The following is a list of the coldest weather cities in the United States by annual average temperatures. To make the list a city must have a metro area population of at least one million people.
The temperatures shown for each city are the annual average temperatures for the city. That is, the average daily temperature for each city as listed by the science facts site Current Results.
All of the cities listed get much warmer and colder than the average daily temperatures shown, but if you add up all the temperatures for each day during the year and average them out, you get the annual average temperature for each city.
To illustrate further I’ll use one of the cities listed below, Denver, Colorado. Based upon statistics published for Denver by the National Weather Service, the hottest month of the year in Denver is July, with an average daily temperature of 74.1 degrees.
The average daily high temperature in Denver in July is 88.9 degrees. That is not the average daily temperature for Denver in July, but the average daily high temperature in the city on a typical day in July.
Likewise, the average daily low temperature in Denver in July is 59.4 degrees. Obviously, the daily average temperature for Denver in July must fall between the daily high (88.9) and the daily low (59.4), and it does at 74.1 degrees.
All weather statistics for the monthly averages for each city listed below come from the National Weather Service.
Coldest Weather Cities in the United States
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota – 46.3 degrees
With an average daily temperature of just 46.3 degrees, Minneapolis, Minnesota is the coldest weather city in the United States among cities with metro area populations over one million people.
The coldest month of the year in Minneapolis is January, when the daily temperature averages just 15.6 degrees. That is really cold, and December (19.7 degrees) and February (20.8 degrees) are not a whole lot warmer.
Minneapolis does warm up a bit in the summer, as its warmest month of the year is July with a daily average temperature of 73.7 degrees. Those three coldest months of the year, though, really drag down Minneapolis’ annual average temperature.
2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 47.9 degrees
With an average daily temperature of just 47.9 degrees, Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the second coldest weather city in the United States.
Milwaukee does not get as cold as Minneapolis in the winter (22.6 degrees average in January), but Milwaukee stays colder in the summer. The warmest month of the year in Milwaukee is July, with just a 72.1 degrees average daily temperature.
3. Rochester, New York – 48.3 degrees
Rochester, New York ranks third on the list with a daily average temperature of 48.3 degrees. Rochester stays warmer than either Minneapolis or Milwaukee in the winter (its coldest month is January at 24.9 degrees). In the summer, though, Rochester averages just 71.0 degrees during July, its warmest month of the year.
4. Buffalo, New York – 48.4 degrees
Buffalo, New York ranks fourth on the list with a daily average temperature of 48.4 degrees. Buffalo’s coldest month is January (25.2 degrees daily average), and its hottest month is July (71.3 degrees).
5. Chicago, Illinois – 50.0 degrees
Chicago, Illinois ranks fifth with a daily average temperature of 50.0 degrees. Chicago’s coldest month is January (23.7 degrees) and its hottest month is July (73.9 degrees).
6. Denver, Colorado – 50.3 degrees
Denver, Colorado averages 50.3 degrees per day on an annual basis. Based upon National Weather Service data, Denver’s coldest month is December (30.3 degrees), and its warmest month is July (74.1 degrees).
Denver can have the craziest weather you will ever see. The city can get big snowstorms in April, and 70 degree temperature days in January. Many golf courses in Denver stay open all year.
7. Detroit, Michigan – 50.4 degrees
Detroit is the fifth city on this list located along one of the Great Lakes. Detroit’s coldest month is January (25.3 degrees), and its warmest month is July (73.4 degrees).
8. Hartford, Connecticut – 50.6 degrees
If anybody thinks Hartford, Connecticut has weather like New York City does, think again. Hartford has a daily average temperature of 50.6 degrees, while New York City’s daily average temperature is 55.6 degrees.
Hartford’s coldest month of the year is January (26.1 degrees), and its warmest month is July (73.6 degrees). To further illustrate the difference between New York City and Hartford, the city of New York never has a month where the average daily temperature is below freezing (it’s coldest month is January at 33.0 degrees).
9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 51.4 degrees
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a daily average temperature of 51.4 degrees. Like almost every city on this list of coldest weather cities, Pittsburgh’s coldest month is January (28.5 degrees), and its hottest month is July (72.8 degrees).
T-10. Boston, Massachusetts – 51.5 degrees
With a daily average temperature of 51.5 degrees, Boston is tied as the tenth coldest weather major city in the United States. Boston’s coldest month is January (29.3 degrees), and its warmest month is July (73.7 degrees). I went to college in Boston, and can assure you it is the windiest city on this list.
T-10. Cleveland, Ohio – 51.5 degrees
Cleveland is tied with Boston as the tenth coldest weather major city in the country. Cleveland’s coldest month is January (27.3 degrees), and its warmest month is July (72.8 degrees). Cleveland is the sixth city on the list that is located on one of the Great Lakes.