Over the past decade, environmental tourism has been on the rise. Although many travelers opt to go abroad to experience green living, there are great cities right here in the U.S. that have embraced an environmentally friendly lifestyle. From smart energy policies to urban green spaces to low carbon emissions, these 10 cities are doing it right.

Honolulu, Hawaii

honoluluOne of America’s most beautiful cities also happens to be one of its greenest. For starters, Honolulu is a national leader in green buildings. One of the city’s largest structures, the Hawai‘i Convention Center, has integrated LEED certified energy-saving systems that are designed to help to control temperature and humidity of Hawai‘i’s tropical climate.

New York, New York

New YorkIn addition to being a prime tourist destination, the Big Apple consistently ranks in the top 10 greenest cities in the country. This is mostly due to governmental and community initiatives in support of improved energy usage. Over the past decade, New York City has also worked to integrate more urban green spaces throughout, which contribute to the city’s aesthetic as well.

Seattle, Washington

SeattleSeattle has more than just good coffee. This environmentally friendly city boasts over twenty LEED certified buildings, and residents are incentivized to install solar panels as alternative energy sources.

Miami, Florida

Miami (2)Miami has made significant strides to become greener of the past decade, and it’s paid off. New environmentally friendly building regulations and practices have made Miami a regular member of top ten greenest cities in the U.S. lists.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Minneapolis, MN urban bike trail

A national leader in bike trails (yes, some people bike even in the winter!), urban green spaces, and clean lake initiatives, Minneapolis is both “MN nice” and environmentally friendly place to visit any time of year.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Passionate about green living? Then check out this enlightening infographic from SaveonEnergy.com titled: Which States Care Most About The Environment? The infographic is a drilled-down look at how states are making tangible changes to conserve energy and protect the environment. See how other Americans are going green and where states rank, when it comes to conserving energy.[/pullquote]

Washington, D.C.

Washington DCOur nation’s capital launched a sustainability plan in 2013 that has helped the city make significant strides toward its goal of being, according to Mayor Gray, “the greenest, healthiest, and most livable city in the U.S.” by 2032. One of the requirements of the plan is that all new schools must be LEED certified. Along those lines, D.C. already has many LEED certified buildings throughout the city.

Portland Oregon

Portland ORNot only was Portland one of the first cities to ban plastic bags, it also uses 20 percent more renewable energy than the national average. Biking and ridesharing are also a big part of Portland’s unique culture.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston MS

Over the past decade, Boston has done many things to become greener, including replacing taxi cabs with hybrid cars, incentivizing residents to install solar panels, and recycling trash to generate power for homes. The city also hosts an annual Down2Earth conference to promote environmentally friendly living.

Arlington, Virginia

Arlington VAArlington has been lauded as a national leader in environmental quality, methods of transportation, sources of energy, and housing density. The city is also home to Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE), an organization that helps the community make smart decisions about energy use.

San Francisco, California

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A consistent member of the top 10 greenest cities in America lists, San Francisco reached an impressive milestone a few years ago. The city now reuses over 80% of its waste through compost or recycling programs (the highest level achieved by any city in the U.S.). It also boasts a great locavore dining scene.

Have you visited a U.S. green city lately? What aspects impressed you the most? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section.

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About The Author

Jen Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing (www.luciditewriting.com) and Bouchard Design Co.