan overall score of 33 out of 50.

Karin Adoni Ben-David, a certified nutritionist and health coach in Southern California, says L.A. and New York City have long been ahead of the national curve when it comes to vegan cities.

“When I help and guide my vegan and vegetarian clients on what will be the best and healthiest choices when dining out, L.A. and New York City always offer the most variety,” she says. “Both cities have many vegan-only restaurants; however, the trend now is that many mainstream restaurants are offering vegan dishes on their menus. Staying updated with the health trends and, of course, the humanitarian side of it is what L.A. and New York City restauranteurs do.”

Sit back and snack on a carrot as you review our rundown of the top nine U.S. cities for vegans.

1 (tie). Los Angeles

Overall score: 33 out of 50

Notable: A vegan-friendly, cannabis-themed restaurant backed by singer Miley Cyrus and other investors is now open in L.A.

1 (tie). New York City

Overall score: 33 out of 50

Notable: New York City showed up at No. 9 on a 2019 list of the world’s best cities for vegan dining.

3. San Francisco

Overall score: 20 out of 50

Notable: A San Francisco Chronicle writer crowned S+M Vegan’s shaobing sandwich as the best sandwich in the San Francisco Bay Area.

4. (tie). Orlando, Fla.

Overall score: 19 out of 50

Notable: Orlando appeared at No. 7 on a 2019 list of the world’s best cities for vegan dining.

4 (tie). Portland, Ore.

Overall score: 19 out of 50

Notable: PETA named Tim Medearis, a special education teacher in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Wash., as one of its two Sexiest Vegans Over 50 for 2019.

6. Austin, Texas

Overall score: 17 out of 50

Notable: In this rising foodie city, Tex-Mex and barbecue get the headlines, but 20 of the 36 food vendors at the 2019 Austin City Limits Music Festival served vegan options.

7. Seattle

Overall score: 14 out of 50

Notable: VegNews declares Seattle’s vegan scene is “leading the vegan revolution.”

8. Detroit

Overall score: 13 out of 50

Notable: Detroit’s new Smith & Co. food hall offers vegan and vegetarian menus.

9. Minneapolis

Overall score: 12 out of 50

Notable: Minneapolis-based Green Creamery has concocted Sünabloom, a plant-based yogurt made from sunflower seeds.

Image credit: “Vegan written on blackboard,” Forth with Life, CC 2.0



John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.