As the popularity of animal-friendly eating continues to grow, more restaurants than ever are offering great-tasting vegan options. We’ve searched the United States for the best vegan-friendly cities and compiled our picks below. Did your hometown make the list?
1. Austin, Texas
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Los Angeles
4. New York City
7. Salt Lake City
8. Las Vegas
Vegans headed to Las Vegas won’t have to gamble on whether they’ll be able to find great eats while in the city. Hotel mogul Steve Wynn has upgraded the menus in all Wynn Resorts eateries, including room service, with vegans in mind. From Chick’n Parmigiano to vegan dim sum, Wynn satisfies every plant-based culinary whim.
Whether you’re in the mood for sushi or pizza, Sin City has vegan versions of even the most exotic cuisine. Miko’s Izakaya Sushi and Go Raw Café offer fish-free rolls with ingredients such as mock salmon and almond cheese. Opened in 2011, Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro proudly claims the title of Las Vegas’ “first and only 100% cruelty-free kitchen,” and the aptly named Slice of Vegas Pizza offers Daiya cheeses, Gardein faux meats, and vegan chocolate cake.
And while what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, you’d better remember to bring back a dozen cream-filled pastries from Ronald’s Donuts for your vegan friends back home.
9. Boulder, Colorado
A half-hour from Denver and a popular destination for outdoorsy types, Boulder has no shortage of hearty vegan options to fill you up after a long day of hiking. Vegans and meat-eaters alike love the customizable pizzas at Sun Deli & Liquor, which offers mouthwatering toppings such as Daiya cheese, dairy-free pesto, vegan chicken breast, and seitan sausage. Locals recommend the veggie pancake sauté and hummus pizza at Julia’s Kitchen, and Tsing Tao offers a full menu of Chinese-style dishes made with soy meats, including orange “chicken” and Mongolian “beef.” For lighter fare, try the mushroom-avocado tartar or raw manicotti made from zucchini noodles at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant.
Boulder’s many vegan-friendly restaurants, bakeries, bars, and grocery stores helped it edge out other college towns, including Gainesville, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Athens, Georgia; and Lawrence, Kansas, to make our list of the top 10 vegan-friendly cities in the nation.
10. Richmond, Virginia
It’s somewhat ironic that a city that’s historically been a focal point of the tobacco industry is increasingly being known for health-promoting vegan fare. Richmond, Virginia, is packed with meat-free restaurants, including Phoenix Garden, Rooster Cart, Harrison St. Cafe, Ipanema, and RVA Vegan, a compassionate bakery. Not to be missed are the curried “chicken” salad and fried artichoke hearts at 821 Cafe. For late-night eats, both vegans and meat-eaters will enjoy Strange Matter, a live-music venue that doubles as an arcade and features cruelty-free dishes with such names as The Revenge and Famous Uncle Paul’s Vegan Mango Donut Holes.
For more than a decade, vegetarians and vegans in the commonwealth have gathered each June for the Richmond Vegetarian Festival. Admission to the 2013 fest is free!
If your town didn’t make the list, don’t fear—these days, any restaurant worth its salt offers vegan meals, and online guides such as Happy Cow can help you find the best places to dine in your area. Plus, many of the top chain restaurants and fast-food establishments are offering terrific vegan selections, so you can enjoy cruelty-free foods anywhere you go.