Winter in the United States can be a magical time, with snow-covered landscapes and charming holiday festivities. However, in some cities, winter is a season marked by extreme cold and harsh weather conditions. In this article, we take you on a journey through the 10 coldest cities in the US during winter, showcasing their unique characteristics and highlighting the ways residents embrace the chill. Bundle up and join us as we explore these frosty locales!
1. Fairbanks, Alaska
Average winter temperature: -16.9°F
Fairbanks, Alaska, is the coldest city on our list, with temperatures often plunging below -40°F. Nestled in the heart of Alaska, Fairbanks experiences long, dark winters, with daylight lasting just a few hours in December.
Despite the extreme cold, residents of Fairbanks find ways to enjoy the season, with popular activities such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Additionally, Fairbanks is an excellent location to view the mesmerizing Northern Lights, which frequently light up the sky during winter months.
2. Grand Forks, North Dakota
Average winter temperature: 6.1°F
Located in eastern North Dakota, Grand Forks is no stranger to frigid temperatures and blustery winter winds. With an average winter temperature of just 6.1°F, Grand Forks is the second coldest city in the United States. The city is home to the University of North Dakota, where students are well-prepared for the freezing temperatures. Despite the cold, Grand Forks offers a variety of winter activities, such as ice skating and cross-country skiing.
3. Fargo, North Dakota
Average winter temperature: 7.3°F
Not far from Grand Forks, Fargo is another North Dakota city known for its bone-chilling winters. With a winter temperature average of 7.3°F, Fargo residents are no strangers to bundling up against the cold.
The city boasts a strong sense of community, with residents often helping each other dig out after heavy snowfalls. Fargo’s lively downtown area, with its mix of historic architecture and modern amenities, offers a welcome respite from the cold, featuring a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops.
4. International Falls, Minnesota
Average winter temperature: 7.4°F
International Falls, Minnesota, is known as the “Icebox of the Nation,” and for good reason. With an average winter temperature of 7.4°F, the city’s residents are accustomed to life in a deep freeze.
Located near the Canadian border, International Falls is home to Voyageurs National Park, a winter wonderland perfect for snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. The city also hosts the annual Icebox Days Festival, a celebration of all things winter, complete with frozen turkey bowling and snow sculpture contests.
5. Duluth, Minnesota
Average winter temperature: 12.8°F
Sitting on the shores of Lake Superior, Duluth, Minnesota, is known for its picturesque scenery and frigid winter temperatures. With an average winter temperature of 12.8°F, Duluth experiences heavy snowfall and icy winds blowing off the lake.
Winter enthusiasts flock to the city for skiing and snowboarding at Spirit Mountain, as well as ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls in the area. Duluth is also home to the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, a massive outdoor holiday light display that delights visitors each winter.
6. Bismarck, North Dakota
Average winter temperature: 13.7°F
Bismarck, North Dakota, is yet another city on our list with a winter temperature average well below freezing. At 13.7°F, Bismarck’s winters are marked by heavy snowfall and cold winds. The city, which serves as North Dakota’s capital, is home to a vibrant community that embraces the frosty conditions.
Bismarck offers a variety of winter activities, including ice fishing on the Missouri River and snowshoeing through Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Residents and visitors can also enjoy the annual Christmas in the Park event, featuring beautifully decorated trees and holiday lights.
7. Anchorage, Alaska
Average winter temperature: 15.8°F
As the largest city in Alaska, Anchorage is a hub for both residents and tourists alike. With an average winter temperature of 15.8°F, the city experiences long, cold winters with plenty of snowfall.
Anchorage offers a wealth of outdoor winter activities, including skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Alyeska Resort, as well as dog sledding and ice fishing. The city is also home to the annual Fur Rendezvous, a winter festival celebrating Alaskan culture and history with events like the World Championship Sled Dog Races.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Average winter temperature: 17.8°F
Located in the heart of Wisconsin, Madison is a lively college town that experiences harsh winter conditions. With an average winter temperature of 17.8°F, Madison is no stranger to icy winds and heavy snowfall.
Despite the cold, the city offers a variety of winter activities, including ice skating on the numerous frozen lakes and cross-country skiing through the expansive arboretum. Madison is also home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where students often participate in winter traditions like the “Battle for Bascom,” a massive snowball fight on campus.
9. Green Bay, Wisconsin
Average winter temperature: 18.5°F
Green Bay, Wisconsin, is known for its passionate football fans and brutal winter weather. With an average winter temperature of 18.5°F, residents of Green Bay are well-acquainted with the challenges of living in a cold climate.
The city offers a variety of winter activities, such as ice fishing on the Bay of Green Bay and snowshoeing through local parks. Football fans can also experience the thrill of a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field, where dedicated fans are known to brave the freezing temperatures to support their team.
10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Average winter temperature: 18.9°F
Rounding out our list of the coldest cities in the US during winter is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With an average winter temperature of 18.9°F, Sioux Falls experiences cold, snowy winters, with temperatures often dipping well below zero. The city offers a variety of winter activities, including ice skating at the Scheels IcePlex and snowshoeing through the Big Sioux River Recreation Area. Sioux Falls is also home to the annual Winter Wonderland event, which features over one million holiday lights and displays throughout Falls Park.
These 10 cities represent some of the coldest places to live in the United States during winter. Despite the challenges presented by frigid temperatures and harsh weather conditions, residents of these cities have adapted and embraced the beauty of the season.
From ice fishing in Alaska to snowball fights on a college campus in Wisconsin, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the frosty winter months in these chilly locales. So, the next time you find yourself longing for a true winter experience, consider visiting one of these 10 coldest cities in the US. Just be sure to pack your warmest clothes!