The 8 Coldest Places in Minnesota Will Chill You to Your Core

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: November 27, 2023
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As one of the northernmost states within the Midwest, Minnesota knows a thing or two about winter. The lows throughout the winter months can send a chill down the spine of any outsider. The nickname “Minnesnowta” gives the impression that the snow is the worst part of the season. 

You’ll have to indulge in plenty of tater tot hotdish to stay warm in the coldest places in Minnesota. Here are some cities and townships throughout the North Star State that’ll have you reaching for a sweater. 

Discover the 8 Coldest Places in Minnesota.

Coldest Places in Minnesota

1. International Falls

A small island on Rainy Lake, Minnesota, located in International Falls. The lake and the sky is blue with a few white clouds. The lake is located in Voyageur National Park.

International Falls is one of the most popular summer destinations in Minnesota.

©Olga Enger/Shutterstock.com

We have to start with the town of International Falls. Also known as the “nation’s icebox,” this city is just steps away from the Canadian border. Residents here are no stranger to freezing temperatures. 


In 1909 a record low of 35 below zero occurred. In 2019 that record was beaten when it dipped all the way to 55° below. Despite these chilly temperatures, International Falls is not the coldest location within the Land of 10,000 lakes.

2. Embarrass Township

Photo illustration of digital road sign in winter with text Are You Prepared ? to convey a concept of preparedness for winter storms and cold weather.

It takes less than 10 minutes to get frostbite in these wicked temperatures.

©Urban Images/Shutterstock.com

Easily one of the coldest places in Minnesota is a small township named Embarrass. This unincorporated community is located on the Mesabi Iron Range. It is roughly 80 miles north of Duluth. 

This small region set a state record in 1996 when the weather dipped all the way down to -64°. While this is unimaginably cold, residents living around this area of Minnesota are used to -30 to -45° mornings in the winter months.

3. Tower

Heavy snow in Minnesota

It can be hard to navigate roads in unincorporated portions of Minnesota during winter.

©Plume Photography/Shutterstock.com

Tower, MN is in the same general area as Embarrass. While these small towns are close to each other the coldest temperature ever recorded in Tower is 60° below zero. The most snow Tower has ever seen in a single day was over 16 inches! 

December and January tend to be the snowiest months. The average daily temperature in this region is -31 degrees! You can blow bubbles outdoors in these temps and they’ll freeze mid-air!

4. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis freezes once the weather is cold enough.

©Karla Caspari/Shutterstock.com

Minneapolis is just one of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. This bustling metropolis is no stranger to cold weather, even in comparison to the northern portion of the state. The brave souls living here have experienced the life-threatening temperature of -36 degrees! 

To the east of Minneapolis and just across the river, St Paul trails steadily behind with a recorded low of -34° F. In the winter season of 2022 to 2023, the Twin Cities received just under 100 inches of snow for the season.

5. Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota USA March 2, 2013 Surfer on Lake Superior near Duluth, Minnesota in the winter in the month of March.

Despite the freezing temperatures, Lake Superior doesn’t freeze over.

©Linda McKusick/Shutterstock.com

Duluth is one of the coldest places in Minnesota and is among the largest cities in the state. One reason this region gets so frigid throughout the winter is its proximity to the massive Lake Superior. 

This large body of water can make the temperatures drop dramatically compared to cities more inland. In January of 1972, this northern city reached a frigid -39 °. Since then, Duluth has nearly broken this record multiple times. Most recently in February of 2021, it reached negative 35!

6. Angle Inlet

Angle Inlet is the most Northern Point in the Contiguous United States known for Walleye Fishing Resorts

Walleye fishing is incredibly popular throughout the fishing season here.

©Jacob Boomsma/iStock via Getty Images

One of the most unique areas in the country, and in Minnesota, is the Angle Inlet. When you look at a map it appears that this region should belong to Canada. It is the northernmost point of the contiguous United States. 

The only way to reach the Angle Inlet is by boat and traveling throughout the winter becomes treacherous. The coldest temperature ever recorded in this area was just shy of negative 70°. 

7. Grand Portage

A windswept tundra landscape on a cold winter day in northern Canada, with a few thin trees struggling to survive in the barren terrain and harsh subarctic climate.

Many times it gets so cold in Minnesota that vehicle doors freeze shut.

©CherylRamalho/Shutterstock.com

Located in Cook County is another one of the coldest places in Minnesota. Grand Portage is right off of Grand Portage Bay, giving it plenty of frigid weather throughout winter. It’s near Lake Superior, just north of Grand Marais. 

While Grand Portage is a great place to go during the beautiful summers in Minnesota, most people steer clear of it when the cold temperatures hit. This unincorporated region sees an average high of -3° in January. 
The winter of 1949 to 1950 shocked the nation. This region of Minnesota saw a seasonal snowfall of over 170 inches! The maximum snow depth at one time was 75 inches!

8. Cotton

Minneapolis Skyline with Snow - Minnesota's warmest winter

The freezing temperatures don’t stop Minnesotan’s from getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.

©Roger Siljander/Shutterstock.com

A small unincorporated area just northwest of Duluth called Cotton knows a thing or two about freezing temperatures. In 2019 the area reached a shocking 56° below zero two days in a row. With the average snowfall for the United States being 28 inches, Cotton surpasses that with flying colors. 

The unincorporated region sees an average of 67 inches of snow each year!

Summary of the Coldest Places in Minnesota 

RankRegionTemperature
1.International Falls-45
2.Embarrass Township-64
3.Tower-60
4.Minneapolis-36
5.Duluth-35
6.Angle Inlet-70
7.Grand Portage-55
8.Cotton-56

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jelena Stanojkovic/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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