The Longest Day of the Year

Sunrise, Sunset, and Daylight Information for Thirteen Major Cities

Illustration depicting the longest day of the year in eight cities.
ThoughtCo.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year is always on or around June 21. This is because on this date, the sun's rays are perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer at 23°30' North latitude. This day is called the summer solstice and it happens twice a year: once in the Northern Hemisphere (June 21) and once in the Southern Hemisphere (December 21) where seasons and sunlight are the opposite of the Earth's Northern Hemisphere.

What Happens During the Summer Solstice?

During the summer solstice, the earth's "circle of illumination" or division between day and night runs from the Arctic Circle on the far side of the earth (in relation to the sun) to the Antarctic Circle on the near side of the earth. This means that the equator receives twelve hours of daylight, the North Pole and areas north of 66°30' N 24 hours of daylight, and the South Pole and areas south of 66°30' S 24 hours of darkness during this time (the South Pole receives 24 hours of sunlight during its summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice).

June 20 to 21 is the start of summer and longest day of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of winter and shortest day of sunlight in the Southern Hemisphere. Though it might seem like the summer solstice would also be when the sun rises earliest and sets latest, it is not. As you will see, the exact dates of the earliest sunrises and latest sunsets vary by location.

Longest Days in the United States

Take a look at the sunrises, sunsets, longest days, and hours of daylight information for the U.S. cities listed below. Note that dates have been rounded to the nearest minute in this list for a wider range but the longest days to the nearest second are always the Northern Hemisphere's June 20 and 21.

Anchorage, Alaska

  • Earliest Sunrise: 4:20 a.m. from June 17 to 19
  • Latest Sunset: 11:42 p.m. from June 18 to 25
  • Longest Days: June 18 to 22
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 19 hours and 21 minutes

Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:49 a.m. from May 28 to June 16
  • Latest Sunset: 7:18 p.m. from June 30 to July 7
  • Longest Days: June 15 to 25
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 13 hours and 26 minutes

Because it is closest to the equator, Honolulu has the shortest length of daylight during the summer solstice of all U.S. cities profiled here. This tropical location also has far less variation in daylight throughout the year, so even winter days have close to 11 hours of sunlight.

Los Angeles, California

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:41 a.m. from June 6 to 17
  • Latest Sunset: 8:08 p.m. from June 20 to July 6
  • Longest Days: June 19 to 21
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 14 hours and 26 minutes

Miami, Florida

  • Earliest Sunrise: 6:29 a.m. from May 31 to June 17
  • Latest Sunset: 8:16 p.m. from June 23 to July 6
  • Longest Days: June 15 to 25
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 13 hours and 45 minutes

New York City, New York

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:24 a.m. from June 11 to 17
  • Latest Sunset: 8:31 p.m. from June 20 to July 3
  • Longest Days: June 18 to 22
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 15 hours and 6 minutes

Portland, Oregon

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:21 a.m. from June 12 to 17
  • Latest Sunset: 9:04 p.m. from June 23 to 27
  • Longest Days: June 16 to 24
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 15 hours and 41 minutes

Sacramento, California

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:41 a.m. from June 8 to June 18
  • Latest Sunset: 8:34 p.m. from June 20 to July 4
  • Longest Days: June 17 to 23
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 14 hours and 52 minutes

Seattle, Washington

  • Earliest Sunrise: 5:11 a.m. from June 11 to 20
  • Latest Sunset: 9:11 p.m. from June 19 to 30
  • Longest Days: June 16 to 24
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 15 hours and 59 minutes

Longest Days Internationally

For big cities around the world, the longest days look very different from place to place. Note which locations can be found in the Northern Hemisphere and which fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

London, United Kingdom

  • Earliest Sunrise: 4:43 a.m. from June 11 to 22
  • Latest Sunset: 9:22 p.m. from June 21 to 27
  • Longest Days: June 17 to 24
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 16 hours and 38 minutes

Mexico City, Mexico

  • Earliest Sunrise: 6:57 a.m. from June 3 to 7
  • Latest Sunset: 8:19 p.m. from June 27 to July 12
  • Longest Days: June 13 to 28
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 13 hours and 18 minutes

Nairobi, Kenya

  • Earliest Sunrise: 6:11 a.m. from November 3 to 7
  • Latest Sunset: 6:52 p.m. from February 4 to June 14
  • Longest Days: December 2 to January 10
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 12 hours and 12 minutes

Nairobi, only 1°17' south of the equator, has exactly 12 hours of sunlight on June 21—the sun rises at 6:33 a.m. and sets at 6:33 p.m. Because the city is in the Southern Hemisphere, it experiences its longest day on December 21.

Nairobi's shortest days, occurring in mid-June, are just 10 minutes shorter than the longest days in December. The lack of diversity in Nairobi's sunrise and sunset throughout the year provides a clear example of why lower latitudes don't require or benefit from Daylight Saving Time.

Reykjavik, Iceland

  • Earliest Sunrise: 2:55 a.m. from June 18 to 21
  • Latest Sunset: 12:04 a.m. from June 21 to 24
  • Longest Days: June 18 to 22
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 21 hours and 8 minutes

If Reykjavik were just a few degrees to the north, it would fall within the Arctic Circle and experience 24 hours of daylight on the summer solstice.

Tokyo, Japan

  • Earliest Sunrise: 4:25 a.m. from June 6 to 20
  • Latest Sunset: 7:01 p.m. from June 22 to July 5
  • Longest Days: June 19 to 23
  • Hours of Daylight on Longest Day: 14 hours and 35 minutes