Are you craving some vitamin D or looking for a change of scenery? Well, you’re not alone. More and more people are looking to move to sunnier cities throughout the country. In fact, sunny, relatively affordable metro areas have been some of the most popular migration destinations over the last few years.
So if you’re considering moving to a sunnier city but aren’t sure which one to choose – we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the sunniest cities in the U.S. – plus some ideas for how to enjoy your time in the sun, beat the heat, and thrive in your new area. Read on to learn more and discover if one of these sunny cities is right for you.
What is sunny weather?
Before diving into the sunniest cities, let’s define what sunny weather means. Sunniness is divided into three categories: sunny (or clear if overnight), mostly sunny/cloudy, and partly sunny/cloudy.
- Sunny: less than 1/8th of the sky is covered with clouds
- Mostly sunny: 1/8-2/8ths of the sky is covered with clouds
- Partly sunny: 3/8-5/8ths of the sky is covered with clouds
This list of cities focuses on the first category, sunny. Keep reading to see our ranking of the sunniest cities with over 100,000 residents based on their annual number of sunny days.
What are the sunniest cities in the U.S.?
1. Yuma, Arizona
242 sunny days per year
Officially the sunniest city in the world, Yuma, AZ, receives over 4,000 sunlight hours per year, along with extremely low humidity. During the summer months, it averages more than 13 hours of sunlight per day, mainly due to its location in the Sonoran Desert. Because of this, summers are sweltering, with temperatures typically in the 110-degree range throughout July and August.
You can use those sunny days to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the city has to offer. From rafting on the Colorado River to exploring the nearby Imperial Sand Dunes, there’s something for everyone in Yuma. In town, you can see the historic city center or visit one of the many local boutiques.
If you’re considering buying a home in Yuma, AZ, you’ll find that the median home sale price is about $317,000, below the national average. Or, if you’re considering renting an apartment, expect the average monthly rent price for a two-bedroom apartment to be around $1,150.
2. Phoenix, Arizona
211 sunny days per year
Located in central Arizona, the state’s capital is also one of the sunniest in the country. All the sun leads to plenty of heat, however, as the area averages well over 100 days in the triple digits annually. The heat hasn’t deterred people from moving there, though – its population grew by over 200,000 between 2010 and 2020, the fastest by a major city.
There are tons of reasons to move to Phoenix. The city is known for its gorgeous landscapes, cacti, hiking, and numerous resorts. There is also plenty to do in the area, from walking at Papago Park to hiking up Piestewa Peak. If you’re a sports fan, the city is home to professional hockey, football, basketball, and baseball teams. After a long day out, grab a bite in the Melrose District if you want a treat.
If you’re considering buying a home in Phoenix, AZ, the median sale price is $460,000, just above the national average. If you’re considering renting an apartment, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,670.
Learn more about living in Phoenix.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
210 sunny days per year
Lovingly known as Sin City, Las Vegas, NV, is an entertainment paradise renowned for its luxurious hotels, casinos, fine dining, and wild adventures. The city is located in the Mojave Desert and receives a lot of sunshine, wind, and very little rain. As a popular migration destination, the city has recently seen rapid population growth.
There are many outdoor activities around Las Vegas, including adventure tours, mountain biking, ziplining, and rock climbing. If you’re looking for something more relaxed, look for one of the many spas, golf courses, museums, aquariums, and parks. The weather is generally warm year-round, so there is always something to do outside.
Thinking of buying a home in Las Vegas, NV? You’ll find the median sale price of a house to be around $438,000, up over 20% from 2021 but still near the national average. If you’re considering renting an apartment, you’ll find the average rent for a two-bedroom unit to be around $1,640.
Learn more about living in Las Vegas.
4. Fresno, California
194 sunny days per year
Fresno, CA, is conveniently located near the coast and three national parks: Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia. While it’s often sunny during the spring and summer, mornings during the fall and winter are generally filled with a thick fog called “tule fog.” This weather pattern, endemic to the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys (both part of the larger Central Valley), helps regulate temperatures but can lead to low visibility. During the summer, temperatures are warm, and the skies are generally clear.
The area is an adventurer’s haven, featuring numerous parks, lakes, trails, and activities just outside the city. Because of its proximity to central valley farms, local cuisine is famous and a point of pride among locals.
If you’re considering moving to Fresno, CA, the median house price is $380,000, below the national average. Are you thinking of renting an apartment? You’ll find the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment to be around $1,680.
Learn more about living in Fresno.
