Bundle Up: Living in the 10 Coldest US Cities

Are you ready to trade in your sun-soaked beach towels for warm scarves and snow boots? Sometimes, escaping the heat and experiencing the magic of winter is exactly what you need. Whether you’re a student, a working professional, or someone looking for a change of scenery, these 13 cities offer a fresh perspective on embracing a new home with a colder climate.


1. Fairbanks, Alaska


Welcome to Fairbanks, where cold isn’t just a season; it’s a way of life. Embracing the cold here means paying respects to the rich Alaska Native history and culture while mastering the art of layering. From thermal undergarments to insulated outerwear, having a winter-proof wardrobe will be the best way to enjoy this charming city. 


This northern Alaskan gem boasts unique phenomena like the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, which paint the sky with mesmerizing colors during long winter nights. Go dog sledding across picturesque landscapes, try your luck with ice fishing, or explore year-round adventures with a myriad of natural attractions. Fairbanks has much to offer, and you’ll enjoy it all while surrounded by stunning wilderness.


2. International Falls, Minnesota


International Falls, known as the “Icebox of the Nation,” lives up to its name with frosty winter temperatures. Listed in many places as the second coldest city in the continental United States, this delightful town is famous for its long, snowy winters and unique approach to enjoying the cold. 


Winter enthusiasts in International Falls revel in the annual Icebox Days festival, complete with ice sculpting, snowmobile races, and a frozen river plunge. Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers enjoy making quick, exciting jaunts to Smokey Bear Park. Cross-country skiing is a favorite pastime here, too — with pristine trails that offer a tranquil escape into the white wonderland.


3. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan


Sault Ste. Marie is a historic city along the St. Marys River and is situated in both Canada and the United States. This quaint city is known for its stunning frozen waterfalls, and as a bustling international port of entry into the US, it is an essential destination for travel and business. 


Sault Ste. Marie is the coldest city in Michigan, with an annual average snowfall of about 118.3 inches. Locals embrace the winter by exploring the frozen falls and enjoying the serenity that only the cold season can offer. Snowmobiling is a popular winter pastime here, and the vast network of trails provides endless opportunities for adventure.


4. Anchorage, Alaska


Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, offers an intriguing mix of urban living and stunning wilderness. The cold is not an inconvenience but a reason to explore the beauty of the great outdoors. In Anchorage, you can try your hand at skiing or snowboarding on world-class slopes, bike riding through the trees both in the city and further off the grid, and hiking through the Veilbreaker Skybridges and other hot spots. For a more immersive experience, take a wildlife excursion to witness Alaskan wildlife in their snowy habitat. 


The combination of natural beauty and vibrant urban life makes Anchorage a win-win on this list of cold destinations.


5. Marquette, Michigan


Marquette, situated on the shores of Lake Superior, is known for its breathtaking lake-effect snow. Winter lovers will be in their element here, with the Noquemanon Trail Network offering a vast network of trails for cross-country skiing, snow biking, and camping. 


Stop by Marquette’s plethora of scenic waterfalls, awe at impeccable rock formations, or take a load off in their historic downtown, laced with charming breweries, tasty restaurants, and scenic shops. In Marquette, residents proudly embrace the cold, and a sense of community flourishes as they brave the snowy winters with a population of less than 25,000 people.


6. Fargo, North Dakota


Despite its cold climate, Fargo offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes you forget the freezing temperatures. To embrace the cold, many locals take to the ice-skating rinks and the thrill of sledding down snow-covered hills. Plus, the city’s cozy cafes are perfect for warming up with a cup of hot cocoa or coffee. Fargo encourages residents to make the most of winter, proving that cold weather can be more delightful than daunting.


7. Grand Forks, North Dakota


Grand Forks, North Dakota, is not just a city; it’s a winter gem waiting to be explored. Located less than 100 miles from Fargo, this lustrous area is nestled along the Red River’s western bank, where it transforms into a magical, snowy landscape when winter arrives. So, if you’ve been looking for the coldest place in the lower 48, look no further. Grand Forks’ lowest recorded temperature is a mere -43°F, one of the lowest recorded temperatures in the country! 


