Cloudy days are great for curling up in front of the fireplace with a book, loved one, or pet, but too many in a row can start to affect your mood and mental health. Even the most avid lover of sweaters and scarves needs their fair share of vitamin D.
To find out which cities are the gloomiest, we looked at climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to see which of the US’s most populated cities get the most cloud cover.1
Whether you’re planning your next vacation or looking for a warm, sunny place to move to, read our list to scope out which big American cities are the most and least gloomy.
The most and least gloomy cities in the US
The 10 gloomiest cities in the US
1. Anchorage, AK
Annual cloudy days: 239
With an average of over 230 cloudy days per year, Anchorage is the gloomiest city in the United States. This high number of cloudy days actually means that Anchorage spends about 65% of every year under clouds.
2. Portland, OR
Annual cloudy days: 222
The Pacific Northwest is known for its frequent rainfall, so it’s no surprise that Portland makes it to the number two spot on our list. It’s worth mentioning that this cloudy weather is part of Portland’s charm for many residents, so it’s clearly a wonderful place to live if you prefer limited sunshine.
3. Buffalo, NY
Annual cloudy days: 208
Buffalo is across the country from Portland, but the eastern city’s high number of cloudy days places it right next to its west coast cousin on our list. While Buffalo gets a little less cloud cover than Portland, it sees much more snowfall each year.2
4. Pittsburgh, PA
Annual cloudy days: 203
Pittsburgh is only about 200 miles from Buffalo, so the two cities have very similar cloud cover averages. Despite an almost identical number of cloudy days, though, Pittsburgh gets only about 28 inches of snow every year,3 less than half of what Buffalo gets.
5. Cleveland, OH
Annual cloudy days: 202
Like Buffalo, Cleveland borders Lake Erie and is only a couple hours from Pittsburgh. Because of this proximity, all three cities show only small differences in their average numbers of cloudy days, despite belonging to three different states.
6. Seattle, WA
Annual cloudy days: 201
A cloudy day is always better with a hot mug of coffee, so it makes sense that Starbucks was founded in Seattle,4 one of the cloudiest big cities in the country. If you live in Seattle and you want to support small businesses while getting your morning joe, check out this list of Seattle cafes.
7. Spokane, WA
Annual cloudy days: 191
Another Washington city, Spokane sits a mere hundred miles or so from the Canadian border. Like the other Pacific Northwestern cities on this list, Spokane shares the region’s trademark cloud cover and gloominess.
8. Columbus, OH
Annual cloudy days: 190
Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is the second of three Ohio cities to make our list. Our rankings were partially based on population size, which is part of the reason why one of the most populous states in the country5 shows up so many times.
9. Fort Wayne, IN
Annual cloudy days: 186
While it sees more cloudy days than most other US cities we researched, Fort Wayne’s climate is just about average otherwise. The city sees roughly 38 inches of rain every year (which matches the national average) and 30 inches of snow (only two inches above the national average).6
10. Toledo, OH
Annual cloudy days: 185
Toledo is the last city on our list and the third Ohio city to show up in our rankings. The city sees an average of 185 cloudy days every year, meaning that Toledo’s weather is at least a little gloomy more than half of the time.
To gather our rankings, we looked exclusively at the 72 most populous cities in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.7 Our rankings were based on annual cloud cover as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.1
While other factors like a given city’s culture and annual precipitation were mentioned several times throughout this article, these supplemental factors weren’t used in our rankings.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Comparative Climatic Data.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
- BestPlaces, “Buffalo, New York.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
- BestPlaces, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
- Starbucks, “Starbucks Company Timeline.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
- World Population Review, “US States – Ranked by Population 2020.” Accessed November 24, 2020.
- BestPlaces, “Fort Wayne, Indiana.” November 24, 2020.
- United States Census Bureau, “City and Town Population Totals: 2010-2019.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
The gloomiest cities in the US
|Rank||City||State||Annual cloudy days|
|34||OMAHA EPPLEY AP||NE||149|
|48||NEW YORK C.PARK||NY||132|
|56||SAN FRANCISCO AP||CA||105|
|59||LOS ANGELES AP||CA||103|
|City||State||Annual cloudy days|
|OMAHA EPPLEY AP||NE||149|
|NEW YORK C.PARK||NY||132|
|SAN FRANCISCO AP||CA||105|
|LOS ANGELES AP||CA||103|