The best places for vegans to live in the United States

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This was an interesting question to try and answer.

Life is much more enjoyable (if you eat out often), it there are vegan restaurants around, or at least restaurants with vegan options.

Here’s the best approach I could come up with:

First, compile a list of the biggest cities in the United States (Wikipedia gave me a nice list of just over 300).

Then, scrape the number of results in Google for:

Vegan restaurants [city] [state]

And finally, analyze the results.

To clear up any confusion, I scraped the number of restaurant listings along the left as shown in the picture below:

google vegan restaurant results

What’s considered vegan-friendly? If you actually take a look at the results for that search string for any city, it’s clear that it includes more than just vegan-only restaurants. That was my original plan, but very few cities had any, so I thought this shift in scope was more useful.

The Results: The 50 Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in the United States

You can see the number of restaurant results for each of the 300+ cities in this spreadsheet.

Below I’ve included the 50 cities with the most vegan-friendly restaurants. This is sheer quantity of restaurants, not considering the area of the city (which I’ll do afterwards).

City State Vegan-friendly restaurants
New York New York 283
Overland Park Kansas 275
Colorado Springs Colorado 266
Downey California 264
Irving Texas 259
West Valley City Utah 255
Olathe Kansas 247
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 240
Ontario California 239
Jurupa Valley California 238
Kent Washington 231
Centennial Colorado 228
Gresham Oregon 226
Stockton California 222
Torrance California 219
Hialeah Florida 217
Alexandria Virginia 217
Yonkers New York 214
El Cajon California 208
Pompano Beach Florida 207
Allen Texas 200
Virginia Beach Virginia 200
Tallahassee Florida 199
Warren Michigan 199
Toledo Ohio 196
Irvine California 193
Los Angeles California 193
Aurora Illinois 192
Cleveland Ohio 189
Plano Texas 186
Huntington Beach California 182
Fayetteville North Carolina 182
Chicago Illinois 179
Pembroke Pines Florida 179
Pearland Texas 179
Pomona California 178
Woodbridge New Jersey 177
Lincoln Nebraska 176
Orlando Florida 175
Gilbert Arizona 170
Winston–Salem North Carolina 169
San Mateo California 167
Clovis California 165
Savannah Georgia 165
Victorville California 163
Grand Rapids Michigan 160
Green Bay Wisconsin 160
Chandler Arizona 159
Mesquite Texas 159
Fontana California 159

Here’s what those cities look like when they’re plotted on a picture of the country.

best vegan cities in the United States

The size and color of each dot corresponds to how many restaurants are in a city.

The Best Vegan Places in the United States by Density

It’s not really fair to compare a city like Norwalk to a city like Pompano Beach, which is about 3 times bigger.

To make a better comparison, I calculated the number of vegan-friendly restaurants per square mile of each city.

That data is included in the second tab of the spreadsheet I linked above if you’d like to see the full set of data.

Here are the top 30 cities, ranked by vegan-friendly restaurants by square mile.

City State 2016 land area Vegan-friendly restaurants Restaurants per square mile
Downey California 12.4 sq mi 264 21.29032258
Cambridge Massachusetts 6.4 sq mi 106 16.5625
Paterson New Jersey 8.4 sq mi 138 16.42857143
Alexandria Virginia 15.0 sq mi 217 14.46666667
El Cajon California 14.5 sq mi 208 14.34482759
San Mateo California 12.1 sq mi 167 13.80165289
Daly City California 7.6 sq mi 99 13.02631579
Norwalk California 9.7 sq mi 120 12.37113402
Yonkers New York 18.0 sq mi 214 11.88888889
Torrance California 20.5 sq mi 219 10.68292683
Hialeah Florida 21.5 sq mi 217 10.09302326
Gresham Oregon 23.3 sq mi 226 9.699570815
Jersey City New Jersey 14.8 sq mi 142 9.594594595
Lowell Massachusetts 13.6 sq mi 121 8.897058824
Pompano Beach Florida 24.0 sq mi 207 8.625
Elizabeth New Jersey 12.3 sq mi 101 8.211382114
Pomona California 23.0 sq mi 178 7.739130435
Centennial Colorado 29.5 sq mi 228 7.728813559
Woodbridge New Jersey 23.3 sq mi 177 7.596566524
Miami Gardens Florida 18.2 sq mi 137 7.527472527
Allen Texas 27.1 sq mi 200 7.380073801
West Valley City Utah 35.5 sq mi 255 7.183098592
Kent Washington 33.7 sq mi 231 6.854599407
Clovis California 24.2 sq mi 165 6.818181818
Huntington Beach California 26.9 sq mi 182 6.765799257
Rialto California 22.3 sq mi 149 6.68161435
Vista California 18.7 sq mi 117 6.256684492
Burbank California 17.4 sq mi 106 6.091954023
Hartford Connecticut 17.4 sq mi 104 5.977011494
Warren Michigan 34.4 sq mi 199 5.784883721

The results are quite different from the results looking at the quantity of restaurants.

California cities dominate the list above all the way through, with the New Jersey/New York area with a few top cities as well.

A Few Interesting Closing Notes

There’s 2 real clusters of cities with the most vegan-friendly restaurants:

  • In California and along the West coast
  • In the North-Eastern Area (New York, Michigan, Illinois, etc.)

Here’s a count of the states with the most cities in the top 50 (for quantity, not density).

City Count
California 14
Texas 5
Florida 5
New York 2
Kansas 2
Colorado 2
Virginia 2
Michigan 2
Ohio 2
Illinois 2
North Carolina 2
Arizona 2
Utah 1
Pennsylvania 1
Washington 1
Oregon 1
New Jersey 1
Nebraska 1
Georgia 1
Wisconsin 1

In short, the coasts (both East and West) should top your list of places to visit or live as a vegan, at least if you eat out occasionally.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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