Special Report

Best American Cities for Vegans and Vegetarians

“Vegetarianism” and “veganism” may be buzzwords in the culinary world, but are Americans really giving up their love of meat? In percentage terms, not many Americans have cut meat completely out of their diets. Yet they seem to be in favor of eating less meat.

In a 2020 poll by Gallup, 23% of Americans said they ate less meat compared to the year before. A scant 5% reported eating more meat. So that leaves a significant majority — 72% — saying that they’re chowing down on about as much meat as they always have. 

Indeed, in a 2018 Gallup poll, only 5% of Americans identified as vegetarian, down from 6% in a similar 1999 poll. The Vegetarian Resource Group sponsored a survey in 2019 in conjunction with the Harris Poll, and uncovered similar results. After surveying 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 or older, 4% identified as vegetarian and 2% as vegan. 

But in an interesting finding that has implications for restaurateurs, 46% said they sometimes or always order vegetarian meals when dining out. This suggests that while the majority of Americans may not be hardcore vegetarian or vegan, they’re willing to go meatless on occasion.  (Consider these 30 ways to be more environmentally friendly.)

To determine the best cities for vegans and vegetarians, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from WalletHub, which evaluated the 100 largest cities in the country using 16 relevant metrics in three key categories: affordability of groceries and restaurant meals; a combination of diversity, accessibility, and quality (including share of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian options and per capita numbers of salad shops, community gardens, and vegetarian cooking classes); and vegetarian lifestyle (including number of vegan and vegetarian meetups per capita). In compiling the data, WalletHub drew on 11 sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, USDA Organic IndianaTEGRITY Database, the Council for Community and Economic Research, GrubHub, Meetup, and Yelp

Click here to see the best American cities for vegans and vegetarians

The West Coast is strongly represented on the list, with Portland (Oregon), Los Angeles, and San Francisco in the top five. Orlando and, in somewhat of a surprise, Boise, round out the top quintet. But in any city here, you can find a delicious plant-based meal when you want to go meatless — even for a day. (Check out the best hidden gem restaurant in every state.)