The United States varies considerably when it comes to its access to vegan food, community, and quality. In fact, two cities just hours apart can have a very different vegan scene altogether.
New data released by WalletHub compared 100 cities in the US to determine the best cities for vegans. The data looked specifically at:
- Vegan/Vegetarian Lifestyle:
- Food Diversity, Accessibility & Quality
- Food Affordability
The findings vary depending on which point is focused on. For the purpose of this article, we've listed the best US cities for vegans based on vegan lifestyle. This means the cities may not be ideal when it comes to diversity and affordability. To see the overall rankings, skip to the end of this article.
Top 10 Vegan-Friendly US Cities
1. San Francisco, CA
- Lifestyle & Community: 1st
- Accessibility & Diversity: 1st
- Affordability: 99th
San Francisco has long been one of the best places for vegans in the United States. The city ranks first for its access to vegan and vegetarian food as well as one of the most diverse cities in the country. San Fransico also has the 2nd most Farmer's Markets per capita in the US.
Unfortunately, San Francisco also ranks 99th in affordability and is one of the most expensive cities to purchase vegetarian-based groceries in the US. So while its vegan options are aplenty, it does come at a cost... especially if you're looking at relocating.
2. Los Angeles, CA
- Lifestyle & Community: 2nd
- Accessibility & Diversity: 17th
- Affordability: 45th
Los Angeles comes in a close second place when considering its wealth of vegan options. Los Angeles is also more affordable than San Franciso, but by countrywide standards, LA is still quite a high-priced city.
3. Seattle, WA
- Lifestyle & Community: 3rd
- Accessibility & Diversity: 3rd
- Affordability: 92nd
Seattle is growing into one of the most vegan-friendly destinations in the US. However, much like many West Coast cities, Seattle has an abundance of vegan restaurants and food options but has an extremely high cost of living.
4. Madison, WI
- Lifestyle & Community: 4th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 18th
- Affordability: 81st
Madison is the only city in the Midwest that made it into the top 10 list. While Madison isn't the most affordable city, it does have a strong vegan community with many vegan restaurants dotted around the city.
5. Tampa, FL
- Lifestyle & Community: 5th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 9th
- Affordability: 62nd
For the first time, Tampa has ousted Miami as Florida's best city for vegans due to its growing accessibility to vegan food and lifestyle. Tampa also has the third most vegetable nurseries per capita in the US.
However, with Tampa's affordability index sitting at 62nd, it's still far from being considered an affordable city, however, Tampa provides a decent vegan lifestyle to affordability balance that appears to lack in the West.
6. Charlotte, NC
- Lifestyle & Community: 6th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 43rd
- Affordability: 56th
Perhaps the biggest surprise to this list is North Carolina's Charlotte sneaking into the 6th spot for vegan lifestyle. Charlotte is the second most affordable city out of the top 10 list, sitting at 56th overall.
Charlotte lacks most in its diversity, accessibility and quality ranking 43rd, which is the third lowest of the top 10 cities for vegans.
7. Nashville, TN
- Lifestyle & Community: 7th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 45th
- Affordability: 43rd
Nashville's vegan scene has grown considerably in the last 5 years. And while being a southern city known for music and BBQs, veganism has really seemed to flourish in the Music City.
Affordability and diversity of vegan food and restaurants are both in the 40s, meaning Nashville edges out many of the other top 10 cities in this list.
8. Miami, FL
- Lifestyle & Community: 8th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 4th
- Affordability: 82nd
Miami has long been a leader when it comes to being a vegan-friendly city. Both vegan lifestyle and accessibility rank among the country's top 10. However, Miami falls short when it comes to the affordability of vegan options for both groceries and restaurants.
9. Fremont, CA
- Lifestyle & Community: 9th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 94th
- Affordability: 100th
Don't be fooled. While Fremont, California has the 9th best vegan lifestyle options, it falls considerably in the areas of accessibility, diversity and affordability. In fact, out of the 100 cities included in the study, Fremont ranked 94th for its access to vegan options and last for affordability.
The only cities more expensive than Fremont to buy vegan groceries are San Fransico and Honolulu, according to the study.
10. Oakland, CA
- Lifestyle & Community: 10th
- Accessibility & Diversity: 20th
- Affordability: 95th
As a common theme through the study, Californian cities ranked very highly when it comes to vegan options, but drop the ball on affordability. The positive for Oakland is its range of quality vegan food options is more diverse and accessible than Fremont, but still less than San Francisco and Los Angeles.