6 Great U.S. Cities to Move to if You Love Winter

Jon Fesmire |

Do you love relaxing in front of your fireplace while snow swirls outside? Do you love snowmen, snowball fights, crisp air, and skiing? Then you may be a winter person. If you love winter, here are six beautiful U.S. cities where winters stay cold, snow is plentiful, and you can enjoy all your favorite winter activities.

Anchorage, Alaska

At 61 north latitude, Anchorage, Alaska is the closest city on this list to the the Arctic Circle, and that makes for cold winters. The city has an average winter low of about seven degrees. Also, it’s a great place to enjoy the snow, with about 71 inches falling every year.

Large for an Alaskan city, Anchorage has a population of about 305,000. Many of the city’s small lakes freeze, providing great places to go ice skating. For those who love skiing and snowboarding, just 10 miles from downtown Anchorage there’s Arctic Valley Ski Area. Anchorage also features ice fishing. The major catches are trout and Alaskan salmon. For a special Alaskan adventure, try out a day of dogsledding. At night, you can wind down gazing at the northern lights.

Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo is home to about 120,000 people and is the most populated city in North Dakota. This is another great place to live if you love winter snow, as the city gets about 41 inches per year, and the average winter low temperature is about -2 degrees.

Though Fargo is flat land, you can take a day trip to Detroit Mountain for some skiing and snowboarding. In Fargo itself, enjoy going for snowy walks or building snowmen.

The city also has dozens of museums for when you want to warm up. A few of note are The Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm, which features educational programs for kids and the Fargo Air Museum, with its enormous aviation library. Winter activities include the Frostival, with lots of winter games and activities,  plus Winterfest, and much more.

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana is a smaller city of about 45,000 residents. This winter-conscious city uses snowplows that keep the street snow out of your driveway, and the city even maintains its bike routes during the winter so if you like to get around by cycling, you can. That’s saying something, considering that Bozeman gets about 91 inches of snow per year!

Nearby Bozeman Mountain has two ski resorts, Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Ski Resort, for when you feel like snowboarding or skiing. It’s also a great place for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and Nordic skiing. Celebrate winter, and get some serious exercise, at the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival in Hyalite Canyon. With winter lows averaging about 14 degrees, you may enjoy some of the indoor festival activities as well.

Saratoga Springs, New York

Saratoga Springs has a population of about 30,000, has low winter temperatures of about 11 degrees, and a heavy average annual snowfall of about 64 inches. A smaller-city feel and lots of snow may be just what you’re looking for as someone who loves the winter.

Downtown Saratoga Springs has wide, walkable sidewalks. When it’s snowy, you can enjoy strolling around and checking out the various shops and restaurants. Clam chowder is a centerpiece of Saratoga Springs food culture, and restaurants compete at Chowderfest to see whose dish will be named Saratoga’s Best Chowder every year.

Of course, you can ski and snowboard down the Adirondacks, and you can go cross-country skiing in Saratoga Spa State Park. There are also plenty of trails to drive along  if you’d like to rent a snowmobile.

Want to warm up with something special? Saratoga Springs was named for its mineral springs, and a spa industry has been built around it. Take a spa day and soak in the warm water.

Bangor, Maine

You may find Bangor, Maine familiar without realizing why. Perhaps that’s because it’s the home of Stephen King, and because so many of his novels take place in Maine. It should come as no surprise that Bangor is the location of Mount Hope Cemetery, the nation’s second garden cemetery. There’s no need to fear, though. This city of about 35,000 people is a lovely place to live.

Winters get down to about 8 degrees, and the area has a robust annual snowfall of about 67 inches. Bangor is also a popular tourist area, and its shopping alone attracts people from all over the state.

The greater Bangor metropolitan area has a population of about 155,000, so you can be sure there’s always something to do nearby. Outdoors in the winter, various parks feature ice skating and sledding. For skiing, you’ll need to head out of town, but rest assured, Maine has plenty of great skiing destinations.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane is a good sized city, with about 210,000 residents. It receives a heavy 49 inches of snow per year, and winter temperatures get as low as 21 degrees.

Here, the residents know how to celebrate winter. In December, you’ll enjoy the Winter Glow Spectacular, which includes fireworks, an enchanted forest, holiday maze, and more. As Spokane is a hub for the arts, the yearly First Night New Years Eve Winter Festival includes visual and performing arts, including music, drama, and dancing.

Looking for something romantic to do during the winter? Spokane’s many wineries are open year-round, so you can go on a wine tour.

Nearby skiing can be found at several excellent places, including 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, and Mt. Spokane, within 90 miles of the city.

So, whether you just like staying indoors in the winter, where you can look out at the snow, or you enjoy vigorous outdoor activities, each of these cities has plenty to offer to those who love the snowy season.