Coldest Cities in the US During Winter
No matter how you measure it, among major cities in the United States it's at the Minneapolis—St Paul region of Minnesota where you'll find the coldest winter weather. The Twin Cities have the most cold days, chilliest nights and overall the lowest average temperatures among the largest urban areas in United States.
Below you'll find rankings for the coldest of cities in the US. The major cities included in these weather rankings represent the 56 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2020, according to the US Census Bureau.
The ratings of coldest cities use long-term temperature averages for the three winter months, December, January and February, based on weather data collected from 1991 to 2020 for the US National Centers for Environmental Information.
Lowest Overall Temperature
Mean daily temperatures at these dozen US cities are typically below freezing during winter.
|City||Mean °F||Mean °C|
|Grand Rapids, Michigan||27.3||-2.6|
|Buffalo, New York||27.8||-2.3|
|Rochester, New York||28.5||-1.9|
|Kansas City, Missouri||31.9||-0.1|
City links take you to more detailed information on temperatures for that location. You can also view a summary of temperature averages for all major US cities and city temperatures in recent years and a complete list of America's 56 largest urban centers.
Coldest Winter Days
The Minneapolis—St Paul region is the only major urban center that normally remains below freezing throughout the day for most of December, January and February. It averages 58 days a winter when the thermometer doesn't climb above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 °Celsius).
It's also the lone large city whose average high temperature during winter is below freezing. The winter high for Minneapolis—St Paul is just 27 °F (-3 °C). That's nearly seven degrees Fahrenheit colder than the next chilliest cities, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids.
These American cities have over 20 days a winter when the temperature doesn't warm up above freezing.
|Grand Rapids, Michigan||43|
|Buffalo, New York||40|
|Rochester, New York||38|
|Kansas City, Missouri||23|
Chilliest Winter Lows
When it comes to cold winter nights, again the Minneapolis—St Paul metro area out-chills any other large US center. It's the only city that can expect more than ten nights in winter when the thermometer sinks to below zero.
Normally all but three nights a winter at Minneapolis have freezing temperatures. With this metric Denver is close behind, averaging just four winter nights that remain above freezing.
The temperature drops to 0 °F for at least two nights during a typical winter in these major US cities.
|Grand Rapids, Michigan||4||16|
|Rochester, New York||4||16|
|Kansas City, Missouri||4||14|
|Buffalo, New York||3||16|
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.