Do you enjoy hanging with your friends wearing black capes and fangs from dusk till dawn?
If you hate garlic and mirrors, you can fang Lawn Love for ranking 2021’s Best Cities for Vampires this Halloween.
We looked for cities with plenty of warm bodies, blood centers, and homes with basements on the market. We also searched for cities with other vampire-welcoming qualities like many cloudy days, few churches, and no garlic festivals.
Yes, this ranking is tongue-in-cheek — or rather teeth-in-neck — for the most part, but there’s a serious side, too. The U.S. is in the midst of a national blood shortage. This is bad news for vampires, of course, but it’s good news for you because you can make a difference by donating blood and saving lives.
So, sink your teeth into our rankings, in-depth analysis, and local tips for planning your next gathering of immortals and your next blood donation.
In this article
See how each city fared in our ranking:
Results in depth
Fright night in Illinois
Chicago has an active vampire community of more than 700 members, but that’s not the only reason the Midwestern city and its surrounding suburbs have proven to be top vampire destinations.
Despite its family-friendly atmosphere, Naperville bit its way to the very top of our ranking with just the right conditions for bloodthirsty immortals. It boasts the perfect balance between cloud cover, available basements, and an abundant blood supply, qualities that helped the city land at No. 4 in Lair Safety and No. 7 in Food and Drink.
Just an hour away, Chicago (No. 3) took first place in Food and Drink, meaning vampires would never go hungry, thanks to its large population and high numbers of blood centers and drives. It lags behind in cloud cover.
Aurora, just outside of Naperville, claims the No. 7 spot. Despite its nickname, “City of Lights,” Aurora has similar cloudy conditions to Naperville and plenty of basements in which to lurk. The city’s relative lack of casket suppliers and blood drives might deter vampires, though.
Creeping through the Northeast
Good thing Pitt students are studying up on vampires because Pittsburgh is our No. 2 overall best city for vampires.
Pittsburgh has relatively fewer vampire deterrents (No. 4) and plenty of food and drink (No. 5). Steel City also has the most blood centers, lowest levels of yearly sunlight, and basements galore.
Rounding out our top 10 is Pittsburgh’s eastern neighbor, Paterson, New Jersey. With a high number of basements and a decent amount of cloud cover, Paterson vampires can relax here, ranking No. 8 in Lair Safety.
Local tip: Paterson is no stranger to the supernatural. In 1909, a vampirical encounter was recorded between a Paterson man and the Jersey Devil. If you feel like your mortality is catching up to you, you can even get a vampire facelift.
The film “Innocent Blood” can give you a glimpse of Pittsburgh’s fictional immortal community.
Not quite Forks
Many might imagine the Pacific Northwest as the ideal region for American vampires, thanks to “Twilight” and the cloudy weather. Tacoma (No. 5) and Bellevue (No. 9), both in Washington State, represent the PNW in our top 10.
Both Tacoma and Bellevue scored well in Deterrents — Nos. 3 and 2, respectively — mostly due to low average yearly sunshine. Tacoma ranks higher overall, though, due to its higher number of blood centers and casket suppliers.
Bloodthirst in the desert
It’s no surprise that desert cities don’t have ideal conditions for our immortal friends. High levels of sunshine, few basements, and lack of blood drives sank many Southwestern cities to the bottom of our ranking.
For example: Tempe, Arizona (No. 200), Sunrise Manor, Nevada (No. 199), Enterprise, Nevada (No. 198), Tucson, Arizona (No. 197), and Glendale, Arizona (No. 196).
While some of these cities might not have the most ideal conditions for a vampire to live, self-identifying vampires continue to thrive in iconic vampire cities, including Portland, Oregon (No. 11), Buffalo, New York (No. 25), New Orleans (No. 104), and Atlanta (No. 117).
New Orleans is especially known for its vampiric spirit but didn’t come out on top of our ranking due to its low score in Lair Safety, with a low number of casket suppliers, basements, and cloud cover.
Atlanta sank to the bottom due to its lack of access to blood centers or drives.
