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Top 10 Cold Places In the USA

As winter arrives in the United States in some places like Alaska or places in Minnesota where the freezing point is most of the time high. These cities, like Fairbanks in Alaska or International Falls in Minnesota, are famous for their super cold winters with lots of snow. People who live there have to deal with icy streets and wear lots of warm clothes just to stay cozy. But even with all the cold, these places have a special charm and toughness that attracts people who enjoy snowy adventures and don’t mind bundling up tight. Here is the list of the top 10 cold places in the USA. 

List of Top 10 Cold Places in the USA

  1. Barrow, Alaska
  2. Fairbanks, Alaska
  3. International Falls, Minnesota
  4. Fargo, North Dakota
  5. Grand Forks, North Dakota
  6. Duluth, Minnesota
  7. Anchorage, Alaska
  8. Bangor, Maine
  9. Saranac Lake, New York
  10. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

1. Barrow

Utqiagvik known as Barrow is a vital city in Alaska’s North Slope Borough. It serves as both the largest city and administrative center of the borough. Situated above the Arctic Circle, Barrow is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas and is the northernmost city in the United States, with Point Barrow as its northernmost point.

As of the 2020 census, Barrow’s population stands at 4,927 people, increasing from the 4,212 recorded in 2010. This makes it the 12th most populated village in Alaska. Despite its remote location and harsh climate, Barrow remains a resilient community, showcasing the strength and adaptability of its residents. Today, with a population of around 4,300 residents, it stands as one of the largest villages in Alaska.

Barrow holds historical significance as one of the earliest established settlements in the United States, having served as a vital hunting ground for generations before the arrival of European Arctic explorers. Its location at the base of a peninsula reaching into the Beaufort Sea has contributed to its longevity as a community. Over the centuries, Barrow has evolved into a resilient and culturally rich city, embodying the enduring spirit of its indigenous inhabitants and showcasing a deep connection to the natural environment that has sustained life in this northern region for centuries. 

In Alaska, several cities experience 30 days or more of darkness. One of them is Barrow, which is notable for having a few months when the sun stays below the horizon, leading to extended periods of darkness.

It has a unique position and cultural richness making it an intriguing destination within Alaska. Its blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and community spirit offers visitors and residents a glimpse into life at the northernmost reaches of the United States.

2. Fairbanks

Fairbanks formally known as The Golden Heart of Alaska. A significant city and the seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. It is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska and the second-largest in the state. According to the 2020 Census, Fairbanks has about 32,515 people in the city itself, and the Fairbanks North Star Borough has a total of 95,655 residents, making it the second most populous area in Alaska after Anchorage. What’s unique is that it is also the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, sitting about 196 miles south of the Arctic Circle by road or 140 miles by air. July is usually the warmest month, with an average temperature of 17.6 °C | 63.7 °F. In contrast, January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging around -19.8 °C | -3.6 °F.

The city’s history dates back to 1901 when E.T. Barnette set up a trading post along the Chena River, leading to the Fairbanks Gold Rush due to a gold discovery. Fairbanks became a city in 1903 and grew during the gold rush era. It played roles in military operations during World War II and the Cold War, and later became important for supplying the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Despite its extreme cold in winter, Fairbanks is known for institutions like the University of Alaska Fairbanks and its international flights from Fairbanks International Airport.

One of its main draws for visitors is the opportunity to witness the captivating northern lights. In Fairbanks see blue, grey, or clear skies during the day, transitioning to black skies at night, providing an ideal setting to marvel at the mesmerizing auroras.

3. International Falls

International Falls which is also known as I-Falls, sits in Koochiching County, Minnesota, USA, serving as its county seat. The village became incorporated on August 10, 1901, and was renamed International Falls two years later due to its location on the U.S.-Canada border river. It has a population of 5,802 residents as of the 2020 census.

Situated on the Rainy River, International Falls faces Fort Frances in Ontario, Canada, connected by the Fort Frances–International Falls International Bridge. Voyageurs National Park is just 11 miles to the east of the city. The city boasts a significant U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry on its side of the toll bridge, with a corresponding Canadian Customs entry point on the bridge’s north side.

International Falls is also known for its unique climate, earning the affectionate nickname “Icebox of the Nation.” This designation stems from the city’s average of 109.4 days per year with high temperatures below freezing (32 °F or 0 °C). This cold climate adds to the city’s character and allure, attracting visitors who are intrigued by its chilly reputation and eager to experience its distinct seasonal changes and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Moreover, the city boasts a significant U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry, located on its side of the toll bridge connecting it to Fort Frances. This border crossing facilitates international travel and trade, further enhancing the city’s importance as a hub for regional connectivity and cultural exchange.

