Outside of being the go-to conversation topic at the water cooler, weather plays a huge role in how we live. It affects our lifestyles, social structures and culture. It determines how we stay alive, how we transport ourselves, how and what we eat, and even how we feel.
Weather and temperature even affects us on a psychological level. A 2014 study published in the journal Acta Psychologica found that cold temperatures promote referential creativity (activities such as recognizing metaphors, coming up with new pasta names and planning abstract gifts), while warmth is ideal for relational creativity (such as creative drawing and categorizing objects).
Suffice it to say that weather, temperature and climate permeate every aspect of our daily life—whether we realize it or not. If you’re looking to move, check out our roundup of the best and worst of America’s cities to find a climate you can adapt to.
City with the coldest winters
Minneapolis – St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area
December average: Low of 12.3, High of 27.1
Jan average: Low of 7.5, High of 23.7
February average: Low of 12.8, High of 28.9
The city holds some of the most substantial records for meteorological events, stretching all the way back to 1819. Its lowest recorded temperature was -60 degrees in February 2, 1996.
Thanks to unhindered winds blowing down from Canada, Minnesota’s wind chill (how cold you’ll actually feel when outside) can make an already freezing day feel almost 20 degrees colder. It stays so cold in Minneapolis that its downtown buildings are connected by eight-miles of pedestrian footbridges called the skyway, so denizens can avoid going outdoors throughout the day.
A winter in the Twin Cities does have some hope, though—Minneapolis and St. Paul receive more winter sunlight than many other warmer parts of the country.
Madison, WI Metro Area
December average: Low of 15.9, High of 30.2
Jan average: Low of 11.1, High of 26.4
Feb average: Low of 15.1, High of 31.1
City with the hottest summers
Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area
June: High of 103.9, Low of 77.7
July: High of 106.1, Low of 83.5
August: High of 104.4, Low of 82.7
Summers in the Sonoran Desert are long, with the all-time recorded high sitting sweaty at 122 degrees in June 26, 1990. Phoenix also enjoys the “urban heat island” effect, where a metropolitan area becomes much warmer than surrounding rural areas due to human activity.
Summer temperatures can start as early as April and last through the middle of October. Don’t move here if you’ll pine for any sight of snow—the last time Phoenix saw a winter wonderland was a generous 0.4 inches on Dec. 22, 1990.
Las Vegas – Henderson – Paradise, NV Metro Area
June: High of 98.7, Low of 74.6
July: High of 104.2, Low of 80.9
August: High of 102, Low of 79.3
Best city for consistent temperatures
Urban Honolulu, HI Metro Area
Year-round average: 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit
If you’re a fan of predictable weather and tons of sunshine, Honolulu is the place to be. The city’s highs are never egregious, and lows rarely fall below the 70-degree mark. Temperate weather enthusiasts are in luck—Honolulu has boasted a consistent year-round average of 78 degrees since 1996.
City with the most snow
Syracuse, NY Metro Area
Average snowy days per year: 66.4
Syracuse gets an average of nearly 10 feet of snow per year, making everyone else’s snow troubles look like child’s play. In addition to being a frequent winner of the Golden Snowball Award, Syracuse also holds several notable blizzards under its belt. Both the 1993 Storm of the Century and the North American blizzard of 1966 took the city into record-shattering realms with 42 inches of snowfall each.
Rochester, NY Metro Area
Average snowy days per year: 65.9
Cities where locals have probably never seen snow before
The following cities have an average of one snow day per year:
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim, CA Metro Area
Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land, TX Metro Area
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metro Area
San Francisco- Oakland – Hayward, CA Metro Area
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area
City with the most rain
Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area
Average rainy days per year: 150.1
Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of Portland. According to WeatherDB, Portland gets an average of 41.96 inches of rain annually—that’s 2.8 inches more than the national average. Rainy months run from October through May, so while you may develop webbed feet from living in PDX, you can still enjoy a relatively dry summer.
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area
Average rainy days per year: 147.4
City with the least rain
Las Vegas – Henderson – Paradise, NV Metro Area
Average rainy days per year: 26.5
True to its desert roots, Las Vegas typically gets less than five inches of rain per year. You won’t be entirely safe from rainstorms though: Sin City enjoys a phenomenon known as “monsoon season” during the summer. When it does rain, it pours—and leaves as quickly as it came. Pretty appropriate for a city that runs at 100 miles per hour all year long.
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area
Average rainy days per year: 32
To compile this list, we analyzed data from NOAA/Weather.com’s ranking of the top 100 most populous U.S. cities, and data from Wunderground.com.