Top 8 Snowiest Cities In The USA – Guide For Snow Lovers

snowiest cities in the usa

Are you curious about the best snowiest cities in the USA? Though mountains are the primary choice for snow lovers during winter, a few cities in the USA offer stunning snowing landscapes. Urban cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston transform into winter wonderlands when layered with snow. Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier become magical when dusted with snow.

When frozen, Boston’s cobblestone streets and other historical landmarks, such as Faneuil Hall, appear to be scenes from a postcard. Cities such as Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle offer the beauty of snowy urban escape. 

Read the article to learn more about the top 8 snowiest cities in the USA

Key Takeaways On Top 8 Snowiest Cities In The USA

  • Cities near the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, receive significantly higher snowfall due to lake-effect snow. This phenomenon occurs when cold air travels over the warmer lake waters, picking up moisture and releasing it as heavy snowfall on the downwind shores. Examples are Syracuse (127.8 inches), Buffalo (95.4 inches), Rochester (102.0 inches) and Erie (104.3 inches) which all have very high average annual snowfall.
  • Cities located in mountainous regions tend to get more snowfall due to higher elevation and cooler temperatures. Flagstaff, Arizona (90.1 inches) and Boulder, Colorado (92.8 inches) are two examples highlighted in the blog.
  • With an average snowfall of 93.3 inches every year, Anchorage is one of the earliest cities to reach 100 inches of snowfall in a season. The heavy snowfall in Anchorage is due to its connection with the El Niño climate pattern and climate change, along with the heightened moisture level in this region.

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse City in New York receives an average yearly snowfall of 127. 8 inches or above 10 feet. It is significantly higher than the 2-3 feet of annual average snowfall of 2-3 feet in New York City.

Having been known for receiving heavy snowfall, Syracuse holds the 5th position among the significant snowiest cities globally. It is tied with Quebec City as both receive around 124 inches of snowfall yearly. Syracuse’s total snowfalls have been compared to other New York cities, yet Syracuse ranks high. Despite this, the city saw a low snowfall season in 2024, receiving only 28 inches of snow by Valentine’s Day. And this was the lowest record since at least 1950.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • You can go ice skating at several rinks in Syracuse, like Clinton Square downtown, John Dunn Ice Rink, or Sunnycrest Park Ice Rink.
  • Consider a mix of a waterslide and sledging! That’s snow tubing. Grab your friends and go tubing on campus, or join organised trips during winter.
  •  Explore the snowy scenery by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. You can do this at Drumlins Country Club, local parks, or trails at Highland Forest.
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall127.8 inches
Record Seasonal Snowfall         192.1 inches

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York, is the 4th snowiest city in the USA, receiving an average snowfall of 95.4 inches every winter. The city is famous for the severe lake effect snowstorms, which can produce intense snow in a single day. At 199.4 inches, Buffalo has the greatest seasonal snowfall record, with the highest one-day snowfall of 33.9 inches, second only to Syracuse.

Buffalo received 95.3 inches of snow on February 4, 2024, the most of any city in the contiguous 48 states. Buffalo gets heavy snowfall because of its location at the eastern end of Lake Erie, where west-southwest cold air picks up moisture and releases it as snow.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • If it snows enough, you can sledge, ski, and toboggan at Chestnut Ridge Park in Buffalo.
  • Every February, the University at Buffalo has a Winterfest with fun activities like broomball and ice skating for everyone who works or studies there.
  • Lots of snow in Buffalo means great times for snow tubing and skiing at Chestnut Ridge Park and other ski resorts!
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall95.4 inches

Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania, is one of the snowiest US cities, enjoying more than 100 inches of seasonal snowfall yearly. During the snow season of 2017-2018, Erie recorded a snowfall of 198.5 inches (5.05 m) and broke the previous record of 149.1 inches received in 2000-2001.

On December 24th and 25th, 2015, Erie witnessed a snowfall of 53 inches (135 cm), breaking Pennsylvania’s largest record of 2-day snowfall. Redfin ranked Erie as the second snowiest city in the US, with a snowfall of 104.3 inches per season. Erie receives a higher snowfall because of its location in the snow belt stretching from Cleveland to Syracuse and Watertown and its closeness to Lake Erie.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Go snow tubing at Peek’n Peak or Mount Pleasant in Edinboro!
  • Rent snowshoes or skis and explore Asbury Woods’ trails!
  • See extraordinary ice dunes along Lake Erie’s shores at Presque Isle State Park after a significant snowfall!
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall104.3 inches

Rochester, New York

Rochester, New York, welcomes an average snowfall of 102.0 inches each year, making it one of the snowiest cities in America. Located around 70 miles east of Buffalo, this city witnesses a larger snow volume, which is mainly due to the lake-effect snow from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Rochester’s winter landscape is dominated by heaving snowfall, and thus, it has earned a place in the Golden Snow Globe award. This award tracks the snowiest cities in New York State. January is the snowiest month in Rochester, New York, as it gets an average snowfall of 24.3 inches. For nearly 27 years, the city has received the highest average snowfall of any month.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Spend the snowy season skiing at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures.
  • Take a peaceful winter walk in Monroe County, relishing the snowy scenery and crisp air.
  • Admire the stunning roadside waterfalls that appear when there’s heavy snowfall.
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall102.0 inches

Anchorage, Alaska

With an average snowfall of 93.3 inches yearly, Anchorage in Alaska is among the top cities in the USA that receive heavy snow. As of January 30th (of the 2023-2024 winter season), the city had accumulated a record-breaking snowfall of 104.3 inches, one of the earliest the city has ever reached.