4. Fargo

Fargo is located in Cass County North Dakota and serves as the county seat. The city is experiencing an annual growth rate of 2.04%, resulting in an 8.68% increase in population since the last census in 2020 it had a population of 125,990 residents, making it the largest city in North Dakota and ranking 216th in population among cities in the United States. As of 2024, Fargo’s population has reached 136,909. 

Fargo is a key part of the Fargo–Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which also includes Moorhead, Minnesota, West Fargo, North Dakota, and Dilworth, Minnesota. The combined population of this metropolitan area was recorded at 248,591 in 2020.

The city of Fargo has a rich history, dating back to its founding in 1871 along the Red River of the North floodplain. Over the years, it has developed into a vibrant urban center that serves as a hub for culture, commerce, healthcare, education, and industry in southeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

One of Fargo’s notable features is its role as the home of North Dakota State University (NDSU), a major educational institution known for its academic programs and research initiatives. NDSU contributes significantly to Fargo’s cultural and intellectual landscape, attracting students and scholars from around the country and beyond.

Fargo’s location along the Red River provides residents and visitors with access to a range of outdoor activities, scenic landscapes, and recreational opportunities. The city’s blend of urban amenities and natural beauty makes it an attractive destination for individuals and families looking for a dynamic and livable community in the Upper Midwest region of the United States.

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5. Grand Forks

Throughout its history, Grand Forks has evolved into North Dakota’s third-largest city, following Fargo and Bismarck, and serves as the county seat of Grand Forks County. According to the 2020 census, the city had a population of 59,166, but projections indicate a decline to 58,244 by 2024, with an annual decrease rate of -0.38%, resulting in an overall population decrease of -1.52%. It is closely linked with its twin city, East Grand Forks in Minnesota, forming the core of the Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, commonly referred to as Greater Grand Forks or the Grand Cities.

Situated on the western banks of the Red River of the North within the flat terrain of the Red River Valley, Grand Forks has faced notable flood risks, especially during the Red River Flood of 1997. 

Originally named Les Grandes Fourches by French fur traders, the city’s development began with steamboat captain Alexander Griggs establishing a community after a winter stay. Officially incorporated on February 22, 1881, the city derived its name from its location at the confluence of the Red River and the Red Lake River.

Throughout its evolution, Grand Forks has shifted from its agricultural roots to a diversified economy encompassing various sectors such as higher education, defense, healthcare, manufacturing, food processing, and scientific research. The city is home to the University of North Dakota, the state’s oldest institution of higher education. Key facilities include Grand Forks International Airport, Grand Forks Air Force Base, the Alerus Center, Ralph Engelstad Arena for sports and events, and cultural venues like the Empire Arts Center and Chester Fritz Auditorium.

6. Duluth

Each year reveals a new chapter in Duluth’s bustling narrative as a vibrant city nestled within Minnesota’s St. Louis County. Situated along the captivating shores of Lake Superior in the Arrowhead Region, Duluth has evolved into a vital hub for maritime trade. Its strategic location has propelled it as a central point for handling various commodities, from coal and iron ore to grain and wind turbine components, at the thriving Port of Duluth. This port serves as a cornerstone in driving the local economy and fostering robust trade networks.

As of 2024, Duluth’s population stands at 86,520, maintaining its role as the county seat of St. Louis County. While experiencing a slight annual decline rate of -0.06%, resulting in a minor population decrease of -0.23% since the 2020 census, which reported a population of 86,718.

Beyond its industrial significance, Duluth is also a cherished tourist destination. Attractions like the Great Lakes Aquarium, showcasing a diverse array of aquatic life, and the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge connecting to Canal Park and the bustling Duluth-Superior harbor, draw visitors from across the country, enhancing Duluth’s allure as a premier Midwest destination.

7. Anchorage

Anchorage is one of the largest cities in Alaska. The population comprises nearly 40% of the state’s population and surpasses the combined population of Northern Canada and Greenland. As of 2024, Anchorage’s population has reached 283,424, and it continues to serve as the county seat of Anchorage County. The city is currently experiencing an annual decline rate of -0.65%, leading to a population decrease of -2.56% since the last census in 2020, which recorded a population of 290,866. 

Anchorage ranks as the fourth-largest city by area in the US exceeding Rhode Island’s size Covering 1,706 square miles of land.

