Going Green in America's Cities
San Francisco, California
Where to stay: Orchard Garden Hotel (415/399-9807; theorchardgardenhotel.com) represents one of the nation's only LEED-certified hotels, with a rooftop garden and guestroom energy-control feature.
Where to eat: Mixt Greens (415/433-6498; mixtgreens.com) offers not only organic, local and seasonal ingredients, but its natural, light-filled space has extensive green elements like zero-VOC paints.
How to travel: Cable cars aren't just nostalgic, they're also green, since they run by gripping a continuously moving steel cable. Going upscale?Eco Limo (888/4 ECO-LIMO; eco-limo.com) adds green by using bio-diesel and hybrid cars and SUVs.
Green activity: Napa now looks as green as its grapes. Stay at the LEED Gold-certified Gaia hotel (888/798-3777; gaianapavalleyhotel.com) with its Solatube tubular skylights, and visit a sustainable winery like Duckhorn Vineyards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.