Which Cities Have the Cleanest Air?

We often hear stories about cities where air pollution is wreaking havoc. Pictures of thick smog and people in face masks dominate the articles. But what about cities where the air is clean and pure?

Here are some of the top places to go to breathe a little easier — literally — according to the American Lung Association.

10 in the United States Cities With the Cleanest Air

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

In addition to being absolutely picturesque, Hawaii is also home to some of the cleanest air that you can breathe.

According to the American Lung Association, Honolulu is tied first for the cleanest metropolitan area in the country for ozone, as well as for the cleanest metropolitan area in the country for 24-hour particle pollution. 

2. Wilmington, North Carolina

It might not be all that surprising that Wilmington offers some of the cleanest air in the United States — the entire state is known for its scenic views and unparalleled opportunities in Mother Nature.

In fact, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Carolina Beach. If you’re up for a quick 45-minute drive, you’ll find even more small beach towns.

3. Brunswick, Georgia

Whatever Brunswick is doing is paying off. The city is so remarkable that it was voted one of the best places to live in Glynn County in 2021. The city is home to just over 16,000 people, and the southern charm is real.

In terms of the air cleanliness, they’ve got plenty to brag about. The city’s high ozone days and 24-hour particle pollution are both down, by 8.7 days since 1996 and 0.7 days since 2007, respectively.

4. Elmira-Corning, New York

You might not expect New York to ever make the list when it comes to the cleanest air, but Elmira made the cut. The Queen City, as it’s known, is also improving year over year when it comes to high ozone days and 24-hour particle pollution.

Maybe it’s because the city — which is on the small side — still boasts 20 parks.

5. Bangor, Maine

What do you think of when you picture the coastal New England states? Crisp winds, choppy ocean waves, the endless greenery of trees… It’s no wonder why Bangor, Maine is so highly rated for its clean air.

Fun fact: Maine is known as the Pine Tree State. It holds roughly 17.6 million acres of forest land, covering 89% of the state’s land area. And it doesn’t hurt that it has only 43 people per square mile. (For reference, New Jersey has more than 1,200 people per square mile.)

6. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Even if you’ve never gone near Colorado, you probably already have visions in your head of blue skies, trees as far as the eye can see, and stunning mountains.

Colorado Springs is making a name for itself as having some of the cleanest breathing air in the United States. It ranked 63 out of 229 metropolitan areas for high ozone days, 57 out of 216 metropolitan areas for 24-hour particle pollution, and 182 out of 204 metropolitan areas for annual particle pollution.

7. Springfield, Missouri

A quick Google search of Springfield, Missouri will show you a bustling city with plenty of buildings, but don’t let that fool you. This city has some of the purest air in the United States.

And the cherry on top is that they’ve seen 12.5 fewer high ozone days compared to where they were in 1996. They’re proud of their accomplishments. The city’s website says that its “finest assets are its beautiful scenery and clean environment.” And let’s not forget that Missouri also offers the magic of the Ozarks.

No wonder millions of tourists make this one of their must-visits each year.

8. Gadsden, Alabama

Good old Gadsden, Alabama, situated on the Coosa River with the Lookout Mountain north of the city center, makes our list, ranking 94 out of 204 metropolitan areas for annual particle pollution. And since 2002, they’ve reduced their number of high ozone days by 10.7.

Mother Nature is at her finest in Gadsden. Besides the river, you can also stop by Noccalula Falls Park, 250 acres complete with a 90-foot waterfall.

9. Salinas, California

Ranked 30 out of 216 metropolitan areas for 24-hour particle pollution, Salinas, California has rightfully earned a spot on our list of cities with the cleanest air — and everyone else’s list, too. Yes, Salinas is considered one of the top 10 American cities with the best air quality.

This must explain why the city grows more than 30% of the world’s lettuce and is the perfect climate for the floral industry and grape vineyards.

10. Grand Island, Nebraska

Last but certainly not least is beautiful Grand Island, Nebraska. The country thinks that this city has some of the best air — and the cranes certainly agree. In fact, Grand Island is famous for offering the best viewing opportunities for crane season and is even home to the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center.

No matter where you live in the United States, there’s undoubtedly a city nearby with some of the cleanest air you’ll ever breathe.

And for managing the air quality around you at home and work, we can help. With our four-layer defense, we’ll rid your breathing air of particles both big and invisible to the eye.

Shop with Sans today and feel the difference.