2023’s Cities With the Best Residential Views

A woman in a hat opens her curtains to a beautiful view of a city with mountains in the background.

Which U.S. cities promise the most stunning scenic vistas — at a premium price?

With recent wildfires literally clouding up the skies across the country, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Cities With the Best Residential Views.

We looked for cities with plenty of homes featuring spectacular sights of mountains, water, cityscapes, and green spaces. We also factored in historical air quality data to gauge visibility.

Find out where to set your sights for your next move in our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

In this article

City rankings + infographic

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Infographic showing the Cities With the Best Residential Views, a ranking based on homes with views of different landscapes and visibility
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics above.

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

An aerial view of Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, against a mountainous backdrop and coastal beaches and a marina in the foreground
No. 1: Honolulu | Overall score: 61.89

Water Views rank: 9
Mountain Views rank: 3
City Views rank: 1
Green Views rank: 20
Visibility rank: 3

Photo credit: Cosmin Serban | Unsplash | Unsplash License
A shot of the Seattle, Washington, skyline with a view of the iconic Space Needle framed by trees from Kerry Park in the foreground and Mount Rainier in the background
No. 2: Seattle | Overall score: 42.28

Water Views rank: 7
Mountain Views rank: 9
City Views rank: 4
Green Views rank: 28
Visibility rank: 56

Photo credit: Stephen Plopper | Unsplash | Unsplash License
A shot of Downtown Reno, Nevada, at twilight with a view of mountains in the background and a winding road in the foreground
No. 3: Reno, Nevada | Overall score: 41.99

Water Views rank: 83
Mountain Views rank: 1
City Views rank: 24
Green Views rank: 6
Visibility rank: 102

Photo credit: Trevor Bexon | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
A view of the Bellevue, Washington, skyline with Lake Washington in the foreground and the imposing Cascade Mountains in the background
No. 4: Bellevue, Washington | Overall score: 30.96

Water Views rank: 6
Mountain Views rank: 22
City Views rank: 6
Green Views rank: 83
Visibility rank: 56

Photo credit: Tiffany Von Arnim | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
An aerial view of Downtown Rancho Cucamonga, California, with hills in the background and palm trees in the foreground
No. 5: Rancho Cucamonga, California | Overall score: 30.22

Water Views rank: 159
Mountain Views rank: 2
City Views rank: 14
Green Views rank: 53
Visibility rank: 194

Photo credit: MattGush | iStock | Royalty-Free License

Key insights

Main outlook

Our top cities have it all: stunning seascapes, majestic mountains, soaring skylines, verdant greenery — the works. Visibility is consistently good in many of these cities, such as Honolulu (No. 1) and Anchorage, Alaska (No. 6). It can be hit or miss in others, as in Washington state’s Puget Sound region, depending on the season and natural hazards like wildfires, which have grown more frequent in the West.

If you don’t care for scenic variety, the cities at or near the bottom of our ranking may interest you. Cities like Fresno, California (last overall), Warren, Michigan (No. 194), and Pasadena, Texas (No. 191), for example, were dinged for lack of eye candy besides mountainous deserts, downtown silhouettes, or rivers and lakes. Generally poor visibility also dragged these cities down.

Standout stats

Panoramic paradise

  • For the 2nd year in a row, Honolulu dominates our ranking with the most ideal combination of nature and city views, enhanced by impeccable air quality. In fact, The Big Pineapple — particularly its Waikiki Beach neighborhood — is the 8th most Instagrammed city in America.

Stunning states

  • California and Florida monopolize our top 25 overall, with 11 and five cities, respectively. Rancho Cucamonga is tops in the Golden State. Meanwhile, Pembroke Pines leads in the Sunshine State.

Clearing the air

  • Save your money on an air purifier in Lubbock, Texas (No. 90 overall). This High Plains city tops our Visibility category with an annual median air quality index of 22 — better than in Anchorage, Alaska (No. 6 overall), and Honolulu (No. 1).

Blurred vision

  • Although blessed with endless natural beauty, 31 cities from only two states — Arizona and California — share the worst air. Arizona is particularly vulnerable to bad air due to an abundance of sunlight and lack of cloud cover. California’s Inland Empire region, meanwhile, is notorious for its poor air quality. It is consistently the worst in the nation due to industrial pollution, which contributes to Arizona’s hazy air.

Fountain of views

  • Florida cities claim all five of the best spots in our Water Views category. Fort Lauderdale (No. 11 overall) — appropriately nicknamed the Venice of America — leads the pack. Cape Coral bests the other 199 cities in the share of waterfront homes and those with river views. Pembroke Pines finishes 1st in lake views. The tradeoff to all this aquatic beauty, however, is hurricane risk.

Oceanic overlooks

  • Technically an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound floats to the top of our ocean views metric. The region’s cities — Seattle (No. 2 overall), Bellevue (No. 4), and Tacoma (No. 17) — claim the three top spots (in that order). Unfortunately, West Coast wildfires can cause hazy views during the annual “smoke season.”

