Sustainability and accessibility are now essential ingredients for a meeting menu. Roughly 2% of Americans identify as following a vegan diet free of animal by-products—that is 6.6 million people who require healthy, tasty meat-alternative options for dining at events.
For meeting professionals looking for places that can accommodate this growing population, WalletHub recently released a survey ranking the most vegan-friendly cities in America. We looked at the top places to gather in each of these destinations.
Portland, Oregon: A Vegan Paradise
There’s a reason why WalletHub placed Portland at the top of the list. Type ‘Portland’ and ‘vegan’ in your search engine and you’ll see that the Great Northwest city offers an abundance of healthy food options.
Portland’s Oregon Convention Center boasts over 475,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, 52 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, a terrace view and two grand ballrooms. Levy Restaurants, the on-site catering service, offers a substantial offering of vegan meals, including specialties such as basmati rice and roasted butternut squash salad.
Orlando, Florida: A Vegan-friendly City
Aside from being known as the home of Disney World, Orlando, Florida, is also popular with visitors looking for plant-based diets. In 2019, Orlando landed on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities list, giving the city of 309,000 some serious foodie street-cred.
Just 15 minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO), the newly renovated Hyatt Regency Orlando contains 315,000 sq. ft. of meeting space as well as a 20,000-square-foot, sun-drenched rotunda popular as pre-function space. It is conveniently accessible to 7 million-square-foot Orange County Convention Center via bridge spans. Centerplate, the onsite catering company features vegan options such as gluten-free pasta with broccoli and roasted red pepper quinoa with asparagus. Onsite B-line Diner offers attendees several creative vegan options on their breakfast and all-day menus, including a vegan burrito and stuffed avocado.
Los Angeles: Meetings Meets Foodies
If your attendees are foodies, Los Angeles is a solid pick. This Southern California metropolis offers considerable meeting real estate and world-class healthy dining options.
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, an IHG Hotel offers 94,977 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including 33 meeting rooms and two ballrooms. The on-site catering menu has clearly labeled vegan and vegetarian options, including citrus paprika cauliflower steak and sesame crushed tofu. Located in the epicenter of the downtown experience, the property is a quick walk from entertainment venue L.A. Live, home to Crypto.com Arena and Microsoft Theater. For guests looking to venture outside, Mendocino Farms is a five-minute walk from the hotel and has a generous offering of vegan options like The Impossible Taco Salad and Vegan Banh Mi.
Phoenix: Plant-based and Delicious
Heading to Phoenix? Your vegan guests will be happy to know that an abundance of exclusively plant-based restaurants are available. Whether visitors have a craving for an Impossible Burger or taco, there are plenty of choices available!
Phoenix Convention Center has a total of 725,900 sq. ft. divvied between the North/West Buildings, South Building and the Canyon on Third location. The Convention Center is located 4 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and is connected to several transportation options, including Metro Light Rail. For vegans, Avenura Catering’s menu offers vegetarian-specific items, including carnival cauliflower steak and sun-dried tomato polenta cake. The menu also offers a wide selection of vegan hors d’oeuvres.
Austin, Texas: Vegan Is Bigger
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the growing vegan community taking root. According to WorldOfVegan.com, Austin is home to over 75 fully plant-based restaurants, including establishments that run the range from on-the-go to upscale. For meeting organizers, this means one less thing to worry about when aiming for sustainability and healthy eating.
Austin Convention Center offers 881,400 sq. ft. of wide-open space stretching over six city blocks. This encompasses five exhibit halls, seven ballrooms and 54 meeting rooms and show offices. Executive Chef Brad Kelly is an expert in southwest cuisine to deliver specialties such as quinoa croquette wraps and vegan fajitas. He also works with 12 local food trucks for an authentic taste of the town.
Seattle: All Vegans Welcome!
Much like its Northwest neighbor, Portland, Seattle has considerable options for Vegans. Guests and planners alike can easily find restaurants specializing in vegan Thai, Mexican and American dishes.
Seattle Convention Center (formerly Washington State Convention Center) with soon double the amount of available space to 434,080 sq. ft. when Summit building opens in January 2023. The glass-walled spaces feature sweeping views of downtown Seattle and the Cascade Range beyond. The on-site catering service contains a wide variety of vegan options on the menu such as tofu tagine and grilled eggplant roll.