Local tip: Portland is more than the land of hipsters. Every year, you can dress up and go rock in the night at the annual Vampire’s Masquerade Ball. Buffalo honors its undead with the yearly Buffalo Vampires Ball.
In New Orleans, you can dance with a vampire at the Anne Rice Vampire Ball in October. The Big Easy is home to Boutique du Vampyre, one of the few vampire stores that exist in the world. It was also the location of many vampire-based films, such as “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.”
In Atlanta, you can visit Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory at The Masquerade, a music venue that is rumored to be popular among A-Town’s local vampires.
Midwest cities fill in some of the gaps in our top 10, including Omaha, Nebraska (No. 5), St. Paul, Minnesota (No. 7), and Columbus, Ohio (No. 9). Omaha ranked high in Food and Drink (No. 6) and Lair Safety (No. 7), thanks to a high number of blood drives and basements.
St. Paul beat out neighboring Omaha in Lair Safety, placing third because of the city’s abundant cloud cover. A couple of spots behind is Columbus, which ranked well in Deterrents (No. 8). This high ranking is due to its low amount of yearly sunshine and relative lack of spice shops.
Local tip: Contemporary vampire lore in the Midwest can be explored in the series “Vampire Princess of St. Paul” by Tate Hallaway. The Midwest is also home to the Batesville Casket Company, the largest casket supplier in the world located in Batesville, Indiana.
We ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities from best to worst (1-200) based on their overall scores (out of 100 points), averaged across the weighted metrics listed below. A lower rank (e.g., No. 1) in each category and metric means better conditions for vampires.
Food and Drink
- Population Size (Weight: 3)
- Number of Blood Centers (Weight: 3)
- Number of Blood Drives (Weight: 3)
- Number of Casket Suppliers (Weight: 2)
- Share of Homes with Basements on the Market (Weight: 2)
- Cloud Cover (Weight: 2)
- Average Amount of Yearly Sunshine (Weight: 3)
- Number of Herb and Spice Shops (Weight: 1)
- Number of Garlic Festivals (Weight: 1)
- Number of Christian Churches (Weight: 1)
America’s Blood Centers, American Red Cross, Church Angel, Eventbrite, Garlic Seed Foundation, National Centers for Environmental Information, PickYourOwn.org, The Real Yellow Pages, Realtor.com, U.S. Census Bureau, Yelp, and Zillow
Final thoughts: What we do in the shadows (of the pandemic)
Whether you’re a Twi-hard or a Draculan purist, vampires have crept their way into the shadows of our lives and the media we consume.
There are plenty of ways to quench your thirst for blood: Page through Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time or start making your way through all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (again).
Feeling restless? Take a step away from your bookshelf, turn off the TV, and check out these batty destinations — you can fang us later:
- Austin, Texas: From the end of March to the beginning of autumn, you can watch thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the Congress Avenue “Bat” Bridge and fly into the sunset.
- Davis, California: In the summer, the Yolo Causeway hosts the largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in the entire Golden State.
- Chattanooga, Tennessee: Visit Nickajack Cave between late April and early September to see the sanctuary filled with a colony of gray bats.
- Gainesville, Florida: The University of Florida Bat Houses host a diverse range of bats, from Brazilian free-tailed bats to Evening bats. These are the world’s largest occupied bat houses, and the best time to spot the bats emerging is evenings in spring and summer.
- Los Angeles, California: Tour Hollywood vampire hotspots including set locations from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Fangtasia (aka Alex’s Bar) from True Blood. You can even get your own set of fangs from Father Sebastiaan.
Wherever you live, vampires aren’t the only ones who want or need your blood. The U.S. is in the midst of a blood shortage, leading to delayed medical procedures and postponed surgeries.
You can make a difference as the pandemic rages on by donating blood. Bring along a friend or family member to donate blood or maybe host a blood drive of your own at your workplace, community center, or church.
Planning to invite your loved ones over after your local blood drive, but your yard needs a pick-me-up? Contact a local lawn care pro to lend a hand with any landscaping and lawn maintenance needs.
Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock