As parts of American suffered a polar vortex, with Lake Michigan freezing over, we look at some of the coldest places on earth. 

Mongolia’s capital city is widely agreed to be the coldest in the world. Located on a high plateau 1,300 metres above sea level, Ulaanbaatar is home to almost half of Mongolia’s population of three million. 

Throughout January, temperatures rarely get above -16C. Fortunately, visitors can warm up inside the city’s temples and museums, such as the International Intellectual Museum, an institution dedicated to puzzles, logic, riddles and games. 


Vostok weather station, Antarctica

This Russian research station on Antarctica holds the title of having the lowest measured temperature of -89.2C, which it hit on 21 July 1983. Things don’t improve much during the summer season, either, when the average temperature -32C. This extreme location is also one of the driest places on earth, with an average annual rain of less than one inch, all of which falls as snow. 

Mount Denali, Alaska

At 6,190 metres above sea level, Mount Denali is North America’s tallest mountain. Previously known as Mount McKinley, the mountain constitutes part of the Alaska Range and is at the heart of Denali National Park in Alaska. Denali’s peak is permanently covered with snow and glaciers and holds the record for the coldest North American wind-chill temperature of -83C in 2003. The mountain sits approximately 130 miles north of Anchorage, the Alaskan capital. 

(c) Instagram\@robertwestonbreshears

Verkhoyansk, Russia

Holder of the world record for the greatest temperature range, this Russian town to the north of the country has extremely cold winters and warm summers. In January, the average daily temperature is -48C and the mercury remains below zero between October until April. However in summer, temperatures regularly hovers at more than 30C.

International Falls, Minnesota, US

The city of International Falls in Minnesota is so proud of its cold weather status that in 2002, it took the town of Fraser, Colorado, to court in an effort to claim cold supremacy and be crowned “Icebox of the Nation”. International Falls won the title and celebrates by hosting an annual Icebox festival, which includes frozen turkey bowling, snow-sculpting and fireworks. This chilly destination sitting on the Rainy River across from Ontario, Canada, also has the lowest average temperature in the country of between 0-2C.

Fraser, Colorado, US

Situated in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Fraser is 2,613 metres above sea level and home to just 1,275 people. Despite coming second place in the “Icebox of the Nation” battle with International Falls, Fraser still experiences some of the coldest winters in the United States, with the average temperature reaching just 3C. Its Winter Park Resort receives almost 10 metres of snow each year, making it a popular skiing destination. 

(c) Instagram/@trinebumiller