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Going Green in America's Cities

Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Portland Center Stage

Portland, Oregon

Where to stay: The elegantly historic Heathman Hotel (800/551-0011; heathmanhotel.com) recently partnered with the Energy Trust of Oregon to work towards becoming an Energy Star-certified hotel while slashing 25 percent of the hotel's energy costs and natural gas costs.

Where to eat: The restaurant Rocket (503/236-1110; rocketpdx.com) has taken off not just because of its highly rated American cuisine but because of its home in the LEED Platinum Ecotrust Building, which includes a green roof with raised garden beds and its own water well.

How to travel: The TriMet transport system even serves trendy areas like "The Pearl."

Green activity: You can see first-rate plays and musicals at the Portland Center Stage (503/445-3700; pcs.org), housed in the LEED-certified Platinum Armory building.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Poste Brasserie

Washington, D.C.

Where to stay: The historic Willard (202/628-9100; washington.intercontinental.com) recently made a switch to using 100% wind-power energy. Although the energy comes as carbon credits, it does reduce the amount of greenhouse-causing CO2.

Where to eat: Poste Brasserie (202/783-6060; postebrasserie.com) uses its aquahealth water system to eliminate plastic bottle use. Guests enjoy fresh sparking or still water without the waste.

How to travel: Hop into an electric roadster and take in the sites with the Bi-Partisan Tour Company (202/558-6848; bi-partisantourcompany.com).

Green activity: The country's first LEED-CI spa, Nusta Spa (202/530-5700; nustaspa.com), offers eco-friendly products and treatments like spa fusions and stone facials in a healthy space.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Austin, Texas

Where to stay: Habitat Suites (800/535-4663; habitatsuites.com) opened in 1985 and became part of the "Green Hotels Association" in 1991. The hotel was designed to support ecological consciousness; the photovoltaic system powers about 20% of its energy.

Where to eat: Get your green on at Leaf restaurant (512/474-5323; leafsalad.com), which looks and feels like a farmer's market and supports local farmers and business. It uses only biodegradable, compostable, or recycled products, including cutlery made from potatoes.

How to travel: Alien Scooters (512/447-4220; alienscooters.com) gets you around town on environmentally friendly electric scooters and e-bikes.

Green activity: Zip over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (512/232-0100; wildflower.org) to enjoy the native gardens and plants. It uses solar power, has a green roof, and offers community outreach programs to restore the environment.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of L'Etoile

Madison, Wisconsin

Where to stay : The Arbor House (608/238-2981; arbor-house.com ) has retrofit its 1850's structure to incorporate sustainable features like radiant in-floor heating, tile made from recycled glass, and Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) recycled woods.

Where to eat : Even non-greenies appreciate the highly recognized L'Etoile (608/251-0500; letoile-restaurant.com ), which uses local and seasonal ingredients while its menu proudly promotes those ingredients' originating producers.

How to travel : Call up Badger Cab (608/256-5566; badgercab.com ); the entire fleet runs on propane.

Green getaway : The Olbrich Botanical Gardens (608/246-4550; ci.madison.wi.us/Olbrich ) features beautiful rose perennial, woodland, and herb gardens and promotes sustainable gardening practices and classes.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Fireplace

Boston, Massachusetts

Where to stay: Classic combines with green at the Lenox hotel (800/225-7676; lenoxhotel.com). Besides the stately high ceilings adorned with brass chandeliers, the hotel uses state-of-the-art insulated windows, and the low-VOC paints offer cleaner indoor air quality.

Where to eat: Romance isn't all that's going on at the New England-inspired Fireplace (617/975-1900; fireplacerest.com); green initiatives like banning Polystyrene Foam (Styrofoam) and a comprehensive recycling program make it a green option as well.

How to travel: Get to and from Logan airport with PlanetTran (888/PLNT-TRN; planettran.com), an auto service that utilizes fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles exclusively.

