What Are the Coldest Cities in the US?

What Are the Coldest Cities in the US?

The major coldest cities in the US are concentrated in six states: Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Idaho. There are cold cities in several other states but they have higher temperatures than in those states.

Alaska is by far the coldest state, with extremely freezing temperatures in its coldest areas. If I were to list the top 10 coldest places overall in the United States, they would all be in Alaska. It’s the capital of cold weather in the country. The other states, while cold, have higher average temperatures.

To give you a more detailed look into America’s coldest cities, in this article I’ll list 5 coldest cities for the 6 coldest states each, for a total of 30 coldest cities in the United States. For each city I provide its annual daily mean temperature and average temperatures for the coldest month as well as the warmest month. Temperatures come from local climatological data stations.

I also published an article on the warmest cities in the US in every state and the hottest cities in the US. You may also want to check out my article on the best states for weather.

The 5 Coldest Cities in Alaska

The 5 Coldest Cities in Alaska

The average temperature in Alaska for the 30 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in Alaska is 35.4 °F. The coldest city in the United States, Utqiaġvik, is located there.

If you’re looking for cold temperatures, Alaska has no competition as it’s the coldest state in America. Its most northerly communities have extreme temperatures and suffer from dangerous winter storms. The state has cool summers and extremely low winter temperatures, with subzero temperatures during the day and even colder at night.

For more details on places with the best weather in Alaska, I encourage you to read my article “What City Has the Best Weather in Alaska?

The coldest cities in Alaska are:

1. Utqiaġvik

Located north of the Arctic Circle, the yearly daily mean temperature in Utqiaġvik is just 13.75 °F.

In the coldest month, the average high temperature is -5.5 °F and the minimum average temperature is -17.8 °F.

In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 47.7 °F. At night, temperatures drop on average to 35.6 °F. Freezing temperatures can thus still occur even in the summer. The city never experiences truly warm weather.

Utqiaġvik is by far the coldest inhabited place in the United States. While Alaska is known for cold winters, Utqiaġvik is in its own league.

2. Kotzebue

Kotzebue or Qikiqtaġruk in Alaska’s Northwest Arctic region features an average temperature of 24 °F.

In the coldest month, the average daytime temperature is 4.5 °F and the minimum average temperature is -8.4 °F. In the warmest month, the average daytime temperature is 60.1 °F and the average temperature at night is 50.5 °F.

This is noticeably warmer than in Utqiaġvik, with possible 70 °F+ days in the warmest months.

3. Savoonga

Savoonga’s location on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea gives it a slightly milder climate. Its yearly daily mean temperature is 25.55 °F which is slightly warmer than in Kotzebue.

In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 15 °F and the minimum average temperature is 4.1 °F. This makes winters in Savoonga much milder than in Kotzebue.

In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 51.8 °F. At night, temperatures on average drop to 42.1 °F. This means cooler summers than in Kotzebue.

4. Unalakleet

Located next to the Unalakleet River, this town in the western part of the state features a yearly daily mean temperature of 26.2 °F.

In the coldest month, the average daytime temperature is 9.9 °F and the average nighttime temperature is -3.7 °F. In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 61 °F and the average low temperature is 47.6 °F. Such temperatures give it a climate roughly in between the previous two cities, with warmer winters than in Kotzebue (more similar to Savoonga) but with summers more similar to Kotzebue.

5. North Pole

North Pole is a small city near Fairbanks that, despite its name, is located about 1,700 miles south of Earth’s geographic North Pole.

The average temperature in North Pole is 26.5 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is -1 °F and the minimum average temperature is -17 °F, giving it very cold nights.

In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 73 °F and the average low temperature is 51 °F, giving it very warm for Alaskan standards summers.

The 5 Coldest Cities in North Dakota

The 5 Coldest Cities in North Dakota

The average temperature in North Dakota for the 30 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in North Dakota is 40.8 °F.

Both the maximum as well as the minimum average temperature in North Dakota is much higher than in Alaska despite North Dakota still having extremely cold winters and some of the coldest temperatures in the country. South Dakota is noticeably warmer than North Dakota so if you want higher but still cold temperatures, South Dakota is a better option.

The coldest cities in North Dakota are:

1. Langdon

Langdon is located a 20-minute drive from the Canadian border. The average temperature in the coldest city of North Dakota is 37.15 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 12.5 °F. The average temperature at night is -5 °F. This is colder than in some Alaskan cities.

In the warmest month, the average daytime temperature is 76.6 °F and the average low temperature is 55.8 °F. This best shows the difference between Alaska and North Dakota. The latter is much warmer in the summer, even in the coldest city.

Langdon experienced an extremely long stretch of cold weather in 1936. For 41 days straight, from January 11 to February 20, the temperature remained below 0 °F. This is the longest such period ever recorded in any place in the contiguous U.S.

