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Four California Cities In Top 20 For Vegans, Vegetarians
More than 15.5 million adults across the U.S. follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Oct. 1 is observed as World Vegetarian Day and Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day, highlighting those nutritional lifestyles.

With Oct. 1 being World Vegetarian Day and Nov. 1 being World Vegan Day, and with 15.5 million U.S. adults having a vegetarian or vegan diet, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2023’s Best Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians.

To determine the best and cheapest places for following a plant-based diet, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 17 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness. The data set ranges from the share of restaurants serving meatless options to the cost of groceries for vegetarians to salad shops per capita.


Top 20 Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians

Portland, Oregon came in at the top of the list, followed by Los Angeles, CA at number two. The rest of the top 10 included Orlando, FL; San Diego, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Miami, FL; Austin, TX; and Oakland, CA at number 10.

Ranked from number 11 through 20 were Lexington-Fayette, KY; Tampa, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Fort Wayne, IN; Washington, DC; Irving, TX; Atlanta, GA; and St. Louis, Missouri rounding out the top 20.


Best vs. Worst

Irving, Texas, has the highest share of restaurants serving vegetarian options, 55.71 percent, which is 24.1 times higher than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the lowest at 2.31 percent.

Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest share of restaurants serving vegan options, 15.04 percent, which is 18.3 times higher than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the lowest at 0.82 percent.

San Francisco has the most community-supported agriculture programs (per square root of population), 0.0172, which is 21.5 times more than in San Antonio, the city with the fewest at 0.0008.

Atlanta has the most salad shops (per square root of population), 0.2865, which is 14.2 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0202.

To view the full report, visit:


Expert Commentary

What tips do you have for a person who wishes to have a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle while on a budget?

“I would recommend them to try a combination of frozen, canned, and fresh food. It is a myth that frozen foods are less nutritious than fresh ones. Many frozen vegetables, fruits, and legumes are picked when they are ripe and frozen within hours. Hence, a lot of their nutrients are preserved. Frozen foods are an affordable and nutritious way to harness a lot of nutrients. For both canned and frozen foods, additional advice would be to check the nutritional labels and make sure that they do not have added sugars, fats, or sodium. Opt for low-sodium canned food and choose cans that are not dented. For fresh produce, a good way to save money is to buy local and seasonal ones since they tend to be more affordable and nutritious at the same time.”

Trishnee Bhurosy – Assistant Professor, University of Vermont


“Go for foods that are naturally vegetarian/vegan rather than seeking out foods with marketing or buzz words on them indicating it’s ‘plant-based’ or other trendy marketing terms. Foods that are naturally vegetarian/vegan will be cheaper when they aren’t relying on heavy marketing techniques. Foods that are simple, single, or minimal ingredient foods will be cheaper than those that are highly processed. For example, dried or canned beans, rice, fresh or frozen vegetables, tofu, and nut butters, tend to be cheaper than prepackaged items or processed meat substitutes. Many of those are catering to mainstream consumers and can charge more when they follow a food trend. Going the ‘quiet’ route to find naturally vegetarian/vegan foods will usually also prove to be the more budget-friendly option.”

Melinda Boyd – Assistant Professor, Cedar Crest College


What tips do you have for a person who wishes to become a vegetarian? How can the transition be made smoother?

“A gradual approach generally works best. Substitute meat, poultry, and fish entrees with pasta and marinara sauce, vegetarian chili, bean tacos or burritos, or nut butter sandwiches. Vegetable patties can be made with mashed legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans), mixed with rolled oats, tofu, or ground flaxseed – these work well as binding agents.”

Susan Massad, HSD, RD – Professor and Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics, Framingham State University


“I am a big fan of small changes leading to big effects. If you are looking to increase your plant source options, try picking one day a week to go meatless or you could consider doing something like meatless lunches. Once something becomes a habit, then you can continue to build from there. However, it is important to be aware that following a vegetarian or vegan dietary pattern can make it more difficult to meet the nutrient needs for certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and iron. I recommend working with your doctor to have your levels checked and you may consider asking your doctor about taking a supplement as extra insurance. There are also a lot of plant-based meat options these days, that are designed to mimic the nutrient portfolio found in meat, so this could be a useful way of incorporating iron and vitamin B12. However, just because something is plant-based does not necessarily mean that it is healthier for you. These plant-based meat options come with a high amount of saturated fat, which we want to keep less than 10 percent of our adult calorie needs for optimal health. Additionally, plant-based milks, except fortified soy milk, usually do not contain much protein or calcium, like cow’s milk.”

Debbie Fetter, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, University of California Davis


What are the most common mistakes people make when being on a vegan or vegetarian diet, and how can they avoid them?

“Vegetarian is not always synonymous with healthy. It can be if carefully planned. However, substituting animal products for ultra-processed, refined carbs or cheese can be counterproductive. Two nutrients to pay attention to are protein and vitamin B12. Do not focus solely on protein-rich foods, most Americans get more than plenty of protein in their diets. Alternatively, by eliminating most animal products, vegetarians are removing vitamin B12 from their diets. A supplement may be needed.”

Laura Bellows – Associate Professor, Cornell University


“Oftentimes, people associate being vegan or vegetarian with eating a lot of salads and/or lacking protein sources. But there are many plant-based protein sources. In fact, with a little bit of planning ahead, a lot of dishes that include meat can be converted into a vegetarian or vegan-friendly version with only a few tweaks. For example, if a recipe calls for meat, that can be replaced with tofu, lentils, beans, or tempeh. Do not be afraid of using spices and herbs either. The same vegetable can taste very different and delicious with the right spice, herb, or a different cooking technique. If you are vegan, make sure you are getting nutrients such as calcium from fortified soymilk and a variety of plant foods such as broccoli, kale, and bok choy.”

Trishnee Bhurosy– Assistant Professor, University of Vermont