Chicago has become a breeding ground for urban environmental initiatives, starting with the green roof that was installed on the top of City Hall and the appointment of a Chief Environmental Officer on the mayor's staff. Throughout the city, architects and contractors are building according to environmentally responsible principles, and an addition to the already massive McCormick Place Convention Center was the largest new construction building in the country to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. An active pro-cycling community has pushed for more bike lanes in the city's streets, and Millennium Park provides secured bike parking and showers for two-wheeled commuters.
A city-wide Green Hotels Initiative has encouraged hotels to become more energy-efficient and change back-room operations to minimize their impact on the environment. The nonprofit organization Green Seal has certified many local hotels for their role in minimizing waste, conserving water, and promoting energy savings; among those getting the highest marks are the Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Felix, InterContinental Chicago, Hotel Monaco, and Talbott Hotel.
A focus on locally produced, organic ingredients has become a hallmark of the city's top chefs. Following the lead of well-known chefs such as Charlie Trotter, Bruce Sherman of North Pond, and Paul Kahan of Blackbird, more and more local restaurateurs are highlighting seasonal ingredients on their menus, and the Green City Market has become a popular shopping destination for both culinary professionals and local foodies.
In addition to the resources for Chicago listed above, see frommers.com/planning for more tips on responsible travel.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.