American's greenest cities include San Francisco, Chicago and Denver, according to Travel + Leisure. As part of the annual America's Favorite Cities survey, readers ranked 35 metropolitan areas on a variety of travel-friendly qualities, from hotels to local microbrews and good wireless coverage.
To determine the greenest cities, the magazine tallied the results from three survey categories: cleanliness, pedestrian-friendliness and public transit, and great public parks, which offset that urban asphalt and improve air quality. The high-ranking cities support other green initiatives that benefit travelers as well as locals: in Denver, the Brown Palace Hotel uses water from its own artesian well. Minneapolis offers cheap, easy-access bike rentals.
Then there's Portland, Ore., rated America's No. 1 greenest city, where every day feels like Earth Day. One fourth of the city is shaded by tree canopy, and the ground itself features 288 parks. The Heathman Hotel, near light-rail and streetcar stops, completed a green overhaul and now even recycles "gently used" soap and shampoos, having them treated before sending them to area shelters.
Other American cities, of course, are eco-friendly in ways that aren't always readily obvious. In a Siemens 2011 study that measured CO2 emissions, land use, air quality, and environmental governance, San Francisco came out on top — the city currently recycles 78 percent of its waste — and New York City ranked in the top 3 for its efficient land use and mass transit.
Savannah, Ga. ranked second on the list, with Minneapolis/St. Paul third, Denver fourth, and Chicago coming in fifth.
Read more about sustainability trends.