Driest Cities in the US

Jun 20th 2024
For those who crave sunshine and yearn for a reprieve from the pitter-patter of rain, there are many dry cities in America that offer endless sunny days and little rain. These desert jewels, bathed in golden light and painted against stark landscapes, beckon with their unique charm and arid embrace. Read on to discover the ten driest cities in America.

hash-mark10 Driest Cities in the US

  1. Yuma, Arizona
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Bishop, California
  4. Bakersfield, California
  5. Phoenix Arizona
  6. Alamosa, Colorado
  7. Reno, Nevada
  8. Winslow, Arizona
  9. El Paso, Texas
  10. Winnemucca, Nevada

hash-mark1. Yuma, Arizona (Average Annual Rainfall: 2.65 inches)

The driest city in the US is Yuma, Arizona, with only 2.65 inches of rainfall per year. Nestled near the Mexican border, Yuma boasts an average annual rainfall of just 3 inches, making it drier than most deserts. Yuma is also the sunniest city in America, with 320 days of sunshine per year. 

Yet, life thrives in this arid oasis. Lush citrus groves cling to the banks of the Colorado River, a lifeline in this thirsty land. Hikers trek through the sun-scorched Sonoran Desert, marveling at ancient saguaro cacti and dodging curious coyotes. And as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky in fiery hues, Yuma's residents gather for outdoor barbecues and stargazing under a night sky ablaze with countless constellations.

hash-mark2. Las Vegas, Nevada (Average Annual Rainfall: 4.19 inches)

Beyond the neon lights and casino floors, Las Vegas hides a surprisingly dry secret. With an average annual rainfall of 4.19 inches, this desert metropolis is the second driest state in America. While rain might be scarce, the energy of millions of visitors fills the air. 

From towering rollercoasters defying gravity to dazzling water shows erupting from the desert floor, Las Vegas is a testament to human ingenuity in the face of aridity. But venture beyond the Strip, and you'll find pockets of serenity – tranquil desert gardens adorned with cacti and succulents, offering a respite from the urban buzz.

hash-mark3. Bishop, California (Average Annual Rainfall: 5.61 inches)

Perched at the foot of the towering Sierra Nevada mountains, Bishop, California, receives a mere 5.61 inches of rain annually, making it one of the driest cities in the US. But this mountain town finds its liquid lifeline in the snow-capped peaks above. Meltwater nourishes meadows bursting with wildflowers in spring while rugged trails snake through towering granite cliffs, beckoning adventurous souls. 

In winter, Bishop transforms into a snowy wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders who carve their tracks down pristine slopes. Here, dryness becomes an invitation to explore, to seek out hidden waterfalls, and to bask in the golden glow of the California sun.

hash-mark4. Bakersfield, California (Average Annual Rainfall: 5.72 inches)

Another one of the driest cities in America is Bakersfield. Located in California's Central Valley, Bakersfield embodies the spirit of arid California. Hot, dry summers and mild winters define Bakersfield, perfect for cultivating fruits and vegetables that flourish under the relentless sun. 

Its surrounding farmland bursts with color, from endless vineyards to fields of plump citrus trees. Bakersfield also embraces its desert heritage with off-roading adventures in the nearby Carrizo Plain and breathtaking stargazing opportunities under the expansive night sky.

hash-mark5. Phoenix, Arizona (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.11 inches)

Phoenix is also one of the driest cities in the US, receiving an average annual rainfall of only 7.11 inches. The Phoenix metro area, one of the fastest-growing in the US, thrives thanks to an intricate network of canals and reservoirs, channeling precious water from melting mountain snow. 

Phoenix also boasts an abundance of cacti, from the iconic saguaros reaching towards the sky to the prickly cholla dotting the desert floor. Hiking and biking trails wind through canyons and mesas, offering a glimpse into the wild beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

hash-mark6. Alamosa, Colorado (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.13 inches)

Nestled in the San Luis Valley, nestled between the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains, Alamosa, with an average annual rainfall of 7.13 inches, enjoys a unique high-desert climate. Unlike the scorching temperatures of Arizona or California, Alamosa experiences cooler nights and distinct seasonal changes. 

Its surrounding landscapes offer a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with snow-capped peaks in winter and lush valleys ablaze with wildflowers in spring. Alamosa also holds a rich cultural heritage, with a vibrant Hispanic community and ancient petroglyphs adorning the volcanic rocks. Alamosa is also one of the cheapest places to live in Colorado

hash-mark7. Reno, Nevada (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.49 inches)

The "Biggest Little City in the World" embraces its dry climate (average annual rainfall: 7.49 inches) with open arms. Reno is one of the largest cities in Nevada and is known for its entertainment scene and incredible natural surroundings. Beyond the glittering casinos and bustling nightlife, Reno is a gateway to stunning natural beauty. Lake Tahoe, a shimmering jewel nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, offers water sports and breathtaking scenery. 

Nearby, Virginia City, a preserved Wild West town, transports visitors back in time with its dusty streets and creaky saloons. And, for a dose of geological wonder, the Black Rock Desert, with its otherworldly landscape of volcanic rock formations and geothermal hot springs, beckons adventure seekers.

hash-mark8. Winslow, Arizona (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.64 inches)

This charming Route 66 town, with its average annual rainfall of 7.64 inches, embodies the spirit of classic Americana. Step back in time with a stroll down Standin' on the Corner Park, immortalized in the Eagles' song, "Take It Easy." Admire the historic La Posada Hotel, a stunning example of Mission Revival architecture. 

Winslow is a major tourist destination, with travelers coming by to enjoy the town's historic character and sites. You can immerse yourself in the rich Native American heritage at the Standin' on the Corner Museum or explore the nearby Petrified Forest National Park, where ancient trees stand transformed into stone giants. If you visit Winslow, be sure to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings, as it's one of the most dangerous cities in Arizona

hash-mark9. El Paso, Texas (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.82 inches)

Situated on the US-Mexico border, El Paso basks in sunlight year-round, and residents rarely have to worry about rainfall. El Paso only receives minimal annual rainfall of 7.82 inches, making it one of the driest places in the US. It's also one of the most affordable places to live in Texas. This vibrant city blends Mexican and American influences into a unique cultural tapestry. Explore the bustling downtown area, with its colorful murals and historic landmarks like the El Paso Museum of Art. 

Visit the Mission Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the city's Spanish colonial past. Hike through the Franklin Mountains State Park or cross the border into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, for a taste of authentic Mexican culture. 

hash-mark10. Winnemucca, Nevada (Average Annual Rainfall: 7.82 inches)

Another one of the driest cities in the US is Winnemucca. This small city in the heart of the Great Basin Desert (average annual rainfall: 7.82 inches) is a treasure trove for history and outdoor enthusiasts. Delve into the Wild West era at the Humboldt County Museum, or step back even further in time at the Winnemucca Lake Archaeological Site, home to artifacts dating back 10,000 years. 

Take a scenic drive along the Winnemucca-Gerlach Emigrant Trail, a historic route used by pioneers during the California Gold Rush. For outdoor lovers, explore the Humboldt National Forest, with its towering mountain ranges and pristine hiking trails.