5. El Paso, Texas
193 sunny days per year
Located within the Chihuahuan desert on the southwestern edge of Texas, El Paso is known for its sports, natural splendor, and warm, dry climate. While it’s generally sunny year-round, summers are the wettest time of the year due to the North American monsoon. Because of its inclusion in the Paso del Norte (Borderplex) and its proximity to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, it’s a largely bilingual and binational metropolis.
If you’re looking to soak up the sun, there is a lot to do in the area, from local vineyards to museums, water parks, and zoos. The city is also situated on the Rio Grande, which offers numerous attractions and vistas.
If you’re considering moving to El Paso, TX, the median house price is around $230,000, well below the national average. If you’re looking to rent an apartment, the average cost of a two-bed is about $1,180.
Learn more about living in El Paso.
6. Bakersfield, California
191 sunny days per year
Situated in the middle of one of the largest agricultural producing areas in the world, Bakersfield, CA, is a dry, sunny city about an hour north of Los Angeles. The area receives most of its rain during the winter, while its summers are sunny and hot. Unlike other Central Valley cities, Bakersfield usually receives light fog during the winter. While the region is known for agricultural production, its oil, natural gas, and other extraction industries are some of the largest in the country.
Bakersfield has a famous music scene, notably its unique country music genre. If you’re looking for activities around the city, you can explore nearby farms, eat the local cuisine at dozens of restaurants, or go shopping in the antique district.
If you’re considering buying a home in Bakersfield, CA, you’ll find the median house price to be around $381,000, near the national average. Or, if you’re considering renting an apartment, the average cost for a two-bedroom unit is about $1,670.
Learn more about living in Bakersfield.
7. Sacramento, California
188 sunny days per year
Home to free weekly music concerts, the world’s largest almond processing plant, gold-rush era attractions, and local wineries, Sacramento, CA, is a sunny place to be. It’s a hub for excellent local cuisine, history, politics, and outdoor adventure. The region gets most of its rain during the foggy fall and winter months, while it’s usually dry during the summer.
As the capital of California, the city is near numerous outdoor hotspots, including Folsom Lake, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Gibson Ranch Regional Park, and dozens of golf courses.
If you’re considering buying a home in Sacramento, CA, the median price of a home is $510,000, which is above the national average. If you’re considering renting an apartment, you’ll find the average cost for a two-bedroom apartment to be around $2,312.
Learn more about living in Sacramento.
8. Los Angeles, California
186 sunny days per year
Los Angeles, CA, is a global hub for fashion, entertainment, finance, technology, and travel. Famous for being the home of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and numerous other iconic locales, the second largest city in the U.S. is also one of the sunniest. Because of its enormous urban sprawl, temperatures can vary widely throughout the city (from the coast to further inland), although it’s generally warm and dry year-round.
There are plenty of things to do around LA. You can catch the sunrise from Griffith Park, snap photos of the Hollywood sign, tour one of many famous museums, head to Venice Beach for a casual walk along the coast, visit Disneyland, or eat at any number of quality restaurants.
Thinking of buying a home in Los Angeles, CA? You’ll find the median home price to be above $1 million, far beyond the national average. If you’re looking to rent an apartment, the average price for a two-bedroom unit is $3,960.
Learn more about living in Los Angeles.
9. Stockton, California
184 sunny days per year
A city stocked full of life, Stockton, CA, is home to restaurants, museums, regional parks, and a famous nature center. Located in the Sacramento Valley, the city receives most of its gloomy weather and rain in the winter, while summers are hot, sunny, and dry. The California Delta flows through the city, providing water to most of Central and Southern California via large pumps that are only a short drive from the city center.
If you’re looking for outdoor activities, you can visit the Haggin Museum, take a walk downtown, or drive a few hours to the Sierra Nevada mountains, where hikes, lakes, and beautiful weather are plentiful.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Stockton, CA, you’ll find that the median price of a house is $460,000, just above the national average. Looking to rent an apartment? The average two-bedroom apartment costs around $1,370.
Learn more about living in Stockton.
10. Albuquerque, New Mexico
167 sunny days per year
Rounding out the list of the sunniest cities in the U.S. is Albuquerque, NM. Located over a mile above sea level in the high desert, this city has a rich history dating back to the 1706 Spanish colony. The city’s Old Town features historic buildings such as the San Felipe de Neri Church and multiple museums. The North American Monsoon brings most of the rain during the summer, while the rest of the year is typically warm, dry, and sunny. Spring winds are typical as well.
Albuquerque is popular among outdoor enthusiasts; ski resorts, massive mountains, large prairies, and gorgeous trails define the region’s landscape. The famous annual Albuquerque International Balloon Festival happens every October, providing ample photo opportunities. For historians, many ancient artifacts in the area date back thousands of years, including the famous Petroglyph National Monument.
