Coldest College Cities in the United States

Winter has firmly settled into the United States, with typically warm states feeling the polar snap. But have you ever wondered where the coldest places are to go to school? This Top 15 list is drawn from the 51 largest metropolitan cities (1 million+ people according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau), and is based on long-term weather data from 1981 to 2010 collected from the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.


  • 15. Columbus, Ohio: The capital and largest city of Ohio, this city of 2.3 million is home to one of the country's largest campuses in Ohio State University. But bundle up: the daily winter mean is a perfectly frozen 32F.



  • 14. Boston, Massachusetts: In the heart of New England you'll find no shortage of quality schools (Berklee, MIT, Harvard)…and chilly temperatures (32F.)



  • 13. Providence, Rhode Island: The capital city of the smallest state, Providence lays claim to one of the country's Ivies (Brown) and a daily mean winter temperature of 32F.



  • 12. Denver, Colorado: The Mile-High City's first institution of higher learning arrived in 1864 (University of Denver), but we're guessing the daily mean of 31F was there long before that.



  • 11. Salt Lake City, Utah: Home of one of the world's biggest film festivals and the 2002 Winter Olympics, students in Utah's capital hibernate at a daily mean of 31F.



  • 10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: This city may have shed its steel town roots in favor of cosmopolitan expansion, but there's still a rugged, blue-collar toughness to be had when the daily winter mean is 31F.



  • 9. Indianapolis, Indiana: Forbes and have named the state's capital as one of the country's best downtowns, but did they take into account the daily winter mean of 31F?



  • 8. Cleveland, Ohio: Education is a strongpoint here, with Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Cleveland State University all producing excellent graduates, despite the daily winter mean of 30F.



  • 7. Hartford, Connecticut: Nestled in the heart of New England, Hartford's daily winter mean of 29F means that students at Trinity College, Capital Community College and the University of Hartford are used to bundling up in layers.



  • 6. Detroit, Michigan: Although much-maligned, Detroit still attracts students to Wayne State University and the University of Detroit Mercy, despite its daily mean of 28F.



  • 5. Buffalo, New York: First established as a major railroad hub, Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York State, welcoming students with its chilly daily winter mean of 27F.



  • 4. Rochester, New York: Staying within the Empire State, this city of 1.1 million has a daily winter mean of 27F, which means that Rochester students are used to grabbing an extra sweater on their way out the door.



  • 3. Chicago, Illinois: Only recently knocked off its perch as the 4th largest city in North America, the hometown of four U.S. presidents has long since made peace with its daily winter mean of 26F.



  • 2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Wisconsin may be the cheese-happy, football-mad home of the Packers, but Milwaukee packs a serious winter punch with a daily mean of 25F.


And the coldest metropolitan city where students go to college is…


  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: One of the richest cities in the country in terms of available water, Minneapolis also lays claim to being the coldest metropolitan city, but hardy students aren't put off by its daily winter mean of a mere 19F.