While many cities have a reputation for being wet year-round (we’re looking at you, Seattle), clinching the crown for rainiest city in the U.S. often comes down to the severity of the rain storms, not simply how frequently it rains. If sunny skies simply aren’t your thing, and you’re looking to curl up with a good book instead, check out the list of the eight rainiest cities in the U.S. — some of them may surprise you.
Atlanta, Georgia (50.4 Inches Per Year)
Atlanta receives a considerable amount of rain year-round, but some months are definitely wetter than others. Precipitation peaks in the winter and again in July. October tends to be the driest month, but visitors should prepare for rain any time of year, as the city has an average of nine rainy days per month. When wet weather does arrive, the College Football Hall of Fame, World of Coca-Cola, and Georgia Aquarium are just a few options for indoor entertainment.
Nashville, Tennessee (50.5 Inches)
Prone to residual rain from hurricanes, Nashville receives more rain than Seattle. May is the wettest month in Music City, followed by November and December. The driest months are August and October — the latter’s mild temperatures also make it one of the best times to visit. However, don’t let the possibility of rain deter you: Stay dry by taking in a show at the Grand Ole Opry, appreciating the state’s status as country music capital at the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, and tasting whiskey at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.
Orlando, Florida (51.5 Inches)
Home to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other popular theme parks, Orlando doesn’t let a little rain stand in the way of a good time. And Orlando still sees less rain than other Florida cities like Miami due to its more northerly inland location. A chance of rain is almost always reported in the daily forecasts in Orlando, but it’s typical for precipitation to occur in short bursts in the afternoon. So, don't fret if you do get caught in the rain, as it rarely lasts all day. If it does decide to really come down, you can tap the kids' creative side at Crayola Experience, test your wits and patience at The Escape Room Orlando, or take flight at iFly Orlando Indoor Skydiving.
Memphis, Tennessee (54.9 Inches)
It may rain often in Memphis, but with bars, blues clubs, and live music venues in bountiful supply, there are few better places to be stuck inside. Most of the annual precipitation in the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll” falls in spring and winter months. Summer is your best bet for a rain-free experience, but be prepared for temperatures that often exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain or shine, spend as much time as possible soaking up the renowned music culture in the land where B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash (among many others) got their start. Don’t miss stopping in at Blues City Cafe, Lafayette’s Music Room, and B.B. King’s Blues Club, all located on famous Beale Street.
Houston, Texas (55.6 Inches)
While the Lone Star State might evoke images of dusty, wide open plains, severe rain and floods are fairly common in the state’s largest (and wettest) city, Houston. The upside of all that rain is the 66,600-plus acres of green space and 580 parks that Houston residents and visitors get to enjoy (when it’s not raining, of course). There’s plenty to keep you entertained if the rain does drive you inside, from the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Space Center Houston and the Music Box Theater.
Birmingham, Alabama (56.6 Inches)
Hot, muggy summers give way to rainy winters in Birmingham, the third-wettest city in the nation. The rainiest months are February and March, but fortunately, visitors have plenty of indoor options to enjoy during the wet winter months. Check out Birmingham’s abundant museums (the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts), attend a show at the historic Alabama Theatre, or sip locally crafted beer at Avondale Brewing Company.
New Orleans, Louisiana (63.4 Inches)
From powerful hurricanes to good old-fashioned summer downpours, New Orleans is notorious for wet weather. The high humidity clashing with the dry air that swoops down from the north has helped NOLA set some impressive precipitation records. Overall, though, the city sees an average of 56 rainy days each year, a number that pales in comparison to other places known for heavy rain, like Buffalo (167 days per year) and Portland, Oregon (164 days). That means that when it rains in New Orleans, it tends to pour. But don’t worry if you happen to be in the Big Easy when the sky opens up — there are plenty of entertaining indoor activities. Listen to some traditional Jazz at Preservation Hall, check out the National WWII Museum, or live it up at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.
Miami, Florida (67.4 Inches)
The southeast coast of Florida is a magnet for low pressure systems, which are responsible for creating intense bursts of rain and hurricanes that regularly swing through Miami. The coastal city is the wettest in the U.S., with the majority of its precipitation falling during May to October. If you’re planning a beach getaway in Miami, it’s wise to avoid the rainiest months of June, August, and September, each of which see about eight inches of rain on average. When the weather gets too wet, seek shelter in Time Out Miami Market, a snack and happy hour haven, gawk at the creative light installations and digital displays at Superblue Miami, or dip into the Aventura Mall, the largest shopping plaza in the city.