2022’s Best and Worst Cities for Vampires

close up of a female vampire's teeth with blood dripping down her chin

Do you feel most alive at night, detest garlic, and have a habit of lurking in the shadows?

Whether you wear a cape daily or just once a year for Halloween, you can fang Lawn Love for ranking 2022’s Best Cities for Vampires.

We looked for cities with plenty of warm bodies, blood centers, and vampire-friendly dwellings — aka casket suppliers and homes with basements. We also considered deterrents like garlic festivals and sunshine, as well as community and entertainment factors, such as vampire groups, nightlife options, and vampire tours. 

Slake your thirst for blood knowledge and plan your next blood donation with our city rankings and analysis below. 

In this article 

City rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Infographic showing the Best and Worst Cities for Vampires, a ranking based on blood drives, blood centers, homes with basements, vampire groups, and more
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics in the above infographic.

The upshot

Northern Nosferatus vs. Southern Slayers

Sunless Northern cities crept to the top, with New York leading the way as our vampire empire. 

NYC is the ideal city for vampires, thanks to having the most potential victims. It also has the most slaughterhouses and vampire groups out of all the cities in our ranking. It doesn’t hurt that the MTA runs 24/7, and eccentric styles are so common that vampires can easily blend right in. 

Big cities like New York, Chicago (No. 2), and Seattle (No. 13) have plenty of fresh blood, nightlife options, and casket suppliers.

It’s no surprise that Surprise, Arizona, came in dead last and other sunny Southern cities fell in our ranking, with other Arizona cities plus Nevada and California taking up the bottom 10. While fewer layers of clothing might make it easier to sneak a drink through all four seasons, it’s hard to avoid the sun’s rays with maximum sunshine, minimal cloud cover, few homes with basements, and scarce casket suppliers (especially in California).

Local Tips

Transylvania, USA

Is Pennsylvania the Transylvania of America? Maybe so — both of the biggest Keystone State cities made their way into our top 10.

Philadelphia brings home the bronze with a high number of vampire groups and tours (No. 2 in both). Philly also has a high population, abundant nightlife options, and numerous blood drives to keep vampires well fed and entertained. Pittsburgh isn’t too far behind at No. 6, with plenty of blood centers, casket suppliers, and basements to appease sunless lifestyles. 

German immigrants may have brought vampire lore and panic to the colony, leading to numerous superstitious vampiric exhumations up until 1949. The Erie Cemetery is even rumored to house a cursed vampire crypt.

Local tips:

  • Pittsburgh: Learn about vampires through a University of Pittsburgh class called “Vampire: Blood and Empire,” or plan a movie night featuring the Pittsburgh-based horror film “Innocent Blood.”

Shadowy histories

Despite lacking in Food and Drink and Lair Safety, New Orleans (No. 15) continues to grow its vampirical legacy. NOLA has the most vampire tours due to local icons like legendary author Anne Rice and infamous vampire Jacques St. Germain. Louisiana and California are both hot spots for vampire film set locations, such as for “True Blood,” “Interview With The Vampire,” and “The Originals.”

San Francisco (No. 5) follows closely behind in tours (No. 2), thanks to the historically scary Nob Hill neighborhood. The Golden City also has plenty of blood centers, vampire groups, and nightlife options to balance out the sunshine and herb shops. Beware The Stinking Rose, a restaurant that proudly claims the mantra “We season our garlic with food.” 

Sunny Los Angeles (No. 4) impresses with the highest number of vampire-friendly nightclubs, in addition to the second highest population and numerous slaughterhouses, casket suppliers, and vampire groups.

Local tips:

  • San Francisco: Take a vampire tour through Nob Hill to explore historic and haunted sites including the Grace Cathedral, Huntington Park, and Fairmont Hotel.
  • New Orleans: NOLA boasts streets of Victorian architecture, the annual Anne Rice Vampire Ball, and Boutique du Vampyre. You might even see some creatures of the night lurking around the French Quarter after sundown — maybe Jacques St. Germain?

Surprising findings

Cannibal country?

Cannibalism  (including sucking another human’s blood) might be taboo in most circles, but would it surprise you to know that it’s not illegal in most of America?

To Hannibal Lecter’s delight, only one state in the U.S. holds any legal repercussions for eating human flesh: Idaho.

Thankfully, the grotesque arrangements for cannibalism to take place are typically illegal (i.e. murder, corpse desecration, and buying or selling human meat). Yet, a few people have managed to avoid those limitations, including an anonymous Redditor who made fajitas out of his amputated foot to consensually share with friends.

