With approximately 9.6 million Americans following a vegan diet, the plant-based boom isn’t going anywhere. That’s why PETA continues to rank the country’s top vegan-friendly cities, with past honorees including San Francisco and Dallas. But this year, PETA is doing things a little differently. The animal rights organization recently ranked the top 10 vegan-friendly small cities in the U.S., partially in response to COVID-related urban flight. In the number one spot: certified Cool Town Asheville, North Carolina.
Asheville won the top spot thanks to its Vegan Awareness Week and annual VegFest, PETA explained in a press release. Asheville also boasts a ton of vegan eats at restaurants like Zagat-rated Plant is Food and vegan-friendly ice cream café The Hop. The town even has a vegan tattoo parlor called Zen Ink.
Coming in second is Dayton, Ohio, home to buffalo cauliflower bites and vegan pesto chik’n grilled cheese at local favorite Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery. Third place goes to Frederick, Maryland, home to a very enticing griddlecake sandwich (vegan eggs, cheese, and sausage, baby) at Glory Doughnuts & Diner. The rest of the list includes:
- Tacoma, Washington
- Boise, Idaho
- San Marcos, Texas
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Bend, Oregon
- Bisbee, Arizona
“The small cities on PETA’s list are big hot spots for the delicious animal-friendly cuisine that today’s diners demand,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “From jackfruit BBQ in Asheville to roasted cauliflower tacos in Bend, outstanding vegan meals are popping up in restaurants from coast to coast.” Although I’m not personally vegan, this is all the more reason to plan a post-COVID trip to one or more of these plant-based hot spots. Small cities rule, and several of these spots are home to very cool attractions (like Chattanooga’s Riverwalk or Bend Whitewater Park). Nice one, PETA!