The Top Five Healthiest Cities in the United States – The Renegade Health Show Episode #425

Monday Oct 26 | BY |
| Comments (59)

Since our tour is wrapping up, we’ve decided to review the top 5 healthiest cities (by our criteria) in the United States…

We didn’t take any demographic studies or count the number of parks in a 10 mile radius… we just used criteria that I think all of your would consider valuable to someone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle, like weather, access to nature, healthy food options and more.

We’ll actually run though the top 10, but we’ll only discuss the top 5!

Here you go…

Your question of the day: What are your favorite and healthiest cities?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. David says:

    Missing Video … view it on YouTube here:

  2. Suzanne says:

    I couldn’t open it for some reason–I did not get connected to the link or video from this page. 🙁

  3. Karen Jackson says:

    I was born and raised in Santa Monica, so I’m not surprised it was on the list. It has nice beach weather. Although, nowadays it is much more crowded as is every place else. Finding a place to park is a real chore. But then every place has its pros and cons, and Santa Monica definitely has a lot of pros. How lucky you were to have seen all those cities.

  4. Katie says:

    The link to the video is missing, but I watched it on Youtube.

    My top two healthiest places:
    1) the island of Kauai- great weather on the South shore, great health food places on the North shore and nature absolutely everywhere. Love it.

    2)Oregon (specifically Portland and Ashland), although a little damp the more north you go, you can see a tree from every point possible in this state.

  5. Jill says:

    Thanks for the link to the video David! Healthiest cities? I really don’t know of any…I guess I’ll learn of some when I watch the video! 🙂

  6. Frances says:

    Vancouver, BC in Canada (but wouldn’t mind better weather in the winter – great for skiers, as we have Whistler, Grouse Mountain, etc!). We have lots of trails and parks, beaches, mountains, Farmers markets, natural food stores. The people here tend to be pretty outdoors-y and love their yoga classes (we’ve got some big-time yuppies) 😉

    Is Boulder where Naropa University is?? I’ve been looking into it for my MFA, looks VERY cool…

    What about Hawaii? I keep hearing about raw foodies going over to the islands…

  7. Wanda says:

    I lived in Austin for over 20 years until it got too crowded and too expensive. And yes, it can be incredibly hot there – 103 on May 2nd one year, 40+ days of 3-digit temps, 112 degrees one day flanked by 110 degrees one summer. But it can have it’s mild summers, too when it never breaks 100, and the winters – OMG, the winters are mostly wonderful. From fall thru spring (sometimes early, sometimes late) is why we live in Texas.

    As for a favorite city = Bellingham, WA!!

  8. Heather says:

    Woo hoo! I’m on my way to Santa Monica for the winter…looking forward to the farmer’s markets, the beach and the yoga.

    Nice show — as a nomad in search of the perfect place to live, I loved this one!

  9. Garrett says:

    Agree on the top 10 and could add a few. 😉

    Moved away from Austin because of the crime, pollution, traffic, noise, congestion, politics, hot-and-humid weather, and big-city nonsense! I seriously MISS Austin’s good qualities, but absolutely do not miss all the bad stuff. It’s a GREAT place to visit, which I do about five times a year!

    Do know that Austin has FOUR choices for raw food now! Whole Foods Raw Bar, Borboleta Cafe, Beet’s Cafe, and Daily Juice. All four are very, very good (or even GREAT)… and Borboleta is heads and shoulders above the others by a very wide margin. 😉

    I’ve been traveling the country in an RV, just like you two (plus J5) for over two years now. I agree with your top ten list… I came to the same conclusions on my own. Let’s call that, “synchronicity!”

  10. Michael says:

    Sedona! Have to agree since we now live there 🙂 Interestingly we have lived or spent considerable time in many of the places making the list. Might have put Santa Fe on the list rather than Santa Monica but I do understand there is a growing health conscious and Raw community in LA more so that Santa Fe. We grew tired of the crowds in Santa Monica and the south bay but mostly the air quality was a concern. Lived at the beach and used to get black graphite like soot coming in with the marine layer at night.

    Boulder is still near and dear to my heart having lived there many years ago (somehow I can see Kevin and Annmarie there for some reason :)) Its a great town for many reasons no complaints there we just decided Sedona was a better fit.

