Top 10 Gloomiest Cities in the US

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

Gloomiest cities in the US
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.

Methodology

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.

Sources

  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Comparative Climatic Data.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
  2. BestPlaces, “Buffalo, New York.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
  3. BestPlaces, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
  4. Starbucks, “Starbucks Company Timeline.” Accessed November 23, 2020.
  5. World Population Review, “US States – Ranked by Population 2020.” Accessed November 24, 2020.
  6. BestPlaces, “Fort Wayne, Indiana.” November 24, 2020.
  7. United States Census Bureau, “City and Town Population Totals: 2010-2019.” Accessed November 23, 2020.

The gloomiest cities in the US

RankCityStateAnnual cloudy days
1ANCHORAGEAK239
2PORTLANDOR222
3EUGENEOR209
4BUFFALONY208
5PITTSBURGHPA203
6CLEVELANDOH202
7SEATTLEWA201
8SPOKANEWA191
9COLUMBUSOH190
10FORT WAYNEIN186
11TOLEDOOH185
12DETROITMI185
13MADISONWI180
14INDIANAPOLISIN179
15CHICAGOIL176
16MILWAUKEEWI175
17LEXINGTONKY174
18LOUISVILLEKY171
19PAULMN169
20SAINT CLOUDMN166
21LOUISMO164
22BOSTONMA164
23HOUSTONTX161
24RICHMONDVA160
25PHILADELPHIAPA160
26NEWARKNJ160
27NASHVILLETN156
28BOISEID155
29CHARLOTTENC152
30BALTIMOREMD152
31ROANOKEVA151
32MEMPHISTN151
33GREENSBORONC150
34OMAHA EPPLEY APNE149
35LINCOLNNE149
36RALEIGHNC149
37KANSAS CITYMO149
38ATLANTAGA149
39BATON ROUGELA147
40NEW ORLEANSLA146
41JACKSONVILLEFL144
42CORPUS CHRISTITX142
43SAN ANTONIOTX141
44WICHITAKS140
45AUSTINTX136
46TULSAOK136
47FORT WORTHTX133
48NEW YORK C.PARKNY132
49OKLAHOMA CITYOK130
50ORLANDOFL130
51TAMPAFL121
52DENVERCO120
53COLORADO SPRINGSCO118
54MIAMIFL115
55RENONV114
56SAN FRANCISCO APCA105
57STOCKTONCA104
58LUBBOCKTX103
59LOS ANGELES APCA103
60SAN DIEGOCA102
61FLAGSTAFFAZ102
62SACRAMENTOCA100
63FRESNOCA98
64HONOLULUHI94
65BAKERSFIELDCA93
66WINSLOWAZ89
67ALBUQUERQUENM87
68LONG BEACHCA87
69TUCSONAZ81
70LAS VEGASNV73
71EL PASOTX72
72PHOENIXAZ70
Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
City State Annual cloudy days
ANCHORAGE AK 239
PORTLAND OR 222
EUGENE OR 209
BUFFALO NY 208
PITTSBURGH PA 203
CLEVELAND OH 202
SEATTLE WA 201
SPOKANE WA 191
COLUMBUS OH 190
FORT WAYNE IN 186
TOLEDO OH 185
DETROIT MI 185
MADISON WI 180
INDIANAPOLIS IN 179
CHICAGO IL 176
MILWAUKEE WI 175
LEXINGTON KY 174
LOUISVILLE KY 171
PAUL MN 169
SAINT CLOUD MN 166
LOUIS MO 164
BOSTON MA 164
HOUSTON TX 161
RICHMOND VA 160
PHILADELPHIA PA 160
NEWARK NJ 160
NASHVILLE TN 156
BOISE ID 155
CHARLOTTE NC 152
BALTIMORE MD 152
ROANOKE VA 151
MEMPHIS TN 151
GREENSBORO NC 150
OMAHA EPPLEY AP NE 149
LINCOLN NE 149
RALEIGH NC 149
KANSAS CITY MO 149
ATLANTA GA 149
BATON ROUGE LA 147
NEW ORLEANS LA 146
JACKSONVILLE FL 144
CORPUS CHRISTI TX 142
SAN ANTONIO TX 141
WICHITA KS 140
AUSTIN TX 136
TULSA OK 136
FORT WORTH TX 133
NEW YORK C.PARK NY 132
OKLAHOMA CITY OK 130
ORLANDO FL 130
TAMPA FL 121
DENVER CO 120
COLORADO SPRINGS CO 118
MIAMI FL 115
RENO NV 114
SAN FRANCISCO AP CA 105
STOCKTON CA 104
LUBBOCK TX 103
LOS ANGELES AP CA 103
SAN DIEGO CA 102
FLAGSTAFF AZ 102
SACRAMENTO CA 100
FRESNO CA 98
HONOLULU HI 94
BAKERSFIELD CA 93
WINSLOW AZ 89
ALBUQUERQUE NM 87
LONG BEACH CA 87
TUCSON AZ 81
LAS VEGAS NV 73
EL PASO TX 72
PHOENIX AZ 70

About Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.