Top 20 US cities for plant-based eating

vegan meal
© Rawpixel.com

Is your city vegan- or vegetarian-friendly? Check out the rankings here.

It used to be that plant-based eating options in the United States were somewhat limited; basically, unless we were eating at a hippie cafe, we got french fries or the salad bar. And nothing against hippie cafes, bless them, but how times have changed! With some 10 million Americans eschewing meat (as opposed to chewing meat, see what I did there?) and flexitarianism having gone mainstream, the options have greatly increased.

But some cities have hopped on the meat-free bandwagon more whole-heartedly than others. With that in mind, the personal finance site, WalletHub, dug into the numbers in a new report looking at the best and cheapest places in which one can follow a plant-based diet. They compared the country's 100 largest cities across 17 metrics of being vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. The 17 indicators were divided evenly between three parent groups: affordability; diversity, accessibility & quality; and vegetarian lifestyle. Things like the cost of vegetarian groceries, share of restaurants serving vegetarian options, and fruit and vegetable consumption were considered. After crunching the data, here is what they found.

Top 20 cities for vegans and vegetarians

1. Portland, Oregon
2. Los Angeles, California
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Seattle, Washington
5. Austin, Texas
6. Atlanta, Georgia
7. New York, New York
8. San Francisco, California
9. San Diego, California
10. Tampa, Florida
11. Scottsdale, Arizona
12. Anaheim, California
13. Chicago, Illinois
14. Madison, Wisconsin
15. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
16. Washington, DC
17. Las Vegas, Nevada
18. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
19. Houston, Texas
20. Charlotte, North Carolina

Interesting details

Aside from the basic ranking, there are some intriguing takeaways in the details.

Like, San Francisco has the most community-supported agriculture programs (per square root of population), but also ranked as the number one most expensive. And in fact, four of the five most expensive cities for plant-based groceries were in California. Meanwhile, California did not rank in the top five for percentage of restaurants serving vegan or vegetarian options. Go figure.

Meanwhile, Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest share of restaurants serving vegetarian options, at 20.14 percent, and vegan options at 11.16 percent. Newark, New Jersey, had the lowest at 0.42 percent.

It actually came as no surprise to this NYC-based writer that New York City has the most salad shops and the most juice shops per capita. We may once have been known for our hot dog vendors, but gentrified New York is looking a lot more like California in terms of health and fitness. And of course, we are all so busy we need to grab those things while on the run.

More interesting comparisons here:

For the full report, visit WalletHub.

Top 20 US cities for plant-based eating
Is your city vegan- or vegetarian-friendly? Check out the rankings here.

Related Content on Treehugger.com