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The Time In The United States of America

Saturday, September 21, 2013 by — creator of Time Genie

Updated: Friday, March 11, 2016

Flag of the United States

Flag of the USA.

What time is it in America? This is a commonly asked question — but this question requires a question in return — where in America?

The USA has multiple time zones — more than you might expect when you consider that the USA also includes Hawaii, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. If you include the United States Minor Outlying Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa, then there are even more time zones. One can also include Antarctica where the USA maintains the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, McMurdo Station and Palmer Station.

If you include all of the above locations, then the United States has 12 time zones.

But ultimately, when a person asks what time is it in America, they are really talking about the contiguous USA. Thus, the contiguous United States will be the main focus of this article — and in the contiguous USA, there are 4 main time zones.


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What Time Is It In America? There Are 4 Main Time Zones

There are 4 main time zones within the contiguous United States. The contiguous United States refers to those states that are south of Canada and north of Mexico. There are 48 states in total that are adjoining. States such as Alaska and Hawaii are non–contiguous.

Map of the United States
A map of the United States. The east coast of the USA is on the right side of the map. The west coast of the USA is on the left side of the map — map copyright Time Genie.

The 4 Main Time Zones in the USA

The 4 main time zones in the contiguous United States, from east to west, they are (Click a heading to sort the table):

Time Zone Major Cities
Eastern Time Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chesapeake, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Durham, Fayetteville, Fort Wayne, Greensboro, Hialeah, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Jersey City, Lexington, Louisville, Manhattan, Miami, New York City, Newark, Norfolk
Central Time Arlington, Austin, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Chicago, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Des Moines, Fort Worth, Garland, Houston, Irving, Kansas City, Laredo, Lincoln, Lubbock, Madison, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha
Mountain Time Albuquerque, Arvada, Aurora, Billings, Boise, Boulder, Broomfield, Casper, Centennial, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, Denver, El Paso, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Great Falls, Greeley, Highlands Ranch, Idaho Falls, Lakewood, Las Cruces, Layton, Longmont, Loveland, Lucerne, Meridian, Phoenix *, Tucson *
Pacific Time Anaheim, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Fremont, Fresno, Henderson, Irvine, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Modesto, Oakland, Portland, Reno, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Spokane, Stockton, Tacoma

* Please note:

Both Phoenix and Tucson do not observe daylight saving time and use Mountain Standard Time all year.

→ Learn more about the time zones in Arizona.

Time Zone Data

Information about the 4 main time zones in the USA.

Time Zone Standard Time Daylight Saving Time
Eastern Time ET Eastern Standard Time EST GMT -5 Eastern Daylight Time EDT GMT -4
Central Time CT Central Standard Time CST GMT -6 Central Daylight Time CDT GMT -5
Mountain Time MT Mountain Standard Time MST GMT -7 Mountain Daylight Time MDT GMT -6
Pacific Time PT Pacific Standard Time PST GMT -8 Pacific Daylight Time PDT GMT -7
A map showing the standard time zones of the United States
Standard time zone map of the USA. You can download this map in PDF format.

TV Schedules

The Eastern Time Zone is, by default, the de facto time zone. This is because when it is 9 PM on the east coast, it is still 6 PM on the west coast.

When it comes to TV or broadcast schedules, the eastern time always appears first followed by the central time zone. If there is a third number, it would be the pacific time zone. The mountain time zone is, unfortunately, ignored.

Examples include:

9 Eastern, 8 Central, 6 Pacific

9/8C

In the above example, the 9 refers to the eastern time zones. But it also means 9 in the pacific time zone. The C refers to the central time zone. Thus, the TV show would appear at 8 in the central time zone.

Many sporting events or live broadcasts will simply say 9 Eastern, 6 Pacific. You then need to deduce that 9 eastern is 8 central and 7 mountain.

Daylight Saving Time

Most, but not all, cities or states in the USA observe daylight saving time (DST).

→ At 2 AM local time, clocks are advanced 1 hour on the second Sunday in March.

→ At 2 AM local time, clocks go back 1 hour on the first Sunday in November.

Most of Arizona, all of Hawaii and the town of Metlakatla in Alaska do not observe daylight saving.

US Time Zone Chart

By using the following time zone chart you can see the time differences between the time zones in the United States.

→ Try Time Genie's time zone converter.

Click a heading to sort the table.

Eastern Time Central Time Mountain Time Pacific Time
00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM
01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM
02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM
03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM
04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM
05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM
06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM
07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM
08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM
09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM
10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM
11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM
12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM
13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM
14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM
15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM
16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM
17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM
18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM
19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM
20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM
21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM
22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM
23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM

States with Locations in the Eastern Time Zone

States with Locations in the Central Time Zone

States with Locations in the Mountain Time Zone

States with Locations in the Pacific Time Zone

States with Locations in the Alaska Time Zone

States with Locations in the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone

States with Multiple Time Zones

Several states within the United States have multiple time zones. These states include:

Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas.

Unofficial Time Zones in the USA

A few locations in the USA have unofficial time zones. The locations are:

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