Little place, big praise

  • The Biggest Little City in the World can now also claim to be the best big city for mountain views. In Reno, Nevada (No. 3 overall), the Sierra Nevada is within eyeshot for over half of homes on and off the market.

Keeping up appearances

  • For skyline views, the West towers above the rest. However, four cities among the top 25 in this category rival their Western counterparts. Atlanta (No. 24 overall), Norfolk, Virginia (No. 46), and Miami (No. 26) make up the three standout Southern cities, while only Springfield, Missouri (No. 62) — with its petite downtown — reps the Midwest.

Green in Greater LA

  • For green views in Los Angeles (No. 38 overall), move outside of Los Angeles. LA suburbs enjoy the most park views — not just in the metro area but among the biggest U.S. cities. Irvine, California (No. 21) places 1st in both the Green Views category and in park views. Huntington Beach (No. 44), Fullerton (No. 55), Orange (No. 67), and Santa Clarita (No. 12) comprise the other four.

Golfer’s dream

  • If you’re not afraid of golf balls shattering your windows, three Florida cities — Pembroke Pines (No. 7 overall), Port St. Lucie (No. 27), and St. Petersburg (No. 20) — offer some of the most homes framing golf courses. The first two also offer decent greens for amateur golfers.

Expert take

A picture is worth a thousand words, but is it worth the extra 25% on your mortgage or rent? We turned to some real estate experts for their views. Read their thoughts below.

  1. What are the top three benefits of having a view (skyline, water, mountain, park)?
  2. What is one unexpected challenge or cost that homeowners should anticipate on a waterfront property?
  3. Is a scenic view worth the extra cost? Why or why not? How might it impact the home’s resale price?
  4. What is one way a homeowner can mimic the effects of a scenic vista and bring the beauty of nature or the city into their home?

Ask The Experts

Job Hammond
Professor of Real Estate, Real estate Broker Associate in Austin, Texas
Job Hammond
Professor of Real Estate, Real estate Broker Associate in Austin, Texas
Austin Community College

What are the top three benefits of having a view (skyline, water, mountain, park)?

Homebuyers will have various options when purchasing a house that meets their needs and budget. A place with a view can enhance privacy, lighting, and offer a spacious feeling for those who live and visit the house. Homeowners are attracted to various types of views, including the city skyline, mountains, golf course, park or open greenspace, or water views. While views such as water or park may seem ideal, buyers should consider that these recreational activities may bring unwanted noise during certain times. Individuals are attracted to all types of views. The best view type will depend on the homeowner’s preferences, needs, and budget.

What is one unexpected challenge or cost that homeowners should anticipate on a waterfront property?

Homeowners with waterfront properties with views of a lake, river, or ocean have some of the finest experiences in living. While waterfront homes can be a dream come true, unexpected costs such as flood and homeowners insurance can become a nightmare for buyers. Waterfront homes will often require both flood insurance and higher cost insurance premiums due to the risk of natural disasters and storms. Climate change will continue to enhance the risk of floods, rising sea levels, and other weather-related events on those who own waterfront property. Localities must be proactive in their management of flood risk to reduce risk within their communities.

Is a scenic view worth the extra cost? Why or why not? How might it impact the home’s resale price?

A house with a scenic view provides a better living experience at a higher cost. If the view leads to a better quality of life with more substantial productivity, then the price may be worth it. Buyers willing to sacrifice house size, location, or condition can trade up for a desirable view. The decision to purchase a view house will be vital as it will be priced higher than a similar house without a view. Homes with scenic views tend to appreciate faster than those without them. Look into local zoning rules to determine if the view may be obstructed with future development. Ask your local REALTOR® how much value the view would add to the resale price, as it may be worth the cost.

What is one way a homeowner can mimic the effects of a scenic vista and bring the beauty of nature or the city into their home?

Only some have the budget to purchase a house with a view. Still, homeowners can mimic the effects of a scenic vista by using design to bring a sense of the outdoors inside. Homes with open floor plans and large windows will provide natural light and a connection to the outside. Use design elements, including earth tones, raw materials, and indoor plants, to inspire the feeling of the outdoors inside the comfort of your home.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Cities With the Best Residential Views. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into five categories: Water Views, Mountain Views, City Views, Green Views, and Visibility. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. 

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties.


Realtor.com, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Zillow

Create your own gorgeous green view

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a home with a view that takes your breath away.  

Even if your home lacks spectacular sights, you can easily transform your backyard into a picture-perfect backdrop with the art of landscaping.

Here are some ideas for creating the Insta-worthy backyard of your dreams:

No backyard oasis is complete without a nice green lawn. Hire a local Lawn Love pro for all your lawn care and landscaping needs. 

Writing and research contributed by Sav Maive

Media resources

Main photo credit: iStock

Richie Bernardo

Richie Bernardo is a managing editor who previously wrote about personal finance and immigration. Philippine-born, Kansas City-bred, and barbecue-fed, Richie enjoys baking, deal hunting, and binging “Ancient Aliens.”