For renters craving a life devoid of shovels and mittens, we have put together a list of the Top 15 Sunniest Cities for Renters. Why wait for summer for some vitamin D when you can live in one of these sun-soaked cities all year round?
Here at Rent.com, we ranked cities based on their highest possible percentage of sunny days. But what good is having beaming rays of sunshine if you can’t afford to enjoy it? These cities also rank high in affordability and rental vacancies. Grab your shades and read on to find out which cities made our list:
1. Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona’s capital city, Phoenix is known for being a favorite spot for people who love the great outdoors. And who can argue when, on average, the city is sunny 85% of the time? That means that of a possible 365 days each year, around 310 are likely to be pretty darn pleasant.
In fact, because of the sunny and temperate climate, hiking and biking trails across the surrounding desert and nearby mountains are open year-round. Check out the Tom’s Thumb trail on McDowell Mountain for spectacular views of the city.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is known for a lot of things, not the least of which is the gambling and general debauchery that goes on along the city’s famous strip of casinos. But Vegas’ seemingly endless sunshine is one thing that makes the city an extremely popular place to live– like those who live in Phoenix, Vegas locals get to enjoy sunny weather about 85% of the time.
Plus, Vegas tops the list with its rental vacancy rate of 14.1%, which means renters may have an easier time finding an apartment in Vegas than they do in some other cities on the list. Just don’t spend all of your rent money at the blackjack table when you get there!
3. Tucson, Arizona
Another city that scored 85% in the “average annual possible sunshine” category, Tucson is also a great spot for the outdoorsy types. The small city is surrounded by five mountain ranges, contains around 800 miles of bike paths and has a very walkable downtown.
But it ties for first place in another category as well: It’s one of the cheapest spots for one-bedroom apartment renters! Median one-bedroom rental rates in Tucson are about $590 per month. And with a $785 median rental rate, two-bedroom Tucson apartments are just as budget-friendly.
4. El Paso, Texas
The first of five Texas cities to make the list, El Paso is likely to be sunny around 84% of the time– more than anywhere else in the Lone Star State. Located in the western corner of Texas, El Paso borders both Mexico and New Mexico, which makes the city an amazing mecca of Latin and Southwestern cultures.
El Paso is also the largest Texas city on the list, with a population of more than 675,000, which is why it has such a variety of recreational opportunities, including outdoor concerts, music festivals, and hikes in the surrounding Texas State Parks.
5. Fresno, California
Fresno, California, rounds out the top five, with a whopping 288 possible days of sunshine a year (that’s an average of 79%). The city’s average high temperature of 76.9 degrees Fahrenheit makes for a beautiful and pleasant place to live and a great climate for enjoying the three National Parks that surround the city.
In fact, Fresno is only about an hour drive from the breathtaking Yosemite National Park, where you can enjoy stunning scenery during hikes, bike rides, and scenic drives.
6. Reno, Nevada
Nevada’s second city on the list is Reno, which ties with Fresno for possible amount of sunshine per year at 79%. Reno, which calls itself the “biggest little city in the world,” has a population of more than 233,000, making it the largest city in northern Nevada.
Not only that, the city makes enjoying its plentiful sunshine super easy. Head to the Reno-Tahoe ski resort for some skiing or snowboarding (Reno actually has the highest concentration of ski facilities in the U.S.), or drive less than an hour to Lake Tahoe for some biking, hiking, boating, fishing, or virtually any other outdoor activity you can think of.
7. Sacramento, California
California is known for its sunshine, and Sacramento is one of its brightest cities. Sacramento has an average annual sunshine rate of 78% and an average high temperature of 73.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
And if that’s not enough to convince you to live in Sacramento, maybe this will help: The city only sees snow about once every 10 years. That makes it pretty easy to enjoy its many outdoor festivals (like the annual Summer Shakespeare Festival and Sacramento Jazz Jubilee), parks, and other recreational opportunities all year!
8. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque has the highest population of any city in New Mexico, but its median rental rates sure don’t compare with other big cities in the country. In fact, the median rental rate per month for a one-bedroom apartment is just $778!
