Discover the Coldest Place in Minnesota  (2023)

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Key Points

  • The coldest place in Minnesota is the township of Embarrass
  • Since 1991, Embarrass’ record low is -54 degrees
  • The coldest recorded official temperature in the state of Minnesota is -60 degrees Fahrenheit

Apart from Fairbanks Alaska, all 10 of the coldest cities in the United States are in the Midwest. The remaining nine positions are divided between Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Michigan. The coldest place in Minnesota is the township of Embarrass. The average temperature throughout the year is 36.4 degrees, and the area is known to experience temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you were to ask every Minnesotan, though, most would tell you that their hometown is the coldest place in the state. Braving blisteringly cold temperatures is a point of pride in many frigid places, and rightly so. Still, Embarrass holds the trophy for Minnesota. Now, let’s discover the coldest place in Minnesota!

Embarrass: Minnesota’s Coldest Place

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Embarrass is a township toward the northern reaches of Minnesota’s borders. It’s a short drive from Canada’s southern border, and just over an hour directly north of Duluth, MN.

The township wasn’t given its name because it was “Embarrassing,” but rather because it was difficult to navigate when French traders first arrived there. The word “embarrass” in French is a verb meaning “to disrupt with challenges and obstacles.”

They gave the area this name because the river that passes through was particularly shallow and laden with natural obstacles making it difficult to sail through. The river was also aptly named the Embarrass River.

If those explorers landed there in the wintertime, the temperature surely would have been one of the key obstacles. The unofficial coldest temperature in Embarrass is -64 degrees Fahrenheit in 1996.

That temperature is lower than Minnesota’s official low, which is -60 degrees in Tower, MN. The thermometer used in Embarrass was not verified by the National Weather Service, however, so the record isn’t recognized.

Why is Embarrass so Cold?

Embarrass is situated a little bit lower than the surrounding areas and it’s nestled in a river valley. According to MPR News, the dense cold air runs down the valley and “pools in the town.”

Because colder air tends to sink, that means Embarrass is blessed with some absolutely frigid temperatures. It’s a significant valley as well, resting between the Laurentian Divide and the Vermillion Range.

Historically, Embarrass was a passageway for fur traders. The town’s river and geological placement would have made it a hotspot for individuals headed to and from Duluth.

North of an Early Trading Hub

Duluth is extremely cold in the winter as well, in part because it’s tucked on the coast of Lake Superior, which has the most surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. It has the third-most volume of any lake in that category as well.

Staring out from the coast of Lake Superior, you would think you were gazing into the ocean or a massive inland sea. The huge body of freshwater links up with the other great lakes which is why the Port of Duluth has long been an integral shipping hub for the state and the region.

(Video) What is Winter Like in Minnesota?

Before it was “Duluth”, the Ojibwe occupied the region, but when French explorers took an interest in the area’s wildlife, they firmly established it as a central point for trading.

Namely, the trading of pelts, skins, and beaver hats was incredibly lucrative in 1620 when French explorer Etienne Brule “discovered” Duluth.

Later on, French explorer Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut explored the St. Louis River, which is the largest river running into Lake Superior. His last name is anglicized as “Duluth,” which is where the city gets its name. There’s another city in Georgia that shares the same name for the same reason.

From 1620 through 1854, the area of Duluth was a prominent trading hub for a variety of goods between people of numerous nationalities. Native American people were heavily involved in that process.

Rumors of copper mining, however, piqued the U.S. government’s interest in Duluth, prompting the 1854 Ojibwe Land Cession Treaty, which forcefully relocated many people to Grand Portage and Fond du Lac. Some members of the Lake Superior Chippewa tribe live there to this day.

Population and Culture

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Embarrass Township has a relatively small population, with the best estimates hovering below 1,000 people. Still, the town has thrived on the mining industry for the majority of its existence, and many residents still work in that industry today. While many residents commute out of town for work, the community strives to uplift and maintain its status as a great place to live.

The resident population of Duluth, however, hovers around 86,000 people. The University of Minnesota brings many students to the area, but natural beauty is the main draw for residents.

Despite being frigid in the wintertime, Duluth and Embarrass are truly beautiful places. The interplay between dynamic rock formations, crisp northern flora, and cool waters are hard to find anywhere else.

