Whether you are vegan or not, you have probably noticed more vegan-friendly restaurants and grocery store options popping up in your neighborhood. This is no accident, since many cities across the U.S are adopting the lifestyle. For those that are vegan or are considering making the switch, we have put together a list to point out the best vegan-friendly cities in America. We used various studies and statistics to help put together our list.
Before we get started, I’d like to mention that this article was orginally written by Lane in 2008, and we’ve only come around to updating it now, in 2019.
Playing on the internet earlier today I Stumbled Upon, quite literally, Peta’s Best Veg-Friendly City Award at GoVeg.com. Unfortunately, they don’t date their articles, so I don’t know when this list was compiled. I looked at Peta’s site (GoVeg is a Peta website), but I couldn’t find the list there even though I drilled-down quite a bit, so I’m not sure this list is current. But it is interesting nonetheless.
Portland tops the list, strip clubs and all. (Nothing against Portland here… I just find the idea of a vegan strip club utterly amusing. And please note, I held back on the pun here in the interest of social correctness, even though Jane said it was funny and okay for me to use.)
Here’s the list, be sure to go to GoVeg’s site (link above) for further details on the cities:
America’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Large Cities
- Portland, Oregon
- Seattle, Washington
- San Francisco, California
- New York, New York
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Washington, D.C.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Austin, Texas
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Chicago, Illinois
America’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Small Cities
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Eugene, Oregon
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Santa Monica, California
- Santa Cruz, California
- Boulder, Colorado
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Athens, Georgia
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
Canada’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Cities
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Toronto, Ontario
- Montréal, Québec
- Calgary, Alberta
- Ottawa, Ontario
Jane and I live in Los Angeles… sometimes referred to by non-Angelenos (you know, the jealous folks who don’t live here) as “the land of fruits and nuts.” And yet, Los Angeles didn’t make this list (note: Santa Monica is part of Los Angeles county so you could argue we are indeed on the list). That validates my feeling that things here aren’t as they’ve been stereotyped, even though The New York Times doesn’t seem to agree:
California has long led the country in the creation and fortification of urban food ways. The state was on the forefront of restaurants devoted to raw food and was the birthplace of the organic produce movement. In Los Angeles, vegan restaurants are nearly as prevalent as hamburger joints.
We’ve got a number of vegan restaurants in L.A., but let me state, emphatically, that they are nowhere near as prevalent as hamburger joints!
Undoubtedly though, there are still some cities in America that are a little behind on the times, if you will. Living in a city that hasn’t fully adapted to the vegan lifestyle can make it more difficult to maintain a plant-based diet. You aren’t without options though, but I’ll get into that a little later.
According to Health IQ, google searches related to vegan food and the vegan lifestyle have continuously increased since 2005.
Nationwide, the restaurant industry took advantage of these findings. The Vegetarian Resource Group stated that when the group formed in 1993, there were only 55 vegan restaurants. Now, there are over 970 completely vegan restaurants. Not including the thousands of restaurants where you can find vegetarian/vegan options. Even more interesting, the rise in veganism has given birth to industries such as vegan meal kits that we’ve reviewed.
This group also conducted a poll that studied the estimated 254 million adults in the U.S. and about 50.8 million of them claim to eat vegan at least some of the time. While ten million adults follow a vegan diet all the time.
Within the last decade, the traditional diet of meat and potatoes has seemingly been ditched in America. People are wanting healthier food, which naturally pushes them towards becoming a vegetarian or vegan.
The more people that adopt a vega diet, the more vegan-friendly activities we are seeing popping-up in different cities as well.
- Community gardens
- All vegan grocery stores
- Vegetarian and vegan festivals
- Juice and smoothie bars
- Farmers markets
These are some of the things WalletHub included in their recent survey to find the overall top 100 best vegan cities in America. They also included things like:
Listed below are the top 10 American cities overall. I have also included some top-rated vegan-friendly places and events in each city.
#1 Portland, Oregon
It comes as no surprise that Portland is high on the top 100 list, but it actually ranked first overall. Portland is a rather large city, with a lot of life. Because of this, you would think that prices for anything are outrageous. However, when it comes to vegan food they are ranked in the top 25 for affordability.
Portland is home to about 50 restaurants that are exclusively vegan or vegetarian with vegan options. Offering all kinds of variety from vegan cheese and deli shops, to woodfired pizza and Mediterranean cuisine.
