This one goes out to all the kids out there who didn’t mind eating their broccoli. For a long period of time, it seemed as though “vegan” was viewed as some kind of dirty word, as if opting for a vegan lifestyle somehow came with elitist and pretentious connotations, but nowadays much of the population acknowledge the potential benefits and reasons behind the diet.
Not only does veganism offer a guilt-free existence, when done correctly, but the improvements in everyday health can also be exponential. With vegan eating gaining popularity, it’s no longer as hard as it once was to find quality dining options — no longer a “take what you can get” environment. So, for all the passionate vegans, and anyone who has recently read the ingredients of a hot dog, keep reading for our favorite vegan-loving cities in the US.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco, along with surrounding Bay Area cities like Oakland, San Jose, and Santa Cruz, takes the top spot when thinking of vegan-friendly cities. And it’s no wonder. Vegan food is often casually incorporated throughout the city without making a big deal of it; vegan donuts in the Ferry Building, vegan versions of every ethnic cuisine imaginable, and health-conscious cafes from the Marina to the Outer Mission.
2. New York
It’s no surprise one of the largest cities offers up one of the best vegan scenes in the country — besides, “Big Apple” even sounds like a great vegan snack. Options range from casual cuisine like Champs Diner in Brooklyn to upscale Candle 79 near Central Park.
While Texas, the South, and Austin specifically, may be known for heavy and meaty barbecue, Austin does has alternatives. Long the liberal stronghold of the South, Austin embraces its “weird” reputation and plays to the needs of its vegan community with vegan food trucks and awesome restaurants with huge patios taking advantage of the city’s warm weather.
4. Los Angeles
If someone were to say LA was the birthplace of vegan food, would anyone doubt them? While that may or may not be true, the City of Angels has great vegan staples like Plant Food and Wine, and a small chic restaurant off the trendy Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, where even the wine is organic.
With all the wet weather, a resourceful vegan could probably just venture into the forests surrounding the Pacific Northwest capital for some excellent shroom action, but the Emerald City offers some tasty options as well. Give Plum Bistro a try, an upscale industrial vibe with meat-free burgers and plenty of other plant-based entrees.
Detroit’s struggles are well documented but one of the beautiful silver linings has been an emergence of healthy eating. This is because many abandoned lots have been reclaimed for urban garden initiatives where community members can harvest and produce their own food. These initiatives have helped establish a number of eateries pushing organic and local ingredients. One such favorite is Detroit Vegan Soul, which now has two cozy locations serving vegan soul food.
Not only is Portland extremely friendly to vegans, they have fun doing it too. In the City of Roses, vegans can find unique dining options like a vegan tiki bar, vegan desserts galore, and a restaurant inspired by Japanese monks.
When talking about veganism, vegetables seem to get all the love, but with its tropical climate, Honolulu is coming in hot to remind everyone fruits are cruelty-free as well. Hawaii obviously has other vegan options but the bevy of fresh produce is a must try. Also, because of its location in the Pacific, Honolulu vegan restaurants often draw influence from Asian flavors and cuisine.
While Denver may be bigger and have more in the way of sheer numbers of vegan restaurants, Boulder may have more per capita. Nearly every stand-alone restaurant has some kind of vegan food. Check out Boulder Baked, a bakery downtown specializing in late night delivery of sweet treats, the vegan cupcakes, and vegan cakes remind everyone vegans can have guilty pleasures too.
If you’re planning on taking your veganism beyond the states and into Europe, check out The Vegan Travelers for the lowdown on where to visit and eat.