These beautiful locations prioritize green spaces, sustainable transportation, renewable energy and eco-friendly policy initiatives. Here are the 10 greenest cities in the US.
Looking to travel to a city that prioritizes protecting the environment? We’ll share the greenest cities in the US to help you find the perfect sustainable travel destination.
1. Greenest Cities in the US: New York, New York
It might be surprising, but New York City is one of the greenest cities in the US. NYC offers efficient and accessible public transportation and, with its 12,750 miles of sidewalks, it’s ranked the most walkable city in States.
The city is extremely dense, making it excellent for urban hiking and getting around on foot. It also boasts innumerable trendy, sustainable shops and cafes. Though the population is high, New York City residents produce very little waste, and only one percent own a car. More importantly, city officials have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.
More about the great New York outdoors: 10 Best Hikes Near NYC You Can Reach by Train
2. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco earns a spot as one of the greenest cities in the US based on its environment, transportation options, energy sources and policies.
SF has a host of public transport options and is one of the most bikeable and walkable cities in the US, making it easy to get around without contributing to carbon emissions. The city actually has some of the lowest rates of car ownership and highest rates of biking activity in the country.
It also hosts recycling and composting initiatives, offers loads of green spaces and relies on many different types of renewable energy.
More about San Francisco’s fantastic outdoor scene: San Francisco Bucket List: 10 Eco-Friendly Ideas
3. Greenest Cities in the US: Portland, OR
The city of Portland uses loads of renewable energy, recovers much of the waste it produces and prioritizes recycling and composting. People in Portland tend to live fairly eco-conscious lifestyles, as evidenced by the huge number of vegan restaurants, thrift shops, and zero-waste grocery stores that can be found there. Portland is also home to several green parks, and only sixteen percent of households own a car.
Interested in exploring more of Oregon? Read, The 10 Best Oregon State Parks for Camping
4. Seattle, WA
Known for its abundance of parks, Seattle is quite literally one of the greenest cities in the US. The city has extensive public transportation options and walkable streets, contributing to its low percentage of residents with vehicles. Waste output per resident is only nine tons per year, and its hydroelectric dams make Seattle a leader in renewable energy.
Located near many natural wonders, Seattle is a great place to live if you want to make frequent weekend hiking trips.
5. Honolulu, HI
The beautiful city of Honolulu ranks as a top contender due to its natural environment, plentiful parks, public transportation network and sustainable energy sources. The city even has the most farmers’ markets per capita. Government officials of Honolulu have committed to energy efficiency and are working on updating city buildings and infrastructure.
6. Washington, D.C.
A highly walkable city, only two percent of D.C. residents own a car. The city is also making an effort to be more energy-efficient, specifically in public school construction. Windmills and solar panels generate much of the energy across the city, making D.C. a leader in renewable energy consumption.
7. Greenest Cities in the US: Boston, MA
Residents of Boston produce very little waste and overwhelmingly choose not to own cars. The city of Boston is one of the greenest cities in the US due to its abundance of green spaces, high quality air, extensive public transportation network, and sustainable energy sources.
8. San Diego, CA
San Diego has made big strides in sustainable development by focusing on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and by using an efficient desalination plant to combat drought. The city has lots of parkland and green spaces and uses commingled recycling to reduce waste, and car ownership among residents is fairly low. San Diego plans to be carbon neutral by 2035.
Check out our popular guides to outdoor activities in California:
- The 8 Best State Parks in California for Stargazing, Hiking, Camping
- Where to See Redwoods in California: 7 Jaw-Dropping Sites
- The 10 Best Hikes in Southern California
- The 11 Most Epic Sequoia National Park Hikes
9. Denver, CO
The city of Denver has lots of parks, and is close to many hiking trails and natural attractions in Colorado. Residents have access to loads of public transport options, fun vegan restaurants, and lots of thrift shops. Officials are working hard to make the city more sustainable. The Denver government is currently on its way to using 100% renewable energy in all their city and county municipal buildings by 2025. In the long term, the city aims to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by eighty percent.
10. Greenest Cities in the US: Madison, WI
Madison is well-positioned as one of the greenest cities in the US as its greenhouse gas emissions are low, air quality is high, and it’s a very pedestrian-friendly and biker-friendly town. Some of the city’s environmental plans include using 25% clean energy sources by 2025, investing in sustainable development, increasing water conservation and building affordable housing.
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