    We recently left Marin but certainly not for any of the reasons used as criteria on the list although there is a huge difference in community between Fairfax and Mill Valley or Tiburon. Fairfax is something of an oasis of counter culture in Marin. More like much of the county was 25 years ago or so.

    Agree Austin is just plain too hot but its a hip town, lots of musicians.

  11. Michael says:

    Frances, Boulder is where Naropa is…..

  12. Geri says:

    I left my comment on youtube but Maui is number one! We got the weather, year round, recreation, health food stores, raw and vegan restaurants, farmers markets, fruit growing wild! All kinds! Some I bet you have never even heard of! Come on down!
    Maui no ka oi (Maui is the best)

  13. Aradhana says:

    just got back from Mill Valley…and LOVED it there, epic farmer’s market in San Rafael!!! So many amazing cities we have been too as well, love Taos, NM, Portland, OR, Santa Cruz… been living in Topanga, CA for the last 3 years and love it here for now…Just so you know, only 20-40 mins. from Santa Monica there are more incredible hikes than you can ever imagine between pacific palisades and malibu–best kept secret in L.A.!!!

  14. Michelle says:

    I live in Austin and LOVE it…glad you do too. BTW there are 3 raw restaurants here now! Peace

  15. sherry says:

    Hi there ,
    Mine wouls be in the U.s. maui, hawaii, in cannada as this is the most freguent place I have been in the U.S. lately , so victoria b.c., courtenay b.c., salt spring island b.c., vancouver b.c., kelowna b.c.,and penticton b.c.
    Have aggod one all of you

  16. Chuck says:

    Freeport, Maine. Close to hills of Maine with lots of running trails. One mile from the ocean. Lots of diversity. Natural Food store down the road and lots of seasonal farmers market. We also have a solid raw food community with one restaurant in Portland, Maine and more coming soon.

  17. LuAnn Agustin says:

    Hi guys,
    Now I know when you came thru San Diego back in June, the weather was definitely not at it’s best but I surely thought we’d rate higher on your list. I LOVE it here though I do wish we had more of the raw community-minded spirit. Weather is (mostly) ideal. Nature is wonderful. Restaurants can be found, though not a lot of them. Still, I feel it is #1 on MY list 🙂 Still hope you’ll come back for a visit, just not in June.

  18. Barbara says:

    Kevin – I agree with Aradhana – there are so many wonderful places to hike near Santa Monica – Topanga Canyon, Malibu Canyon, Rustic Canyon and Santa Monica Canyon all have beautiful trails. Next time you’re in LA ask around and find out about all of the secret trails. You definitely picked some of the most expensive cities in the US – especially Marin/Fairfax and Boulder! My favorite places to live are Kauai, Santa Fe/Taos and Santa Cruz. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

  19. Sherry says:

    Pahoa,Hi lots of raw foodests there. spiritual also.Hiking,
    Running Springs,Ca Interesting Things are happening there.
    Taos,NM EarthShips! Co-op,hiking,skiing Ect.

  20. natalya says:

    I wish I could know my favorite city.
    Lately I just like to be visiting Coronado beach (peninsula in the south of San Diego), it restores me greatly from stress,amazing sand there. There are no raw food restaurants there, but there is good juice and smoothie place called “Fuel”. I like Santa Barbara area too.

  21. Steve says:

    If you would have spent more time in Boulder, based on your own criteria, Boulder would have easily been #1.

  22. Elaine says:

    All of your criteria are helpful, but we are longing to move closer to our family, as loneliness is not good for the health! We all need the love and closeness of family nearby, I think the Amish have the right idea in that area.

  23. Tonya says:

    Yes, Austin can get a little hot but one thing Kevin could have mentioned is you have an abundance of co-op, farmer markets but most importantly you can grown your own food year round. We have amazing pecan trees, figs, peaches and pears and the hiking is fantastic in the winter time. Oh how I miss my Texas.


  24. I live in Austin, and I LOVE it. We now have 3 raw food restuarants, 2 juice bars that carry raw food items, a raw/vegan snack trailer on the east side of town, 2 whole foods, Wheatsville co-op, Natures Grocer, and 3 new natural foods chains that I can’t remember the names of, and the macrobiotic community. We also have several farmers markets, a raw potluck just about every week, and incredible people, like Kevin said.

    I personally love the hot weather, although I froze today because it dropped to 50 and rainy from 80 ad sunny yesterday.