Situated in Southcentral Alaska at the Cook Inlet’s terminus on a peninsula formed by Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm, Anchorage traces its origins to a tent city near Ship Creek’s mouth during the Alaska Railroad construction in 1915. It gained city status in November 1920 and merged with the Greater Anchorage Area Borough in September 1975 to form the Municipality of Anchorage. The municipality spans 1,961.1 square miles, housing the urban core, military installations, outlying communities, and much of Chugach State Park. Anchorage’s strategic location makes it a crucial hub, being within 10 hours of major global cities like New York City, Tokyo, and Murmansk, Russia, through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, a key refueling stop for international cargo flights. Additionally, Anchorage has garnered recognition for its civic engagement, earning the All-America City Award multiple times and being lauded as the most tax-friendly city in the U.S. by Kiplinger.

8. Bangor

Bangor famously known as the “Queen City,” is situated in Penobscot County. Maine serves as its county seat. With a population of 31,753 in the city proper, it ranks as the third most populous city in Maine, following Portland (68,408) and Lewiston (37,121).

The city of Bangor has a rich history rooted in its establishment during the mid-19th century, primarily driven by the flourishing lumber and shipbuilding industries. Its strategic location along the Penobscot River allowed for the efficient processing of logs from the Maine North Woods at water-powered sawmills, with finished products shipped from Bangor’s port to destinations worldwide via the Atlantic Ocean, 30 miles downstream. This historical legacy is evident in the grand Greek Revival and Victorian mansions of lumber barons, as well as the iconic 31-foot-high statue of Paul Bunyan.

In the present day, Bangor’s economy has diversified, focusing on services, retail, healthcare, and education sectors. The city boasts a port of entry through Bangor International Airport, which is also home to the Bangor Air National Guard Base, historically serving as a crucial stopover point on the Great Circle Air Route between the U.S. East Coast and Europe.

Bangor experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by cold, snowy winters and warm summers, adding to its appeal as a vibrant city with a blend of historical charm and modern amenities.

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9. Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake, a bustling village nestled within the beautiful Adirondack Park in New York State, is home to a diverse population of 4,887 residents as of the 2020 census. Renowned for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, Saranac Lake is the largest community within the Adirondack Park.

Named after the nearby Upper, Middle, and Lower Saranac lakes, the village spans across parts of Harrietstown, St. Armand, and North Elba, as well as Franklin and Essex counties. Despite not directly bordering the Saranac Lakes, Saranac Lake encompasses the northern part of Lake Flower and is just a short distance from Lower Saranac Lake, making it a prime location for water-based activities and outdoor adventures.

Situated only 9 miles west of the iconic Lake Placid, Saranac Lake is part of the Tri-Lakes region, along with nearby Tupper Lake. This area is renowned for its natural beauty, offering residents and visitors alike ample opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, skiing, and other recreational pursuits throughout the year.

Saranac Lake’s charming downtown area features a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with galleries, shops, restaurants, and historic attractions that showcase the village’s rich heritage and community spirit. 

10. Mount Washington

Mount Washington, located in New Hampshire, stands as a majestic emblem of nature’s grandeur. At 6,288 feet (1,917 meters) tall, it reigns as the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Its allure lies not just in its height but in its unpredictable weather and rugged beauty.

Visitors flock to Mount Washington year-round, drawn by its challenging hiking trails in the warmer months and its renowned skiing opportunities in the winter. The summit offers breathtaking panoramic views that stretch across New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York, and even into Canada on clear days.

One of the most captivating aspects of Mount Washington is its notorious weather. The peak experiences some of the most extreme and unpredictable weather conditions in the world, with winds regularly exceeding hurricane force. This has earned it the nickname “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.”

Despite its challenges, Mount Washington is a beloved destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike, offering a unique and unforgettable experience amidst the untamed beauty of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.


The cold places in the USA offer a variety of winter experiences, from snowy wilderness in Alaska to cozy towns in New England. These areas show how people and nature adapt to cold weather. Whether enjoying winter sports or admiring snowy landscapes, these places provide unique adventures in America’s colder regions.


Is Chicago Colder Than New York?

Chicago experiences colder winters than New York, with lower average temperatures and higher snowfall amounts.

Where Is the Coldest Part In the USA?

Fairbanks, Alaska, known as America’s coldest city, experiences extreme temperatures, with a record low of -66°F and an average high of just 2.1°F in January.

Is Chicago Colder Than Boston?

Chicago is much colder than Boston in winter. The average lows are about 10 degrees lower but it can get even colder with arctic blasts and strong winds.

Which Is the Hottest State in the USA?

Florida is the hottest state in the USA. It has warm weather all year round, with average temperatures around 71.5°F (21.9°C).

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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