Sustainable Travel Guide to NYC: the Green Side of the Big Apple

Welcome to the city that never sleeps, where the hustle and bustle of urban life meets a melting pot of cultures and a skyline that’s nothing short of iconic. New York, with its vibrant energy and endless possibilities, is a destination that captivates millions of visitors each year. In this sustainable travel guide to NYC, we’ll explore how to enjoy the best of the Big Apple while minimizing your environmental impact.

Sustainable Accommodation in NYC

Choosing the right accommodation is the first step towards a sustainable stay in New York. Opt for eco-friendly hotels that prioritize energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable practices.

Here are some examples of eco-friendly accommodation in NYC:

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: Nestled along the waterfront with breathtaking views of Manhattan, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is a LEED-certified oasis. Sustainable features include reclaimed wood furnishings, organic bedding, and a rooftop garden providing fresh produce for on-site restaurants. The hotel’s commitment to environmental responsibility extends to its energy-efficient design and dedication to reducing waste.

The James New York – NoMad: This chic hotel in the NoMad neighborhood boasts eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient lighting, water-saving fixtures, and a commitment to recycling. The James New York places a strong emphasis on supporting local artisans and sourcing sustainable materials for its stylish and contemporary design.

Element New York Times Square West: Positioned in the heart of Midtown, Element combines modern comfort with sustainability. The hotel features energy-efficient appliances, a waste reduction program, and a commitment to recycling. Guests can enjoy eco-friendly amenities, including bicycles for exploring the city, making their stay both comfortable and environmentally conscious.

Kimpton Ink48 Hotel: Located in Hell’s Kitchen, Kimpton Ink48 takes sustainability seriously. The hotel is powered by renewable energy, implements water conservation measures, and participates in eco-friendly initiatives like EarthCare. Guests can enjoy organic and locally sourced offerings at the hotel’s restaurant, ensuring a green and delightful experience.

The Dominick Hotel: Overlooking the Hudson River, The Dominick Hotel combines luxury with sustainability. With LEED Gold certification, the hotel incorporates energy-efficient technologies, water-saving initiatives, and a commitment to waste reduction. The rooftop pool, surrounded by greenery, offers a serene escape with stunning city views, reflecting the hotel’s dedication to both comfort and environmental responsibility.

Pro tip to find a sustainable accommodation in NYC: Look for certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to ensure your choice aligns with environmental standards.

Sustainable Transportation in NYC

New York’s public transportation system is an excellent way to navigate the city sustainably. The subway, buses, and bikes are eco-friendly alternatives to private car travel. Consider getting a MetroCard for unlimited rides on the subway and buses. If walking is your preference, New York’s grid system makes it easy to explore neighborhoods on foot.

Green Things to Do in NYC

Central Park Conservancy Volunteer Experience: Join the Central Park Conservancy as a volunteer to contribute to the preservation of this iconic green space. Participate in tree care, habitat restoration, and environmental education programs, fostering a sense of community and environmental stewardship.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm Tour: Explore the world’s largest rooftop soil farms at Brooklyn Grange. Take a guided tour to learn about urban agriculture, sustainable farming practices, and how this green oasis contributes to local food production while promoting biodiversity and community engagement.

The High Line Sustainability Tour: Dive into sustainability on the High Line, an elevated park built on a former rail track. Join a guided tour focusing on the park’s eco-friendly design, sustainable plantings, and innovative stormwater management. Discover how this urban park showcases green infrastructure while providing a unique perspective of the city.

NYC Audubon Eco-Cruises: Embark on a wildlife adventure with NYC Audubon’s Eco-Cruises. These boat tours explore the city’s waterways, emphasizing bird conservation and ecological education. Learn about the diverse avian species that call New York home and the efforts to protect their habitats, contributing to a greater understanding of urban wildlife and the importance of preservation.

Greenwich Village Sustainable Food Tour: Delve into the culinary scene while supporting sustainability on a Greenwich Village food tour. Discover local eateries committed to farm-to-table practices, reducing food waste, and promoting ethical sourcing. This guided gastronomic journey not only satisfies your taste buds but also highlights the importance of sustainable dining choices in the heart of the city.

Sustainable Shopping in NYC

New York is a shopping haven, but choosing sustainable options is also possible and can make your retail therapy guilt-free.

Patagonia SoHo: Patagonia, a pioneer in sustainable outdoor gear, brings its ethos to SoHo. The store offers a range of responsibly sourced clothing, made from recycled materials. Patagonia’s commitment to environmental activism is evident, and shopping here supports their initiatives for fair labor practices and environmental conservation.

Reformation: Located in the Lower East Side, Reformation combines fashion-forward designs with sustainability. This boutique brand focuses on using eco-friendly fabrics and implementing water-saving practices, ensuring each piece has a minimal environmental footprint while keeping you stylish.

Beacon’s Closet: Nestled in Williamsburg, Beacon’s Closet is a treasure trove of vintage finds. This thrift store embraces the circular economy, offering pre-loved clothing and accessories. By choosing second-hand fashion, you contribute to a more sustainable and ethical approach to style while discovering unique and timeless pieces.

