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50 coldest cities in America on Christmas

Stacker consulted data from the Climate at a Glance database to uncover which U.S. cities have endured some of the chilliest Christmases.

Anuradha Varanasi, Data Work By Emma Rubin
Posted 12/6/23

Stacker consulted data from the Climate at a Glance database to uncover which U.S. cities have endured some of the chilliest Christmases.

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50 coldest cities in America on Christmas

Stacker consulted data from the Climate at a Glance database to uncover which U.S. cities have endured some of the chilliest Christmases.

Posted

Close up of colorful Christmas lights on and around a house in snow.

Eric Francis // Shutterstock

The traditional portrait of a picture-perfect Christmas Day includes neighborhoods covered in soft snow, smoke wafting from homes' chimneys, and families gathering together to celebrate one of the most highly anticipated holidays of the year. While many hope for a white Christmas, keeping track of weather patterns during December can be tricky in a large country like the United States, with significant weather variations among regions and coastlines.

Stacker consulted data from 214 available U.S. cities in the National Centers for Environmental Information Climate at a Glance database to uncover which cities have endured some of the chilliest Christmases. The data is aggregated monthly. Stacker identified the 50 coldest cities by long-term average temperature from 1991-2020 in December. Additional temperature data in 2022 is also included.

The data shows that while parts of states like Illinois and Nebraska certainly get cold, their December weather might seem like a walk in the park compared to other areas. Regardless, residents are wise to be prepared for severe cold if their hometown or holiday vacation destination appears in this article. Keep several layers of warm clothes handy, including a pair of thick gloves or mittens—and plenty of hot cocoa.

Read on to see which cities in the U.S. have historically endured the coldest Decembers.

#49. Omaha, Nebraska (tie)

Downtown Omaha trees lit up in white lights.

James BO Insogna // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 28.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 24.4 F (4 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 34 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 14.8 F

#49. Concord, New Hampshire (tie)

The snowy New Hampshire State House in winter.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 28.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 30.6 F (2.3 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 39.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 21.4 F

#47. Scottsbluff, Nebraska (tie)

Aerial view of Scottsbluff in winter.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 28.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.2 F (4.9 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 35.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 11 F

#47. Burlington, Vermont (tie)

Snowy scene on Church Street decorated for Christmas.

vermontalm // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 28.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 31.7 F (3.6 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 37.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 25.5 F

#46. Rockford, Illinois

The skyline and bridge over a frozen river.

Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 27.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 26.3 F (1.5 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 34.5 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 18.9 F

#44. Billings, Montana (tie)

An elevated view of snowy downtown Billings.

jmw22679 // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 27.7 F
- December 2022 temperature: 19.5 F (8.2 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 28.2 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 10.9 F

#44. Des Moines, Iowa (tie)

A snowy Des Moines cityscape at sunset.

Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 27.7 F
- December 2022 temperature: 24.5 F (3.2 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 32.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 16.2 F

#43. North Platte, Nebraska

A snowy tree lined road.

Teresa Otto // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 27.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 24.8 F (2.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 38 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 11.6 F

#42. Elko, Nevada

A view of the Chilton Centennial Tower in Elko.

E Fehrenbacher // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 27 F
- December 2022 temperature: 26 F (0.9 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 34.5 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 16.6 F

#41. Norfolk, Nebraska

An aerial view of Norfolk in autumn.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 26.5 F
- December 2022 temperature: 22.3 F (4.2 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31.3 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 13.2 F

#40. Great Falls, Montana

An elevated view of Great Falls at twilight.

Victoria Ditkovsky // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.9 F
- December 2022 temperature: 17.3 F (8.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 25.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 8.8 F

#39. Rapid City, South Dakota

A bison walking in snowy landscape.

Tammy Bashore // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 20.1 F (5.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 8.3 F

#37. Ely, Nevada (tie)

Route 50 in Ely with a mountain range in the background.

Sandra Foyt // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.6 F
- December 2022 temperature: 25.6 F (0.1 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 37.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 11.6 F

#37. Bangor, Maine (tie)

A Christmas tree in downtown Bangor.

Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.6 F
- December 2022 temperature: 31 F (5.4 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 38.6 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 23.4 F

#36. Pocatallo, Idaho

The Downtown Pocatello business district.

Michael Gordon // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.5 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.9 F (1.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 32 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 15.8 F

#35. Missoula, Montana

Birch trees and a snowy landscape in Missoula.

Justine Emm // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 22.6 F (2.8 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 30.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 15.2 F

#34. Madison, Wisconsin

The Capitol building decorated with Christmas lights.

Keith Schmidt // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.3 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.5 F (1.8 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 17 F

#33. Waterloo, Iowa

Am aerial view of snowy Waterloo.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.2 F
- December 2022 temperature: 22.1 F (3.1 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 30.6 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 13.6 F

#31. Green Bay, Wisconsin (tie)

A holiday parade with people waving and a giant inflatable snowman being pulled by a pickup truck in Green Bay.

Ezekiel1986 // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 24.6 F (0.5 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 18.1 F

#31. Montpelier, Vermont (tie)

A frozen snowy bridge over a narrow river.

Ann Hull // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 25.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 30.2 F (5.1 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 37.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 23.1 F

#30. La Crosse, Wisconsin

A lit up snowman decoration illuminated at night.

Maarten Daams // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.9 F
- December 2022 temperature: 21.6 F (3.3 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 28.9 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 14.3 F

#29. Casper, Wyoming

A river with ice and snow at sunset.

