Albuquerque, N.M., has long been one of the hottest destinations in the Southwest, but did you know it's also one of America's greenest cities? Albuquerque boasts 310 days a year of sunny skies, perfect for taking in all the city's breathtaking natural sights, and has a number of impressive accomplishments under its belt in ensuring that life in the Rio Grande Valley is sustainable for future generations.
It's tough to be a green city in the Southwest. Sprawling growth, the preference of personal vehicles over public transit and high water consumption make such a designation seem out of reach — but Albuquerque has worked to make up for these things, and it shows. In 2006, Albuquerque embraced the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and even filed a Supreme Court brief supporting a global warming lawsuit against the Bush administration. Mayor Martin Chavez has committed to buying only alternative-energy vehicles for the city fleet, and the city council set aside 3 percent of its budget for energy-efficient projects.
Hotel Albuquerque is a landmark hotel located in the heart of the historic Old Town Plaza and museum district. It offers 188 guest rooms and 20 suites, along with two restaurants and a lounge. Rates start at $129 a night. Hotel Albuquerque, along with Nativo Lodge located just off I-25, is owned by Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which has undertaken a number of green initiatives at all of its properties, including the use of environmentally friendly cleaners, biodegradable to-go containers, xeriscaping, LED exterior lighting and locally grown, seasonal and organically grown foods.
Two all-vegetarian restaurants within the city limits are Annapurna's World Vegetarian Cafe and Fei's Health Cafe , and many more restaurants in Albuquerque are vegan- and vegetarian-friendly . And, of course, there's always the option of heading to one of the city's farmers markets or health-food stores to stock up on fresh produce, breads and cheese for an al fresco meal in one of the many stunning outdoor settings.
(MNN homepage photo: JadeXJustice /Flickr)