The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather in 2020

In these places, residents enjoy blue skies and sunshine year-round.

U.S. News & World Report

The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather in 2020

Stearn's Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor at sunset, Santa Barbara, California
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Avoid the extremes in these metro areas.

The weather in your area can be a major factor in how much you enjoy living there. Since many people prefer clear skies and warm temperatures, U.S. News looked for the metro areas among the 150 largest in the U.S. considered for the Best Places to Live rankings that offer the most moderate temperatures and plenty of sunshine. We looked for places that had the fewest average number of days above 90 degrees and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and for those with the fewest fully cloudy days, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Read on for the Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather, counting down to the top spot.

Memphis downtown skyline w/ trees and Wolf Rover and boats and harbor in the foreground.
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(Getty Images)

Memphis, Tennessee

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 139
Metro Population: 1,345,991
Days Below Freezing: 53
Days Above 90 Degrees: 68
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 214

In the southwestern tip of Tennessee, Memphis offers residents an average of 53 days with low temperatures below freezing and 68 days that peak above 90 degrees. More than 200 days a year have at least some sun, with 118 fully clear days on average, which means there are plenty of ideal days to visit attractions along the Mississippi River or hit up popular outdoor attractions like the Memphis Zoo, Shelby Farms Park or Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park to the north of the city.

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Avoid the extremes in these metro areas.

The weather in your area can be a major factor in how much you enjoy living there. Since many people prefer clear skies and warm temperatures, U.S. News looked for the metro areas among the 150 largest in the U.S. considered for the Best Places to Live rankings that offer the most moderate temperatures and plenty of sunshine. We looked for places that had the fewest average number of days above 90 degrees and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and for those with the fewest fully cloudy days, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Read on for the Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather, counting down to the top spot.

Memphis, Tennessee

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 139
Metro Population: 1,345,991
Days Below Freezing: 53
Days Above 90 Degrees: 68
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 214

In the southwestern tip of Tennessee, Memphis offers residents an average of 53 days with low temperatures below freezing and 68 days that peak above 90 degrees. More than 200 days a year have at least some sun, with 118 fully clear days on average, which means there are plenty of ideal days to visit attractions along the Mississippi River or hit up popular outdoor attractions like the Memphis Zoo, Shelby Farms Park or Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park to the north of the city.

Greenville, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 32
Metro Population: 883,853
Days Below Freezing: 61
Days Above 90 Degrees: 41
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 221

Located in the northwestern portion of South Carolina, Greenville enjoys milder weather partly due to its proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of the 221 days residents can spot some sun throughout the year, a little over half are clear days, with an average of 100 partly cloudy days. Greenville’s mountain location also leads to more nights that dip below freezing than other parts of South Carolina – 61 days on average – but the area's geography also keeps extreme heat from lasting too long.

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 329,839
Days Below Freezing: 61
Days Above 90 Degrees: 41
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 221

Sharing a weather station with Greenville, Spartanburg’s weather patterns echo those of its neighbor. While you’ll experience similar weather in Spartanburg and Greenville, you may like the idea of a much smaller metro area. With a population of 329,839 residents, Spartanburg is the smallest metro area on this list of the Best Places to Live for the Weather.

Birmingham, Alabama

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 109
Metro Population: 1,147,054
Days Below Freezing: 51
Days Above 90 Degrees: 61
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 210

Birmingham experiences a decent number of both hot and cold days, although there are, on average, 10 more days above 90 degrees during the year than days with temperatures below 32 degrees. With 155 cloudy days out of the year, on average, Birmingham typically sees just 99 clear days annually. Still, there’s no shortage of good days to visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, or drive a little outside the metro area to visit Bankhead National Forest or Talladega National Forest, which are both roughly an hour’s drive from the city.

Modesto, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 146
Metro Population: 808,376
Days Below Freezing: 22
Days Above 90 Degrees: 82
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 261

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Modesto is the first of nine California metro areas on the Best Places to Live for the Weather list, as California is known for sunny, moderate weather that draws visitors and new residents year-round. In Modesto, you can expect an average of 82 days each year above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 261 with clear or partly cloudy skies.

Stockton, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 145
Metro Population: 732,212
Days Below Freezing: 22
Days Above 90 Degrees: 82
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 261

Similar in population size to Modesto, neighboring Stockton also makes the list for its few cold days and plenty of sun. With an average of only 104 cloudy days per year, residents are lucky enough to enjoy some sun more than 70% of the year. With weather like this, it’s easy to get out and visit the vineyards and wineries in the surrounding area.

Sacramento, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 81
Metro Population: 2,291,738
Days Below Freezing: 18
Days Above 90 Degrees: 73
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 265

A bit milder on both the cold and hot ends of the spectrum, Sacramento is about 50 miles north of Stockton. The Northern California metro area – and the state’s capital city – averages 265 clear or partly cloudy days per year. Additionally, you can expect 73 days above 90 degrees and just 18 days that reach below freezing throughout the coldest parts of the year.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 150
Metro Population: 2,142,392
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 65
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 276

Puerto Rico’s capital city sees 65 days that hit above 90 degrees but no days dipping below freezing temperatures, so this might be the place for you if ideal weather is your top priority. San Juan’s location in the Caribbean means it has an elevated risk of storms during hurricane season. But those storms certainly aren’t the whole story, as the San Juan area averages 276 clear or partly cloudy days annually.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 26
Metro Population: 447,775
Days Below Freezing: 41
Days Above 90 Degrees: 44
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 215

This popular tourist destination in coastal South Carolina doesn’t reach above 90 degrees more than 44 days a year, on average. Still, residents and visitors don’t have to worry about too many gloomy days – typically 215 days per year are either clear or partly cloudy. If you feel the pull to Myrtle Beach, you’re certainly not the only one. Myrtle Beach is the fastest-growing metro area on the Best Places to Live list, having increased in population by 14.27% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 526,412
Days Below Freezing: 72
Days Above 90 Degrees: 77
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 218

This Arkansas metro area has roughly 30 more cold and hot days per year than Myrtle Beach, but the weather extremes balance each other out. Additionally, Fayetteville sees three more clear or partly cloudy days per year on average. If you like the idea of getting out into nature in the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville could be the perfect place to make your home base.

