2023’s Best and Worst Cities for Vampires

Three vampires snarl at the camera, showing off their fangs, at a bar with blood bags and wine glasses

Whether you wear a cape daily or just once a year for Halloween, you can fang Lawn Love for ranking 2023’s Best and Worst Cities for Vampires.

To encourage blood donations during the national shortage, we compared the 500 biggest U.S. cities based on 5 categories.

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 community and entertainment factors, such as vampire groups and tours, as well as deterrents like sunshine and garlic festivals, among 17 total metrics.

Slake your thirst for blood knowledge and plan your next blood donation with our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

In this article

City rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top 5 cities.

The concrete jungle of skyscrapers and high-rises surround the Empire State Building during golden hour in New York.
No. 1: New York | Overall score: 64.14

Number of Blood Centers: 23 | Rank: No. 2
Number of Slaughterhouses: 9 | Rank: No. 1
Number of Casket Suppliers: 30 | Rank: No. 3
Number of Vampire Groups: 6 | Rank: No. 1
Number of Vampire-Friendly Clubs: 7 | Rank: No. 1 (tie)

Local tips: Dracula has taken over theatres in NYC this fall with Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors and Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience.

Enjoy drinks and vampire vibes throughout the year at Flying Fox Tavern in Queens.

Photo credit: Roberto Vivancos | Pexels | Pexels License
Two people bike along the water overlooking the Chicago skyline.
No. 2: Chicago | Overall score: 51.21

Number of Blood Centers: 19 | Rank: No. 6
Number of Slaughterhouses: 3 | Rank: No. 7 (tie)
Share of Homes with Basements: 85.4% | Rank: No. 21
Historical Average Percentage of Sunshine: 52.42% | Rank: No. 59
Number of Nightlife Options: 473 | Rank: No. 2

Local tips: Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming vampire-themed events or enjoy a quiet night at home reading through the Chicago-based vampire series “Chicagoland Vampires.”

Photo credit: Chait Goli | Pexels | Pexels License
An aerial view of Columbus, Ohio, on a bright day with a river and bridges in the center
No. 3: Columbus, Ohio | Overall score: 47.23

Number of Blood Drives: 39 | Rank: No. 7
Number of Slaughterhouses: 2 | Rank: No. 11 (tie)
Number of Casket Suppliers: 16 | Rank: No. 8 (tie)
Historical Cloud Cover: 225 | Rank: No. 36 (tie)
Historical Annual Average Percentage of Sunshine: 45.92% | Rank: No. 16

Local tips: Attend a vampire masquerade ball, or join the local Vampire: The Masquerade monthly live action role play (LARP) group. 

Photo credit: J. Jessee | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0
A river runs behind streets of skyscrapers on a cloudy day in Philadelphia.
No. 4: Philadelphia | Overall score: 46.41

Number of Potential Victims: 1,567,258 | Rank: No. 6
Number of Blood Drives: 45 | Rank: No. 4
Number of Casket Suppliers: 16 | Rank: No. 8 (tie)
Historical Cloud Cover: 265 | Rank: No. 1 (tie)
Number of Nightlife Options: 176 | Rank: No. 12

Local tips: Check out some of Bram Stoker’s notes and outlines for “Dracula” at The Rosenbach

Photo credit: Kelly | Pexels | Pexels License
The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 5: Los Angeles | Overall score: 46.37

Number of Blood Centers: 18 | Rank: No. 7 (tie)
Number of Casket Suppliers: 28 | Rank: No. 4
Number of Vampire Groups: 4 | Rank: No. 2
Number of Nightlife Options: 336 | Rank: No. 4
Number of Vampire-Friendly Clubs: 7 | Rank: No. 1 (tie)

Local tips: Explore fictional Sunnyvale (not to be confused with the real Sunnyvale, California), where Buffy and the Scooby Gang slayed vampires and other evil supernatural beings. The City of Angels is also home to Alex’s Bar (aka Fangtasia in “True Blood”) and master fangsmith Father Sebastiaan.

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson | Pexels | Pexels License

Key insights

Big cities like New York (No. 1), Chicago (No. 2), and Philadelphia (No. 4) fly to the top of our ranking with a plethora of potential victims and blood donation centers

23 states — such as Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois — and the District of Columbia rank in the better half. Cities across New England and the Midwest dominate, thanks to lower rates of sunshine and scores of underground lairs (aka basements). All 8 Connecticut cities in our ranking impress in the top 100 due to high historical cloud cover

Meanwhile, 4 sunbaked statesHawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho, the only U.S. state that has outlawed cannibalism — lurk in the bottom halfLas Vegas is the lone exception at No. 233 overall.

7 Arizona cities melt into the bottom 10 with bountiful sunshine and few basements to evade the rays. However, not all sunny cities deter vampires. Tucson (No. 159) ties with Atlanta (No. 25) for the 3rd-highest number of vampire groups. Phoenix (No. 222) and Scottsdale (No. 417) are each home to vampire-friendly clubs. 

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

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best and Worst Cities for Vampires. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 5 categories: Food and Drink, Lair Safety, Deterrents, Community, and Entertainment. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. 

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 500). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 500 due to ties.

Sources

American Red Cross, Chef Lola’s Kitchen, Church Angel, FestivalNet, FindLaw, Garlic Seed Foundation, Meetup, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pickyourown.org, Realtor.com, The Real Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vampirewebsite.net, Yelp, and Zillow

Final thoughts: Bloody good times

If you feel like life is sucking your soul, explore some more fun vampirical insights below, and plan a trip to one of the nation’s top blood-sucking destinations:

  • While its northern neighbor Austin (No. 63) holds the title of Bat City, San Antonio (No. 33) is home to the world’s largest bat colony.
  • The fictional town Mystic Falls, Virginia, from “The Vampire Diaries” is actually located in Covington, Georgia

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 center or local blood drive. If there’s no blood drive planned in your neighborhood, you can host one at a nearby community center, workplace, or church. 

Is the state of your lawn frightening neighbors? Hire a local Lawn Love pro for some TLC ahead of Halloween.

Media resources

Main Photo Credit: meshaphoto / Canva Pro / Canva License

Sav Maive

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