Bloody generous cities

Following a blood shortage, what cities are making the effort to drive up donations? 

Portland, Oregon, stands out with more than 50 blood drives, the most among the 200 cities, followed by Tucson, Arizona, and Louisville, Kentucky. Omaha also has plenty of blood drives and blood centers, in addition to slaughterhouses (No. 2) for those thirsty vamps. 

Jacksonville, Florida, Fort Worth, Texas, and Pittsburgh might have fewer blood drives, but they each are home to the highest numbers of blood centers.

Expert take

Can you tell your Nosferatus from your Edward Cullens?

We sought out a panel of mortal experts for some insights on the undead. Read on to get as close as possible to an “Interview with the Vampire.”

  1. We know from TV and movies that sunlight and garlic repel vampires. What elements draw them in?
  2. What are some easy ways to identify a vampire?
  3. What are the best resources (books, TV, movies) for studying up on the habits of vampires?
  4. Stake, cross, or sunlight? What’s the most efficient way to dispatch a vampire?
  5. What is vampirism?
  6. From Dracula to Buffy to Lestat to Twilight and True Blood — what’s the best vampire movie/series and why?
Jordan Ruud
Collection Development Librarian
Sara Ross, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Media & Theater Arts / Associate Professor
Jordan Ruud
Collection Development Librarian
University of Arkansas – Fort Smith

We know from TV and movies that sunlight and garlic repel vampires. What elements draw them in?

The easiest way to lure a vampire in is simply to welcome them. According to much of traditional vampire lore, they can’t go anywhere they haven’t been asked to go.

What are some easy ways to identify a vampire?

This is a tough question because vampires have taken so many forms (including bats and wolves). These days you’ll usually identify them in a couple of different ways: sometimes they’ll be suave (see Bela Lugosi’s portrayal in the 1931 Dracula movie or Anne Rice’s creations) but sometimes they’ll be a little more jarring to look at (see Max Schreck as the frightening Count Orlok in 1922’s Nosferatu or Reggie Nalder in Salem’s Lot). In the past, they were often seen as a little more akin to ghouls.

What are the best resources (books, TV, movies) for studying up on the habits of vampires?

There are a few important books to make sense of vampires:

  1. A great comprehensive starting point is Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s The Complete Vampire Companion.
  2. To track the development of today’s popular idea of the vampire, I recommend John Polidori’s The Vampyre, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There’s a handy Riverside Edition that collects all three of these.
  3. And last, for those interested in “the historical Dracula,” Dracula, Prince of Many Faces by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally is a comprehensive biography of Vlad the Impaler, whose infamous legend inspired Bram Stoker’s portrayal of Dracula.

Stake, cross, or sunlight? What’s the most efficient way to dispatch a vampire?

Crosses and garlic are usually seen as a proactive way to keep vampires away. For those in search of a more permanent solution, a stake is highly recommended but can be messy and unpleasant. One interesting solution is to throw a bunch of rice in a vampire’s path because vampires will get distracted by counting all the grains (this motif has shown up in a certain famous piece of children’s entertainment, ah-ah-ah!).

The handy thing about sunlight is that it tends to be inevitable, but then you rely on a vampire being easily lured into the sunlight. I might take it on a case-by-case basis and suggest consulting a specialist such as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing.

What is vampirism?

Now, this is a tricky question. At the end of the day, it’s about the undead feeding off the living, but not in quite the same way as ghouls and zombies do. Vampires these days are generally seen as transforming their victims, not just consuming them. Perhaps at its undead heart, vampirism is simply a myth playing on the common fear of death.

From Dracula to Buffy to Lestat to Twilight and True Blood — what’s the best vampire movie/series and why?

One of my favorite vampire movies is George Romero’s Martin, the haunting story of a young man who may or may not be a vampire in the modern world. I’m also fond of Carl Th. Dreyer’s atmospheric Vampyr.

Sara Ross, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Media & Theater Arts / Associate Professor
Sacred Heart University

The vampire community is notoriously discrete, so trends in new vampire residency can be hard to track. However, there are various indicators of undead presence, such as an uptick in unexplained cases of exsanguination. Based on these signs, longtime known favorites, such as New Orleans, favored for its conducive atmosphere, and Forks, Washington, which offers 163 overcast days per year and excellent sporting opportunities, seem to be losing ground.

In their place, trendy upstarts include Omaha, Nebraska and Hereford, Texas which offer excellent dining options for the growing numbers of ‘meatatarian vampires,’ as well as Cape Disappointment, Washington, which “out fogs” neighboring Forks by 2 days per year. California remains a tough sell for vampires, as it has entirely too much sun and a bountiful garlic crop.

