Ever wonder which American city has the most vegan food? Among the 100 largest cities in the United States, Scottsdale, AZ ranks best for its percentage of vegan options at restaurants, according to a new report by financial website WalletHub. Based on information provided by the travel website TripAdvisor, approximately 16 percent of restaurants in Scottsdale offer vegan options. Comparatively, the city with the lowest percentage of vegan restaurant options is North Las Vegas, NV, which had 20 times fewer offerings at 0.83 percent.
The cities that fill out the top five list of cities with the highest percentage of vegan restaurant options are St. Petersburg, FL (at nearly 14 percent); Washington, DC (13 percent); New Orleans, LA (12 percent); and New York, NY (12 percent).
When it comes to vegetarian options, the report notes that Plano, TX has the highest share of restaurants serving vegetarian options (nearly 64 percent), which is 21.6 times higher than in Laredo, TX, the city with the lowest at just about three percent.
America’s most vegan-friendly city
WalletHub also ranked the best cities overall for vegans and vegetarians, and, not surprisingly, Portland, OR came in first. Portland ranked well for its organic farms, community gardens, and restaurant options, but the study found it has higher grocery costs for vegans and vegetarians than most other cities.
Portland is well-known for its plant-based food scene, including various all-vegan carts scattered around the city with options ranging from budget-friendly falafel to high-end gourmet fare. Its beloved restaurant offerings include Homegrown Smoker BBQ, Blossoming Lotus, and The Bye-and-Bye. And then there’s the country’s first vegan mini mall, which opened in Portland in 2007 and features a bakery, a grocery store, a clothing shop, and a tattoo parlor.
The cities that follow Portland for the top scores include Orlando, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Austin, TX. To determine the best and cheapest places for vegans and vegetarians, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across three key dimensions—affordability, diversity, accessibility and quality, and vegan/vegetarian lifestyle—and evaluated those dimensions using 17 relevant metrics of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness, ranging from the share of restaurants serving meatless options to the cost of groceries for vegetarians to salad shops per capita.
Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for vegans and vegetarians. Finally, WalletHub experts determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order its sample.
Similar results came up in WalletHub’s 2019 report, in which Portland got top spot, with Los Angeles and Orlando not far behind. Notably, Scottsdale, AZ also had the highest share of restaurants serving vegan options (11 percent) which was 26 times higher than in Newark, NJ, the city with the lowest options at 0.4 percent.
What’s the best vegan city in the world?
Last year, a ranking by professional chefs website resource Chef’s Pencil ranked Portland the most popular city for vegans in the entire world, based on Google search data in 2020. Portland reclaimed its title as the vegan capital of the world after being outranked by Bristol in the United Kingdom for the previous two years.
For Portland, Google data showed that eating out at vegan restaurants was down in 2021, with search levels for restaurants dropping by a quarter year-on-year. However, the drop in restaurant visits was offset by a surge in searches for vegan recipes and vegan food such as cheese and ice cream.
Google Trends allows you to benchmark the popularity of veganism across the world by providing popularity scores for various topics. For example, Portland, OR had a veganism popularity score of 100 and Berlin, Germany had a score of 86, which means that a higher percentage of Portlanders searched for vegan foods and products compared to Berliners.
Though Portland received the top spot in 2021 and previous years as the best in the world for vegans, the Chef’s Pencil’s 2022 ranking, however, shows the seaside town of Brighton, UK is the new vegan capital of the world. It’s the first time that any city other than Portland or Bristol has taken the top spot.