The 5 Cleanest Cities in the U.S.
The 5 Cleanest Cities in the U.S.

Green initiatives are spreading rapidly across the United States as cities recognize the importance of nurturing and protecting our wilderness and creating environmentally friendly places to live in. The nation’s metropolitan areas are striving now more than ever to clean up their act and come up with innovative ideas for introducing eco-friendly alternatives to traditional ways of life. From tropical islands to coastal enclaves, and some of the largest cities in the country, here are a few of the cleanest cities in the U.S.  

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu city with Waikiki beach and Diamond Head mountain.
Credit: Maridav/ Shutterstock

Aloha, eco-lovers! Voted the cleanest city in the United States by the American Lung Institute, Honolulu is a tropical paradise featuring pristine shores and national parks. Come for the clean, island air but stay for the delightfully fresh poke bowls, smoldering volcanoes, and palm-studded beaches.

Set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it only makes sense that the island capital is focused on measures to combat climate change. Sustainability is at the forefront of the city of Honolulu and several green initiatives are being established including solar energy, carbon off-setting, and water conservation efforts. The city also pledged to plant over 100 million trees by 2031, further ensuring their status as one of the cleanest cities in the U.S.

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Large cowboy boot art sculpture outside the Cheyenne Depot Park in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming
Credit: Paul Brady Photography/ Shutterstock

The capital of one of the most remote and sparsely populated states in the United States, Cheyenne is Wyoming's cowboy mecca. Crisp air rolls across the prairies, and the city's dedication to eco-friendly practices coupled with its general rurality have resulted in a clean bill of health from the American Lung Institute.

Without the worry of smoggy pollution, travelers can expect some of the cleanest air in the U.S. and unspoiled views across the Great Plains. Enjoy this tidy city by learning about the pioneers of old at the Frontier Days Old Museum or strolling among the flourishing Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. If you can’t decide, follow the colorful Boots of Cheyenne for a good time.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Aerial of Wilmington, North Carolina beach.
Credit: Farid Sani/ Shutterstock

A burgeoning city on North Carolina’s southern coast, Wilmington is a surfer's dream. The Port City’s fresh sea air and commitment to eco-friendly living led to its nomination as one of the nation’s top five cleanest cities. Green buildings and street sweepers, city gardening efforts, and investment in safe bike paths have all contributed to its continuing efforts to protect the natural environment.

Walk underneath a canopy of Spanish moss and enjoy one of the cleanest cities in America at the beautiful Airlie Gardens. If you’re craving the ocean breeze, the Masonboro Island Reserve is perfect for taking in Wilmington’s rustic coastline.

Bangor, Maine

Buildings and streets of Bangor, Maine.
Credit: DenisTangneyJr/ Shutterstock

Named for a popular Irish melody, Bangor was ranked America’s fifth cleanest city by the American Lung Institute for 2022. With a recent grant from the EPA to help further the city's environmental initiatives and revitalize green spaces, Bangor is well positioned to hold onto their status in the years to come.

Located just one hour from stunning Acadia National Park, enjoy Maine’s wilderness and clean air in the great outdoors or stay close to the quaint downtown at the Bangor City Park. Don’t leave town without tasting a craft beer from one of the 14 local breweries. 2 Feet Brewing Co. and Orono are town favorites.  

Bellingham, Washington

Forest and Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham, Washington.
Credit: SEASTOCK/ Shutterstock

Caught between two other eco-friendly cities, Seattle in the south and Vancouver to the north, Bellingham is considered one of the cleanest cities in the United States, a poignant environmental milestone considering its location in the eco-conscious Pacific Northwest.

Celebrate Bellingham’s clean bill of health by exploring its unique location near the diverse Salish Sea and picturesque Cascade Mountain Range. Bring some binoculars and search for the rare orcas in the Pacific Ocean, hike the rugged Cascade Pass Trail, or attend the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival come spring. Visitors are spoiled for choice in terms of outdoor activities.

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