Special Report

The Most Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Cities of 2023

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An estimated 15.5 million American adults identify as vegetarian or vegan, and many more have been consciously trying to reduce their meat consumption – whether through observing “meatless Mondays” or just making animal protein a smaller part of their daily diet – and patronizing restaurants with plant-forward menus. (These are the most popular plant-based protein sources in America.)

As an illustration of how far the trend has gone, one of the most highly rated restaurants in America, Eleven Madison Park in New York City – holder of a coveted three-star rating from the Guide Michelin – went 100% plant-based, using no animal products at all for its elegant multi-course menus, priced from $195 to $365 per person.

Of course there’s no need to go to fancy restaurants for vegetarian or vegan fare. Restaurants specializing in Asian cuisines are often easy for the vegan or vegetarian to navigate. Food sites and social media platforms regularly feature meatless recipes. Smoothie shops cater to the animal-product-adverse. Farmers markets – great sources of fresh fruit and vegetables – have proliferated around the country (the USDA reports that there were 1,755 in 1994, growing to 8,771 in 2019). 

Of course some places do a better job with this than others. To compile a list of 2023’s best cities for vegans and vegetarians, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study on the subject published by WalletHub, a personal finance company. The site drew on a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources – including the U.S. Census Bureau, the USDA Organic INTEGRITY Database, Feeding America, Vegan.com, and GrubHub – to rank the 100 largest U.S. cities on 17 differently weighted metrics across three categories.

The categories considered were: affordability (including the cost of groceries for vegetarians and the availability of affordable highly rated restaurants offering vegan and vegetarian options); diversity, accessibility, and quality (share of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian fare, farmers markets, vegetarian cooking classes, etc.); and vegetarian lifestyle (availability of appropriate festivals and meetup opportunities, vegetable and fruit consumption, and ranking on GrubHub’s list of cities most likely to order vegetarian or vegan). 

Perhaps not surprisingly, famously health-conscious (and trend-conscious) California is well-represented on the list, with eight of the 40 cities listed. Other Western states are present, too, with Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, and Idaho each appearing once and Arizona, putting in six appearances. (Click here to see every state’s vegan obsession ranked.)

Here is the list of 2023’s best cities for vegans and vegetarians.

40. Riverside, California
> Affordability:58/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:22/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 72/100
> Overall score:45.18

39. Fresno, California
> Affordability:62/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:30/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 96/100
> Overall score:45.43

38. San Antonio, Texas
> Affordability:17/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:46/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 90/100
> Overall score:45.59

37. Chandler, Arizona
> Affordability:50/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:32/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 63/100
> Overall score:45.68

36. Gilbert, Arizona
> Affordability:43/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:38/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 62/100
> Overall score:45.79

35. Mesa, Arizona
> Affordability:32/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:35/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 73/100
> Overall score:46.53

34. Boise, Idaho
> Affordability:37/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:25/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 68/100
> Overall score:47.04

33. Plano, Texas
> Affordability:31/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:55/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 54/100
> Overall score:47.38

32. New York, New York
> Affordability:79/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:8/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 33/100
> Overall score:47.47

 

31. Tucson, Arizona
> Affordability:42/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:21/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 95/100
> Overall score:47.53

30. Bakersfield, California
> Affordability:36/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:37/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 96/100
> Overall score:47.54

 

29. Cincinnati, Ohio
> Affordability:30/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:28/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 75/100
> Overall score:47.63

28. Sacramento, California
> Affordability:53/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:23/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 53/100
> Overall score:47.66

27. Birmingham, Alabama
> Affordability:35/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:24/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 84/100
> Overall score:47.71

 

26. Madison, Wisconsin
> Affordability:76/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:20/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 7/100
> Overall score:48

25. Dallas, Texas
> Affordability:27/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:33/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 24/100
> Overall score:48.02

 

24. Houston, Texas
> Affordability:7/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:53/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle: 35/100
> Overall score:48.51

23. Lubbock, Texas
> Affordability:16/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:71/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:96/100
> Overall score:48.78

22. Scottsdale, Arizona
> Affordability:43/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:12/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:36/100
> Overall score:48.97

 

21. Denver, Colorado
> Affordability:45/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:10/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:61/100
> Overall score:49.76

20. St. Louis, Missouri
> Affordability:55/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:19/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:67/100
> Overall score:49.78

 

19. Atlanta, Georgia
> Affordability:41/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:18/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:19/100
> Overall score:50.15

18. Irving, Texas
> Affordability:14/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:64/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:52/100
> Overall score:50.74

17. Washington, D.C.
> Affordability:88/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:9/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:6/100
> Overall score:51.15

 

16. Fort Wayne, Indiana
> Affordability:3/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:81/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:66/100
> Overall score:51.21

15. Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky
> Affordability:24/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:39/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:57/100
> Overall score:52.06

 

14. Chicago, Illinois
> Affordability:21/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:26/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:17/100
> Overall score:52.14

13. Las Vegas, Nevada
> Affordability:18/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:17/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:31/100
> Overall score:52.36

12. Tampa, Florida
> Affordability:61/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:7/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:10/100
> Overall score:53.05

 

11. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
> Affordability:20/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:59/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:45/100
> Overall score:53.63

10. Oakland, California
> Affordability:97/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:16/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:9/100
> Overall score:53.71

 

9. Austin, Texas
> Affordability:9/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:14/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:41/100
> Overall score:53.78

8. Miami, Florida
> Affordability:87/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:2/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:49/100
> Overall score:54.8

7. Seattle, Washington
> Affordability:86/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:4/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:4/100
> Overall score:56.01

 

6. San Francisco, California
> Affordability:99/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:1/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:1/100
> Overall score:56.25

5. Phoenix, Arizona
> Affordability:10/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:11/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:78/100
> Overall score:56.43

 

4. San Diego, California
> Affordability:25/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:5/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:27/100
> Overall score:57.45

3. Orlando, Florida
> Affordability:40/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:3/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:13/100
> Overall score:59.16

2. Los Angeles, California
> Affordability:13/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:15/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:5/100
> Overall score:61.24

 

1. Portland, Oregon
> Affordability:29/100
> Diversity, accessibility, and quality:6/100
> Vegetarian lifestyle:8/100
> Overall score:61.38

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