This is a 100% plant-based and gluten-free cafe . They offer many things that are soy-free, raw and sugar-free as well. They also source most of their ingredients that seasonal, organic, and locally grown.
Their menu consists of more than bakery items, such as a full brunch and lunch menu. They also offer several smoothies, tea, and coffee, as well as mimosas, bloody marys, wine, and kombucha. Back to Eden Bakery is a a well-rounded restaurant as well as a bakery.
If you are looking for a fine lunch accompanied by live music, this is a great place to stop in. Fermenter offers a three-course lunch experience complete with home-made fermented drinks. If you would like to dine here for dinner, you are directed toward a site where you can order your “ticket”. Your ticket gets you a reservation with multiple courses, snacks, and surprises!
All produce on the menu is sourced locally from the farms, fields, and forests of Cascadia. Because of this, their options are constantly changing. This is truly a restaurant committed to living off the land.
They also hand out refundable deposits for every to-go container a customer brings in.
Needing a new dinner spot? Sweet Hereafter is open late and stocked with vegan eats and cocktails. Their happy hour runs from 4 pm-7 pm and isn’t just for the drinks. Come in during this time and enjoy cheaper food as well.
They even have their very own Hereafter beer, served in a mason jar.
Portland also offers fun vegan festivals during most parts of the year. The second annual VegOut! Was hosted this year. There are also some upcoming events including:
#2 Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles comes in at number 2 with similar rankings to Portland. It is actually in the top 20 for vegan affordability. With over 60 restaurants dedicated to vegan and vegetarian food.
According to Health IQ, California is ranked high for the most vegan-friendly restaurants per capita, and Los Angeles is definitely helping with that ranking.
From all of Los Angeles’ many vegan food options, here are some of the well-known spots:
This is a restaurant for high-end vegan cuisine, located at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel. Folia is a company dedicated to the finer things in life, with extraordinary cuisine and hospitality, this restaurant stands out from the crowd.
Their menu changes with the seasons and is nothing short of bright and colorful.
Welcome a unique dining experience into your life with this café. They showcase jackfruit by creating a menu demonstrating different ways from around the world, to incorporate the fruit into your diet.
Their menu includes all kinds of variety as well as some traditional favorites, like open face avocado toast. They even have smoothies and juices made with jackfruit.
If you are looking for a vegan-friendly Thai restaurant in Los Angeles, look no further. They offer anything from burgers, tacos, soups, and salads to pancakes and vegan sausage.
They even have an order online option for your convenience. If you are pressed for time, need not worry, they are open from 11 am-10 pm. And yes, you can order pancakes any time of day or night.
This is a restaurant that serves comfort food you love but without the meat. This is not something you run into every day.
Their menu offers six different ways to order your side of French fries. All burgers, sandwiches and fried chicken comes with a side of fries. They also serve beer and wine.
Starting October 19th is the SoCal Veg Fest for 2019. This is a great way for everyone to get out and try some tasty vegan dishes. There is also Baba’s Famous Vegan Sunday Pop Up every Sunday until the end of the year, hosted by Baba’s Vegan Café.
#3 Orlando, Florida
Orlando may or may not come to mind when you think of vegan-friendly cities, but it managed to come in third in the overall top 100 cities. This city has less than 20 vegan restaurants, but relative to its population, this is enough to keep it in the accessibility and diversity rankings. Coming in at number 6.
Here are a few restaurants to stop into the next time you are in Orlando:
Located at the market on South Street, Dixie Dharma BBQ is known for its immaculate resemblance to pulled pork. Whether you are vegan or not, you will have trouble not liking this food. They also have a vegan hot dog cart.
Their menu includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are three locations, each with their unique dishes and daily specials. However, they also have staples that are offered at all three locations.
Coffee, anyone? This coffee bar always offers fair trade or rainforest alliance certified blends. Each with your choice of a selection nut milks. They also offer stand-up comedy nights on Friday and Saturday, and always free.
They also offer breakfast and lunch food options, including their gourmet home-made soups. Open as early at 7 am and closing as late at 11 pm. This is not just a place to get coffee.
An international vegan restaurant chain. Offering gourmet vegan food. Each location has their specialties, but they all have some staple items. They close for lunch and are closed all day on Tuesday, but the hours can change depending on location.
Central Florida Veg Fest is on October 26th this year. One of the few vegan fests before the end of the year. They also host the Orland Vegan Market and round 3 is on October 30th. Orlando is a great place to be if you are a vegan.
