Top Ten Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

Top Ten Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

In order to be the most sustainable and green cities in the US, a lot of factors must be considered. While some may think that being sustainable only means using less resources, or going “green”, it is much more complex than that. A truly sustainable city takes into account all aspects of life including economy, environment, equity, and leadership.

Climate Change, Sustainability, Green Initiatives and Global Warming. It seems these days all of these and all the  associated terms are always in the news and on the tip of the tongue for most people when thinking of the future. It is an issue that many cities across the United States and even across the world that is being addressed. This is where the idea of a “green city” originates. That is a city which has implemented initiatives over time that aims to tackle climate change and reduce energy waste which is likely to have an important attractive quality for prospective residents.

Specifically, for individuals who are already concerned about climate change and wish to make an impact, for them choosing to reside in a city which promotes sustainability and being “green” is a no-brainer. Additionally, this is likely to push the value of properties in the areas where these initiatives already exist. This can be supported by the wise words of Bill Nye “The less we do to address climate change now, the more regulation we will have in the future”. 

In this article we have compiled a list of the most green cities in the US with the best sustainability which have been praised for their implementation of strategies and overall climate change awareness. We have used the source The City Clean Energy Scorecard by ACEEE to number our list and also implemented other relevant sources of information for further analysis.  

San Francisco, California

#1 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

Most green cities in the US - San Francisco
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

At the number one spot on the list we have San Francisco California. In Green initiatives alone, the city has had strategies in place for decades. In construction, they implemented the Green Building Code which considers low-energy use requirements and the requirement to adhere to solar and EV-readiness. In Transportation, San Francisco’s Better Market Street Plan implements a car-free zone throughout busy areas reducing congestion and pollution. Additionally, the roof of the Moscone Center in San Francisco holds the title for the most solar power installation on a municipally owned property in the entire country.

Seattle, Washington

#2 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels chait goli 1796730
Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

At number two we have the city of Seattle. Another example of a city who has implemented its own strategies in order to tackle climate change. One example is the implementation of the Seattle Energy Code which attempts to regulate the building practice in the city. The city has also successfully implemented other renewable energy sources such as solar and hydro power, this is further supported through Seattle City Light the public utility department which uses carbon-zero energy sources.  This has all helped in making Seattle one of the most green cities in the US.

Washington, D.C.

#3 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels pixabay 208766
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Next on the list is Washington D.C. This city has had a focus on tackling climate change for many years so it is no wonder why it is in the top ten. The city has been recognized as being the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)  Platinum City in the World and also had the most LEED certified building in the city than any other cities in the US, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Additionally, one of the bills passed in 2018 specifically The Clean Energy DC Act was noted as being the fastest-acting climate change legislation in the country.  The introduction of this law has established Washington as one of the most green cities in the US.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

#4 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels josh hild 4270292
Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels

The city of Minneapolis continues to be ranked highly for its initiatives in being a green city. It has implemented various strategies including the introduction of solar power and even a Tree Planting Initiative which is attempting to transform downtown from “gray to green”. With these innovative ideas, Minneapolis is sure to continue thriving as a green city.

Boston, Massachusetts

#5 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels jayden burdick 3397975
Photo by Jayden Burdick from Pexels

Next on the list is Boston. The city is commended for being one of the first in the United States to adopt a Green Building Zone which enables Boston to be among the top cities with the most green buildings. The city has also been named as the most energy-efficient city in the country within the last decade. Thus, Boston has had a long history of implementing the required initiatives in ordered to becoming a green city that promotes climate change awareness.

New York, NY

#6 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels charles parker 5847354
Photo by Charles Parker from Pexels

Yes, you read that right, New York City is also amongst the top ten green cities in America. This can be endorsed by a number of factors. As New York City has an efficient public transport service in place, a well-developed bicycle riding infrastructure and plenty of trees and parks, it definitely makes reliance on other modes of transport far easier. All of this enables citizens of New York City to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Denver, Colorado

#7 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels colin lloyd 3751008
Photo by Colin Lloyd from Pexels

The city of Denver is next on the list. This is also another example of a city who have had green initiatives and strategies in place for decades. The Green Fleet was introduced almost three decades ago. This was the introduction of using alternative fuel sources for vehicles used by the city. They continue to expand on this year on year which definitely enables them to be ranked as a highly green city. Additionally, the city of Denver boasts eighty-five miles of paved trails which makes the city largely accessible by walking.

Los Angeles, California

#8 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels roberto nickson 2525903
Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

The city of L.A.  is also an entry in the list of top green cities in the country.  The city continues to establish itself as a leader in carbon reduction and climate change action through a number of different strategies. For example, the aptly named pLAn puts into place a number of key ways in which a low-carbon, green-energy future can be achieved. 

San Jose, California

#9 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

The city of San Jose, another entry from California, makes it into the top ten green cities in the United States. San Jose has been renowned for its leadership in sustainability and climate-forward policy. The city adopted “The Green Vision” in 2007 which set out a fifteen year plan. This and continued additional strategies have enabled San Jose to be a leading green city in the US. 

Oakland, California

#10 Most Sustainable and Green Cities In the US

pexels j 6379181
Photo by J from Pexels

The final city on the top 10 green cities in the United States is Oakland. The city has continually been an addition in the top cities for green initiatives. The city also prides itself at being at the forefront of the green economy which is an attempt at creating jobs and economic prosperity with the added bonus of enhancing environmental performance.

There you have it, that is our list for the top ten most green cities in the United States. Of course, this list will always be changing so will always try and keep this list updated.

We hope this article will have provided you with knowledge and awareness of how cities in the US are attempting to tackle climate change and the different ways in which they are achieving this. Please browse our other resources to provide you with further in-depth knowledge about the cities in the United States.


Citytistics is the leading website for city data and insights for cities in America. Our goal is to help you find the right place to live, work, and play. We provide cost of living, crime rates, and happiness levels for cities across the United States. Whether you are looking to move to a new city or just want to learn more about your current city, Citytistics has the information you need!

Leave a Comment