The 10 Best US Cities to Visit for People in Recovery

Friday, February 16th, 2018


In this post, we review what we consider to be the best US cities to visit if you are in recovery. We’ve chosen many of these destinations from first-hand experience. Other destinations have been recommended by writers and readers of this blog.

Travelling is highly recommended for people living in recovery, as long as you are able to follow a few guidelines to help you to avoid relapse.

Travelling allows you to entirely avoid people, places and things that might serve to threaten your recovery in your hometown.

Destination #1: Prescott, Arizona

Prescott in Arizona is a relatively small US city known for its not-so-small recovery community. Prescott has a disproportionately high population of people in recovery. Why? Because many people who are entering recovery choose to move to Prescott for its many sober-living facilities. Sober-living facilities are ‘halfway houses’ for people who have undergone a detox.

Prescott is home to a mere 40,000 people. Figures suggest around 1,200 of these people are living in sober living facilities. Prescott’s long-term residents have welcomed the growth in the local recovery industry because of the number of jobs this has created for local people.

Destination #2: New York City

New York City has in prior years been more associated with hedonism than recovery. However, New York City is also home to an extremely developed recovery network, perhaps due to the sheer size of this major US city.

New York City is home to 4,000 weekly AA meetings. This means New York City is home to the most AA meetings per square mile than anywhere else in the entire world.

New York City has a sober equivalent of each major holiday such as St Patrick’s Day and Gay Pride.

Destination #3: San Francisco

San Francisco has always been associated with new beginnings. This history makes San Francisco the perfect destination for people in recovery. San Francisco is home to more than 600 weekly 12-step meetings. Around 20% of these meetings have a GLBT focus. Many meetings are also Spanish-speaking.

San Francisco is extremely friendly to newcomers, so don’t be afraid that you won’t fit in.  Also, because San Francisco is relatively small, the recovery community is tightly woven and intermate.

Destination #4: Boston

You may be somewhat surprised to learn of Boston’s inclusion in this list. After all, Boston is a ‘fun-loving’ city that’s home to a plethora of world-famous universities such as MIT and Harvard University that are known for their booze culture.

However, Boston is also known in recovery circles for its rich support group culture. Boston is home to well over 2,000 support meetings every single week. Boston also hosts a ‘commitment exchange’ programme. This programme allows AA groups to exchange fellow members between different groups. This programme allows you to truly enrich your recovery journey.

Destination #5: Portland, Oregon

Portland is known for hosting AA meetings with a difference. For instance, Portland is home to the ‘knuckleheads’ and ‘Bill’s Angel’s’ AA groups. These are essentially groups of people who combine their love of motorcycles with their recovery.

Portland’s recovery community is younger than elsewhere in the US, perhaps owing to the fact that Portland attracts a hipster vibe. Invariably, some of these hipsters will develop alcoholism, and eventually seek out recovery. This means Portland’s recovery community is highly energetic and inspiring, even if you are a recovery veteran yourself.

Destination #6: Delray Beach, Florida

Florida is internationally known for its recovery community. This is mostly because Florida is a mecca for rehabs and sober living facilities. This rich addiction treatment infrastructure has translated into an enriched recovery culture that we urge you to experience for yourself.

Delray Beach is well served by over 300 12-step meetings taking place each week. Delray Beach is also home to a recovery radio station and a recovery motorcycle club. Delray Beach’s economy is largely tourist-led. This means it’s easy to land a job in the local area if you wish to experience Delray Beach’s recovery scene on a more permanent basis.

Destination #7: Nashville

Nashville is known as the US’s most sober city. Despite Nashville residents’ preference for moderate drinking, this US city is still home to over 300 weekly AA meetings. Nashville is also a popular destination for 12-step events such as AA’s ‘spring flings’ and ‘old timer’s dinners’. Both are popular camping and cookout events. On the 10th June each year, AA holds an annual ‘homemade ice-cream content’ to celebrate AA’s Founders Day.

Destination #8: Minneapolis

Minneapolis is one US city that’s synonymous with addiction recovery. For instance, some have chosen to name Minneapolis as the "Land of 1,000 Treatment Centers". Minneapolis is home to many legendary treatment providers such as Hazelden. Also, the entire US offers just 35 public sober high schools. 11 of these 35 sober high schools are located in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis is thus rich with recovery culture. Minneapolis’ residents understand the nature of addiction better than elsewhere in the US. This means addiction and recovery are met with much more sympathy, both socially and professionally in Minneapolis when compared to other major US cities.

Destination #9: Houston

Houston is well known for its 12-step ‘clubhouse’ scheme. Clubhouses are purpose-built venues for people in recovery to meet up and discuss issues that are affecting their lives. Clubhouses are similar to nightclubs and bars but without the alcohol. Clubhouses serve food and great coffee.

Houston is also home to over 2,500 weekly 12-step meetings. These meetings are welcome to out-of-towners like yourself.

Destination #10: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a West Coast mecca for people living in recovery. LA is home to over 3,100 weekly 12-step meetings. AA meetings in LA are known for their social vibe. Members are known to arrive around an hour earlier before meetings begin, so members are allowed to socialise with each other. When meetings finish, members are then known to hang about with each other by going to see a movie or to eat food together.

With LA being the home to Hollywood, you are also much more likely to meet famous 12-step group members than any other US city.

LA is also home to many famous rehabs such as Promises Malibu and a number of sober living facilities.