Eileen Fisher Renew: Situated in Brooklyn, Eileen Fisher Renew is a flagship store for the brand’s recycled clothing program. Here, gently worn Eileen Fisher garments are cleaned, mended, and given a second life. By purchasing from Renew, you participate in a closed-loop system, promoting a more circular and sustainable approach to fashion.

Package Free Shop: Embrace a zero-waste lifestyle with a visit to Package Free Shop in Williamsburg. This store offers an array of sustainable and plastic-free alternatives, from reusable containers to eco-friendly home goods. Shopping here aligns with the mission to reduce single-use plastic and promote a more sustainable, waste-free living.

Green Coffee Shops in NYC

Start your day with a sustainable caffeine fix at these eco-conscious coffee spots:

Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Greenwich Village): Stumptown Coffee Roasters, located in Greenwich Village, is renowned for its commitment to sustainability. They source high-quality, ethically traded beans, ensuring fair compensation for farmers. The coffee shop promotes energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices, making it a haven for those seeking a delicious brew with a side of social responsibility.

Blue Bottle Coffee (Williamsburg): Blue Bottle Coffee, nestled in Williamsburg, emphasizes freshness and sustainability. With a focus on direct trade relationships and quality beans, this coffee shop provides a delicious and ethically sourced cup. Their commitment extends to eco-friendly packaging, energy-efficient practices, and community engagement, creating a sustainable coffee experience.

Everyman Espresso (Soho): Everyman Espresso in SoHo offers a sustainable coffee experience with a focus on quality and responsibility. They source beans from reputable producers, ensuring fair wages and ethical practices. The coffee shop embraces eco-friendly initiatives, minimizing waste and promoting energy efficiency. Enjoy a cup of coffee here, knowing that your choice supports ethical and sustainable coffee production.

Cafe Grumpy (Chelsea): Cafe Grumpy in Chelsea is a champion of sustainability in the coffee world. They prioritize direct trade relationships, ensuring transparency and fair compensation for coffee producers. The cafe embraces eco-friendly practices, from compostable packaging to energy-efficient operations. Indulge in their ethically sourced coffee while supporting a business committed to both quality and sustainability.

Devoción (Williamsburg): Devoción, located in Williamsburg, takes sustainability to a new level with their commitment to freshness and ethical sourcing. They directly import beans from Colombia, ensuring fair compensation for farmers and reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation. With a dedication to transparency, Devoción offers a unique and sustainable coffee experience, connecting customers with the journey from bean to cup.

Food Markets in NYC

Explore the diverse culinary scene of New York while supporting local, sustainable options:

Union Square Greenmarket: A year-round farmers’ market in Union Square, the Greenmarket boasts a diverse array of fresh produce, artisanal products, and local goods. Connecting urban dwellers with local farmers, this market supports sustainable agriculture and reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. Open four days a week, it’s a bustling hub of eco-conscious culinary delights.

Smorgasburg: Held in various locations, including Williamsburg and Prospect Park, Smorgasburg is a foodie’s paradise. This open-air market features a curated selection of local vendors offering a diverse range of culinary creations. From innovative dishes to classic favorites, Smorgasburg supports local businesses and fosters a vibrant community around sustainable and delicious food.

Chelsea Market: Located in the historic Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market is a renowned indoor marketplace offering a mix of artisanal food vendors, unique shops, and culinary experiences. With a commitment to supporting local businesses, the market provides a diverse range of sustainable and locally sourced options, making it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.

Essex Street Market: A Lower East Side institution since 1940, Essex Street Market has undergone a modern transformation while maintaining its commitment to showcasing local vendors. This indoor market offers an eclectic mix of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and international flavors. By supporting Essex Street Market, visitors contribute to the preservation of local food traditions and the sustainability of small businesses.

Grand Central Market: Nestled within Grand Central Terminal, Grand Central Market is a hidden gem for food enthusiasts on the go. This market combines convenience with sustainability by offering fresh produce, artisanal products, and gourmet treats. The market’s location within the iconic terminal adds a touch of history to the culinary experience, creating a harmonious blend of sustainability and cultural richness.

Weather in New York

Understanding the weather is crucial for a comfortable and sustainable experience. New York experiences four distinct seasons:

Spring (March to May): Mild temperatures ranging from 10 to 20°C (50-68°F). Pack layers and a light jacket.

Summer (June to August): Warm temperatures between 20 to 30°C (68-86°F). Dress lightly and stay hydrated.

Autumn (September to November): Crisp temperatures between 10 to 20°C (50-68°F). Bring layers and a warm jacket.

Winter (December to February): Cold temperatures ranging from -5 to 5°C (23-41°F). Bundle up with heavy winter clothing.


New York offers a myriad of sustainable experiences, from exploring green spaces to supporting eco-conscious businesses. By making thoughtful choices in accommodation, transportation, shopping, and dining, you can enjoy the best of the city while minimizing your environmental impact. Embrace the green side of the Big Apple and contribute to the ongoing efforts to make New York a more sustainable and eco-friendly destination.

Maria Kennedy
Maria Kennedy
Hey, I'm Maria Kennedy, the curator at The Travel Kind. Join me as we redefine travel, breaking stereotypes and celebrating diversity. Let's ditch the ordinary and vibe together on a journey where every destination is a unique experience. Ready to join the vibe tribe? Let's go! 🌍✨ #TheTravelKindVibes

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