2. Rolla

A one hour drive from Langdon is the second coldest place in North Dakota. Rolla’s yearly daily mean temperature of 37.2 °F is virtually the same as in Langdon. In the coldest month, the average maximum temperature is 15.3 °F and the average minimum temperature is -2.4 °F. In the warmest month, average days reach 75 °F and average nights drop to 55.7 °F.

3. Cavalier

Cavalier is located 40 minutes east of Langdon. Its annual temperature is 38.15 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 13.2 °F while the average low temperature is -4.3 °F. In the warmest month, the average maximum temperature reaches 77.5 °F and the average low temperature drops to 56.6 °F.

4. Bottineau

Like the previous cities, Bottineau is located very close to the border with Canada. Its annual temperature of 38.55 °F is almost the same as in Cavalier. During the winter, the average high temperature in the coldest month is 15.2 °F. The average temperature at night is -4 °F. In the summer, the average high temperature in the hottest month is 79.3 °F and the average low temperature is 56.1 °F.

5. Rugby

Also located in the northern part of North Dakota, Rugby’s average temperature is 38.85 °F. In January, the average daytime temperature is 15.9 °F and the average nighttime temperature is -3.9 °F. In July, the average high temperature is 79.9 °F and the average low temperature is 55.1 °F.

The 5 Coldest Cities in Montana

The 5 Coldest Cities in Montana

The average temperature in Montana for the 50 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in Montana is 44.1 °F.

West Yellowstone located in Montana holds the all-time lowest recorded temperature for any residential community in the contiguous United States at −66 °F. It also has an extremely high average annual snowfall of 170 inches. If you’re looking for the snowiest and potentially coldest (at times) place in the United States, this is one of the best options.

The coldest cities in Montana are:

1. West Yellowstone

While West Yellowstone, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, holds the record for the coldest place in the contiguous United States, its annual average temperature is relatively high at 34.95 °F. In the coldest month, January, the average temperature reaches 24.1 °F during the day and drops to -0.2 °F at night. In the warmest month, July, the average maximum temperature is 78.8 °F and the average minimum temperature is 39.6 °F.

2. Scobey

Located a 20-minute drive away from Canada, Scobey has a yearly daily mean temperature of 39.6 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 19.3 °F while the average low temperature is -3.6 °F. In the warmest month, the average high temperature is hot 81.6 °F and the average low temperature is 51.1 °F.

3. Browning

Browning is located a short drive away from Glacier National Park. Its average temperature is 39.85 °F. The average high temperature in the coldest month is 28.2 °F while the average low temperature is 8 °F. In the hottest month, the average maximum temperature is 77.8 °F and the average minimum temperature is 46.1 °F.

4. Butte

Montana’s fifth largest city records an average annual temperature of 40.1 °F. In the coldest winter month, the average temperature reaches 32.1 °F during the day and drops to 7.9 °F at night. In the warmest month, expect 81.3 °F during the day and prepare for a cooler 45.9 °F at night.

5. Plentywood

Plentywood is situated 40 minutes away from Scobey. It has a higher average temperature of 41.4 °F. The average high temperature during the coldest month is 20.9 °F and the average minimum temperature is -2.3 °F. In the hottest month, the average temperature climbs to hot 84.2 °F and drops to much cooler 53.4 °F at night.

The 5 Coldest Cities in Minnesota

The 5 Coldest Cities in Minnesota

The average temperature in Minnesota for the 50 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in Minnesota is 43.7 °F. Its coldest city is noticeably warmer than the coldest city of Montana, though. The region of Lake Superior in the eastern edge of the state is also very cold and very snowy, with winters that may sometimes feel endless.

The coldest cities in Minnesota are:

1. Hibbing

Located just a 40-minute drive away from Grand Rapids is Michigan’s coldest more populous city. Its yearly daily mean temperature is 36.85 °F. Coldest months bring averages of 16.9 °F and -4.4 °F during the day and night respectively. Summers are warm with average highs of 76.7 °F and lows of 50.3 °F.

2. Virginia

Virginia is situated a 30-minute drive away from Hibbing. Its average temperature is 38 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 16 °F and the average low temperature is -6 °F. In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 77 °F and the average low temperature is 53 °F.

3. Bemidji

Bemidji lies on two lakes: Lake Bemidji and smaller Lake Irving. Its average temperature for the entire year is 38.7 °F. In the coldest month expect on average 16.3 °F during the day and -4.6 °F at night. In the hottest month, the average maximum temperature is 77.4 °F and the average low is 57 °F.

4. Cloquet

Within a 20-minute drive from Cloquet you can get to Wisconsin. Cloquet’s average temperature is 39.7 °F. Average highs in the coldest winter month reach 18.2 °F and drop to 1.7 °F at night. The warmest month brings highs of 78.5 °F and lows of 54 °F.

5. Thief River Falls

Despite being located in the northwestern corner of the state, Thief River Falls stole Cloquet’s average temperature of 39.7 °F (pardon my terrible joke). In the coldest month, the average high temperature is much colder at 14 °F and the average low temperature is -3.7 °F, also noticeably colder than in Cloquet. In the warmest month, average maximums go to 81.2 °F and average minimums stay at comfortable 56.5 °F.

