Coldest U.S. Cities Quiz

Name the coldest cities in the United States, by average yearly temperature.
Average of high and low temperatures, 1991–2020
Cities with a population over 200,000 and that are the main city in their metro area
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: August 15, 2021
First submittedDecember 20, 2010
Times taken46,157
Rating4.25
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° F
City
° C
37.2
Anchorage
3.2
46.8
Minneapolis
8.2
47.3
Madison
8.5
48.3
Spokane
9.1
48.7
Milwaukee
9.3
49.0
Buffalo
9.4
49.0
Grand Rapids
9.4
° F
City
° C
49.0
Rochester
9.4
50.0
Colorado Springs
10.0
50.8
Toledo
10.4
50.8
Detroit
10.4
51.0
Fort Wayne
10.5
51.0
Denver
10.5
51.3
Des Moines
10.7
° F
City
° C
51.5
Cleveland
10.8
51.9
Lincoln
11.1
52.1
Chicago
11.2
52.1
Omaha
11.2
52.2
Pittsburgh
11.2
52.2
Boston
11.2
53.0
Seattle
11.7
+5
Level 33
Dec 7, 2013
Really? I'm thinking really cold places. Fifty degrees ain't cold!
+10
Level 53
Jul 22, 2015
As Earl said, this is the year-round average. Also remember that average does not mean what the temperature usually is. For instance, where I live gets up to the 70s, sometimes 80s, and occasionally, 90s in the summer. But in the winter it can get to -40, -50, sometimes even -60. If you go by the high being 70 and the low being -40, the average yearly temperature would be 55. But that does not at all represent how cold or how hot it can (and can be expected) to get here. Granted, that's the yearly temperature. I'm assuming these statistics are going by the daily average (adding the temperatures of each day together throughout the year, then dividing that), which would bring that number down significantly for most places.
+3
Level 91
Jun 18, 2019
akwildrose, wouldn't the average temperature be 15 in your scenario? 70+(-)40=30. 30/2=15. That would make sense as 15 is 55 away from -40 and 55 away from 70... Unless I am missing something?
+2
Level 64
Jun 18, 2019
Well, he/she forgot the - in -40.
+5
Level 80
Jun 10, 2016
That's what I thought when I saw the numbers... then I realised they weren't in Celsius.
+1
Level 83
Nov 30, 2019
50 degrees, fahrenheit, is too cold for human habitation in my opinion. But... mostly because I'm right about this... the reason why colder cities don't show up here is that while they exist in the US they don't have significant populations.
+5
Level 75
Dec 1, 2019
50 degrees Fahrenheit is nowhere near too cold for human habitation. The ideal annual mean temperature for a region is around 60 to 65˚F.
+2
Level 83
Jun 18, 2020
False. The ideal average mean temperature is 74-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
+2
Level 75
Jan 1, 2021
For winter however, the ideal temperature may be 20 to 30 F, which gives a good chance for snow.
+1
Level 83
Dec 10, 2021
snow is awful and overrated. Maybe okay once every 3 years when you take a vacation to a ski lodge. Otherwise it should never be seen unless you are a child praying for a day off from school and an excuse to go sledding. No.. the ideal mean temperature is what I said, with as little variation as possible. 77-85 in the "summer" and 65-74 in the "winter" with sunshine every day only occasionally broken up be a gentle rain and a refreshing ocean breeze.... I'm not open to debate on this point.
+1
Level 83
Dec 10, 2021
50 degrees (Celsius) is also unfit for human habitation. I've lived through that, too, during the summer months in Riyadh. So... it should never read 50 on your thermometer regardless of what units you're using. (including and especially Kelvin) And if you actually turn the indoor thermostat to this temperature as my Arab coworkers did in Saudi Arabia... (so that it was 50 F inside and 50 C outside, ugh) that's insane and you should go live in Lapland with a herd of aurochs or something where you would be happier.
+1
Level 34
Dec 11, 2021
In Arizona, for that fact, in any of the southern states of the U.S. fifty or sixty degrees (Depending on which state you're talking about, but in Georgia, fifty degrees is cold!) is cold! (Southern California, depending on which season, and maybe Northern Cali in wildfire season! Cali has great weather, just don't mind the wildfires and earthquakes!) This coming from a Georgian (Not the country, but I love the country!) Floridians barely EVER get to experience Winter! Georgia has Winter every two to three years or so! I've been to all the states in the South of the U.S., and PLEASE! It's almost NEVER cold in the South of the U.S.! Remember-, we're closer to the equator than the states above us! States like New York, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, blah, blah, y'all are lucky to experience winter every year! (Not counting blizzards, although, please be safe and sheltered during blizzards! <3)
+1
Level 67
Dec 7, 2013
Buffalo and Rochester pretty high on the list, but no Syracuse? Thought the proximity should make them close.
+4
Level 37
Dec 8, 2013
Syracuse is under 200,000 people
+1
Level 31
Dec 8, 2021
the minimum designation for a city is 100,000 so it really should be in here