Doug Tunison // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.7 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.6 F (1.1 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 34.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 12.5 F

#28. Dubuque, Iowa

Frozen mist rises from lock and dam on Mississippi River in Dubuque.

Gerald Marella // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.6 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.2 F (1.4 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 30.9 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 15.5 F

#27. Sheridan, Wyoming

Kendrick Mansion in December snow decorated for Christmas.

Ems Images // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.5 F
- December 2022 temperature: 18.4 F (6.2 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 28.3 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 7.6 F

#26. Helena, Montana

Snow falling on the Cathedral of Saint Helena.

6015714281 // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.3 F
- December 2022 temperature: 18.4 F (5.9 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 27.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 9 F

#25. Kalispell, Montana

A winter sunset view from Whitefish.

davidmarxphoto // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 17.5 F (6.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 24.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 10.5 F

#23. Sioux City, Iowa (tie)

A snowy evergreen with Christmas lights.

Ricardo Reitmeyer // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24 F
- December 2022 temperature: 19.5 F (4.5 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 28.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 12.1 F

#23. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (tie)

The International Bridge in winter with snow.

Canva

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 24 F
- December 2022 temperature: 26.4 F (2.4 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31.6 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 21.2 F

#22. Pierre, South Dakota

Rocky Mountain Elk walking on snow.

Tom Reichner // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 22.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 16.2 F (6.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 25.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 6.9 F

#21. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

An aerial view of holiday lights in Sioux Falls.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 22.6 F
- December 2022 temperature: 17.3 F (5.3 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 25.2 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 9.3 F

#20. Wausau, Wisconsin

Buildings and a frozen lake.

Michael Tatman // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 22.3 F
- December 2022 temperature: 20.6 F (1.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 27.2 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 14 F

#19. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

A frozen, snowy Mississippi River and magenta colored Lowry Bridge with Minneapolis skyline.

Greg Lundgren // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 22 F
- December 2022 temperature: 18.1 F (3.9 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 24.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 11.8 F

#18. Lander, Wyoming

A sunset over a frozen lake.

Jeff Futter // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 21.6 F
- December 2022 temperature: 20 F (1.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 31 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 6.7 F

#17. Rochester, Minnesota

A snowy nature path over a frozen lake.

Ventu Photo // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 21 F
- December 2022 temperature: 17.3 F (3.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 24.2 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 10.4 F

#16. Dickinson, North Dakota

A close up of frost on a tree branch.

travelinlenz701 // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 20.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 9.7 F (10.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 18.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 1 F

#15. Caribou, Maine

Snow falling on a tree with a decorated door in the background.

Ann Stryzhekin // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 19.9 F
- December 2022 temperature: 26.4 F (6.5 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 33 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 19.8 F

#14. Anchorage, Alaska

A winter scene with evergreens and a full moon.

BILD LLC // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 19.5 F
- December 2022 temperature: 14.8 F (4.7 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 21 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 8.5 F

#13. Glasgow, Montana

A snowy winter landscape.

jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 19.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 7.6 F (11.5 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 16.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: -1 F

#11. Bismarck, North Dakota (tie)

Snow falling on the state capitol.

Phillip Schultz // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 18.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 8.7 F (10.2 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 16.9 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 0 F

#11. Aberdeen, South Dakota (tie)

An aerial view of Aberdeen in winter.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 18.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 11.3 F (7.4 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 20.5 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 2.1 F

#10. Minot, North Dakota

A ringneck pheasant in a snowy landscape.

Tom Reichner // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 18.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 8.1 F (10.3 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 16.3 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: -0.1 F

#9. Alamosa, Colorado

The Great Sand Dunes National Park with a frozen lake.

marekuliasz // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 18.3 F
- December 2022 temperature: 23.6 F (5.3 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 42.3 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 4.8 F

#8. Duluth, Minnesota

An aerial view of holiday lights in Duluth.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 16.7 F
- December 2022 temperature: 14.1 F (2.6 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 21 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 7.3 F

#7. Fargo, North Dakota

A snowy intersection in downtown Fargo.

FiledIMAGE // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 15.9 F
- December 2022 temperature: 10.5 F (5.5 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 18.8 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 3.1 F

#6. Grand Forks, North Dakota

Close up of winter lights decorating a house.

Ryzhkov Oleksandr // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 12.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: 8.7 F (3.8 F below long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 16.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 1.2 F

#5. Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington hotel in winter with snowy mountains in the background.

Canva

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 11.8 F
- December 2022 temperature: 14.8 F (3 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 20.4 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 9.2 F

#4. Bethel, Alaska

A snowy landscape view from a plane at sunrise.

Jorge Moro // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 10 F
- December 2022 temperature: 12.1 F (2.1 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 17.3 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 6.9 F

#3. Nome, Alaska

A tanker follows a coast guard boat in icy water.

Benjamin Nocerini/U.S. Coast Guard // Getty Images

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: 9.1 F
- December 2022 temperature: 14.5 F (5.5 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 22.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: 7 F

#2. Fairbanks, Alaska

Snowy log cabins decorated with Christmas lights.

Chollada.p // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: -4.4 F
- December 2022 temperature: -4.3 F (0.1 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 4.1 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: -12.7 F

#1. Utqiaġvik, Alaska

The northern lights in Barrow.

Gabriel Johnson // Shutterstock

- Long-term average temperature, 1991-2020: -6.3 F
- December 2022 temperature: 4.9 F (11.2 F above long-term average)
- Long-term average daily maximum: 12 F
- Long-term average daily minimum: -2.2 F