Where you live can have a big impact on the quality of air you breathe every day.
With more people making the move to urban areas, we decided to take a look at the cities with the lowest year-round particle pollution.
The desire to move to a big city may be tempting if you are looking for a fun nightlife, community events, and other celebrations; but you can often find that same enjoyment in a less polluted environment.
The American Lung Association tracks and ranks the cleanest cities in the United States.
Using their data, we compiled a list of 10 cities with the lowest year-round particle pollution, while factoring in the fun activities that may sway you to make a move.
#1: Farmington, New Mexico
Farmington, New Mexico is a unique city that sits in a remote location, surrounded by amazing rivers, mountains, Aztec ruins, and the Navajo Nation. The city is located about 50 miles from the “Four Corners,” which is the point where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.
Farmington lies at the junction of three rivers, which offer white water rafting and fishing for trout that average 17 inches in length. Locals also enjoy hiking through more than 10,000 acres of scenic areas full of natural wonders. City-dwellers have quick access to breweries, museums, golf courses, and theater productions.
#2: Cheyenne, Wyoming
Cheyenne, Wyoming holds the largest known outdoor rodeo and western celebration every year. Residents are just a short drive from Rocky Mountain National Park, and enjoy highway access that goes straight into Denver, Colo., which is situated just under 100 miles to the south.
There is never a boring moment in Cheyenne, with shops that sell authentic Western clothing and apparel, to historic attractions like the world’s largest steam locomotive. Residents will also enjoy Terry Bison Ranch and many other outdoor activities at the many parks, forests, and golf courses open to the public. If you move to Cheyenne, look for the eight-foot tall cowboy boots scattered around the city that
There is never a boring moment in Cheyenne, with shops that sell authentic Western clothing and apparel, to historic attractions like the world’s largest steam locomotive. Residents will also enjoy Terry Bison Ranch and many other outdoor activities at the many parks, forests, and golf courses open to the public. If you move to Cheyenne, look for the eight-foot tall cowboy boots scattered around the city that have been artfully decorated by locals to show the region’s history.
#3: Kahului, Hawaii
Located on the island of Maui, Hawaii, Kahului offers fantastic beaches and bright vistas. Unlike some areas of Hawaii, Kahului has fewer tourist attractions, meaning more familiar faces and less traffic during the summers. Residents also enjoy weekly cultural celebrations, water activities, and music festivals. Travel further inland and discover tropical plantations, zip lining, and other memorable outdoor activities. Fans of sunshine, warm weather, and a laid back attitude will enjoy living in Hawaii. Some think island living isn’t right for them, but if given the chance, why not try it out?
Travel further inland and discover tropical plantations, zip lining, and other memorable outdoor activities. Fans of sunshine, warm weather, and a laid back attitude will enjoy living in Hawaii. Some think island living isn’t right for them, but if given the chance, why not try it out?
#4: Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck, N.D. sits along the Missouri river and is a short drive to the Canadian border. The attractions in Bismarck follow the rule of quality over quantity. There are plenty of water activities in the area, including steamboat and railroad tours, walking and biking trails, historic buildings with art deco themes, and so much more to enjoy during the week. After work and on the weekends, residents can enjoy a round of golf, travel to the
After work and on the weekends, residents can enjoy a round of golf, travel to the the Dakota Zoo, or learn about the country’s history at Fort Lincoln, which was once an important infantry and cavalry post during the Great Sioux War. Anyone that enjoys open, gently rolling plains, plenty of farmland and snowy winters will fall in love Bismarck.
#5: Salinas, California
Salinas is the largest municipality of Monterey, Calif., and despite a population of more than 155,000, the city has some of the cleanest air in the country. Salinas is situated eight miles east of the Pacific ocean and just outside the southern portion of the Greater Bay Area. Residents enjoy a coastal climate and large agricultural industry that includes wineries, vineyard tours and wine tastings.
Fans of literature will appreciate attractions dedicated to the Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Auto enthusiast and spectators will be thrilled to learn that the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is located in the region and accessible to the public during regular track days. After work, when locals want to unwind, they can head to local bars and clubs, enjoy walking tours through the hills and mountains, or head to the beach.
#6: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico is the 32nd largest city in the country with a population of more than 550,000. Despite this, air quality is considered to be very good during the year, which will be beneficial for when you take part in the International Balloon Fiesta that is the world’s largest gathering of hot-air balloons.
Residents also have easy access to museums of art, natural history, and science, which can be viewed before heading down Old Route 66 to historic Albuquerque Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. If you are looking for fun, feel free to take a ghost tour through the many historic buildings found inside the city. For those looking for small city living, Albuquerque may not be for you; however, given the wealth of activities and clean air, it’s easy to see why the area is so popular.
#7: Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont has the distinction of being the only city in the country that runs completely on renewable energy. This helps contribute to their low pollution levels and makes the area a highly desirable place to live. Another aspect you will love about Burlington is its location on Lake Champlain.
Residents are also just a short drive away from mountains where adventurers and skiers will find an abundance of nature to share and enjoy. Academics will appreciate a close proximity to the University of Vermont, ECHOL Lake Aquarium and Science Center, plus the Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art, which contains more than 20,000 objects collected from around the world. Those looking to duck out during the weekdays can head over to the Burlington Country Club and enjoy 18 rounds. Residents will find regular coastal activities like boating, kayaking, and tours around the many historic harbors and beaches help keep them entertained and relaxed.
#8 Syracuse-Auburn, New York
Syracuse, New York is the fourth most populated city in the country and well known for its convention centers, The area also plays host to the annual Great New York State Fair. Inside the city borders, residents and visitors enjoy great music, including jazz, several orchestras, and creative theater productions and plays. Resident can also explore many cultural centers, museums, and art galleries that house paintings, videos, and sculptures from a wide array of artists.
If you love shopping, then Syracuse is probably for you. Destiny USA is the region’s largest shopping mall, with more than 250 retail and entertainment venues. The five-story Onondaga County Public Library main branch will be enough to keep readers busy for a lifetime. When not shopping or reading, residents may find themselves strolling down Armory Square, where they can visit boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and other attractions. This area is also home to the 24-second shot clock, which pays tribute to Danny Biasone, the inventor of the pro basketball shot clock.
#9 Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska is surrounded by beautiful mountains, waterways, and wildlife. Prospective residents may not realize that the Anchorage metropolitan area is quite large with around 400,000 people. While the region does stay cold for much of the year, summer temperatures can average just under 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you decide to make the move, no matter the time of year, you’ll enjoy gardens, wildlife refuges, and recreational facilities; plus you can participate in a number of cultural activities such as museums, Broadway shows, and symphonies. You may even enjoy watching dog sledding events, going out on a tour led by local mushers, cuddling with puppies, and more! Plus you’ll be guaranteed a great snowfall every year.
#10 Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida lies just above the Apalachicola National Forest and is a short drive to the Gulf of Mexico. The entire metropolitan area is home to around 375,000 people, with a large portion of residents attending local colleges that feed into Florida State and Florida A&M. There are many reasons to love Florida.
The weather is one, outdoor activities are another, plus there is an incredible night life. Whatever the reason, when you move to Tallahassee, you’ll enjoy a diverse music scene, museums, and nature stretching across state parks and national forests. Also, there is no income tax, which leaves you with more money to enjoy everything Tallahassee has to offer.
Take Time to Travel Around Before Settling
Still not sure where you might want to lay new roots? Moving is a daunting task, especially if you’re concerned about air pollution and the kinds of activities available in the area. With this list, you can start planning a trip to the area to experience what each city has to offer. This is a good opportunity to see if the local culture is a good fit, and might help you feel more confident about your move!