    I also love maui!!!!

    come visit and check out our raw potluck

  25. Thank Kevin & Anne-mary,

    Because I lived 6 years in Portland OR, I would place Portland in the top five in my life. It become a green big city with a lot farmer markets and vegan restaurants… raw food is still low. Of course I love Portland because of the great cycling (racing) community & opportunities in Oregon. The summer is incroayable: hot but not too hot. Marin county, Sedona, Seattle, Vancouver BC are other great place to life in the United States. In Europe I was happy living in Heidelberg (Germany). I would be interested with Stockholm, Amsterdam or Kopenhagen as green cities and bike freundly. I need to move more around the world to find the final place to build my home. Normandie is okay but far behind Portland.
    Dr. Jerome

  26. Pat Godinez says:

    Using your critera and giving each equal weight, SF won hands down, and you didn’t even mention it. Have you been here??

    Access to farmers market…daily
    Acccessibility to nature…tons of parks, mountain bike and running trails in Golden Gate Park, sand under your feet aka ocean, fog = delicious air…
    Community…huge and biggest World Veg Day in the U.S. What does that say?
    Consciousness…it’s everywhere…everyone knows about raw, their carbon footprint, and it’s 100 sustainability goal. They’re even recycling food scraps!
    Restaurants…Cafe Gratitude was invented here. San Rafael was the last one opened. SF has 105 veg restaurants…
    Weather…wonderful Summers, Winters, Springs, and Falls aka temperate and easy to get around and exercise…not so for the other 10 where it gets boiling hot or frigid.

  27. Coolsville, goodun… I liked Madison WI when I visited, also, Ashville NC is supposed to be great.

  28. Jense Anjali says:

    Great show … nice to hear your perspectives … and I appreciated your criteria!

    For me, I couldn’t have a place on my top 5 list that didn’t have the ocean right there. Lots of places would be wonderful to visit (Sedona & Boulder) but not to plant my feet.

    I was surprised that your list didn’t have any North or South Carolina spots … have you been in that neck of the woods?

    A couple of great ones that I would consider to the list are Saint Augustine, FL; Santa Cruz, CA; and Freeport, ME. For non ocean and winter dealing spot … Burlington, VT is fantastic … a home-away-from-home for me … and it doesn’t have the ocean, but it does have the lake. And I know that spots in Hawaii must fit, but I have never visited (yet!)

    Anyway, loved your show … thanks for the review!

  29. Sally says:

    Have you guys traveled to Minneapolis yet? One of the biggest biking cities in the nation. Known for its music and arts and highly conscious city. Currently there is one Raw restaurant and wellness center: Ecopolitan Restaurant and Eco-Shop. There are several sustainable, organic shops and eats. In addition, Minneapolis has one of the best food co-op options in the country. My personal favorite is The Wedge.

  30. Jean says:

    I almost made it to Sadona once may try again. Kevin I was wonder why not a small city like this bigger is not always better.
    Question I have a new email and signed up for your newsletter and for some reason it is not working, HELP!!!

  31. Jackie Ryan says:

    Are you kidding me? You guys missed Bellingham, Washington. Its amazing. College town with trails and parks all over the place. Cleanest air winner. Located on the water minutes from Mt. Baker ski area.
    Sustainable mentality. Huge farmer’s market and tons of organc farmers. Spectacular scenery. Population 65,000. You better turn back and check it out! DUDES!

  32. Heather says:

    Most of you will be suprised to know that West Michigan (Grand Rapids) is actually becoming quite a healthy place to live. We have lots of places to go for hikes, the beach and lots of farmers markets in the summer time. There is also lots of csa’s, there is even a place that will deliver fresh leafy greens right to your door all winter long. The weather can be a downside if you don’t like cold weather and snow. As for restaurants there are a few healthy options out there, I have not personally tried them yet. We also have lots of alternative health options out there too. There is a few groups that do raw potlucks and our choice of health food stores abound. So healthy living isn’t just out west anymore.

  33. Michelle says:

    I live in a suburb southwest of Denver. I find every excuse that I can to get up to Boulder. I really love it there! I am disappointed, though, in the lack of raw food availability there. There is an amazing raw food chef there, now (check out The Raw Seed), and the oxygen bar, Tonic, now carries her foods on a limited availability basis. They also carry Lenka’s Live Foods on a limited basis. I think it may be a bit pricier than if it was an actual restaurant of raw foods, but it’s better than nothing when you don’t know what you’re having for dinner!