As a result, northern Minnesota is very popular in the summertime. Tourism is a big part of the local economy, but life still goes on when the snow starts to fall.

Some people, like the legendary “Ice Beard Surfer”, even take full advantage of the elements no matter the temperature. Duluth is a small industrial town much like Embarrass, just larger and nestled between the world’s largest freshwater lake and the pristine northern wilderness.

Wildlife in Northern Minnesota

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Embarrass and Duluth are gifted with nearly all of the fantastic animals that call Minnesota home. You have the chance to see quintessential Minnesotan animals such as moose, black bears, wolverines, and wolves. It’s rare to see these wild animals, but you’ll almost definitely see a deer or two if you spend more than a few days up north.

You could also spot bobcats, or if you’re extremely vigilant, a mountain lion. Mountain lions are rare and elusive, but visitors spot them occasionally in northwestern Minnesota. The same is true for fishers, pine martens, and other critters that only live up north.

Lake Superior is home to a wide variety of fish as well. The most impressive fish in Lake Superior is the lake sturgeon. Lake sturgeon can grow to legendary sizes if they live long enough. Large adults look strikingly similar to sharks, and one 240-pound individual was over 100 years old. Females might live up to three times as long as males, reaching the age of 150 years in extreme cases.

In conclusion, while it may be cold, Duluth is a complex and wonderful place.

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About the Author

(Video) 25 Coldest Places on Earth | Explore Coldest Places on Earth

Maxwell Martinson

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Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. World Atlas, Available here:
  2. MN Department of Natural Resources, Available here:
  3. Time and Date, Available here:
  4. Minnesota Reformer, Available here:
  5. US History, Available here:

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What is the coldest spot in Minnesota? ›

February 2,1996 was the coldest instrument-measured temperature on record for the state of Minnesota. A location in St. Louis County, 3 miles south of Tower, recorded -60 degrees F on February 2, 1996. This value ties Minnesota with North Dakota for the all-time record low for a non-mountainous state.

Which place is the coldest answer? ›

1) Eastern Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica (-94°C)

The Eastern Antarctic Plateau claims the title of coldest place on Earth.

Why is Yakutsk so cold? ›

The reason is simple: an extreme climate, too harsh even by Arctic standards. The seasonal temperature drop in Yakutia can reach 100 degrees Celsius. At the height of summer, it can get as hot as +40°C while in the middle of winter the temperature can drop as low as –60°C.

What is the coldest wind chill ever recorded in Minnesota? ›

The coldest windchill found statewide was -54 degrees F at Thief River Falls. Governor Mark Dayton cancelled K-12 public schools statewide on Monday January 6th, 2014 due to extreme windchills that were forecasted well in advance.

Is Minnesota the coldest state? ›

Coldest States in the US

Based on the minimum recorded temperature by state, Alaska is the coldest state in the country, with an average temperature of 30.7°F. The second coldest state is North Dakota, with an average temperature of 42.4°F. Minnesota is the third-coldest state, with an average temperature of 42.5°F.

Is Minnesota as cold as Alaska? ›

We know it's hard to believe, but winter in Minneapolis can actually be colder than in Alaska! While it's the largest and most northern state in the U.S., Alaska can't always claim to have the chilliest winters.

What is the coldest place in the US? ›

Fairbanks, Alaska

With a minimum average temperature of about minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit, Fairbanks takes the cake as the coldest city in the U.S. The northernmost major city in Alaska, Fairbanks has seen record cold temperatures reaching minus 66 degrees in the past.

What is the coldest city on Earth? ›

Welcome to winter in Yakutsk, the coldest city in the world. Residents of this notoriously frosty city, the capital of Russia's Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia, regularly deal with temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

What's the hottest city on Earth? ›

Dallol, Ethiopia

Dallol holds the official record for highest average temperature for an inhabited place on Earth. From 1960 to 1966, the annual mean temperature of the locality was 34.4 °C (93.9 °F), while the average daily maximum temperature during the same period was recorded as a scorching 41.1 °C (106.0 °F).

How do people stay warm in Yakutsk? ›

If you plan to come to Yakutsk in winter you should take the warmest clothes possible – fur hats, woolen scarves, mittens, warm boots, winter coats. The locals wear long fur coats, reindeer fur boots with thick felt soles, fur hats.

