I have friends all over the globe and before calling them I need to know their current time. Is there an application in Linux where one can query a city (if exists) in terminal (something like this): time miami

P.S: Yes I know that I can query it from Google but I prefer using the terminal

1 Answer 1


The date command will give you the current date/time based on your locale.
You can change that, one time only, by prefixing the command with a different timezone

TZ=CST6CDT date # Will print the current time in the USA Central time
TZ=Chicago date # will do the same, iff Chicago is listed by name in the /usr/share/zoneinfo/ dir hierarchy

Then to simplify ease of access, just create aliases in you .bashrc file, eg.

alias dad='TZ=Paris date'
alias fred='TZ=Amsterdam date'


  • very nice answer, thanks. let's say i want miami (not listed under /usr/share/zoneinfo/) and how do i find out its zone code (CST6...)?
    – sterz
    Mar 8, 2012 at 18:54
  • 1
    You could use google maps or earth, but in this case I'll just tell you. Miami is in the Eastern Time zone, EST5EDT, same as New_York (Miami's just a little further south). Quick G search, found and like this, gives TZ
    – bsd
    Mar 8, 2012 at 19:26
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    “in the /usr/share/zoneinfo hierarchy”? I've never seen that. AFAIK you need the full path from the zoneinfo directory, e.g. TZ=America/Chicago or TZ=Europe/Paris or TZ=Hongkong. Mar 8, 2012 at 23:18
  • Nope, just the City is enough, again I speak empirically. I tried it, and it works. I'm in America but the TZ=Paris worked fine. If I were going to rely on this, personally I'd stick with the EST5DST form.
    – bsd
    Mar 8, 2012 at 23:26
  • Seems Gilles is right. It works for me only with full path.
    – manatwork
    Mar 9, 2012 at 8:37

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