Green activity: Boston Harbor Islands recently installed a photovoltaic solar electric system on the Spectacle Island Visitor Center (617/223-8666; bostonislands.org). And check in with the Boston CVB (888/SEE-BOSTON; bostonusa.com/Green) for details on its Green Visitor Program.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Hotel Monaco

Chicago, Illinois

Where to stay: As part of the Kimpton group, the Monaco (866/610-0081; monaco-chicago.com) has a green procurement program, as well as a variety of social and environmental benefit and impact programs such as Dress for Success, Red Ribbon Campaign, and local coat drives.

Where to eat: Chi-town made big news when it banned foie gras from restaurants, but restaurants like Rick's Bayless' Topolobampo (312/661-1434; rickbayless.com) have been at the top of the eco-food chain. One of the forerunners of the sustainable food movement, Rick's place offers a sustainable seafood bar featuring organic farmed shrimp, oysters, and lime-marinated bay scallops.

How to travel: Chicagoans "El" their sustainable selves around town, but those who need some green freedom can rent a Vespa at Windy City Vespa (773/276-5200; windycityvespa.com)

Green activity: In the concrete jungle, escape to the green spaces of the 24.5-acre Millennium Park (312/742-1168; millenniumpark.org), where you can take the self-guided audio tour for free.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Segway Tour

Atlanta, Georgia

Where to stay: Until 2010, when the LEED-certified 1 Hotel opens, the greenest stay is at the Emory Conference Center Hotel (877/339-8727; emoryconferencecenter.com), the city's only Green Seal-designated hotel, with wastewater management and environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies.

Where to eat: About 30 miles south of downtown, Serebe, a community based on sustainability, boasts the LEED Silver Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop (770/463-8379; blueeyeddaisy.com), which serves bistro cuisine.

How to travel: See the sights on a Segway tour (877/SEG-TOUR; citysegwaytours.com/atlanta). And for a chauffered, low-impact ride around town, try the RS400 Lexus hybrids from Elite Green Car (404/350-8511; elitegreencar.com).

Green activity: Coke went green with its new World of Coca-Cola museum, (800/676-COKE; woccatlanta.com) designed to LEED standards, including construction on a previously developed industrial site and lots of green space.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Starwood Resorts

Honolulu, Hawaii

Where to stay: Along with spectacular views of natural blue Pacific and Diamond Head, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (866/716-8109; princess-kaiulani.com) showed its eco-commitment with heat pumps and exchangers to recover waste heat for hot water (which saves 50% in gas usage), as well as low-flow toilets.

Where to eat: At the popular American bistro restaurants Town (808/735-5900) and the newer Downtown (808/536-5900), owner Ed Kenney composts with a worm bin, then uses the fertilizer in the herb garden outside of Town and on the greenery outside of Downtown.

How to travel: Rent from Segway of Hawaii (808/941-3151; segwayofhawaii.com for some environmentally friendly touring transportation.

Green activity: On the Hina Adventures eco-tour (888/933-HINA; hinaadventures.com), two native Oahu women lead hiking and driving adventures that focus on the local cultural heritage, sacred sites, and the fragile environment.

Going Green in America
Going Green in America's Cities

Courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Phoenix, Arizona

Where to stay: The intoxicatingly chic Hotel Valley Ho (866/882-4484; hotelvalleyho.com) recently installed a plate heat exchanger, which greatly reduces electricity.

Where to eat: Sustainability, not sand, will soon represent Phoenix if eateries like the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort's restaurant, Kai (the Pima word for seed), (602/385-5726; wildhorsepassresort.com) continue to use local, regional ingredients and emphasize their Native American roots.

How to travel: To get around with style and environmental responsibility, try EnviroCar (888/334-4034; envirocarphx.com), which offers chauffeured transportation with a hybrid fleet.

Green activity: In a place known for its spa, guests of The Boulders (866/397-6520; theboulders.com) can take a walking tour led by a local geologist amid the 12-million-year-old rock formations that surround the resort.

Going Green in America

See the slideshow: Going Green in America's Cities


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