While many retirees flee to warmer climates, there are just as many who are comfortable in the cool weather, or even prefer it. One of the benefits of cities with cold weather is that they’re often more affordable, because it takes a certain kind of person to put up with it.
GOBankingRates drew from USA Today’s “America’s 50 coldest cities” list to find places that will more than deliver winter weather, but also are the most affordable according to Zillow’s median home values. Additionally, we drew data from state and federal census information to determine the percentage of adults over the age of 65 who live in these states.
Bismarck, North Dakota
- Average monthly temperature range: 2.2 F to 57.4 F
- Population: 63,353
- Average annual snowfall: 44.9 in.
The capital of North Dakota is a cultural and historical center with lots to do and plenty of places to see, including the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, Fort Abraham Lincoln, and The Dakota Zoo, to name a few.
It’s unsurprising that it boasts a larger number of people aged 65 and older, 17.3%, with so much to do in an affordable area. The average home value in Bismarck is $344,659.
- Average monthly temperature range: 7.7 Fto 61.3 F
- Population: 108,179
- Average annual snowfall: 49.6 in.
Rochester delivers cold winters with a decent amount of snowfall, with lows getting down to below 8 degrees Fahrenheit. The 65 and older population is at 11.5%, probably because of its great affordability. The average home value is $319,087.
Rochester is famous for hosting the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, but it also features such attractions as the Rochester Art Center on the Zumbro River, the Charles E. Gagnon Art Museum and Sculpture Garden, Quary Hill Nature Center, and lots of outdoors activities.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Average monthly temperature range: 6.9to 61.9 F
- Population: 157,675
- Average annual snowfall: 41.6 in
Sioux Falls has a lot to offer in the way of attractions, from the Kirby Science Discovery Center to the Butterfly House and Aquarium, along with libraries, parks, the zoo, aquatic centers and bingo. No surprise that 12.9% of its population is aged 65 and older.
It’s still affordable, too, with average home values coming in at $311,767.
Huron, South Dakota
- Average monthly temperature range: 6.6 F to 61.4 F
- Population: 12,782
- Average annual snowfall: 41.2 in.
Huron attracts a sizable amount of people aged 65 and older at 18.1%. Perhaps this is because you can still afford a house under $300,000 in a town where the average home value is $295,770.
The city is known for an excellent school system, (public and private), a state-of-the-art medical center, the Huron Event Center and Dakotaland Museum. Events include Huron Ringneck Festival, SD Women’s Expo, the Antique Power Show, Parade of Lights, Stock Car Racing, and the South Dakota State Fair.
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
- Average monthly temperature range: 7.5 F to 64.1 F
- Population: 677,914
- Average annual snowfall: 50.4 in.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota, aka the Twin Cities, may not have nearly as much snowfall as some of these other cities, but it’s still plenty cold and affordable. The average home value here is $289,858.
While it has a lower percentage of people aged 65 and up, at just 9.9%, there are plenty of attractions that keep retired people entertained, such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Mall of America, Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater and much more.
- Average monthly temperature range: 5.2 F to 54.6 F
- Population: 21,399
- Average annual snowfall: 149.1 in.
Marquette, which is near Lake Superior, is a snow-lover’s paradise in winter, and at an affordable price. Here, the average home value is $272,240. It’s got a high number of people aged 65 and older too, at 20.3% of the population.
Attractions include all the skiing, snow biking, and snow shoeing you can stand, as well as strong arts and culture, with museums, a performing arts center, an orchestra and more.
St. Cloud, Minnesota
- Average monthly temperature range: 1.8 F to 58.4 F
- Population: 65,996
- Average annual snowfall: 44.9 in.
St. Cloud runs along the Mississippi River and is rich in beautiful scenery and winter fun. The average home value is $239,775, and 17% of the population is aged 65 and older.
Attractions include Munsinger Clemens Gardens, multiple golf courses, the Wobegon Trail, and the Quarry Park and Nature Preserve to name a few.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
- Average monthly temperature range: 8.9 F to 63.2 F
- Population: 51,421
- Average annual snowfall: 44.2 in.
In La Crosse, the average home value of $229,219 is a price you won’t find in much of the rest of the country. The 65 and older population is at 17.4% as well, making it retiree friendly.
Attractions include parks, museums, the Riverside International Friendship Gardens, Granddad Bluff and numerous historic sites.
Aberdeen, South Dakota
- Average monthly temperature range: 1.5 F to 59.0 F
- Population: 26,506
- Average annual snowfall: 37.8 in.
Aberdeen attracts retired folks for its affordable living, where the average home value is $220,359 and 17.6% of the population is aged 65 or older.
People in Aberdeen enjoy such attractions as art galleries, ice arenas, snowmobiling, hiking and biking trails, and Storybook Land.
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
- Average monthly temperature range: 7.6 F to 54.5 F
- Population: 14,171
- Average annual snowfall: 116.7 in
In Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 17.3% of residents are age 65 and older. The median home value is $147,920, making it the most affordable city on this list. People are drawn here to enjoy hockey, the canyon tour train excursions, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, and much more.
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