We know from TV and movies that sunlight and garlic repel vampires. What elements draw them in?

Vampires are particularly attracted to communities with large numbers of wistful, attractive young people who are open to mesmerization with whom they can mingle. A lively fashion scene is also attractive to vampires, with favored trends including black woolens, red silks, and long, flowing white nightgowns.

What are some easy ways to identify a vampire?

Because of the ease of identifying vampires through their lack of reflection, they will avoid mirror stores, fun houses, and the homes of excessively vain people. Given this, along with their general dislike for sunny California, you might think that they would avoid Hollywood. However, the many job opportunities open to vampires in the movie industry are nevertheless a draw.

Other identifying characteristics include pallor, coldness to the touch, and a tendency to wear “I’m allergic to morning” t-shirts.

Stake, cross, or sunlight? What’s the most efficient way to dispatch a vampire?

The effectiveness of crosses is greatly overstated; most vampires are too clever to be caught out in broad daylight, and really, who carries around wooden stakes anymore? Therefore, the most efficient way to dispatch a vampire is the same as with most people –– start a conversation about finances, politics, or how smart your children are.

From Dracula to Buffy to Lestat to Twilight and True Blood — what’s the best vampire movie/series and why?

There are so many great vampire movies and shows out there. Some interesting examples over the years include Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Dark Shadows (1967/’68), Blade (1998), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Lost Boys (1987), Near Dark (1987), True Blood (2008-2014), Being Human (2011), The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017), Twilight (2008), Let the Right One In (2008), and the hilarious vampire parody What We Do in the Shadows (2015).

But seriously, the enduring interest in monsters in popular culture, including recent waves of vampire, werewolf, and zombie-related stories, suggests the powerful hold that these figures have on the modern imagination. The study of popular monsters can provide an understanding of how our society has dealt with questions of death, youth, religion, sexuality, addiction, delinquency, disease, and a wide variety of other social issues. Understanding monsters in literature, film, and television helps us to better understand the culture that has produced them.

Behind the ranking

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below. 

We then grouped those factors into five categories: Food and Drink, Lair Safety, Deterrents, Community, and Entertainment.

Next, we calculated weighted scores for each city in each category. 

Finally, we averaged the scores for each city across all categories. 

The city that earned the highest average score was ranked “Best” (No. 1), while the city with the lowest was ranked “Worst” (No. 200). (Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties among cities.)


American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, Chef Lola’s Kitchen, Church Angel, Festival.net, FindLaw, Garlic Seed Foundation, Meetup, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pickyourown.org, Realtor.com, The Real Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Vampirewebsite.net, and Yelp

Final thoughts: Bloody good times

Whether you have a preference for Dracula, Edward, or Nandor, vampires have crept their way into our libraries, TVs, and hearts. 

Quench your thirst for bloody stories by sinking your teeth into one of the best vampire books, or binge through recent TV series like “What We Do in the Shadows,” “Vampire Academy,” and “First Kill.” 

If you feel like life is sucking your soul, plan a fun trip to one of the nation’s top blood-sucking destinations: 

  • Covington, Georgia: The fictional town Mystic Falls, Virginia, from “The Vampire Diaries” is actually located in Covington, Georgia. Here, you can explore filming locations like the Mystic Grill, Lockwood Mansion, and sets from spinoff “The Originals” through the city’s beloved Vampire Stalkers Mystic Falls Tours
  • Forks, Washington: Celebrate Bella Swan’s birthday at the annual Forever Twilight in Forks Collection & Festival. Explore locations like Forks High School, the Cullen House, and beaches in nearby La Push. The collection — featuring “Twilight” costumes, props, fan art, and iconically creepy Chuckesmee — is open year-round. 
  • San Antonio, Texas: While its northern neighbor Austin holds the title of Bat City, SA is home to the world’s largest bat colony. You’re likely to spot a cloud of Mexican free-tail bats migrating through Alamo City in the summer, but vampire bats are also expanding their territory into Southern Texas. 

Vampires aren’t the only beings in need of blood. 

Blood shortages can disrupt and delay surgeries and other medical procedures. Help your community by donating blood at a local blood drive. If there’s no blood drive planned in your neighborhood, you can help host one at a nearby community center, workplace, or church. 

Is the state of your lawn frightening neighbors? Schedule some TLC ahead of Halloween by hiring a local Lawn Love pro

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.