Cities With the Bluest Skies, Based on Air Quality Rankings
There’s nothing better than a big, blue sky. Not only does it guarantee good weather, but it also makes every city seem brighter and more beautiful.
To help make sure you get the experience of blue skies when you travel, data scientists quantified which cities have the deepest hues of blue.
These are the cities with the bluest skies in the world.
Population: 3.645 million
Air Quality Index rank: 39
*Country and Air Quality Index rankings are based on S Money "Which Cities Have the Bluest Sky" report.
How to Enjoy Berlin’s Blue Skies
Although Berlin has several museums you will want to visit, the German capital also has plenty of outdoor attractions. These include major landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and the remains of the Berlin Wall. The famed Museum Island is also a perfect place to stroll around — and get perfect pictures.
But the absolute best way to take advantage of Berlin’s blue skies is to do as the locals do and go lie on the grass at a park. You’ll see people in their bathing suits right in the middle of the city, taking in the sun even when the days are not very hot.
The city’s numerous parks also are perfect for playing sports, picnicking and reading.
Population: 2.393 million
Air Quality Index rank: 63
How to Enjoy Tashkent’s Blue Skies
Uzbekistan’s capital isn’t yet on most tourist’s radars. People who do visit, however, are welcomed by a modern city with grand Arabic architecture and plenty of urban green spaces.
You can visit the city’s Botanical Gardens or the Japanese Garden to enjoy the blue skies within the city. Going up Tashkent Tower for panoramic views, made even better by the clear skies, is an absolute must.
Alisher Navoi National Park is a way to enjoy nature near the city.
13. Cape Town
Country: South Africa
Air Quality Index rank: 11
How to Enjoy Cape Town’s Blue Skies
As one of the three capitals of South Africa, Cape Town is the country’s most exciting city. And its blue skies only add to its gorgeous beauty.
Hop on a cable car up Table Mountain for breathtaking views of the city, or enjoy views of the mountain from below at Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
Other popular outdoor activities include Cape Point Nature Reserve and Lion’s Head Mountain. If you want to keep it simple and simply enjoy the sky and the sun, head to a beach.
12. Washington, D.C.
Country: United States
Air Quality Index rank: 32
How to Enjoy Washington, D.C.’s Blue Skies
Yes, you do have to go to the Smithsonian Museums when visiting the capital of the United States. But once you’ve gotten that checked, most of the city’s best attractions are actually outdoors. Which is great news for those who want to take advantage of the pretty blue above.
Spend time at the beautiful National Mall, a long strip that has monuments like the Capitol, the White House, several museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
If you want to be a bit more adventurous, rent a kayak right in the center of the city and paddle through the Potomac River for a view of the city not many people get.
Air Quality Index rank: 36
How to Enjoy Jacksonville’s Blue Skies
Situated in northern Florida, Jacksonville’s best attribute is, of course, its beaches. You really won’t need other distractions, given how easy it is to spend a day soaking up the sun and trying to find the line where the sky ends and the sea begins.
If you do want to leave the sand and do other things, you can visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens or the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. If you want to do beaches with a little extra, head over to Little Talbot Island and Big Talbot Island State Parks.
10. San Francisco
Country: United States
Air Quality Index rank: 7
How to Enjoy San Francisco’s Blue Skies
Beautiful San Francisco is a city built to be enjoyed outdoors. Blessed with clear heavens and temperate weather, you’ll have a harder time finding things to do that don’t require some time in the sun.
You can’t skip spending time at Golden Gate State Park or Fisherman’s Wharf. This green city also has several parks and nature reserves within and around it, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get close to nature.
We also recommend a boat ride to eerie Alcatraz.
Population: 2.884 million
Air Quality Index rank: 52
How to Enjoy Kiev’s Blue Skies
Most people think of Ukraine as a drab, gray place. And while this may be true of the Soviet architecture that can be found around its capital, it’s certainly not true for the sky above.
If you do only one thing in this city, let it be Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage complex of Eastern Orthodox churches. Here, you can walk around admiring the architecture and go up the Great Lavra Bell Tower for the best views of the city.
Other outdoor activities include visiting Shevchenko Park and the Grishko Central Botanical Garden. Spend time walking down Khreschatyk, the city’s main street, and you’ll find outdoor cafes and terraces.