#4 Seattle, Washington
Seattle has the potential to be ranked even higher on the overall top 100 list, but their affordability ranking hurts their score. Seattle is home of 44 vegan restaurants of all varieties. There is a lot to do in this city whether you are vegan or not. Usually, everywhere you go will have a vegan food option.
This wonderful vegan burger joint is a great place to go, and it’s also new to the city! They serve more than burgers too. Anything from pulled pork and brats, to milkshakes. They make all their meat substitutes from soy and they are made in house. They even serve bacon!
This is a fun place to walk into. The atmosphere is one that gets you to stay longer than your food. Their slogan is, “vegan foods for nonvegans”. You won’t believe it until you try it! Their menu isn’t on their website, but you can find it here.
In the mood for donuts? This is a donut shop that makes vegan donuts completely from scratch, and that have zero trans-fat! The healthy alternative to an American favorite breakfast. They are open daily for breakfast and lunch, and Wednesday through Sunday they’re open for dinner as well.
Their order online option makes store pick up a breeze. You can even snag a personal coffee or coffee box that holds 96oz of coffee.
Are you familiar with the Crunchwrap at Taco Bell? Well, Wayward has its very own vegan version! A family-owned restaurant, named Seattle’s favorite. Their menu is packed full of options, and they are all vegan.
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all day long. They even have more options on their “sides” menu, than most people offer on their whole menu. The laid-back atmosphere is one that makes you want to stick around for seconds.
The fun doesn’t stop there though. When it comes to events around the city, Seattle has more than a few. They have a market set up every weekend in the heart of the city called, Pike Place Market. They do have some vegan options, but the entire market isn’t vegan. They are, however, celebrating World Vegan Day on November 1st.
The city also features a vegan website showcasing all upcoming vegan activities.
#5 Austin, Texas
Austin is a big place, and relative to their size, they offer a lot for vegans. Their restaurants per capita is a little lower though, with about 25 vegan restaurants in the city. This is still high enough to contribute to their overall high ranking in the top 100.
Despite the city gaining more popularity each year, their prices are ranked 11 on the vegan affordability scale. This is extremely beneficial to the community. It also gets more vegans to move there every year, which brings the demand for more vegan restaurants and general lifestyle.
Speaking of restaurants:
If you are in the mood for a vegan pastry, this is your place. All goods are baked fresh daily, cholesterol-free and the ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible. They also make it their mission to recycle, compost and use eco-friendly packaging. They are more than just vegan, they are supporters of the livelihood of the planet.
They are open every day from 9 am-7 pm too, so you don’t have to worry about funky hours. One of their greatest features on the menu is their incredible cakes. Priced as low as $25 for a 4” two-layer cake, and yes, they are also vegan.
Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s an American classic! Not only is this pizzeria vegan, but they also offer several gluten-free pizzas as well. their menu features a beeteroni ‘n cheese pizza. That’s right, beets in the shape of pepperoni.
All of their pizzas are priced just like any other pizza place. Li’L Nonna’s stands out though because their gluten-free crust doesn’t cost any extra. This is something you don’t ever see. They even offer dairy-free ranch for dipping!
A food truck that embodies the flavors of Texan BBQ without the meat. They claim to be able to bring out flavor no other vegan place has been able to replicate. A locally owned and operated small business. Therefore, they ask that you check their social media to stay up to date on hours and menu items. They do tend to sell out of things before the end of the day.
Their menu is short, sweet and to the point. Just what you want in a food truck. It does include BBQ baked beans that are gluten-free as well, which is a nice feature available for vegans.
Austin is also home to Rabbit Food Grocery. A grocery store that only sells vegan items. Their website also includes a vegan starter kit you can get shipped directly to your door. The city will also host its 8th Veg Fest on April 4th this coming year.
#6 Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta comes in at number six overall with about 20 vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. They are mainly known for all they offer in regards to the vegan lifestyle, coming in at number 5 overall in this category. They also rank in the top 15 for diversity and accessibility.
Atlanta is definitely on the up and up for vegan lifestyle. Their prices though are not the most affordable. This is a city that more fast-paced than some of the other cities on this list. There are a lot of people in Atlanta, and because of this, prices tend to be raised overall. Not just in the vegan market.
A few of their 20 fine vegan restaurants include:
Gourmet cinnamon rolls with over 20 unique frosting flavors and a variety of incredible toppings are just a few things that make this restaurant so great. They also serve edible, vegan cookie dough. Not to mention, they serve what’s known as a frosting shot!
