Going vegan is a growing lifestyle, but it takes some commitment to stick with it. Being a vegan means adopting a plant-based diet and abstaining from all animal products including eggs, butter, yogurt, and cheese. The reasons people go vegan are numerous, include taking a stance against animal exploitation and the desire to achieve better health. As the vegan community grows (nearly 8 million people!), restaurants are recognizing the trend and catering to more vegans. Some cities are catching on faster than others and an elite few cities are actually attractants for those living the vegan lifestyle because of the wide range of vegan-friendly options throughout the cities. Our picks for the most vegan friendly cities in America are below. You may not want to read this on an empty stomach…
Vegan sports fans may already know that Philly is on PETA’s top veggie ballpark list. Off the field, Vedge offers a high end, highly recommended spot for vegans. Though you’ll be dishing out the big bucks, these dishes will pay you back in serious flavor. Be prepared to indulge as the Vedge Kitchen uses absolutely no animal products.
Though you may miss it at first glance, Minneapolis has a wealth of vegan friendly restaurants, including Hard Times Café, Heartland with a farm direct market, and Ecopolitan, a non-profit ecological shop with a 100% raw food restaurant, cooking classes, and free educational lectures! Vegan nerd says what?!!
It wouldn’t be Washington, DC if it didn’t lay claim to an historic entity – the Vegetarian Society of DC – founded in 1927 and the first American group to celebrate veggies. Wandering the historic streets of this city you’ll encounter numerous vegan-friendly restaurants like Sticky Fingers, the Khepra Raw Food Juice Bar, and Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, founded by Elizabeth Petty after exploring vegan and raw foods during her journey with breast cancer.
It’s always been attractive to outdoorsy hippy types, Boulder is beginning to draw a population of vegan types with their restaurants, bakeries, and college-town-esque bars. Vegans can find customizable pizzas at Sun Deli & Liquor, Jamaican jerk tempeh from Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant, and local-recommended veggie pancake and hummus pizza at Julia’s Kitchen. For those vegans with a Chinese-food craving, Tsing Tao answers the call offering a full menu made with soy meats. There’s also a Boulder Vegan Meetup Group if you’re a lonely vegan looking for other like-minded individuals!
Crowned the “Next Great Vegan City” in 2012 by VegNews, SLC has also caught PETA’s eye when it comes to their vegan selection. The “chicken” sandwich at Vertical Diner has been named one of the country’s best and the “not dogs” at City Dogs have fetched top awards. Don’t miss Sage’s Café, Buds sandwich joint, and Omar’s Rawtopia either. As if this city needed a topper, Brewvies Cinema Pub is your vegan movie date, brew pubbin’ cherry. Running independent films, this theater offers a selection of vegan beer and snacks. Road trip to Salt Lake City, anyone?
Everything really is bigger here, and though surrounded by cattle country, Austin is the vegan food truck capital of the world. Scattered amongst the great truck options are The Vegan Yacht and Guac n Roll. Your non-wheeled choices include tofu lasagna at Mother’s Café & Garden, Tex-Mex fixin’s at Mr. Natural, and ice cream at Sweet Ritual. Veggie Heaven, near the University of Texas, has made its way onto the favorite list of many vegs and non-vegs with its Asian cuisine and soybean McNuggets. As Falun Dafa Buddhists, the owners are spreading the love, offering free spicy tofu to anyone in need.
San Francisco offers a respectable collection of cafes, restaurants and health food stores with a selection of raw and vegan options. Restaurant options include Herbivore and Gracias Madre, where you need to be indulging in the plantain-filled empanadas, guacamole, and enchiladas con mole with cashew cheese (yes, all of it, its all vegan and non-GMO!). Head to Greens Restaurant, established in 1979, for an upscale restaurant experience.
Seattle doesn’t ONLY attract vampires, people. If you’re vegan, you can find a home here too amongst its quickly growing vegan scene. Check out VegSeattle, a website dedicated to all things vegan and vegetarian. The University District has been dubbed one of the most vegan-friendly neighborhoods in the country with great restaurants like Araya’s Place, Wayward Vegan Café, and Pizza Pi. Take a stop at Plum bistro, known for reinventing traditional American food into something that could make anyone want to turn vegan. Get the spicy Cajun mac ‘n’ yease or the buffalo Portobello burger with a side of yam fries and you’llsee what I mean (remember that one time I told you not to read this on an empty stomach? I won’t say I told you so). Get your drink on at Highline with home-brewed beer, beer cheez soup, and happy hour specials sure to make you one happy veganite.
In a city that never sleeps, you find yourself with a lot of free time, which I suggest you spend eating. Start out bold by going to Beyond Sushi and trying the Nutty Buddy, made with jalapeno peanut butter and the Spicy Mang roll. Next go to the Candle Café for their chocolate mousse pie. Don’t miss 3 Brother’s Pizza Café, winner of PETA’s best vegan pizza award and Babycakes NYC for more dessert. Blossom is your upscale vegan date spot.
Chicago is turning over a new leaf, leaving its old “Porkoplis” reputation in the dust. “Meat Free Since ‘83”, The Chicago Diner is one of the most legendary vegan restaurants in the world. Go on an empty stomach and eat all the shakes (with flavors like cookie dough, peanut butter, and vanilla chai, you can’t choose just one) and comfort food you can fit in your vegan belly. Don’t miss Urban Vegan, Ground Control, or Mana Food Bar, which relies only on vegetables, grains, and cheese for their Indian, Greek, and Korean-inspired dishes. If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some southern cooking, don’t miss Chicago’s leader in sustainable soul food, Soul Vegan.
Celebrities and regular humans alike can enjoy the numerous LA vegan options. There are many all-vegan chain restaurants like Veggie Grill, Native Foods Café, and Real Food Daily, opened by Danny DeVito’s former personal chef. Non-chain options are aplenty, with top-notch happy-hour at Mohawk Bend and The Pub at Golden Road Brewing and your chance to see vegan celebs at Crossroads Kitchen, co-owned by the vegan chef for Oprah and Ellen, Tal Ronnen. Eat the artichoke oysters, “crab cakes”, and drink one of their fantastic cocktails. Do it. Seriously. And if you’re hell bent on spending time at Disneyland, they too cater to the vegan tourist, offering vegan burgers, gumbo, and chili. For those with a more adult party agenda, visit LA’s Annual Vegan Beer and Food Festival.
Is anybody even really surprised by this? Portland is consistently ranked as one of America’s best cities for hipsters, lending itself to be a hub for vegan shenanigans. You can get lost among all the earth-friendly establishments before even getting your vegan grub on. Between the compassionate salons, plant-based personal trainers, [vegan bike shop, and perhaps the nation’s only all-vegan strip mall. And what strip mall would be without a strip club? None, so Casa Diablo answered the call, serving vegan food and…vegan dancers? Other vegan spots include the Portobello Vegan Trattoria, The Bye and Bye, and Natural Selection. Finally, the almighty Voodoo Doughnut puts itself on the vegan scene offering vegan donuts (and a line) 24 hours a day.
Did your city make the list? Have we missed an up-and-coming vegan hot spot?! Let us know below then go get your vegan grub on!