  34. Ann Marie Huntington says:

    I’ve been to most of the places mentioned and lived all over the US. Right now I live just outside Boulder, CO and have to say it is on the top of my list and rated the fittest place in America!. I think northern Cal is also a place I would like to linger for awhile.
    Peace and Love, Ann Marie Huntington

  35. Cindy in Marin says:

    Knew you would mention Marin! I live right next to Fairfax and am in Good Earth a few times a week. Yes the hiking trails are awesome, aren’t they? I’ve lived here 25 years and I’m still discovering new trails in my area. The Sunday Farmer’s Market in San Rafael is terrific too.

    The raw food community is growing here and we have 2 different well attended potluck groups once a month with interesting speakers. That’s in addition to Monday Night Live at Cafe Gratitude. So lucky to be here!

  36. Angelique says:

    I agree about Boulder. We lived near there in CO and I miss it so much! So many things to love about living there. Yes, the raw scene is small (so far) but what a perfect place to see it explode with just increased exposure and education. It took me moving to CA to really learn about raw but I would’ve definitely gotten into while in CO if exposed to it. So hopefully that will just grow and grow there.
    As an AZ native, I too appreciate the incredible awesomeness that is Sedona (and the gorgeous nearby Oak Creek Canyon) Wonderful vacation spot.
    Thanks for sharing what you’ve found so far, roaming around the country!

  37. Mila says:

    I love everything about Boulder, although when it comes to the people and community it can be a little clicky at times. It would be lovely to see people open up more 🙂 And it’d be nice to have a raw food restaurant out here!

  38. Shannon says:

    I would go with Marin County (really any part), Ashland OR, Santa Fe/Taos, Asheville NC, and Amherst MA.

  39. Sam says:

    The Portland, OR area is by far my favorite. There is a huge community of vegans (I’m not sure about raw vegans), the food is outstanding, the farmer’s markets are plentiful and amazing. The people are some of the nicest I’ve ever met as a whole. Everyone is health / environmentally conscious. A park, trail (walking or biking), or a hiking path is never more than a few steps away. LOVE IT.

    Amazing – aside from the rain….the ever present Portland rain.

  40. alice says:

    Fairfield, Iowa!!!!

  41. charlotte says:

    Love Austin but that’s probably because I live in Texas and i havn’t been to amny cool cities in the US:)

  42. ROB says:


  43. Brent says:

    I live in London. I would swap for any of your top 10 if I could.

  44. Bonnie says:

    Watch out for Anchorage, Alaska! We are a very healthy city with city and nature trails through out. My husband rides his bike 4 miles to work year round. Being surrounded by famous moutins means year round hiking and skiing. There is a raw food community and soon to have a raw food resturantl. We have the most beautiful scenery, especially when traffic is backed up to let a mama and baby moose cross a busy city street!

  45. Josh says:

    hey thanks for the info! i’m planning a trip next summer so i can find a new place to live. i’ll have to hit some of these places up. thanks to others for thier comments. thanks for the shows and info, enjoying it!

  46. Sue Rushford says:

    Yeah, I was just in Sedona Oct 1-4 – probably just missed you – with my mom, a long-time vegetarian, and her good friend Jane, a long-time vegan, and we were able to eat raw the entire weekend – started at Mago’s, this Korean restaurant as you enter the strip – very raw and vegan friendly – then D’Lish – just amazing – then ChocolaTree – phenomenal! And the hiking & nature would be hard to match anywhere. True, everyone is trying to re-align your chakras, but yeah, Sedona is definitely where it’s at.

    I thought Portland and Seattle area, being the tree-hugger Meccas of the US, would score higher in your rankings. Back when I visited both of them plus Vancouver years ago, I was impressed with the vegetarian restaurant offerings – but that was PR (pre-raw!), so that puts a different twist on the healthy criteria.

    Chicago has an amazing community as far as support with people like Ariane Glazer, Lisa Persico, Karyn Calabrese, Jason Janiak, Mehmet Ak, Blake Kuralt, Cyndi Dodick, Lenette Nakauchi, and so many others, but I will admit, I probably wouldn’t bear the winters if I didn’t already love my city – and if I didn’t just buy a condo here!