Atlanta

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 60
Metro Population: 5,779,463
Days Below Freezing: 44
Days Above 90 Degrees: 43
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 217

Atlanta gets some cool nights and a fair share of hot days, but those almost completely cancel each other out across an entire year. With an average of 149 cloudy days per year, Georgia’s largest metro area has more gloomy days than others on the list, but the sun is certainly present most days. The city has plenty of large parks frequented by locals and visitors alike, including Centennial Olympic Park, Westside Reservoir Park, Grant Park and more.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 92
Metro Population: 985,233
Days Below Freezing: 76
Days Above 90 Degrees: 73
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 230

The first of two Oklahoma metro areas on the list, Tulsa may be a good-weather destination if you like the idea of clear, moderate weather on the prairie. Tulsa’s average weather has a difference of just three days between the average nights dipping below freezing and average days peaking at 90 degrees or above. Tulsa residents enjoy, on average, 230 clear or partly cloudy days per year.

Oklahoma City

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 78
Metro Population: 1,369,759
Days Below Freezing: 76
Days Above 90 Degrees: 71
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 235

While Oklahoma City experiences plenty of cold nights and hot days, a near-even balance between the two makes either extreme seem more tolerable for a full year. Of those 235 days where residents see at least some sun, 139 of those, on average, are completely clear. A clear day will also make it easy to see far distances in this flat part of the country.

Los Angeles

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 97
Metro Population: 18,629,045
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 21
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 263

Not the only SoCal metro area on the list, Los Angeles averages just 103 cloudy days per year. With no nights of freezing temperatures and 21 days over 90 degrees, on average, the City of Angels makes for a great place to enjoy warm weather without extremes. An average of 116 days throughout the year are partly cloudy, which frequently burn off in the morning for clear afternoons, which is characteristic of the area.

Honolulu

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 71
Metro Population: 987,638
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 24
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 271

That tropical vacation wasn’t too good to be true – Hawaii’s weather really is that nice all the time. Honolulu’s island location is the perfect spot if you want to avoid freezing lows at night while experiencing just a handful of days above 90 degrees. With weather typically moving quickly over the Hawaiian islands, Honolulu residents see just 94 fully cloudy days a year.

San Jose, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 29
Metro Population: 1,981,616
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 2
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 260

A close Bay Area neighbor of San Francisco, San Jose sees similar weather patterns. San Jose averages only two days above 90 degrees per year on average and doesn’t experience any freezing temperatures. Residents can expect an average of just 105 cloudy days a year. It’s no wonder the city is the capital of Silicon Valley – people looking to join or launch a tech startup can’t resist the ideal weather.

San Francisco

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 4,673,221
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 2
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 260

Since it's known for rolling fog, San Francisco ranking high on the list may come as a surprise. But that fog often burns off by the afternoon or rolls in late in the day – 260 days out of the year are typically clear or partly cloudy. Additionally, San Francisco experiences no days below freezing throughout the year, and just two days above 90 degrees.

San Diego

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 45
Metro Population: 3,302,833
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 3
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 263

With no freezing days and an average of just three days over 90 degrees, San Diego is third on the list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather. And with just 102 cloudy days per year on average, you’ll be spending plenty of time at the beach enjoying the blue skies and sunshine. Of the 263 days that are clear or partly cloudy, 146 are fully clear.

Salinas, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 140
Metro Population: 433,212
Days Below Freezing: 0
Days Above 90 Degrees: 2
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 267

Located just inland from Monterey Bay and south of the San Francisco Bay Area, Salinas offers residents just six nights below freezing and three days above 90 degrees, on average, throughout the year. With an average of 267 clear or partly cloudy days, Salinas has just 98 days throughout the year that are cloudy, which makes for ideal weather for visiting the beaches, marine reserves and parks along Monterey Bay.

Santa Barbara, California

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 104
Metro Population: 443,738
Days Below Freezing: 6
Days Above 90 Degrees: 3
Mean Number of Clear or Partly Cloudy Days: 286

A little northwest of Los Angeles along the California coast, Santa Barbara benefits from beach breezes and the beauty of Los Padres National Forest, located directly north of the metro area. With as many as 286 clear or partly cloudy days per year and less than three months’ worth of cloudy days, on average, Santa Barbara tops the list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather.

Here are the places to live with the best weather in the U.S. for 2020:

  • Santa Barbara, California.
  • Salinas, California.
  • San Diego.
  • San Francisco.
  • San Jose, California.
  • Honolulu.
  • Los Angeles.
  • Oklahoma City.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Atlanta.
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Sacramento, California.
  • Stockton, California.
  • Modesto, California.
  • Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Memphis, Tennessee.
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Updated on Oct. 20, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.