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5 Sustainable Cities in the U.S. Worth the Visit

The earth is a finite resource that we are all called to care for and some city governments across the U.S. take that stewardship very seriously. Statistics consistently highlight the benefits of sustainability, and yet each city tailors its efforts to fit its unique climate, population, and infrastructure. Balancing the needs of diverse communities and income levels, these cities are undertaking the daunting task of envisioning and implementing sustainability measures for all. Here are five cities on a mission to skyrocket their eco-friendly goals.

Winni Wanderer |  “The City of Roses” - Portland, Oregon

“The City of Roses” - Portland, Oregon

Known for its quirky vibe, Portland is a bike-friendly city with a population that values creative individuality. The eco-focus in the “City of Roses” is an emphasis on green streets, and buildings touting eco-friendly roofs. Recently, the city converted over 40,000 streetlights to LED which will use more than 60% less energy than traditional lightbulbs.


While visiting, stop and smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden - where over 10,000 roses will delight even the thorniest of visitors, spark some conversation around the varied exhibits at the Portland Art Museum, or learn about wildlife conservation at the Oregon Zoo – where you can meet Jolene, the smallest member of the orangutan family!


Winni Wanderer | “Saintly City” – St. Paul, Minnesota

“Saintly City” – St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul is looking to gain a halo in sustainability by working on a four-pronged approach that tackles energy use, transportation emissions, waste management and water treatment. Boasting a motto of “the most livable city in America,” St. Paul is pursuing an initiative to enhance its biking and sidewalk network. The aim is to facilitate walking and biking as convenient transportation options for both residents and visitors.

When you visit, stop in to the Science Museum of Minnesota to view the most recent exhibits, catch a show at the Omni Theater, or learn about eco-sustainable product swaps for everyday life. Take a tour of the Wabasha Street Caves and hear the history of a bygone era involving mining expeditions, gangsters, and prohibition.


Winni Wanderer | “The Emerald City” – Seattle, Washington

“The Emerald City” – Seattle, Washington

In Seattle, the commitment to clean energy is tangible, with 80% of the distributed power coming from carbon-free hydroelectricity. The city is also putting a strong emphasis on equity in economic and environmental opportunities through multiple outreach initiatives for its residents citywide.

While exploring the vibrant coffeehouse scene is a must in the Emerald City, there are also notable attractions such as the Olympic Sculpture Park, spanning over 9 acres with outdoor sculptures, an indoor pavilion, and a beachfront on Puget Sound. Visitors can also explore Chihuly Garden and Glass a tribute to the Seattle-born artist Dale Chihuly, and the Museum of Pop Culture, featuring exhibits and artifacts from music, television, and film across different eras.


Winni Wanderer | “Beantown” – Boston, Massachusetts

“Beantown” – Boston, Massachusetts

Hailed as one of America’s most walkable cities, Boston has truly put in the work to make the city accessible for pedestrians. Beantown is committed to becoming a zero-waste city by 2050 and has created programs and assessments for not only area businesses but for residential areas as well.

A great way to experience Boston’s green spaces is to explore the Emerald Necklace – nine parks connected by waterways and parkways which total seven miles of walkable area. Stroll through Quincy Market, a bustling marketplace resembling a festival, brimming with delectable treats, or venture into Faneuil Hall where you'll find not only enticing dining options but also unique shopping opportunities.


Winni Wanderer | “Golden Gate City” – San Francisco, California

“Golden Gate City” – San Francisco, California

It’s no secret that the Golden Gate City raises the bar with its recycling and food-waste composting practices, but the city also places an emphasis on sustainable dining as well. Farm-to-table practices are commonplace among city restaurants, and when coupled with robust recycling, composting initiatives, and solar energy efforts, San Francisco emerges as a chart topper in sustainability.

While there, visit the California Academy of Sciences, situated in the heart of Golden Gate Park. Here, you can explore more than 40 million specimens showcased across multiple exhibits in the rainforest, planetarium, aquarium, and natural history sections of the museum. Or perhaps you want to visit Alcatraz Island where you can view current exhibits and embark on a tour to learn more about the penitentiary’s colorful history.


We hope this inspires you to visit one of these sustainable cities! Do you have a sustainable city to tell us about? Reach out to us at WinniWanderer@winni.com. Hearing from you will make our day!


 

By a Staff Contributor

 

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