This winter, Anchorage has exceeded 100 inches for the ninth time. The city recorded a record-breaking 134.5 inches of snowfall in 2011-2012. The heavy snowfall in Anchorage is due to its connection with the El Niño climate pattern, climate change, and the heightened moisture level in this region.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Mush through the snow on a dog-sledging ride in Anchorage!
  •  Explore Anchorage’s winter wonderland on a fat tyre bike adventure.
  • Go ice fishing on a frozen lake near Anchorage. Catch trout, salmon, and other fish under the ice!
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall77.9 inches

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona, is considered one of the top snowiest US cities. It receives an average of 90.1 inches of annual snowfall, and because it is located at an altitude of 6903 feet, it receives more snowfall than other parts of Arizona. Flagstaff is consistently one of the snowiest American cities and was ranked third in 2020 (based on the data collected in 2018-2019).

On February 21, 2019, the city recorded the highest daily snowfall of 35.9 inches (910mm). Although the usual maximum snowfall for a complete winter is only 20 inches, on December 20, 1967, the city was covered with snow that reached 83 inches (210 cm). Despite being famous for its snowfall, Flagstaff is also one of the sunniest US cities, with an average of around 78% sunshine throughout the year.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Race down snowy hills on big tubes at Flagstaff Snow Park! It’s fun and surrounded by trees.
  • Take a relaxing cable car ride up a mountain at Arizona Snowbowl! You’ll see incredible views for 15 minutes without needing skis.
  • Hike around an incredible volcano at Sunset Crater! You can often walk on the trails, even in winter, and see neat black lava rocks.
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall90.1 inches

Boulder, Colorado

Since it receives a snowfall of nearly 92.8 inches per season, Boulder, Colorado, is one of the top snowiest cities in America. In 2019-2020, the city recorded 151 inches of snowfall, twice the usual snow volume. It was due to a frequent upslope of snow events, wherein the moisture-filled winds from the east increased over the steep Flatiron range. This caused heavy snowfall in the region.

By March 2022, Boulder received around 5 feet of snow, and the city topped the fourth rank among the snowiest mid-size US cities. The city’s location of 5430 feet and a prime spot in the Rockies’ foothills contribute to the heavy snowfall.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Eldora Mountain Resort is a stunning place to experience skiing and snowboarding. It’s just outside Boulder, towards Nederland.
  • If you want some winter fun, go ice skating at Winterskate in Louisville! It’s on Front Street at Steinbaugh Pavilion.
  • When it snows, head to one of Boulder’s parks for sledging. Tantra Park and Scott Carpenter Park are popular choices.
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall92.8 inches

Burlington, Vermont

When we talk about the snowiest cities in the US, Burlington, Vermont, holds the 8th position with an annual snowfall of 80.2 inches. This statistic is based on US data ranging from 2016 to 2021. It receives more snow than other cities, such as St. Louis and Missouri, with an annual snowfall of 27.8 inches.

Because of the intense coastal storms from the East Coast during winters, Burlington is believed to embrace such large snowfalls. Despite being far from the Great Lakes, the city is filled with consistent snow cover, making it a beautiful winter destination.

Winter Activities to Explore

  • Go ice skating at Leddy Rink in Burlington – A classic winter activity!
  • Grab your sledge and head to Calahan Park for some winter fun!
  • Enjoy a crisp winter hike through Centennial Woods in Burlington.
Snowfall DetailsAmount
Average Annual Snowfall80.2 inches

The United States has many cities that get a lot of snow yearly, especially in the northern states. However, some places, like Flagstaff, Arizona, also see heavy snowfall because they are at high elevations.

Dealing with a lot of snow can be challenging, but it also makes these cities look magical, turning them into winter wonderlands. People who love snow can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and building snowmen in these snowy cities.


Which City In The USA Receives The Most Snowfall Annually?

Syracuse, New York, receives the most snowfall annually in the USA.

Why Do Some Cities Like Buffalo And Syracuse Get So Much Lake-Effect Snow?

Cities near the Great Lakes, like Buffalo and Syracuse, get heavy lake-effect snow when cold air masses from Canada move across the relatively warmer lake waters, producing intense snowfall.

What Factors Contribute To Heavy Snowfall In A City?

Adequate moisture, frontal systems, and atmospheric instability are key factors in heavy snowfall in certain cities.

Is There A Competition For The Snowiest Cities In The USA?

Yes, the major cities in Upstate New York compete annually for the Golden Snowball Award, which Syracuse has won most years since 1951.

Which City Has The Most Days Per Year With Measurable Snowfall?

Rochester, New York, has the most days per year with at least 0.1 inches of snow, averaging 65 days annually. 

We hope this article will help you understand the snowiest cities in USA, read similar articles here,

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