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Most Vegetarian-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

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Most Vegetarian-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

It’s getting a little easier these days to eat a plant-based diet, and these cities offer the most meatless options for those on a budget.

It’s getting a little easier these days to eat a plant-based diet, and these cities offer the most meatless options for those on a budget.

A vegetarian diet, or at least one that includes less meat, has a variety of health benefits, including a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and many cancers.

About src0% of Americans over the age of src8 consider themselves vegan or vegetarian, according to a survey by Oklahoma State University. But while America doesn’t seem to be gaining any more vegetarians, more people appear to be interested in at least reducing meat consumption, or eating “flexitarian,” that is, mainly vegetarian, but occasionally eating meat or fish. U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2% in 202src over a record year of growth in 2020, bringing the total plant-based market value to an all-time high of $7.4 billion, according to the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute.

But for anyone who wants to reduce meat consumption or go vegan or vegetarian, finding meatless options at restaurants and supermarkets can sometimes be a challenge.

But these days, more stores, restaurants and even fast-food joints are offering meatless options that don’t cost an arm and leg, so to speak.

To determine the best and cheapest U.S. cities for a plant-based diet, personal finance site WalletHub compared the src00 largest U.S. cities across src7 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness. They examined each city based on metrics such as the cost of groceries for vegetarians, the share of restaurants serving meatless options and salad shops per capita.

Based on WalletHub’s ranking, these are the most vegan- and vegetarian-friendly cities.

src. Portland, Ore.Affordability rank: 38 (of src00 cities)Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 5 (of src00 cities)Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 27 (of src00 cities)The top ranking, city, Portland also ranks fifth among all cities for having the most vegetable nurseries per capita, and fourth for the most farmers markets and CSA programs. Above, a vendor makes vegetable stir-fry at the Portland farmers market.

2. OrlandoAffordability rank: 37Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 2Vegetarian lifestyle rank: src5Orlando ranks second among all cities for having the most vegetable nurseries per capita. It’s also one of the top five cities for most salad shops per capita. 

3. Los AngelesAffordability rank: 45Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src7Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 2Pictured is an organic juice shop in the Venice area of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is home to the one-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Comptoir, inside the historic Hotel Normandie and run by Chef Gary Menes.

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4. PhoenixAffordability rank: src9Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src3Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 655. Austin, TexasAffordability rank: src2Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src2Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 666. SeattleAffordability rank: 92Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 3Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 37. San FranciscoAffordability rank: 99Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: srcVegetarian lifestyle rank: srcDespite its ranking, the cost of groceries in San Francisco is among the five highest of the src00 cities, but it also is among those with the most farmers markets and CSA programs per capita and is one of the top five cities with the most salad shops per capita. 

8. Tampa, Fla.Affordability rank: 62Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 9Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 5Tampa ranks third among all cities for most vegetable nurseries per capita.

9. San DiegoAffordability rank: 35Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 8Vegetarian lifestyle rank: src9src0. Lexington-Fayette, Ky.Affordability rank: src5Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 63Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 35srcsrc. Boise, IdahoAffordability rank: 25Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 25Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 44Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

src2. MiamiAffordability rank: 82Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 4Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 8Of all src00 cities, Miami has the most farmers markets and CSA programs per capita, most juice and smoothie bars, and most vegetable nurseries per capita. It’s also one of the top five cities for most salad shops per capita. 

Bryan Busovicki / Shutterstock

src3. CincinnatiAffordability rank: 6Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 27Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 74src4. El Paso, TexasAffordability rank: 4Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 80Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 53src5. Plano, TexasAffordability rank: 9Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 50Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 52Of all src00 cities, Plano, Texas, has the highest percent of restaurants that serve vegetarian options 

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src6. Las VegasAffordability rank: 26Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src6Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 26src7. Bakersfield, Calif.Affordability rank: 27Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 33Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 97src8. Washington, D.C.Affordability rank: 93Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 7Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 3srcWashington, D.C., ranks No. 5 among the cities with the highest percent of restaurants serving vegetarian options. It is the home of Oyster Oyster, a one-Michelin-star, vegetable-focused restaurant. Pictured is a Hip City Veg, a src00% plant-based, fast-casual restaurant with three locations in D.C.

src9. Fort Wayne, Ind.Affordability rank: 8Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 74Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 7020. ChicagoAffordability rank: 28Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src9Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 25Pictured is the inside of Althea restaurant, run by vegan chef Matthew Kenney, in the Saks Fifth Avenue building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

2src. Louisville, Ky.Affordability rank: src6Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 49Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 7322. AtlantaAffordability rank: 42Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src5Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 2srcAtlanta is one of the top five cities for most salad shops per capita.

eddie-hernandez.com / Shutterstock

23. Oakland, Calif.Affordability rank: 95Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 20Vegetarian lifestyle rank: src0Photo: Shutterstock

24. HoustonAffordability rank: src3Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 53Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 6425. Lincoln, Neb.Affordability rank: 5Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 86Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 4926. Tucson, Ariz.Affordability rank: 40Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 22Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 96Tucson ranks fourth among all cities for having the most vegetable nurseries per capita.

27. Scottsdale, Ariz.Affordability rank: 63Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: src4Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 54Scottsdale ranks among the top five cities with the highest percent of restaurants serving vegetarian options, as well as the highest percent serving vegan options.

28. Chandler, Ariz.Affordability rank: 60Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: 26Vegetarian lifestyle rank: 47Chandler, along with Plano, Texas, has the highest percent of restaurants serving vegetarian options.

29. DenverAffordability rank: 52Diversity, accessibility, quality rank: srcsrcVegetarian lifestyle rank: 7230. New York CityAffordability rank: 9srcDiversity, accessibility, quality rank: 6Vegetarian lifestyle rank: src8New York makes the top 30 despite the cost of groceries—where it is among the five most expensive of the src00 cities, (No. 96.) But it also ranks third for most farmers markets and CSA programs per capita. It’s one of the top five cities with the highest percentage of restaurants serving vegan options.

Above, people line up at the opening of a branch of the PLNT Burger meatless restaurant chain in the NoMad neighborhood of New York in July 2022.

See the ranking of all src00 cities, and the full methodology at WalletHub.com.

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