The relatively inexpensive city also gets tons of sunshine per year– about 76% to be exact, and sees an average of just over 8 inches of rain per year. That, plus Albuquerque’s amazing arts and history scenes– sign me up!
9. Pueblo, Colorado
The smallest city to make it onto the list of sunshine-iest places to live, Pueblo’s population is just 109,059. Don’t be fooled by its size, though: Pueblo is full of amenities, including various museums, outdoor activities, great restaurants, and Colorado’s largest annual event, the Colorado State Fair. Another city with an average of 76% possible sunny days a year, Pueblo has some downright beautiful weather.
10. Midland-Odessa, Texas
With about 74% of sunny days a year on average, Midland-Odessa gets a significant amount of sunny weather– and it’s also one of the warmest cities on the list. Midland-Odessa ties with Vegas for third highest average temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fun fact about Midland: It’s the hometown of former first lady Laura Bush, and was once home to former President George W. Bush as well.
11. Amarillo, Texas
Located in the middle of Texas’ panhandle, beautiful Amarillo is sunny for just under three-fourths of the year. The city is home to the Palo Duro Canyon, which is second in size only to the Grand Canyon and offers incredible scenery.
Amarillo is also amazingly affordable: The city ties for first place with Tucson for cheapest one-bedroom apartments (its median rental rate is $590) and ranks second for two-bedroom apartment prices, which have a median rental rate of around $777 per month.
12. Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock is located about 125 miles directly south of Amarillo, so it’s easy to see why both cities get so much sunshine a year– Lubbock’s average amount of sunshine per year comes out to about 72%. Plus, its super affordable housing and 9% rental vacancy rate makes it a great place for renters.
The city also has more parks per capita than any other in Texas, and it hosts an entertaining annual outdoor event called the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration, which is full of everything from art and music to a cowboy cook-off and horse parade.
13. Abilene, Texas
The last of Texas’ additions to the list is Abilene, a city of almost 122,000 people with seven out of 10 days of sunshine possible per year. Residents can enjoy Abilene’s beautiful weather while walking through the city’s revitalized historic downtown or at one of its several parks, golf courses or the zoo!
14. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is one of the top five largest cities on the sunniest places to live list with a population of nearly 596,000. Oklahoma City calls itself “cool and warm,” and it’s not just talking about its great weather (the city’s average annual possible sunshine is around 68%).
“Cool and warm” refers to the hip and exciting atmosphere mixed with the warm hospitality its locals are known for. If you love the arts, delicious food, fun festivals, and beautiful weather, Oklahoma City is the place for you.
15. Tampa, Florida
Tampa is the most easterly city to make it on the sunniest cities list and the only one from the Sunshine State! With an average of around 240 possible days of sunshine a year, Tampa may not hold the record for most days of sunshine in the U.S., but it is the sunniest seaside city (okay, technically gulf-side, but there are still some amazing beaches).
The only coastal city on the list, sunny Tampa is the perfect spot for beach lovers. And if you’re a fan of cruises, the city is also home to Florida’s largest port, which is used by four different cruise lines. Now that’s a great way to enjoy some sunshine!
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Image Source: Mike, Kevin Dooley, Thomas Hawk, Lars Hammar, Jaime Loya, Trey Ratcliff, Peter Thoeny, Kent Kanouse, Len “Doc” Radin, Brian, Rick Kimpel, Erik Rios, themediaqueen, Nicolas Henderson, Kool Cats Photography, Matthew Paulson
Methodology: Rent.com has assembled the Top 15 Sunniest Cities with the help of New York-based Onboard Informatics ©2014, the premier data and technology company. All demographic data provided by Onboard Informatics is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. This list is based on cities with an overall population of at least 100,000, high volume of rental dwellings and rental vacancy rate greater than 6%. Cities with annual rental rates for one-bedroom apartments greater than 30% of median annual income were removed. Cities were ranked based on the highest percentage of sunny days, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Average high/low temperatures were sourced from USClimateData.com. Rental data and median rental rates based on Rent.com data.