Top 10 Gloomiest Cities in the US

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on December 07, 2020
3 min read

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

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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

Rank
City
State
Annual cloudy days

1

ANCHORAGE

AK

239

2

PORTLAND

OR

222

3

EUGENE

OR

209

4

BUFFALO

NY

208

5

PITTSBURGH

PA

203

6

CLEVELAND

OH

202

7

SEATTLE

WA

201

8

SPOKANE

WA

191

9

COLUMBUS

OH

190

10

FORT WAYNE

IN

186

11

TOLEDO

OH

185

12

DETROIT

MI

185

13

MADISON

WI

180

14

INDIANAPOLIS

IN

179

15

CHICAGO

IL

176

16

MILWAUKEE

WI

175

17

LEXINGTON

KY

174

18

LOUISVILLE

KY

171

19

PAUL

MN

169

20

SAINT CLOUD

MN

166

21

LOUIS

MO

164

22

BOSTON

MA

164

23

HOUSTON

TX

161

24

RICHMOND

VA

160

25

PHILADELPHIA

PA

160

26

NEWARK

NJ

160

27

NASHVILLE

TN

156

28

BOISE

ID

155

29

CHARLOTTE

NC

152

30

BALTIMORE

MD

152

31

ROANOKE

VA

151

32

MEMPHIS

TN

151

33

GREENSBORO

NC

150

34

OMAHA EPPLEY AP

NE

149

35

LINCOLN

NE

149

36

RALEIGH

NC

149

37

KANSAS CITY

MO

149

38

ATLANTA

GA

149

39

BATON ROUGE

LA

147

40

NEW ORLEANS

LA

146

41

JACKSONVILLE

FL

144

42

CORPUS CHRISTI

TX

142

43

SAN ANTONIO

TX

141

44

WICHITA

KS

140

45

AUSTIN

TX

136

46

TULSA

OK

136

47

FORT WORTH

TX

133

48

NEW YORK C.PARK

NY

132

49

OKLAHOMA CITY

OK

130

50

ORLANDO

FL

130

51

TAMPA

FL

121

52

DENVER

CO

120

53

COLORADO SPRINGS

CO

118

54

MIAMI

FL

115

55

RENO

NV

114

56

SAN FRANCISCO AP

CA

105

57

STOCKTON

CA

104

58

LUBBOCK

TX

103

59

LOS ANGELES AP

CA

103

60

SAN DIEGO

CA

102

61

FLAGSTAFF

AZ

102

62

SACRAMENTO

CA

100

63

FRESNO

CA

98

64

HONOLULU

HI

94

65

BAKERSFIELD

CA

93

66

WINSLOW

AZ

89

67

ALBUQUERQUE

NM

87

68

LONG BEACH

CA

87

69

TUCSON

AZ

81

70

LAS VEGAS

NV

73

71

EL PASO

TX

72

72

PHOENIX

AZ

70

Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four 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.