Is Minnesota colder than Antarctica? ›

Cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois have reported temperatures colder than Antarctica, the planet's southernmost continent.

What year was the worst winter in Minnesota? ›

Feb 13-15, 1866, arguably one of the worst blizzards in Minnesota history, lasted 3 days, drifts to 20 ft buried barns in western counties, struck at nite so deaths were reduced. Mar 14-16, 1870, blizzard struck northern Iowa and SW Minnesota with up to 16 inches of snowfall.

Is Minnesota colder than the North Pole? ›

One thing is clear about both North Poles, however. They are consistently much colder than Minnesota. "Hands down," Boulay said. But there have been exceptions.

Is Minnesota colder than Chicago? ›

Minneapolis is by far the coldest, but Boston often gets more snow than the other two. Chicago is somewhere in the middle in terms of both snow and cold, but is that best of both worlds or best of no worlds?

Is Minnesota colder than England? ›

Compare London and Minnesota Weather

London generally has warmer weather than Minnesota. The average mean temperature in London is 12.17°C (53.91°F) while Minnesota's temperature is 6.19°C (43.14°F) and the difference is 5.98°C (42.76°F).

Why Minnesota is so cold? ›

Because of its location in North America, Minnesota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of a continental climate, with cold winters and mild to hot summers in the south and frigid winters and generally cool summers in the north.

What state has the worst winter? ›

Here are the top 10 states with the worst winters:
  • Minnesota.
  • Michigan.
  • Alaska.
  • North Dakota.
  • Maine.
  • South Dakota.
  • Wisconsin.
  • Idaho.
Dec 20, 2022

Is Minnesota the snowiest state? ›

The United States of America is home to some of the snowiest places on the planet – its ten snowiest states being New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, Michigan, New York, Utah, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. The snowiest state of all is New Hampshire, which gets an average of 174.35 inches of snow each year.

Has Minnesota ever had a winter without snow? ›

The Winter of 1877-78 is the warmest Meteorological Winter on record in the Twin Cities. The winter of 1877-78 was dubbed the "Year without a Winter." Indeed, the winter of 1877-78 is the warmest winter on record for the Twin Cities with a December-February average temperature of 29 degrees.

What is the coldest city in the lower 48 states? ›

Fraser, with an annual mean temperature of 36.0 °F (2.2 °C) (or 34.8 °F (1.6 °C) based on another station in town) is one of the coldest incorporated towns in the lower 48 states.

What is the coldest of the 48 states? ›

Alaska is the coldest state in the US, with an average annual temperature of 30.7 F°. The second coldest state in the US is North Dakota, with an average temperature of 42.4 F°. Minnesota is the third coldest state, with an average temperature of 42.5 Fº.

Which state is hottest in USA? ›

During every season, Florida, Louisiana and Texas are consistently among the top four of the nation's hottest states, based on state-wide average temperatures. Florida ranks overall as the warmest state year round. The other state in the top four is Hawaii.

What is the hottest city in the US? ›

Key West, Florida is the hottest city in the United States followed by Miami, Florida and Yuma, Arizona. Seven of the ten hottest cities in the United States are in Florida.
RankCityMean Temperature
1Key West, FL78.1°F
2Miami, FL76.7°F
3Yuma, AZ75.3°F
4West Palm Beach, FL75.3°F
6 more rows
Dec 29, 2022

Where is it 70 degrees year round in the United States? ›

Where is it 70 degrees year-round in the U.S.? While temperatures fluctuate throughout the year in most U.S. states, there are some that see averages around 70-degree weather year-round. These states include Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Is Chicago colder than Alaska? ›

While Minnesota might have it worse for the time being, Chicago's frigid weather is worse than parts of Siberia, the Yukon and the Arctic. In fact, the deep freeze is even colder than recent temperatures on Mars.

Can it be too cold to snow? ›

THE ANSWER. No, it cannot be too cold to snow. Snow can only form when there's moisture in the air, and while cold air holds less moisture than warm air, there are still certain conditions that can generate snowfall at extremely low temperatures.

What is the lowest temperature a human can survive outside? ›

Therapeutic hypothermia was introduced: The body is cooled down to induce hypothermia to protect patients during open heart surgery as well as victims of strokes, seizures and liver failure. Still, 56.7 degrees is the coldest anyone has ever been and survived.

