Yakutsk, Russia, reached record lows of -83 F, and though there was a sun-drenched high of 101 F, the average summer day hits 25 F. The town has plenty to see, with local breweries, a state circus, an opera and ballet company, and even a museum of cryogenics. Locals warm up with hearty meals (think chicken Kiev, borscht, vareniki dumplings, and horse meat) in the city's Mongolian, Japanese, and Russian restaurants.
Boasting the highest peak in North America (20,320 feet), Mount McKinley also holds the title of the coldest place on the continent, with temperatures that regularly dip to below -30 F (the weather station posted a record -75 F). Intrepid climbers of Mount McKinley stop in the small town of Talkeetna, where last provisions are purchased and sumptuous last meals are eaten at the Foraker Dining Room, which boasts an award-winning wine list.
Troms has a population of around 68,000 people, who all endure temperatures that only range from -1 F to 40 F all year, and record amounts of snowfall. What's more unique about Troms, though, is that it is home to the midnight sun (pictured, Troms at midnight), the phenomenon that occurs because the sun doesn't fully set between the middle of May and mid-July. Troms also experiencespolar night, which means the sun stays low on the horizon from late November to early January.
The title of the coldest capital city in the world goes to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where the almost-subarctic climate translates into short winter days and average annual temperatures of 27 F for its nearly one million residents. Visitors frequent the 100-year-old monasteries before dining on comfort foods that range from Mongolian dishes (fried mutton and buuz meat dumplings) to familiar Chinese meals like beef with vegetables and rice, and cashew chicken.
Greenland's capital, Nuuk, isn't the coldest part of the country, but it's the coldest part that actually has shops and hotels and a department of tourism. And we think that lows of -20 F and summery average highs of 34 F (the record high was 75 F) are just cold enough, thanks. In the interest of warming up, a local specialty is Greenlandic coffee coffee with heavy pours of whiskey, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, and a topping of whipped cream.
Fighting for most-freezing bragging rights, the small Minnesotan town of International Falls drops to temperatures of -26 F (with a record of 55 F) in the winter. These freezing forecasts gained the town the nickname "Icebox of the Nation," and in an effort to keep the name in International Falls (and not in Fraser, Colo.), the town hosts an annual Ice Box Days festival, featuring frozen turkey bowling, snow sculpting, candlelight skiing, and of course, hot cocoa.
Also called the "Icebox of the Nation," Fraser is International Falls' frozen rival, and its nearly 1,000 residents endure similarly low temperatures in the winter (and the summer: average highs are 50 F). Sitting at the base of the Rocky Mountains, just near the popular ski resort Winter Park, Fraser is often passed over for big skiing opportunities elsewhere, with Devils Thumb Ranch and its fireside dining (think venison tartare, wild mushroom terrine, elk tenderloin) leading the pack.
The largest city in the Yukon, Whitehorse is rarely warmer than 40 F in the middle of the summer — no sunbathing here! Winters get down to record lows of -62 F, though that doesn't seem to deter the cross-country skiers who flock here every year. The food in downtown Whitehorse is rustic, with a dozen cafs and bakeries serving strong coffee and freshly baked goods; they've even got a sushi joint.