    – Sue

  47. Yes, Thank you for your wonderful comments about our lovely growing community here in Sedona. It is true the Community is building here with an understanding of service and honor. As the co-creator/owner/gardener of ChocolaTree Eatery the Organic High Vibe Restaurant in Sedona we see the world as a peaceful, pleasant, garden of Eden flourishing now!! and this garden begins at your own peace of Motherland, re creating the pristine origins of our Domain is an honor and We love you!!

  48. Lorna says:

    I live in London and I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

  49. Barbara Weith says:

    Actually I like San Diego — where I’ve been for the past 28 yrs! We yo yo’d back and forth several times from Europe (before that lived in Minnesota!), but you can’t beat the weather and outdoors access although we are lacking in some good raw restaurants at the moment. Sure would love for you two to pick San Diego as your new home–enjoy your show so much!

  50. susan demere says:

    Santa Cruz, California Beeches, coastal rang(Santa Cruz Moutains) Heathlth Food stores, Farmers markes, restarants, health.
    Sacramento, California has mor farmers market then I’ve seen.


  51. Alkalize says:

    Love Sedona and Mount Shasta.

    But my favorite is Hollywood, Florida.

  52. Jeni says:

    Hi Kevin and Ann marie

    I like most of your choices and Santa Monica would be my favourite.

    You state that there was only a beach yet for a 10 bus ride anyone can get to the Canyon trails in Palisades.

    That I would class as easy to get to even if if technically the nature is in Palisades and not Santa Monica.

    The whole of West LA really has got a lot of the criteria you mention not just Santa Monica that used to be a nice sleepy town before the rich hollywood poeple decided to invade it with thier 4 x 4’s and change the attitude of the place.

    How Come San Fransisico did not get a mention?

  53. Nancy Zare says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope your day goes as planned and you celebrate all year long.

  54. Ken says:

    Honestly, you’d be best off upgrading your motorhome to something with slides, or better yet get a travel trailer, camper van combo so you can “multi-purpose” camp/explore/experience, and stay out on the road. The ability to migrate with the seasons should not be underestimated as regards health…

  55. PE says:

    Heat? Think of all the people who buy sauna time, when they could go to Austin and get it free! Which also brings up bicycling vs gym time… if you can’t bike to where you hike or lay about, forget it. Cars are doomed and dooming, for the next few decades.
    Victoria BC is said to be the organic capital of Canada, and is a good size for biking. Try it sometime.
    Shortcomings in what’s offered are partly subjective, or see them as opportunities, niches for you to fill. Then many places not in your top 10 would end up paradises.
    California’s full of farmers’ markets, 8-9 in Sacramento alone, and it supplies most of the produce sold in the US, and has easy 3-4 growing seasons, though Eliot Coleman proved that doesn’t matter much if you know what you’re doing. And speaking of New England, Scott Nearing (who co-wrote Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World, and who chose to die at age 100) told me he and Helen couldn’t move to California because it lacked 4 distinct seasons.
    Manhattan’s an acquired taste. As a New York native, I don’t miss it, but it has many good points.
    Where I am has always had good points….

  56. Kathleen says:

    Happy Birthday ANNMARIE!!! Yahoooooo!!! And
    THANK YOU, Kevin, for the HIGH RAW book…It is GREAT so far! I wasn’t expecting it to be so BIG and WONDERFUL and AMAZING!! It will take me longer than tonight to read it but I sure will be in the 10% of people who read their e-books!
    Thank you all and a fabulous good night! Happy B-day!!!

  57. Flo says:

    I second Sally on comment #29: Minneapolis.

    Come and see us!

  58. Joy says:

    I spend summers in Oregon and winters in Austin…life is grand. 😉

  59. Tim Bachmann says:

    I live in Boulder. When visiting Sedona, I didn’t get the healthy food vibe. Not like I do in Boulder. Perhaps there are places I didn’t find. And fresh veggies in AZ are not exactly overflowing. If we could combine Boulder’s fitness culture with the food climate of Northern California, Boulder would be number one for sure. We have made huge strides on the food front in the last 10 years though. Did you happen to stop in at Leaf? Leaf is a fantastic new vegan restaurant. Sprouts just opened a store here. And the farmer’s market is outstanding relative to the semi-arid environment. Of course, it is the sun that gets us all outside for tons of outdoor activities, so the trade off is worth it!

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