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15 American Cities with the Cleanest Air

15. Bangor, Maine

Known as the Queen City of Maine, Bangor ranks 15th on ALA’s list. Developed by the lumber and shipbuilding industries, Bangor is plush with parks and forests for hiking. Sailing, canoeing, fishing, and skiing are also enjoyed on the Penobscot River.

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14. Wilmington, North Carolina

Number 14 on the ALA list is Wilmington, North Carolina. This clean-air port city is known for its colorful beaches and seaside boardwalk. Wilmington also features the Battleship North Carolina and museums that tell stories of its rich past.

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13. Syracuse-Auburn, New York

Syracuse and Auburn—homes of the Orangemen and Harriet Tubman, respectively—rank #13 on the American Lung Association’s list of clean-air cities. Situated in the Finger Lakes region of New York, both cities have plenty of options for outdoor fun.

12. Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont

On Lake Champlain’s eastern shore, Burlington-South Burlington comes in 12th place in regards to clean air. There’s even a Code of Ordinances in place to help make sure they stay in good-air standing.  

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11. Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, New Mexico

The southwestern trifecta of good-air cities can be found in New Mexico and Nevada. Tied for 11th place in ALA’s study are Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas.

10. Fargo-Wahpeton, North Dakota-Minnesota

On the North Dakota-Minnesota border, the cities of Fargo and Wahpeton take tenth prize for favorable air quality. This area on the banks of the Red River also occupies a spot on’s top 100 best places to live.

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9. Redding-Red Bluff, California

Redding-Red Bluff is in northern California’s Shasta Cascade region—a paradise for outdoors lovers. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and picnicing at Lassen Volcanic National Park are just two al fresco options. With a pleasant and healthy Mediterranean-type climate, Salinas ranks #9 on ALA’s list of clean-air cities.

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8. Salinas, California

On the central coast of California, the town of Salinas has the eighth cleanest air in the United States. To experience it best, stroll through Monterey Wine Country. Called the Salad Bowl of the World, this smog-free zone is only about five hours from polluted Los Angeles.

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7. Elmira-Corning, New York

New York’s Elmira and Corning are about a half-hour drive from each other, and the air quality is so pure that this area ranks seventh on the ALA list. Soar over the Finger Lakes in a sailplane to experience this fresh oxygen from the sky.

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6. Bismark, North Dakota

Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, is #6 on ALA’s list of cleanest U.S. cities. Situated on the east bank of the Missouri River, Bismarck features plenty of options for making the most of its fresh air, including a network of walking and biking trails, five golf courses, and several parks.

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5. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

From upscale restaurants to farmers’ markets, the energy is electric in Makiki—a bustling, urban area of Hawaii’s capital. Urban Honolulu ranks fifth on ALA’s clean-city scorecard. It's easy to see why with programs like The Hawaii Nature Center that teaches kids about the environment.

4. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii

Both living and breathing is easy in the Aloha State, especially in the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina region (#4 in the clean-air lineup). This region’s sunshine and sublime island breezes are the ingredients for a perfect day on the beach!

3. Casper, Wyoming

Casper takes third in the State of the Air study. This environmentally conscious town has a myriad ways to keep Casper clean, including a street tree program to beautify the city and provide homes for birds and other wildlife. Residents can also safely dispose of hazardous waste free of charge at a collection facility.

2. Cheyenne, Wyoming

The second cleanest air award goes to Cheyenne. Clearly, environmental protection is priority for Wyoming’s capital city. With curbside recycling and wind farms at the landfill, they are constantly looking for new ways to utilize waste, transforming it into valuable sources of energy.  

1. Farmington, New Mexico

A lush oasis in the desert, Farmington boasts five parks on the Animus River. Perhaps this explains its #1 spot on the ALA’s clean-cities list. With air this clean, there’s plenty to do outdoors. Try your hand at a a round of golf at Pinion Hills or ride horseback at Glade Run.

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