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2020 Cities with the most desirable weather + best-ofs for your perfect destination

It’s easy to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. That’s especially true if you’re melting through a 100-degree winter or plowing through six inches of snow every January. Extreme weather may have you daydreaming of a Florida beach home or a cozy, lakeside cabin, so we set out to learn which cities have the best and worst weather in the U.S. 

We collected data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s weather data to learn which cities have the most sunshine, rain and snowfall every year, as well as their average temperatures and how extreme their hottest and coldest days get. 

While guaranteed sunshine or milder temps might be a dream come true, the extreme heat that comes from these climates can really exhaust your air conditioning, and the extra humidity can damage your roof and shingles. On the other hand, cold and snow put you at a higher risk of an auto accident and require extra car maintenance, and heavy branches and ice can damage your home, too. 

We calculated the cities with the best weather by determining which have the most moderate temperatures and rainfall, while still soaking up plenty of sun for your safety and enjoyment. Check out where the grass really is greener and potential concerns for your home insurance.

The best and worst weather of the U.S.

The U.S. is home to a variety of climates and extreme weather conditions, so we split our study into four regions to help focus our comparisons. We determined the best weather conditions include plenty of sunny days, a mild average temperature and not too much annual rain. On the other hand, extremely hot days and high snowfall are less desirable. If you’re a fan of extreme weather, you can jump to our best-ofs below

It’s important you know what’s typical weather in your neck of the woods and match that with your insurance policy. You should know that if you’re subject to heavy storms and rainfall each year, only full-coverage car insurance will cover hail damage repairs to your car. Standard home insurance will typically cover storm damage like hail, lightning and ice, but probably doesn’t include flooding, earthquakes or mudslides.

South

Cities with the best and worst weather in the South

The South is definitely the hottest part of our nation, coming the closest to the equator. Climate may also be the most varied in the South, home to cacti and deserts in the west, marshes and swamps in the center, and sunshine and beaches to the east. 

Best weather: Miami, FL

It may not be a surprise that Miami takes the top spot for the South with its sunshine, warm temperatures and beautiful beaches on the southern tip of Florida. Miami’s beautiful weather does come with some extra risk from hurricanes and tropical storms, but home insurance costs sit just below the U.S. average at $1,438. 

  • Average yearly temperature of 79.3 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sunny days for 68% of the year
  • The lowest temperature of 2018 only reached 30 degrees Fahrenheit

In second place we head west to Fort Worth, Texas, with an average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit and where 63% of days are sunny. It is extremely hot in the summertime with 92 days reaching over 90 degrees. Third place goes to Oklahoma City, with a more wide-ranging climate and slightly cooler days than Fort Worth, and up to eight inches of snow each year. 

Worst weather: Houston, TX

Houston celebrates being the space exploration capital of the world, but with 104 days climbing above 90 degrees each year, they’ve also earned the title of world capital of air conditioning, and our ranking of worst-weather city in the South.  

  • 104 of 365 days reach temperatures above 90 degrees 
  • The lowest temperature recorded in 2018 was just 7 degrees 
  • Yearly average temperature of 62.3 degrees

For second place, we go north to San Antonio, where you’ll find a more comfortable average temperature of 64.5 degrees — but 116 days of extreme heat. Its central Texas neighbor and capital city, Austin, takes third with an average temperature of 77 degrees and 58% of the year in sunshine.

Northeast

Cities with the best and worst weather in the Northeast

The Northeastern United States is no stranger to heavy snowfall and biting temperatures, and the farther north you go, the worse the Atlantic wind chills can get. Still, residents enjoy a comfortable summer and cycle through four beautiful seasons every year, so there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors all year long. 

Best weather: Boston, MA

Boston is no stranger to “best-of” lists and comes out on top for most desirable weather in the Northeast. The city enjoys a cool average yearly temperature around 50 degrees, moderate rainfall and only 13 really hot (above 90 degrees) days a year. The winters are still pretty harsh, with an average 44 inches of snow a year and temps reaching well into the negatives. 

  • Extreme lows reaching -14 degrees
  • Enjoys 55% of the year with sunshine
  • Yearly average temperature of 49 degrees 

Baltimore comes in a close second with a warmer average temperature of 58 degrees, and double the extreme heat days at 30. Philadelphia earns third with 25 days over 90 and 22 inches of snowfall each year. 

Worst weather: New York, NY

The Big Apple enjoys both extremes of hot summers and freezing winters, with 15 days reaching above 90 and plenty of sunny days. Temperatures drop as low as -15 in the winter, and the city accumulates an average 29 inches of snow annually. 

Home insurance in New York can run you $1,989 on average, but varies considering your home costs and location. For example, a $400,000 home costs $2,676 to insure, versus a $100,000 home, whose insurance will run you $779.

  • Average yearly temperature of 56 degrees 
  • Average 29 inches of snow a year
  • Ties Boston with sunshine 55% of the year

Second place goes to New York’s neighbor Newark, NJ, with 23 days of extreme heat and just as much snow and cold each year as New York. Pittsburgh is third with a low of -22 degrees and 43 inches of snowfall each year. 

Midwest

Cities with the best and worst weather in the Midwest

Midwesterners enjoy sunny days and plenty of rainfall — perfect for raising crops and nurturing farmland. While the average yearly temperature is higher than the East Coast, the northern states still expect biting winters with plenty of snow and ice each season. 

