25 Coldest Large American Cities You Should Skip This Winter

Posted by , Updated on March 21, 2024

Let’s acknowledge that – winter, with all its subtleties and gradual approach, is near. The early chill and the cascade of leaves pre-announce an upcoming season many feel is the most uncomfortable of the year. Living through winter in a sun-drenched sandy beach house in Florida isn’t an option for everyone. Thus, for those who will need to cover up in warm garments like hats, scarves, and gloves, we have compiled a list of the chilliest US cities to steer clear from. This list is backed by average winter temperature data derived from city-data.com and features 25 cities with a population exceeding 50,000 that truly have a valid reason to grumble about the weather. So, if you have an aversion to cold climates, take a look at these 25 chilliest large American cities that you might want to bypass this winter. Caution: Those who prefer the sun may find the subsequent images unsettling.


Madison, Wisconsin, 16.1 F

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Located in South Wisconsin, Madison is the capital and second largest city of the state. The city has a humid continental climate marked by variable weather patterns and great temperature differences. While summers are usually quite hot, winters can be very chilly with moderate to heavy snowfall and temperatures often well below freezing.


Anchorage, Alaska, 16.0 F

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With a population of about 300,000, Anchorage is the largest and most populous city in Alaska. The city has subarctic climate but thanks to its proximity to the ocean, it is not as severe as you might think. Winters, however, are pretty extreme with annual snowfall of more than 75 inches and lowest recorded temperature of -38 F.


Appleton, Wisconsin, 16.0 F

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Situated on the Fox River, 100 miles north of Milwaukee, Appleton is the administrative centre of the Outagamie County. Winter is usually long there with considerable snowfall and temperatures sometimes getting close to – 30 F, which is what only keen skiers or ice hockey players can enjoy.


Waterloo, Iowa, 16.0 F

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Occupying a total area of 63.23 square miles, Waterloo is the sixth-largest city in Iowa. Apart from very cold and long winters typical of the region, the city also has to cope with occasional floods from the nearby Cedar River. In 2008, Waterloo was struck by the worst floods in its history and just one year later, it experienced an extreme freezing period with temperature dropping to –34 F.


Green Bay, Wisconsin, 15.9 F

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After Milwaukee and Madison, Green Bay is the third largest city of Wisconsin. Lightly moderated by the nearby Lake Michigan, the city experiences very long, cold and snowy winters. Annually, there are 68 days when the temperature remains at or below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was -36 F.


La Crosse, Wisconsin, 15.9 F

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Lying alongside the Mississippi River, La Crosse is home to two universities, one technical college and frigid winters. Every year, the city is covered with about 45 inches of snow in total and its residents have to deal with freezing periods pushing temperatures as low as -40 F.


Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 14.0 F

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Located in the extreme eastern part of South Dakota, Sioux Falls is the largest and most populous city of the state. The city is characterized by cold and dry winters with an average annual snowfall of about 45 inches. The lowest recorded temperature in Sioux Falls was -42 F, measured in 1899.


Woodbury, Minnesota, 13.9 F

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With a population of about 65,000, Woodbury is the largest city in Washington County, Minnesota. The city houses tons of parks, trails and various outdoor sport facilities but in winter, Woodbury turns into a kingdom of ice and snow with temperatures dropping as low as -30 F.


Saint Paul, Minnesota, 13.6 F

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St. Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of Minnesota. As a consequence of the Midwest continental climate, the city has one of the greatest ranges of temperature difference of any capital in the world. Apart from very chilly and snowy winters, Saint Paul experiences almost all kinds of weather including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes.


Minneapolis, Minnesota, 13.0 F

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Once “the world’s flour milling capital”, Minneapolis is the largest and most populous city in Minnesota. It’s a city of extreme temperature differences throughout the year. Summers are humid and almost subtropical but winters are subarctic with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. The snowiest winter of record was in 1983, when almost 100 inches of snow fell.


Bloomington, Minnesota, 12.8 F

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Located on the north bank of the Minnesota River, Bloomington is home to Hyland Lake Park Reserve in the west, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the southeast and numerous regular parks throughout the city. Similarly to other cities in this region, Bloomington is also subjected to many arctic air masses throughout the winter months, pushing the temperatures down to very unpleasant figures.