Their cinnamon rolls are more than just your average cinnamon rolls. Some of them even come with the vegan cookie dough on top. Their build-your-own option is one that makes their cinnamon rolls next level. If you need a cake, look no further. They also offer cinnacakes. That’s right, a cinnamon roll in the shape of a cake.
Order online today!
If you want fresh, 100% organic juices and smoothies, Juiceheads is a great place to visit. This juice joint isn’t completely vegan, but they do have a lot of vegan options. It is not hard to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
They do have a few more options other than juices, including their vegan chili. Their menu offers all colors of the rainbow, as well as plant-based protein. A must-try is their blueberry sriracha on their juice burger.
Something you can find in the heart of Atlanta is a healthy, vegan Caribbean cuisine restaurant. Healthful Essence offers vegan jerk unchicken, stewed unsalmon, BBQ tofu, and even sweet and sour unduck.
The spiritual environment combined with reggae music asks you to stay a bit longer and chill as you let your food digest. They have more than 43 years of culinary experience. Bringing you the finest Caribbean vegan and raw food in Atlanta. You can also see from their catering options on their menu.
The city has a few vegan events coming up before the end of the year. The free festival, Vegan Fall Fest begins on October 19th. For just ten dollars you can also attend the Alkaline Vegan Tasting Experience on November 9th.
#7 New York, New York
It is no surprise to see New York City on this list. They have always been ahead of the times, even in their cuisine. The city is packed with vegan options with a whopping 87 vegan-friendly restaurants around the city.
Infamously though, New York prices have been known to be outrageous. Of course, it levels out if you live and work here. This is though, the reason New York isn’t up higher on the overall top 100. Otherwise, they have adopted the vegan lifestyle whole-heartedly.
Franchia is an offshoot of its nearby Korean friend, Hangawi. The created a mountain-temple style traditional tearoom the atmosphere of this restaurant is truly unique, with waxed floors, low tea tables, and intricately carved wooden sliding doors.
Their menu perfectly embodies traditional Korean food as well.
Honeybee’s brings the south to New York and does so completely vegan. A barbeque restaurant and whiskey bar that serves classic American dishes like pulled pork, chicken and waffles, and hot wings.
Their menu takes you directly to an Uber Eats page, where you can order this delicious vegan food straight to your door.
Conveniently located in the Theatre District in Midtown West. P.S Kitchen stands for more than just vegan food. They donate 100% of their profit to various sustainable charities. They hope to break the cycle of poverty by connecting resources to vulnerable communities, providing the tools necessary for self-sustainability.
If you are looking for things to do in New York City as a vegan, you will not have trouble at all. A couple of upcoming events are:
#8 San Francisco, California
San Francisco comes in at number eight on the list. This city has a lot to offer vegans. The reason it isn’t higher on the top 100 is because of the prices. San Francisco ranked last for affordability out of all 100 cities.
They have 31 vegan restaurants throughout the city if you make it out on the town. Some of the better places include:
A tasty take on vegan Vietnamese food, Golden Era has an extensive menu. It’s also a cool place just to stop in a get something quick too. The atmosphere makes you feel as though you are sitting outside in nature.
They have been in downtown San Francisco since 1999. They serve healthy, wholesome, high-quality foods that are natural and 100% plant-based. They also have absolutely no MSG.
They pride themselves on serving organic vegan Mexican food. They also source their produce seasonally and locally. Most of which are actually from their own organic and biodynamic farm. Because of this, the menu is changing all the time. offering diversity to its customers every few weeks. Their tortillas are handmade from non-GMO organic heirloom corn.
Three friends opened this café because they wanted healthier options in San Francisco. Their menu is entirely plant-based, organic and made with ingredients obtained fresh from local farms and purveyors. All sweeteners are natural, such as maple syrup and coconut, as well as hemp seed oils. This café offers soups, salads, toast, and gluten-free bread, as well as smoothies.
This is a city that adapts to trends quickly. There is always something to do whether you are vegan or not. When it comes to vegan events, a few that are coming up in San Francisco are:
#9 San Diego, California
Another strong city in California has made it in the top ten for the overall top 100 vegan-friendly cities. San Diego is a little more affordable than San Francisco, landing itself at number 41 for affordability. This is something that helped them rank higher on the top 100 list actually because they do not have a lot of vegan restaurants. Coming in with 26 vegan-friendly restaurants.
Some of these restaurants are:
This juicer is certified vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and organic. They take pride in healthy living. They offer many varieties of fresh juice, smoothies, and food as well. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday, but if you want to go for an early dinner through the week, they’ll be open.