Additionally, Grand Forks boasts a variety of winter sports opportunities. Enjoy ice skating at the Olympic-sized ICON Sports Center, snowmobiling on extensive trails, and downhill skiing at nearby resorts. And if you’re looking to attend a frosty festival, the Frosty Bobber Winter Carnival, held annually, features ice fishing tournaments, snow sculptures, and even a chili cook-off.


8. Caribou, Maine


Where does it snow most in the US? Well, in the eastern United States, Caribou reigns supreme as the snowiest city, and its residents wouldn’t have it any other way. Here, the cold is a part of the lifestyle, and people embrace it wholeheartedly. 


Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are the go-to activities during the winter. The city’s resilience against the cold is a testament to the unshakeable spirit of its residents.


9. Buffalo, New York


Buffalo, New York, is no stranger to heavy snowfall and cold temperatures, thanks to its lowest recorded temperature of -20F. Even still, the city boasts the second-largest population in the state of New York, due in part to its urban-suburban atmosphere and plethora of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.


Buffalo’s residents have mastered the art of embracing the chill. The city is famous for its love of snow sports, including snowmobiling, sledding, ice fishing, and downhill skiing. Winter brings a unique cultural experience with the National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival and the city’s illuminated holiday markets.


10. Duluth, Minnesota


Duluth, a vibrant city on the shores of Lake Superior, defies the cold with a thriving arts and culture scene. The city remains active during the winter months, offering locals and visitors a multitude of activities. Ice climbing along Lake Superior’s North Shore, stunning winter hikes, and cozy evenings at the local coffee shops make Duluth a place to revel in the cold while staying culturally connected.


How to Counter the Cold When Moving to Chilly Climates


When you’re in one of the coldest cities in the US, it’s crucial to know how to make the most of the winter months. While the chill may be daunting at first, you can learn to love the cold with the right approach. Here’s a closer look at how to counter the chilly atmosphere and fully embrace winter in these cold, cold cities.


Dress for Success


The first rule of thumb for conquering winter weather is dressing appropriately. Invest in high-quality winter gear. This includes insulated jackets, waterproof boots, thermal undergarments, and, of course, hats, scarves, and gloves. Staying warm begins with the right clothing.


Break a Sweat with Winter Sports


Many of these cold cities offer a plethora of winter sports and activities. From skiing and snowboarding to ice skating, snowshoeing, and even snowmobiling, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter. Join a local sports club or visit nearby slopes and parks to try out these activities.


Embrace the Cozy Indoors


Make your home a sanctuary from the cold. Furnishing your space with comfortable, warm essentials is essential for staying cozy during winter. Consider furniture rental from CORT to create a warm and inviting atmosphere at home. From plush sofas to snug bedding, having a cozy space is vital when the temperature drops.


Enjoy Community and Festivals


Most of these cold cities host winter festivals and events that bring the community together. From ice sculpture competitions to holiday markets, participating in these local activities can provide a sense of belonging and warmth during the cold season. It’s also an excellent way to meet fellow residents and enjoy the season.


Chill Out at Home with CORT Furniture Rental


The weather outside might be frightful, but your home should be downright delightful! Whether you’re studying at a wind-whipped university on the Great Lakes or braving your first Boston nor’easter for work, you can bet that you’ll spend plenty of time holed up in your apartment. That could be a chilling prospect if your furnishings are lacking!

That’s where CORT Furniture Rental can help. Fully customizable furniture rental packages mean Furniture On Your Terms™. You decide what you need and how long you need it. From off-campus student packages to military specials and everything in between, furniture rental from CORT is made to fit your unique phase of life. Start building your furniture package online or at your local CORT showroom today. Remember your warm socks!

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