Located on the Atlantic Ocean, Boston, Massachusetts, is situated in a transitional zone between a continental and subtropical climate. The city’s average temperatures are thus slightly milder. And despite having four distinct seasons, it’s a relatively sunny city for its latitude. But how much sunshine are we talking about? How many sunny days in Boston can you expect during an average year? Let’s discover the answer, along with annual rainfall days and annual snowfall days.
I used climate data from the NOAA which offers the most accurate numbers when wanting to determine a given city’s average weather.
Here’s the Number of Sunny Days in Boston, Massachusetts
According to the NOAA, Boston Logan Airport located near downtown Boston receives 2,634 sunshine hours a year. Its sunshine hours are above the United States average for its latitude. For example, located at a similar latitude Buffalo, NY, gets only 2,207 hours of sunshine a year.
Now let’s see how much sunshine that is when translated to the number of sunny days (percent possible sunshine is the percentage of daylight hours that records sunshine):
|Month||Sunshine hours||Percent possible sunshine||Average sunny days|
According to this data, Boston has about 213 sunny days. This means that it has 152 cloudy days. Note that a sunny day means there’s some sun. It includes both partly sunny days as well as clear days.
The sunniest months are July (the hottest month) and August with 20 days of sun. With average temperatures during the day of about 80-82 °F, these summer months are some of the best months to visit Boston. If you’d rather avoid such high temperatures, June, September or October are also sunny with about 19 days of sun and with a milder average temperature (but still not cold).
The least sunny month is November with 15 sunny days. The city is less sunny in the winter months but it still has a rather consistent number of sunny days. No single month is gloomy as is the case with, for example, Seattle that gets only 6 sunny days in December.
Sunshine Hours in Boston Compared to Other Cities
How does Boston compare to other cities in the US in terms of how much sunshine it gets?
It has a rather favorable climate when compared to many major cities on the east coast and in the eastern part of the United States.
It gets more sunshine than New York City (which gets 2,535 compared to 2,634 in Boston), Washington, D.C. (2,528), Chicago (2,508), and Philadelphia (2,498). Curiously, it’s only slightly less sunny than much warmer Virginia Beach which gets 2,695 hours of sunshine.
Now, if we were to compare Boston to cities in the Western United States, its average weather is definitely not that sunny. For example, it’s much less sunny than Phoenix (3,872), Las Vegas (3,825), Los Angeles (3,254), San Francisco (3,062), or San Diego (3,054). But it’s sunnier than Seattle (2,170) and Portland, Oregon (2,341).
Boston is also sunnier than Houston (2,578), Nashville (2,510), and Cincinnati (2,335).
How Many Days of Rain and Snow Does Boston Get?
We now know how much sunshine Boston gets and how it compares to other US cities. Now let’s take a look at its average weather conditions for rain and snow. Here’s the number of rainy days and snowy days per year in Boston:
|Month||Rainy days||Snowy days|
Boston gets 128 days of rain a year. Its annual rainfall reaches almost 44 inches of rain per year which is more than in cities like Seattle or Portland, Oregon, that get many more rainy days per year. Unlike these two cities, though, Boston gets consistent rain year round. There’s not a single month with fewer than 9 days of rain. The wettest month reaches 12 rainy days so the range is quite narrow.
Snow falls in Boston on average on 23 days per year. The amount is high, reaching 49 inches per year. The snowiest month is January with 6 days of snow, closely followed by February. Along with freezing temperatures at night and the average high temperature still only a little bit above freezing, these months have bad weather and are best avoided.
If you’re interested about cities in Massachusetts that have the highest temperatures, check out my article on the warmest cities in Massachusetts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boston gets 128 days of rain compared to 156 in Seattle. But Boston gets almost 44 inches of rain a year while Seattle gets 39.
Boston has relatively sunny winters. Even in the coldest month it still gets at least 15 days of sunshine.
It rains about one third of the year in Boston (128 days). Rainy days are evenly distributed throughout the year, so precipitation is indeed frequent regardless when you visit.
Boston has a sunny for its latitude climate. It enjoys about 213 sunny days a year, and they’re relatively consistent each month. So on average, weather in Boston is nice sunshine-wise.
The average temperature in Boston is about 4 degrees Fahrenheit lower than in NYC. Boston is cooler both in the winter as well as in the summer. This gives it less pleasant weather in the winter and more comfortable conditions in the summer.
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