Their menu showcases all the different add-ons you can purchase in your juice or smoothie. Making an already healthy drink, that much more nutritious.
This restaurant concept was created to bring to life the creativity in plant-based cuisine. Teaching the customers that a healthy vegan diet doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. They have an all-day menu as well as a brunch menu. However, brunch is only served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is served though, from 11 am-3 pm on those days.
This restaurant served traditional fast food options, but with a vegan twist. They show their commitment to sustainability and community by working with local farmers and businesses. They use biodegradable packaging, recycle their cooking oil into biofuel, and make food deliveries by bicycle. Truly looking out for the planet as well as our health.
Some upcoming vegan events in this city include:
#10 Tampa, Florida
Tampa makes it at number ten on the top 100 vegan-friendly cities in America. The diversity and accessibility score ranked them in the top ten for that category, but their prices landed them a little further down in the top 100, which granted them a cozy tenth spot.
This city is home to 14 vegan-friendly restaurants. These restaurants are working hard to bring the vegan lifestyle into the city. Showing the residents and visitors of Tampa that they deserve to be in the top ten for best vegan cities in America.
A few of these restaurants include:
This small bakery is located within the Duckweed Urban Grocery Store. And they aren’t just vegan, they also have some gluten-free options as well. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Marking them a one-stop-shop to curb your appetite while you search for groceries.
This coffeehouse in downtown Tampa is more than just that. they are open every day until 4 pm serving coffee, smoothies, and vegan food. It is also a convenient gift shop. Enjoy a hot or cold sandwich or vegan pizza, while you search around for crystal and gem gifts. New Leaf sets to create a relaxing atmosphere for the mind and body of its customers.
They offer things like reiki and meditation supplies, as well as essential oil burners and soy candles. Their food menu is rather extensive, with many breakfast and lunch options. Their drink menu is seemingly just as long with many different coffees, teas, and smoothies.
This is a fun market and restaurant in one. Located in downtown Tampa, they sell all things vegan. Whether you are looking for a few grocery items or a quick bite to eat, the Vegan International Co. is a place to check out.
Their food options include vegan comfort foods like drumsticks and vegan meatballs. They also serve soups and smoothies.
What Cities Have the Most Vegan Restaurants per Capita?
When it comes to America’s overall best vegan cities, the top ten are listed above. However, when it comes to the cities that have the most vegan restaurants per capita, the top ten can look a bit different.
- New York, New York
- Los Angeles, California
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Houston, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Washington, D.C.
- Chicago, Illinois
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Miami, Florida
What Are Some Up and Coming Cities?
There are a few noteworthy cities out there that didn’t make it on the top 100 list though. These cities deserve their own shout out! They have been putting in the work to actively prioritize the vegan culture within their communities, and, surprisingly, they weren’t mentioned in the first place.
Here are the top five up and coming vegan-friendly cities in America:
- Eugene, OR
- Boulder, CO
- Arcata, CA
- Bloomington, IN
- Tucson, AZ
These cities include things like organic co-ops, vegan festivals, and numerous different vegan restaurants. They are working hard to fully embody the vegan culture and welcome more vegan residents by inviting new restaurants and festivals all the time.
What to Do If You Live in a Non-Vegan Friendly City?
Just because your city ranks low or doesn’t appear at all on a ranked list, doesn’t mean veganism isn’t for you. the number of vegan-friendly restaurants your city has isn’t the deciding factor. If you feel called toward a vegan lifestyle, follow that calling. Veganism starts with you. step into your kitchen, and teach yourself new ways to love food.
You may not live in the most affordable area for vegan options at the grocery store either, and that’s okay. Even if you live in a place like San Francisco, where the affordability ranks the lowest for 2019. Stocking up on produce will always be worth more than processed foods and trips through a drive-thru.
Convenience often tricks us to spend more money on things we don’t need or want, and this includes food.
The name vegan leather may be at least a little bit confusing to most people. Wherever the term vegan leather appears, it seems to spark a wide debate on the topic. People ask questions about vegan leather ranging from “what is it made out of?”, “is it sustainable?” and “can you tell real leather from vegan leather?”.
Whether you are vegan or not, you have probably noticed more and more vegan-friendly restaurants and grocery store options. This is no accident. Many cities across the U.S are adopting the lifestyle. For those that are vegan or are considering making the switch, I have put together a couple lists to point out the best vegan-friendly cities in America. A list put together with the help of a few different studies.