Visit to America’s greenest cities
The country’s most eco-friendly cities feature plenty of parks, efficient public transit and sustainable restaurants.
Portland basically has you covered with green space: one fourth of the city is in the shade by tree canopy, and the ground itself features 288 parks — including the globe’s smallest, the 24-inch-long Mill Ends Park. Portland also ranked at the top of the study for its mass transit and near the top for its groovy, offbeat locals, known for their DIY spirit and cycling culture.
Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota
Who cares about winter? With 46 miles of town bikeways and 84 miles of off-street paths, Minneapolis is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, with a successful community of people who bicycle to work year-round. If you would rather stay inside, hin, check out one of the many eco-friendly restaurants, such as the Red Stag Supper Club, known for both its Slow Food Sundays and for being the first US restaurant illuminated entirely by LED lights.
The winner one in the park category is old-school green, well-known for its quaint, walkable streets and its 22 tree-lined squares, which go back to 1733. That relaxed, healthy atmosphere has apparently rubbed off on everyone else, too: the locals ranked near the top of the study for being friendly, and the city won the category for romance.
The Windy City came in first place for its cool architecture — but the greenest view of the buildings may be from above. Chicago has more energy-efficient green roofs than any other US city, including lush, planted roofs on Soldier Field, O’Hare International Airport and City Hall. You can even buy honey from the City Hall’s rooftop beehives at the year-round Downtown Farmstand.
The Mile High City got high marks from voters for embracing nature: the residents ranked as the most athletic in the study, and the city also ranked as the best place to holiday with your pet. You can keep up with the sporty locals and cut your fuel use by using the city’s B-Cycle program, where you can rent bicycles for just $8 a day.