Sioux City, Iowa, 12.7 F

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A population of about 83,000 makes Sioux City the fourth largest city in Iowa. While summers can be as hot as 111 F (highest recorded temperature measured in 1939), winters are very cold and dry with freezing temperatures usually starting in October and lasting till the end of April. Snowfall averages about 35 inches per season.


Plymouth, Minnesota, 12.6

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With a population of over 70,000, Plymouth is the seventh-most populous city in Minnesota. Plymouth has typical Midwestern climate with very cold winters, and hot, humid summers. The lowest recorded temperature in the city was -39 F in 1977.


Eagan, Minnesota, 12.5 F

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Originally a rural Irish farming community, Eagan is a city south of Saint Paul in Dakota County in Minnesota. While in summer months, the temperatures can reach over 100 F, winters are very chilly with temperatures sometimes approaching -40 F.


Maple Grove, Minnesota, 12.4 F

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With a population over 61,000, Maple Grove is a retail, cultural and medical center of the northwest region of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. Winters in the city are cold and snowy with long period of freezing temperatures.


Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, 12.3 F

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Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Brooklyn Park is the sixth largest city of Minnesota. Nicknamed the “Tree City USA”, Brooklyn Park is home to 47 miles of trails, and 67 award-winning parks which makes it a popular summer vacation spot but winters there are only for hardy fellows.


Blaine, Minnesota, 12.1 F

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Situated just 13 miles from Minneapolis, Blaine is a major city in the Anoka County. Over 57,000 city residents are used to very cold winters with freezing temperatures that can get as low as -40°F (recorded in 1977).


Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 12.0 F

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Located in the west-central part of the Wisconsin, Eau Claire is the ninth-largest city of the state. In summer, the city is a major tourist destination of the region with many parks, picnic areas, biking trails and even lakes for swimming but winters are extremely cold and snowy there. While the average winter temperature is 12 F, temperatures can reach a bone chilling -45 F which is the lowest recorded temperature of the city.


Rochester, Minnesota, 11.8 F

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With a population of over 110,000, Rochester is the third largest city in Minnesota. Similarly to other cities in the region, Rochester is also marked by warm summers and very cold winters with the average annual snowfall of almost 50 inches. The lowest recorded temperature was -42 F.


Coon Rapids, Minnesota, 11.7. F

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Covering an area of over 23 square miles, Coon Rapids is the thirteen largest city in Minnesota. Although nearby Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is one of the most popular tourist spots in The Anoka County, in winter, Coon Rapids is usually sought after by keen skiers who don’t mind freezing temperature and masses of snow.


Duluth, Minnesota, 10.3 F

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Situated at the westernmost point of the Great Lakes, Duluth is the fifth-largest city in Minnesota. It is nicknamed “The Air-Conditioned City” because of the summertime cooling effect of the nearby Lake Superior. Winters are very long there with first freezing temperature occurring usually at the end of September, and lasting as late as till the end of May.


Bismarck, North Dakota, 10.1 F

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Founded in 1872, Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota. The city has a highly variable four-season humid continental climate with very long and cold winters. Residents of Bismarck have to cope with snow for more than 180 days every year.


St. Cloud, Minnesota, 9.4 F

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Located in the central region, St. Cloud, with its 66,000 residents, is the eight largest city of Minnesota. While summers are hot and humid in St. Cloud, winters are long and cold with heavy snowfall. The lowest recorded temperature in the city was -43 F.


Fargo, North Dakota, 6.8

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Fargo is the largest city and cultural, educational, and industrial center of North Dakota. Because of its location in the Great Plains and its distance from both mountains and oceans, the city features long, cold, windy, and snowy winter. While temperatures around -20 F are not unusual in winter, summers can be as hot as 110 F.


Grand Forks, North Dakota, 5.3 F

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With a population of about 53,000, Grand Forks is the third largest city in North Dakota. Although it is a nice city that can boasts of a variety of arts and cultural events, winter weather is extremely harsh there. Influenced by cold Arctic high pressure systems, winters are very long, cold, and snowy.