The 5 Coldest Cities in Wyoming

The 5 Coldest Cities in Wyoming

The average temperature in Wyoming for the 30 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in Wyoming is 44.3 °F. While still cold, Wyoming has much warmer winter temperatures than the previous states which may suit you well if you like cold, but not freezing cold winters.

The coldest cities in Wyoming are:

1. Pinedale

Pinedale in western Wyoming is the gateway to the Jackson Hole area. It’s the coldest city of the state, with a yearly daily mean temperature of 37.5 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is a relatively mild compared to previous cities 28 °F. At night, due to dry winters, temperatures drop to much colder 1.9 °F. In the warmest month, the average high temperature is 79.9 °F while the average minimum temperature is 42.8 °F.

2. Jackson

Jackson is home to three renowned ski areas. Its average temperature of 37.95 °F is only slightly warmer than Pinedale’s. In the coldest month, average highs reach 26.1 °F while nights are much warmer than in Pinedale, dropping to 6.3 °F. In the hottest month, the average high temperature is 79.1 °F and the average low temperature is 41.4 °F.

3. Afton

Afton is located a 20-minute drive away from Idaho. Its average temperature of 38.45 °F is only slightly warmer than in the Jackson Hole area cities. In the coldest month, average highs climb to 25.7 °F and drop to 4.8 °F at night. In the hottest month, average maximums soar to 80 °F and fall to 44.1 °F at night.

4. Kemmerer

Kemmerer is a small city in the southwestern corner of Wyoming. Its yearly daily mean temperature is almost the same as in Afton: 38.5 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 31 °F and the average low temperature is 2.2 °F. In the warmest month, the average high temperature is hot 82.8 °F while the average minimum is 42.5 °F.

5. Evanston

Located right by the southwestern border with Idaho, Evanston is noticeably warmer at night than the previous cities. Its average temperature is 40.35 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 29.5 °F. Meanwhile, the average low temperature is 9.5 °F. In the warmest month, the average maximum temperature is 79.3 °F and the average lows drop to 45.5 °F.

The 5 Coldest Cities in Idaho

The 5 Coldest Cities in Idaho

The average temperature in Idaho for the 50 major cities I researched for my article on the warmest cities in Idaho is 46.7 °F. Consequently, Idaho is considerably warmer than the previous states. But Idaho is still cold, particularly due to aridity that causes high diurnal temperature variation.

The coldest cities in Idaho are:

1. Sun Valley

The popular ski resort town of Sun Valley is Idaho’s coldest city. Its average temperature is 38 °F. If you go in the skiing season in the coldest month, expect 30 °F during the day and freezing cold 0.3 °F at night. In the hottest month, the average high temperature is 82.5 °F while nights get chilly at just 38.3 °F.

2. Driggs

Just across the border from Grand Teton National Park is Driggs. Its average annual temperature of 39.95 °F is almost 2 degrees higher than in Sun Valley. In the coldest month, the average high temperature in Driggs reaches 29.3°F and the average low temperature drops to 6.1 °F. In the hottest month, average highs climb to 80.6 °F and drop to 46 °F at night which is still much warmer than in Sun Valley.

3. Soda Springs

Soda Springs in the southeastern corner of Idaho is the state’s third coldest city, with an average temperature of 40.5 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 28.6 °F. Meanwhile, nights are warmer than in the previous two cities and on average drop to 8.1 °F. In the hottest month, the average maximum temperature is 83.2 °F and the average minimum is 45.2 °F.

4. McCall

The resort town of McCall is located on Payette Lake. Its yearly daily mean temperature is 40.8 °F. Coldest winter days on average reach 31.2 °F and drop to 12.6 °F at night. On the warmest summer days, on average expect 79.7 °F during the day and 42.9 °F at night.

5. Cascade

The rural city of Cascade is located on Lake Cascade, a 40-minute drive south from McCall. Cascade’s average temperature is 40.9 °F. In the coldest month, the average high temperature is 29.8 °F and the average nighttime temperature is 10.5 °F. In the warmest month, the average daytime temperature is 82 °F and the average low temperature is 44.3 °F.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coldest city in the United States?

The coldest city in the United States is Utqiaġvik, a city of 5,000 people in northern Alaska. Its average annual temperature is only 13.75 °F.

What is the coldest city in the contiguous United States?

The coldest city in the contiguous United States is West Yellowstone in Montana. Its average annual temperature is 34.95 °F. It has much colder winters than other places in the state.

What is the coldest major city in the United States?

Fairbanks in Alaska is the second largest city in the state and the coldest major city in the US. Its yearly daily mean temperature is 28.3 °F.

What state is the coldest year round?

Alaska is by far the coldest state year round. In the coldest cities of Alaska, even in the summer, average temperature during the day may not go above 50 °F. This is much lower than the coldest temperature in the summer in the coldest cities of the country that aren’t in Alaska.

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