Best weather: Kansas City, MO

Kansas City is known for its sweet barbeque and rich culture, and is also our number-one pick for best weather of the Midwest. The city enjoys 62% of the year in the sun and maintains an average temperature of 57 degrees, although it can get as cold as -23. 

  • Average temperature of 57 degrees
  • Average 55 inches of rainfall annually
  • Enjoys 62% of their days in the sun

Staying in the plains states, second place goes to Omaha. This city has a slightly cooler average temperature and 34 days of extreme heat. They receive an average 29 inches of snow each year. Wichita is third, with an average temperature of 57 degrees and a whopping 64 days of temperatures above 90.

Worst weather: Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis is the most northern city on our list, so it’s no surprise their average temperature drops to 44.5 degrees and reached a low of -34 degrees in 2018. They receive an average 39 inches of snow each winter.

  • Reached a low temperature of -34 in 2018
  • Average 39 inches of snowfall each year
  • Enjoy 57% sunny days annually

Second place goes to Columbus, OH, with a much warmer average temperature of 67 degrees,  with it 78 days of extreme heat each year. Third place goes further south to Louisville, where they enjoy a mild 57 degrees average, but a drop to -22 in the winter and 55 days of sunshine each year.

West

Cities with the best and worst weather in the West

The Western U.S. includes a variety of weather norms, like overcast beaches in the North, surf and sun on the coast, and dry deserts in the inland Southwest. The West is the home to the best weather in the U.S., with all five of our top-ranking cities in the region. 

Best weather: San Francisco, CA

It’s no surprise that the sun and comfortable temperatures of California place all three best cities of the West in the Golden State. First place goes to San Francisco, with only two days of extreme heat and a low temperature just below freezing at 27 degrees.

  • Only two days of hot days above 90 degrees
  • Average 60 inches of rainfall each year
  • 71% of days are sunny

Second place goes to San Diego, followed by Los Angeles. Both have an average yearly temperature of 60 degrees with sunny days 70% of the year. Los Angeles is third with 21 extreme heat days compared to San Diego’s three. 

Worst weather: Denver, CO

Denver is known for its outdoor enthusiasts and attractions, but still earns the title for the worst weather of the West due to its harsh winters. The average temperature of the year is 50 degrees, but their winters drop as low as -25 degrees with nearly 60 inches of snowfall in an average year. 

The heavy snowfall and ice can pose a large threat to homes, which may be part of the reason the city’s average homeowners insurance averages at $2,719 a year. 

  • Average yearly temperature of 50 degrees 
  • Accumulates and average of 57 inches of snowfall a year
  • Experiences 36 days of extreme heat a year

Behind Denver is Fresno, CA. Fresno has an average temperature of 64 degrees throughout the year, climbing above 90 degrees 108 days a year. They also have the lowest low temps of the California cities, reaching 18 degrees in 2018. Next is Colorado Springs, CO, with an average yearly temperature around 50 degrees and only 38 inches of snow a year, compared to Denver’s 60.

Best-ofs

Best cities for any preference

Not everyone loves the sunshine and mild temperatures. Some folks love a sweltering summer, while others enjoy building snowpeople and hunkering down for a winter storm. Here are our best cities for the most extreme preferences.

Most snowfall: Cleveland, OH

Cleveland is your best bet for a winter wonderland with 58 inches of snowfall a year, just beating out Denver at 57 inches. It will get cold, too, with an extreme low of -20 in 2018. Still, 45% of the year is sunny and Cleveland maintains a brisk average temperature at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most rain: Miami, FL

Miami may be an ultimate party destination, but it’s best to make rain plans with 79 inches of rain a year. It will be humid, though, with an average temperature of 79 degrees.

Sunniest city: Albuquerque, NM

Stock up on sunscreen, because 85% of Albuquerque days are sunny. While it certainly gets hot with 64 days of the year climbing above 90 degrees, you’ll also reach lows in the negatives and even enjoy up to 9 inches of snow on average.

Hottest city: Phoenix, AZ

If you love the extreme heat, Phoenix may be for you. Their average yearly temperature settles at 71 degrees, while nearly half of the year climbs above 90 degrees — an impressive 169 days with extreme heat.

Coldest city: Minneapolis, MN

The northern Midwest city of Minneapolis is the coldest metro area in our list, reaching a shivering -34 degrees in 2018. It’s no surprise that they also have quite a bit of snowfall each year, accumulating 49 inches on average each year. While they enjoy plenty of sunshine, the average yearly temperature sits at just 44 degrees. 

The U.S. is a huge country, and with that comes huge diversity in weather and climate which may have you considering a move or even a road trip. While sunny, tropical days may seem like a dream, every type of weather comes with home maintenance woes to be aware of. Keep up on the weather in your area to maintain your home and car, and update your insurance policies accordingly. 

Methodology

The Zebra pulled six data points from NOAA regarding the weather in U.S. cities.

The data weights were as follows:

  • Average yearly temperature - 20%
  • Average yearly rainfall - 20%
  • Number of extreme days (over 90 degrees F) - 10%
  • Lowest recorded temperature of 2018 - 20%
  • Average yearly snowfall - 10%
  • Average annual percentage of sunny days – 20%

We collected 2019–2020 temperature and precipitation data for the 56 most populous cities of the U.S. and additional extreme weather data from NOAA (2018) to determine the best and worst weather in regions across the nation. We supplemented this data with U.S. Climate Data (2019) and sunny day averages from Best Places.

The ZebraResource Center