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.
Coldest Places in Minnesota
1. International Falls
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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!
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
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jelena Stanojkovic/Shutterstock.com
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