Learn more about living in Albuquerque.
Visit Cutchogue, New York for a sunny respite
Often called the sunniest town in New York, Cutchogue is a vacationer’s paradise. “Go to the beach, the Peconic Bay, or the Long Island Sound to relax,” says Anne Trimble, Director of Trimble’s Nursery. “Eat oysters, drink local wine, go shop at your favorite plant nursery, or watch the sunset to the west and gorgeous moonrise over the bay.”
Cincinnati, Ohio is perfect for sunny urban walks
With nearly 100 clear days per year, Cincinnati is a fairly sunny city. “Cincinnati is a great place to spend time outside because of its many botanical gardens and walking trails,” says Yuliya Bui from Gia and the Blooms. “If you’re looking for an urban experience, take a walk through Findlay Market, a historic indoor/outdoor market,” she says. “While you’re there, stop by a local plant shop to bring some nature home with you.”
Expert tips on how to thrive in a sunny city
If you move to a sunny city, there are many things to consider. To help, we’ve asked experts from sunny cities around the country for their best tips on living and thriving in a sunny, warm climate. Check out what they had to say.
The best plants for your sunny city
All plants love natural light; some just love an extra helping. Here are some popular sun-loving plants for your garden:
- Bird of Paradise: This big-leafed beauty is easy-going and low maintenance, and requires a healthy drink of water about once a week.
- Fiddle Leaf Fig: The ever-popular Fiddle Leaf Fig is a plant that thrives with plenty of bright indirect light and a consistent watering routine.
- Olive Bush: A plant that does well both indoors and out, the Olive Bush loves to bask in direct sunlight, making it an ideal choice for a sunny city.
– Renée Christensen from Leon & George
Take the weather into account when gardening
In Florida, the perfect tree to plant in your yard is the Live Oak. These beautiful hardwoods are resilient in a storm and create a beautiful canopy of shade, which can lower temperatures by up to 20 degrees and create homes for local wildlife. – Alex Mednick, Owner of The Mednick Landscape Company
The best plants for sunny cities are native and adapted plant varieties. They have the best chance of survival in the sun and are almost always non-invasive. You can generally find them in sunnier sections of your local nurseries. – The team at 50K Professional Lawn Services
Hydration is critical on warm, sunny days
Whether you’re exercising inside or out in the hot sunny weather, it’s important to consider hydration. Ensure you’re drinking enough water before, during, and after exercising. Additionally, try wearing breathable, moisture-wicking clothing to stay cool. – Absolute Pilates
Utilize the sun to power your home
In the sunniest cities and towns, going solar is a no-brainer. Maryland is an especially sunny state. Harness the sun’s power with solar panels and let your roof work for you – you’ll make your own clean energy and save money to boot. – Emily Cutter, Solar Consultant at Maryland Solar Solutions
Keeping your utility bills low can be tough when you’re trying to beat the heat, but solar panels are a great way to turn that sunshine into savings. With tax incentives, net metering, and flexible financing options, homeowners can save thousands of dollars by making the switch to solar energy. – Anna Hall from Blue Raven Solar
San Diego is one of the country’s sunniest cities, so installing solar panels where you can is highly beneficial. Additionally, solar panels create an air pocket underneath them, insulating your home and helping cut energy costs. Electricity is at a premium in the San Diego area, so installing solar panels can help save money and the planet. – Travis Danks from SolarTech
California has no shortage of sun, especially around Los Angeles and San Diego. Installing solar panels is a great way to offset the high electric bills and protect our beautiful coastal environment. Once you install your panels, hit the beach, or relax in your favorite sunny spot on the couch – you’re saving the planet no matter where life takes you. – Danny O’Malley from Energy Service Partners
Use batteries to store electricity
If you live in Hawaii, it’s important to install batteries to store excess energy. Electric rates are extremely high, so be sure to use renewable energy wherever possible. – Ryan Thomspson from ProSolar Hawaii
Reduce energy use during peak hours
If you have solar, maximize the savings on your electric bill by reducing use during peak hours (late afternoon and evening for many companies). One effective way to do this is by pre-cooling your house earlier in the day when your solar panels generate the most power. If you set your thermostat a few degrees lower starting in the late morning, you’ll cool your house with solar power and use less electricity later in the day when solar output drops and utility rates are higher. – Dale Lum, Founder of The Solar Nerd
This list contains annual sunshine data for major cities with over 100,000 residents according to the 2020 census. Comparative Climatic Data was obtained from a 2020 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), which was only measured during daylight hours.