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Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

Ricky Otazu, of Lodi, N.J. walks past a giant screen outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center announcing the week's weather forecast, Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in New York. Temperatures in the New York metropolitan area are expected to stay in the 90s through Saturday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

(MoneyWatch) Broiled by the sun and summer humidity? It may be time to take a trip to one of the nation's top 10 "chill" cities -- the big metropolitan areas that keep their cool even in the hottest months, according to Bert Sperling, editor of "Sperling's Best Places."

Sperling used his company's new "heat index" to find the cities that have the most desirable combination of moderate daytime temperatures, low humidity and cool temperatures at night. Better yet, the cities he picked are fun places to visit, with lots of places to go and things to do.

Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

1. Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. Summer days in Seattle and Tacoma average a pleasant 75 degrees, and you'll probably need a light sweater at night, when the temperature dips to around 53 degrees. Relative humidity is a modest 43 percent. And summer days are long, with the sun coming up just after 5 a.m. and not setting until around 9 p.m. Seattle offers a long list of things to do, from seeing the Space Needle and Pike's Place market to visiting Mount Rainier. It's also one of the world's most beautiful cities, sitting on water, surrounded by scenic islands.

Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

Wikimedia Commons

2. Portland/Beaverton, Ore. Daytime temperatures can hit 80, but humidity is low at about 38 percent; at night it dips to a delicious 53 degrees. Activities include taking in sights like the Pittock Mansion and the Portland Art Museum, or you can engage in a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing to golf. Meanwhile, Oregon has a vibrant viticulture community, making wine tours -- or just a glass of the local vintage -- an experience worth considering.

Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

D. H. Parks

3. San Francisco The city by the bay has been romanticized in movies and songs, but the reality is more romantic than anything you could see on a screen. Steep and winding streets, a spectacular ocean vista and the beautiful Bay Bridge are just some of the attractions. With daytime temperatures averaging in the mid-to-high 70s and night temperatures a pleasant 55 degrees, you can enjoy 5-star hotels and restaurants, as well as historic attractions such as Alcatraz Island.

Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

Allie Caulfield

4. Denver/Aurora, Colo. Whether you are into white-water rafting or hiking in the spectacular Flatiron mountains, Denver is the place to start. You're surrounded by national parks and have picturesque ski resorts, like Vail, only a few hours away. To keep tourists coming in the summer, the resorts offer lots of free outdoor activities, such as movies, music and art festivals. Meanwhile, the weather is sublime: About 83 degrees in the daytime and 53 degrees at night. And the humidity readings are almost non-existent -- a dry 28 percent.

Hot enough? 5 best cities to beat the heat

5. San Jose/Sunnyvale, Calif. Just a short drive from San Francisco, the San Jose/Sunnyvale area offers all the same summer cool, with a chance to go on wine-tasting tours through the J. Lohr Vinyard or get a gander at the grand (and inexplicable) Winchester Mystery House. Average temperature: 83 degrees during the day, 55 degrees at night.

Along with these five cities, Sperling recommends Bufflao, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Detroit and Pittsburgh for summertime travelers. To see why, check out Bestplaces.net.