source: I'm a city planner

+3
Level 37
Mar 21, 2017
Rochester, MN
+5
Level ∞
Jun 17, 2019
It is Rochester, NY. Rochester, MN is not populous enough to qualify.
+2
Level 62
Feb 18, 2014
I thought that MSP was even colder than Anchorage. Guess not.
+3
Level 86
Jan 3, 2017
Sometimes it is, but on average, no.
+1
Level 45
Jan 3, 2017
Anchorage is relatively temperate due to being close to the sea. It certainly can get cold, but it also doesn't get very hot, much like Portland and Seattle. If it cracks 80 up here, people go nuts.
+4
Level 62
Jan 3, 2017
Interesting. Yeah it gets above 80 Fahrenheit pretty regularly in the Twin Cities during the Summer, so it makes sense that Anchorage is colder on average then.
+1
Level 65
Apr 24, 2014
tough one....some of these places I didn't think were over 200,000 population.
+1
Level 80
Jun 23, 2014
I don't like cold weather. Why do I live exactly in the center of #2, 3, and 4 on this list?
+1
Level 83
Aug 15, 2021
Your name suggests it might have something to do with your football fandom . . .
+1
Level 83
Aug 4, 2014
I only missed Reno and Fort Wayne. Not bad for a belgian guy who uses celsius degrees :p.
+1
Level 82
Aug 10, 2016
Damn it I used to live in Rochester and totally forgot it. Rochester is the reason I decided to never live in a cold place again.
+1
Level 71
Jan 3, 2017
What about all the other cities in Alaska? Like Juneau?
+2
Level 62
Jan 3, 2017
Too small. Only cities with 200,000 population or more are included.
+2
Level 37
Mar 21, 2017
International Falls, MN is the coldest city in MN and the coldest city in the Continental US
+2
Level 56
Nov 30, 2019
Literally 6,000 people live there.
+1
Level 74
Jul 12, 2017
I got the four that are 76% and nothing else. GOOD FOR ME :P
+1
Level 86
Jul 17, 2018
Was there a single comment thread started that didn't wonder why a city wasn't included, when they didn't read the caveats or couldn't just google that their little nominee had X number of people?
+1
Level 82
Jun 17, 2019
Yes, see below.
+3
Level 35
Dec 10, 2018
*types Anchorage* *realizes I don't know any other Alaskan cities*
+3
Level 21
Feb 1, 2019
The rest of the Alaskan cities doesn't have a more than 200,000 people
+1
Level 49
Jun 19, 2019
Is there a quiz like this that has the actual top 20 coldest cities in the US? Without the population minimum? That would be hard but good
+6
Level ∞
Jun 19, 2019
No. I'm guessing it would be composed entirely of cities in Alaska.
+1
Level 56
Nov 30, 2019
Akhiok, Alaska is on Kodiak island, is very cold, and has a total population of 71, for instance.
+1
Level 65
Nov 30, 2019
15/20. Got Spokane and Grand Rapids...didn't get Chicago!
+1
Level 82
Nov 30, 2019
Lincoln, Nebraska, looks like it might be tied with Cleveland.
+1
Level ∞
Aug 15, 2021
Added Lincoln, thanks.
+1
Level 67
Apr 25, 2021
Didn't think Spokane was that cold, but I guess it is
+1
Level 60
Aug 15, 2021
Spokane can get real cold during the winter. Only the coastal cities of the Pacific are moderate temps year round. Spokane is on the other side of the mountains, they they have far lower temps than the Seattle area.
+1
Level 53
Dec 9, 2021
Would Pittsburg be an acceptable type-in?
+1
Level 73
Dec 13, 2021
This is not a complaint with the structure of this quiz, but with the structure of metro areas. Lots of major cities with significantly different cultures are lumped in with slightly larger, nearby cities. After all, "metro area" is just census-bureau code for "some counties close to each other". Which leads to some apparently glaring omissions on this quiz, most notably St. Paul and Tacoma. If you asked most people to make a list of coldest large US cities, these would be very reasonable answers. But since metro areas aren't really a good stand-in for cities, they end up off the list.