The USA’s Hottest Cities

Houston skyline

The United States has one of the most varied and extreme climates of any country on Earth with scorching hot summers and freezing winters the norm in many states. Below, we’re going to take a look at the hottest cities in the US, by average temperature throughout the year, and also by their summer highs.

We have only taken the 50 largest cities (by population) in the United States into account. There are some small cities, towns and villages that may have higher temperatures in the southern states. Data comes from wikipedia which has climate data featuring monthly average temperatures throughout the year for every major city in the country.

The Hottest Cities in the US – by Average Temperature

1. Miami, Florida

There are plenty of warmer places in the summer, but in terms of mean temperature throughout the whole year, Miami is the hottest major city in the US. Florida’s party capital is one of the few in the United States that doesn’t experience major seasonal swings with average highs in the upper 70’s even during the coldest periods of the year.

Therefore, Miami is almost impossible to beat as a winter sun destination in the US and it remains a huge hit with Spring breakers. Miami Beach also receives large numbers of international visitors throughout the year and it’s arguably at its best during the northern hemisphere winter given June to September brings with it thunderstorms and the wettest weather of the year, as well as the hottest.

Average Yearly Temperature in Miami: 77.4°F

2. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix via daves_archive1, CC BY 2.0

Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the US by population and it is also the second hottest of the 50 most populous cities. It is the state capital of Arizona which features prominently in this rundown and unsurprisingly is a seriously hot place with an inland location and several deserts where it is incredibly dry as well as hot.

Between June and September, the average daytime high is over 100°F in Phoenix which is over 10°F warmer than Miami. Phoenix’s record high temperature was way back in June 1990 when it reached a sweltering 122°F (50°C).

The hottest city in Arizona is actually reportedly the Sonoran Desert town of Yuma, which is also the sunniest place on Earth according to the Guinness Book of Record with over 4,000 hours of sunshine per year. Yuma has also been described as the hottest city in the US but going by the metric of mean temperature throughout the year, it is still slightly cooler than Miami while Honolulu (only 55th largest) registers higher figures than both.

Average Yearly Temperature in Phoenix: 75.6°F

3. Mesa, Arizona

Yuma is not one of the 50 largest cities in the US so doesn’t feature here, however Mesa is another Arizona city that sneaks into that list. Located in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, unsurprisingly it has a very similar climate with average temperatures just a couple of degrees cooler than in its larger neighbour.

Mesa’s record temperature was actually set five years after Phoenix albeit with an identical reading of 122°F (50°C) in July 1995. Come in the winter though, and you’d be wise to wrap up warm at night with temperatures dropping to an average of 40°F (5°C) in December. Like many desert locations, there is a significant cooling when the sun sets, although usually it’s a welcome relief and respite from the heat of the day.

Average Yearly Temperature in Mesa: 73.1°F

4. Houston, Texas

Houston skyline

Hopping over to Texas, another of the hottest states in the US, Houston ranks 4th on this countdown with average yearly temperatures of 71.2°F. It has a very different climate to Arizona overall though with over 7 times as much yearly rainfall as Phoenix for example and its location close to the Gulf Coast adds to a considerable flood risk, particularly during tropical storms and hurricanes.

Houston doesn’t get quite such extreme highs either but it remains warm and sticky at night during the summer months with night-time lows of between 70 and 80°F the norm between June and August. Relative humidity remains steady at around 75% throughout the year.

Partly hampered by its extreme climate, Texas is one of the poorer states in the US and as such is one of the most affordable to visit whilst also being home to some of the cheapest places to live in the USA. Living costs in Houston are only around 55% of those in New York for example.

Average Yearly Temperature in Houston: 71.2°F

5. Tucson, Arizona

Back to Arizona for number five. Tucson is located southeast of Phoenix, only 100 km or so north of the Mexican border. Its heat isn’t quite as intense, but in the summer months at least, it’s still one of the hottest regions in the world with daily highs in the 90’s Fahrenheit for five months between May and September.

Despite having three of the five hottest cities (out of the 50 biggest), Arizona is not widely regarded as the hottest state in the USA. That honour, in terms of average yearly temperatures, may go to Florida, although Hawaii and Louisiana are also strong contenders.

Average Yearly Temperature in Tuscon: 70.6°F

The top 10 hottest cities in the US (of the 50 largest) are rounded off by Las Vegas (70.1°F), San Antonio (69.8°F), Jacksonville (69.3°F), Dallas (68.8°F) and Austin (68.7°F). However none of the top 10 hottest American cities, rank amongst the hottest cities in the world, most of which are in Africa.

What is the hottest city in the US during summer?

July is the hottest month in the United States as a whole and the vast majority of states see temperatures peak in that month. These are the hottest cities in the USA ranked by their average daily high temperatures in the month of July:

City July Average High Annual Mean Temperature
Phoenix, Arizona 106.5°F 75.6°F
Mesa, Arizona 106.0°F 73.1°F
Las Vegas, Nevada 104.5°F 70.1°F
Tucson, Arizona 100.2°F 70.6°F
Bakersfield, California 98.3°F 66.2°F
Fresno, California 97.7°F 65.0°F
Dallas, Texas 96.9°F 68.8°F
Austin, Texas 96.6°F 68.7°F
El Paso, Texas 95.8°F 66.2°F
Fort Worth, Texas 95.7°F 65.9°F

Again, we are only considering the 50 largest cities in the country with plenty of smaller ones across the southern states also registering extremely hot temperatures during the summer months.

California features more prominently here. Excluding the smaller settlements, Bakersfield is the hottest city in California. Temperatures have been known to go as high as 118°F in July there while four Texan cities round off the top ten.

While Miami may be one of the hottest cities in the US during winter, it falls well behind some other places when it comes to summer peaks and doesn’t even feature among the 10 hottest major cities in the US in terms of July highs.

This article was published in May 2022.

The USA’s Hottest Cities

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