What is the coldest country ever? ›

World's coldest countries!
  • Russia. It's the world's coldest country in terms of coldest temperature ever recorded. ...
  • Nursultan, Kazakhstan. During winters, temperature here can hover between minus 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. ...
  • Utqiagvik, Alaska. ...
  • Slovakia. ...
  • Georgia. ...
  • The Czech Republic. ...
  • Poland. ...
  • Iceland.
Dec 19, 2022

What state stays cool all year? ›

Consistently cold throughout the year are Maine, Vermont, Montana and Wyoming. Other states make the list of ten coldest in every season but summer. Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota are states that get a break in summer from ranking in the ten coldest.

Which country is cold all year round? ›

Iceland is characterized by a Polar Tundra climate and consequently, remains cold throughout the year. Temperatures in summer are as low as 50°F which fall even lower in winters, reaching as low as 37°F on average in January.

Is Chicago colder than NYC? ›

Winter Is Real

But winters are a different story. On average, Chicago gets about a foot more snow each winter than New York. While the coldest average monthly temperature in New York bottoms out at 27 degrees, Chicago's average lows in winter months are 18 degrees or colder.

Do people live in Death Valley? ›

Death Valley is no stranger to heat. Sitting 282 feet below sea level in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California near the Nevada border, it is the lowest, driest and hottest location in the United States. It is sparsely populated, with just 576 residents, according to the most recent census.

Why is Death Valley so hot? ›

Why so Hot? The depth and shape of Death Valley influence its summer temperatures. The valley is a long, narrow basin 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, yet is walled by high, steep mountain ranges. The clear, dry air and sparse plant cover allow sunlight to heat the desert surface.

What are the 2 hottest states? ›

Hottest States
#StateHighest Temperature Ever Recorded
1Florida109 °F
2Louisiana114 °F
3Texas120 °F
4Georgia112 °F
45 more rows

How do dogs survive in Yakutia? ›

Yakutian Laikas are tolerant regarding living conditions and easily endure the hostile climate of northern Siberia, even when left to fend for themselves. In harsh Siberian conditions they reveal their stamina; they tend to work in small groups and can work through the whole day, from dawn to sunset.

Can you wear glasses in Yakutsk? ›

Visitors are advised not to wear glasses outside, as they may become difficult to remove. Locals habitually leave engines running if they have to stop off for half an hour, and some for the whole day.

How long do people live in Yakutsk? ›

life expectancy: 69 years. ethnic groups: Sakha – 47%, Russians – 38%, others – 15%. religions: Ayi, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. languages: Sakha (Yakut), Russian.

What is the snowiest city in Minnesota? ›

Of course, there are many big snow cities in our northern-tier state of Minnesota, including International Falls (64.8 inches), Minneapolis-St. Paul (49.9 inches), Rochester (45.6 inches), and Saint Cloud (45 inches).

What is the snowiest place in Minnesota? ›

By far the snowiest areas in Minnesota are the Lake Superior highlands, a ridge of higher terrain along Minnesota's "north shore." In addition to receiving snow from the large-scale weather systems moving through the Midwest, the Lake Superior highlands experience localized snow events as well.

What is the coldest lake in Minnesota? ›

Lake Superior
  • Not only is Lake Superior the largest of the Great Lakes, it also has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. ...
  • With an average depth approaching 500 feet, Superior also is the coldest and deepest (1,332 feet) of the Great Lakes.

What's the hottest it's been in Minnesota? ›

115 deg. F.

Has it ever snowed in Minnesota in July? ›

Snow probably has occurred there in very late August, although we have never found an official record of such. July snow would be an extremely rare event, and has not likely occurred in the last 300 years. Snow probably has never occurred between June 20 and August 20 since the USA took over the region in 1815."

What city has the best snow? ›

Syracuse takes home the crown as the snowiest city in America, averaging 127.8 inches each winter. That's just shy of 11 feet of snow, most of which is courtesy of the large body of water to its northwest: Lake Ontario.

Is Minnesota colder than Buffalo? ›

The only city to surpass Minneapolis on a cold metric is Denver, which averages nine more days a year that don't heat up to above freezing.
Lowest Temperatures.
City0 °F -18 °C10 °F -12 °C
Minneapolis, Minnesota2246
Milwaukee, Wisconsin722
Denver, Colorado519
Buffalo, New York418
16 more rows


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