Most Environmentally Friendly Cities

Although when most people think about ecotourism they picture remote beaches, jungles, exotic locations and tropical islands, ecotourism is also relevant when it comes to the world’s many cities.


Although environmental issues tend to be at the forefront of discussions surrounding more remote locations and ecosystems, green living is a concern for major cities as well. In fact, many of the world’s cities are putting forth an excellent effort to preserve nature, combat air pollution, educate on recycling, support eco-friendly businesses and to promote ecotourism within their city limits. If you’re a city lover, take a look at how you can experience green travel in these eco-friendly towns.

The United States was recently ranked the 39th greenest country in the world based on a Yale study on environmentalism. An embarrassing score when you consider the number of resources available for green living within the United States. However, there are a handful of cities that are doing an amazing job at pushing the mold for green living and ecotourism. The top five cities in the United States with a population of 300,000 or more for green living and ecotourism are as follows:

5. Boston, Massachusetts – Boston has been dubbed “the walking city.” As such there are many ways to get around this eco-friendly city without polluting the air. Additionally Boston is at the forefront of a project that will convert discarded leaves and foliage to fertilizer and power for the city – a major and innovative step.

4. Chicago, Illinois – With over 7,300 acres of city parkland its hard to argue that Chicago isn’t green. But efforts to plant trees, utilize solar power in construction, conserve energy and water, and the efforts to increase animal rights erase any doubt.

3. Seattle, Washington – Seattle has the first city owned utility company in the nation that reduced its harmful emissions to zero. Additionally, Seattle’s mayor was the first to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection act. Dubbed the Emerald City for its hundreds of progressive green initiatives, Seattle is an eco-friendly favorite.

2. San Francisco, California – San Francisco is a hub for eco activism. Over the years the green initiatives in San Francisco have proven the city’s dedication to green living. In early 2008, the city claimed the largest solar power program in the country. This along with the number of green houses, cars and eco friendly businesses make San Francisco one of the greenest places in the country.

1. Portland, Oregon – With access to nearly 92,000 acres of parks, trails and public gardens, Portland certainly looks green. But with the highest air quality, water quality, green economy initiatives, eco transportation policies, green buildings and legislation, Portland ranks highest in the country. Half of Portland is powered by renewable resources and its eco-friendly inhabitants work hard to keep it that way. Organic food and green businesses are common place in this mossy Northwestern city.

But if you have international travel on your radar, where should you venture? Take a look at these cities, labeled some of the greenest in the world.

Norway, Finland and Sweden are three countries in the world that rank extremely high in terms of green living and green initiatives. A trip to Scandinavia is paradise for green travelers. Olso, Norway and Malmo Sweden are two of the greenest cities in the world and won’t disappoint even the most scrupulous green traveler.


Another that is known for being especially eco-friendly is Amsterdam. Amsterdam spends $40 million alone each year to improve and maintenance its cycling infrastructure and half of its population commutes by bike or mass transit. Rekyjavik, Iceland has been given props for the hydrogen buses now on city streets and an enormous amount of Reykjavik’s power comes from renewable resource. Curtibia, Brazil is another world favorite with three quarters of its residents using public transportation. Copenhagen, Denmark is yet another Scandinavian city known for its green initiatives with a city full of bikers and power from wind and other renewable resources. Other favorite green travel destinations include: Toronto, London, Singapore, British Colombia, Vancouver, Sydney, Barcelona, Austin and Quebec.

With green travel becoming so popular and mainstream it is easier than ever to enjoy green living and ecotourism. Naturally, there are infinitely more than these few green cities. While you’re traveling look for more cities who have made a commitment to going green in addition to looking for eco-friendly businesses, restaurants and hotels when you travel.

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