Move Over Portland: 5 U.S. Cities That Are Just as Green

Conceptual mini planet green parks

Portland, Oregon, is renowned for being the (arguably) greenest city in the United States. And although Portland offers a wonderfully green lifestyle overflowing with public transportation, alternative energy and local food galore, here are five green cities in the U.S. that offer similar opportunities for a pursuit of sustainability.

Chicago

Chicago is dedicated to living green, and it’s very visible in their investment and dedication to green spaces. With 500,000 new trees, revamped public parks and more than two million square feet of rooftop gardens, Chicago is oozing green. But they’re not stopping there, Chicago wants commercial, municipal and private buildings and homes to be on the same page, headed towards renewable-energy. They have also been a leader in renewable-energy standards, providing incentives and assistance for homeowners looking to invest in solar power

San Francisco

According to the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, San Francisco is leading America in solar energy paired with an innovative recycling program that incorporates an art and education program. Banning plastic bags is becoming more common throughout U.S. cities, but San Francisco was the trendsetter when they created the checkout bag ordinance in October of 2013, as well as their ban of plastic kids’ toys laced with questionable chemicals. SF is also a leading city for public and alternative transportation with almost 50 percent of residents taking public transit, walking or biking every day.

Austin

Regardless of being in a red state, Austin is on its way to meeting 20 percent of its energy needs through renewable and efficient sources by 2020, and the city is destined to become the number one solar manufacturing center in the country. Regardless of the state’s conservative nature, Texans are open to renewable energy sources and the state has installed more wind power than anywhere else in the U.S.

Austin continues to grow with a smart growth initiative that will assist the city in making informative and ethical decisions as the city adapts to its growth.

Boston

Ranked one of the highest among U.S. cities on the Sustainable Cities Index, Boston is one of the most energy-efficient cities with an overall score of 15. Universities and museums alike allocate a lot of resources to improve the city’s sustainability and conservation efforts. With its annual GreenFest and Down2Earth conference, Boston makes a big effort to educate its residents about living a sustainable lifestyle. Transportation forums, EcoFashion displays, green lifestyle presentations and EcoArt are just a few of the happenings that make green living fun, practical and attainable for Boston residents through festivals and conferences.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

The Twin Cities are green haven for sustainable lifestyles. With one of the country’s most easily accessible and functional bike sharing programs, Nice Ride, cycling is the most popular alternative form of transportation. Even their public spaces invest in green living with the Mall of America’s solar powered central heating system and Target Field’s ability to collect three million gallons of rainwater and snowmelt every single year for consumption.

For those visiting, the Twin Cities offer green, Eco-adventures, hotels and restaurants for guilt free enjoyment. With plenty of farmers markets and farm to plate restaurants, it’s easy to find local, organic and sustainable choices.

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