Top 5 Noisiest And Quietest Cities In The USA

speeding taxi

Speeding taxi. Photo courtesy of Dave Newman.

Looking for a quiet vacation somewhere in the United States? Or are you looking to move out of the big city into a calm area? The constant hustle and bustle of noisy areas can actually impact your health, physically and emotionally, by influencing your blood pressure, heart rate, sleeping patterns, hearing and overall mood. It might be time to do yourself a favor and take a break from the noise of a big city.

To take advantage of some peace and quiet, it’s helpful to know both the quietest cities in the US, and the noisiest cities that you may want to avoid if that’s not what you’re in the mood for.

Top 5 Noisiest

New York City

As one of the most populated cities in America, the added tourism New York brings from around the world makes this a very crowded and loud city.

Detroit, Michigan

With one of the highest crime rates in the country, this one may be no surprise.

San Francisco, California

Research done by the city and UC Berkely showed that traffic noise puts 1 in 6 residents in San Francisco at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and other stress-related illnesses.

Miami, Florida

Don’t be fooled by the lure of the lapping waves against the beach because between the night clubs, police sirens, and constant construction, this city may not be the perfect beach haven you seek.

Chicago, Illinois

This city receives some of the most aircraft noise complaints in the country. As an integral piece to the nation’s commercial air traffic network, the O’Hare International Airport has some 2,500 flights land and take off every day, flying right over the heart of the city and the neighborhoods of its residents.

purple flowers

Serenity. Photo courtesy of Jessie Festa.

Top 5 Quietest

Durham, North Carolina

This city is the perfect example of a big city where you can find ultimate relaxation. With its unique blend of cultures and heavy influence in the medical field, this town has a ‘homey’ feel that can’t be beat.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Despite the thousands of visitors Cape Cod receives each summer, when you take an early morning walk along the beach in this city you will be surprised at the quiet crash of the waves and the comforting stillness the ocean brings.

Hartford, Connecticut

A true sense of peace and calm can be found in Hartford. The architecture of the city, with its stone street accents, adds a sophistication that can’t be found elsewhere.

Sante Fe, New Mexico

Perched high in the desert mountains and acres of forest surroundings, this city is known for its peace and quiet. As a home to hundreds of art galleries, antique shops, boutiques and a diverse ethnic history, Sante Fe is the ultimate cultural destination.

Des Moines, Iowa

Known for being one of the most beautiful state capitals in the country, this city is also known for its numerous parks, nationally acclaimed cultural events, and historical sites. Settled along the Des Moines River, this city has a comforting quiet. It even has a quiet street, a bicycle friendly commuter route that has low volume and low speed.

What US cities have you visited and found to be either striking loud or extremely quiet? Please share in the comments below.



    1. Tucson is noisy- much more than one would ever think! There are a lot of untrained dogs that bark continuously – at all hours. People are often riding scooters and rev up any vehicle they are driving. Those on foot often are playing some type of musical instrument or singing. Others walk about yelling at another person, or talk to themselves. (not sure if there’s a lot of mental health issues here but some random & strange behaviors). Makes relaxing on your patio a mission you cannot accomplish. Frustrating- because as the weathers great .

  1. I’ve lived in Honolulu, Hi for 25 years now and the noise is incredible. All day long ambulances scream at full blast thru the city often followed by fire engines careening along with their sirens at full blast. Then there are the leaf blowers, weed wackers, and mowers (year round) to contend with. All commercial vehicles are equipped with noise devices that activate when the vehicle is backing up. Oh and don’t let me forget the weekly tsunami sirens that could waken the dead.
    If your looking for a peaceful vacation or place to live, forget Waikiki and Honolulu.

    1. @G Matthews: Hearing you talk about Honolulu reminds me a lot of where I live, Brooklyn. I was woken up at 2am by a super loud oil truck last night that literally just parked in front of my building grumbling for about an hour. WHY?! lol

  2. Parts of the greater Seattle area like West Seattle have a low-pitch buzz that can be heard the entire day at different times of the year. People living in these areas say it keeps them up at night and I think would mess with one’s head.

    1. Regarding the “buzz” or “hum” you say you hear in the Puget Sound area – well, there are a LOT of military installations up there including ones devoted to submarines. Go Figure. Additionally, look at the site: for more about this worldwide hum syndrome. I am not promoting the site specifically, but the fellow (in British Columbia) whom has created that site had made the best compendium of this phenomenon I have found online. It might lend insight to this sound you hear. SpM

  3. As for a rural area to vacation/holiday in that is *horribly* noisy (up to 120 dB SPL peaks), if you value desert-quietude, totally avoid Inyo County California and a lot of the Mojave Desert also – home to Death Valley National Park and also Mt. Whitney, redneck Inyo County is heavily touristed, BUT also is HEAVILY bombarded by huge (at times) military aircraft (jet) noise from aircraft that can frequently “buzz” your camping spot or even do sustained dive-bombing/mock attacks of your camping spot and vehicle(s). You might be a target there. The general jet-noise-levels in Inyo County on some days (most weekdays but some weekends too) there sound like Bagdad, Iraq back in March 2003 or parts of Syria today…

    I know, I live there – it sucks and is awful if you value peace and quiet… Steve

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