Air Quality Index rank: 94
How to Enjoy Bishkek’s Blue Skies
Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is considered the greenest city in Central Asia. It is the gateway to several natural attractions, like the Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range and the Ala Archa National Park. In the latter, you can find glaciers that feed cold, crystal-clear lakes.
You’ll also find a lot of green within the city, as the streets are shaded by trees, and public parks bring balance to the grayness of modern buildings.
Air Quality Index rank: 14
How to Enjoy Oslo’s Blue Skies
It’s no secret that Norwegians love the outdoors. And while they may get brutal winters, at least they also get plenty of sunshine, particularly in "southern" cities like Oslo.
What makes the Norwegian capital so awesome is that it has a fjord within its boundaries. The fjord and its many islands basically guarantee great outdoor fun. We recommend taking a boat tour around it.
You also can hike or take a cable car up the hill of Ekeberg Park for views of the city that include the fjord.
Air Quality Index rank: 15
How to Enjoy Helsinki’s Blue Skies
Another Scandinavian city to make the list for bluest sky, Helsinki has plenty of public parks and squares where you can enjoy the sun. Start at Sinebrychoff Park, one of the local’s favorites, or get on a boat to visit the UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna fortress.
The Esplanade Park also provides walking opportunities peppered with views of statues and historical buildings.
Of course, you can’t skip heading over to the Evangelical Lutheran Helsinki Cathedral, which photographs particularly well when the sky is clear and blue.
Population: 2.161 million
Air Quality Index rank: 47
How to Enjoy Paris’s Blue Skies
There is nothing Parisians love more than enjoying their city’s beauty, so you won’t have to worry about trying to find ways to spend time outside. The city was meant to be walked or to be appreciated from the outdoor seating of a local cafe. It's also one of the best places to visit in Europe.
There are also too many parks to even visit. Though the Jardin de Luxembourg is the most central and visited one, we recommend you check out Parc des Buttes Chaumont, which has a tall hill and a hidden waterfall, or the gorgeous Parc Monceau.
But really, just take time to walk around and get lost in the city. We promise you’ll end up somewhere beautiful.
4. San Jose
Country: Costa Rica
Air Quality Index rank: N/A
How to Enjoy San Jose’s Blue Skies
San Jose is usually treated as a stopover on the way to Costa Rica’s natural wonders, but there are plenty of ways to take in the city’s blue skies.
The best one may be to stroll through Central Avenue, where you’ll see some of the city’s main landmarks and museums. You’ll also get a glimpse of everyday life and find delicious local food.
If you want to stay near the city, you can take short day trips to the Irazu Volcano and Tortuga Island.
3. Phnom Penh
Population: 2.282 million
Air Quality Index rank: 133
How to Enjoy Phnom Penh’s Blue Skies
Admittedly, the Cambodian capital doesn’t rank well in terms of air quality. But when the pollution doesn’t interfere, it has one of the bluest skies in the world.
Often overlooked for Siem Reap, Phnom Penh is a must-visit destination. See the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, as well as Wat Phnom — the city’s most iconic Buddhist temple. You also can’t skip the city’s riverfront, which has plenty of urban parks as well as restaurants.
Take advantage of Phnom Penh’s favored location as the place where the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River meet by taking a sunset cruise.
Air Quality Index rank: 2
How to Enjoy Nassau’s Blue Skies
Located in the sunny Caribbean, Nassau is blessed with great weather and plenty of blue to go around. You’ll find it up above as well as in the deep ocean, where there are beautiful coral reefs to explore.
As can be expected, most people spend their time at the beach, with plenty of watersports available.
Air Quality Index Rank rank: 17
How to Enjoy Fiji’s Blue Skies
Most people think of infinite beaches when they think of Fiji. But the country’s capital actually has few public beaches. This is mostly because its coastline has been swallowed by resorts, which usually only provide their guests with access.
While you might not spend all your time at the beach — although the public beaches are beautiful and you’ll see many more locals than at the resorts — Suva is a very pleasant city to walk around. You’ll find plenty of parks like Thurston Gardens and colorful buildings, a reminder of the country’s harsh colonial past.
You also should go to the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park, where you can hike, swim, bird-watch and more.