10 Coldest Cities in the World


Some people live for plunging temperatures, chilly evenings, and snowy mornings. And while a tropical getaway has its own appeal, there’s something about a frigid winter holiday that feels magical. From the coldest capital city in the world to entertaining snow and ice festivals, there are many wonderfully icy winter destinations for those who don’t mind a little chill. Here are the 10 coldest cities in the world where you’ll be able to have some freezing winter fun.

Ottawa, Canada

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Residents of Ottawa face winter with a smile and a pair of skates. Locals of Canada’s capital city take advantage of the chilly temperatures by skating to the shops or work on the frozen Rideau Canal. Although Ottawa doesn’t have the extreme chill of others on this list, the average January temperature of 13.6˚F makes this city one of the coldest in the world. Try your hand at cross-country skiing by trekking the 93 miles of trails in the Greenbelt area surrounding Ottawa.

Vladivostok, Russia

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In eastern Russia near the border of China, you’ll find the freezing city of Vladivostok. This exciting city is the final (or first) stop on the iconic Trans Siberian Railway and has a truly European feel. Surrounded by the sea, it’s impossible to escape Vladivostok’s military history (home to the Russian Pacific Fleet), so a trip to one of the many maritime museums is a great winter activity. Although January temps average only 8.4˚F, the city is very walkable and offers breathtaking architecture and a large assortment of Asian cuisine.

Novosibirsk, Russia

Railway bridge over the Ob river with Novosibirsk, Russia in the background.
Credit: Starover Sibiriak/ Shutterstock

Novosibirsk is Russia’s third most populous city, but it doesn’t feel like it. The city is considered one of the hidden gems of Russian tourist destinations with its many outdoor winter entertainment options. The city is famed for its role in the field of science, but from December through March it attracts people from around the world with Ice Town. No seems to mind that the January temperatures average 3.6˚F since they’re too busy enjoying fantastical, fairytale-themed ice sculptures.

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

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A trip to Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) is unforgettable because it’s the second-coldest capital city in the world, with an average January temp of 3˚F. Many residents get around by ice-skating on the Ishim River, which stays frozen for five months straight. Nur-Sultan is far from an icy wasteland, however. It’s a modern city with futuristic architecture, dazzling mosques, and an abundance of shopping and entertainment complexes.  A great time to visit Astana is during the Christmas season, when you’ll find bazaars teeming with festive gifts and food.

Winnipeg, Canada

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Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg, owes its numbingly cold weather to the wind. The city is located on a vast prairie, where there aren’t many natural barriers to protect it from the winds that sweep down from the Arctic in winter. The average January temperature is above zero (2.5˚F), but if you throw in the wind, it’ll feel like -40˚F. One of the most popular things to do in Winnipeg’s great outdoors is to head to Oak Hammock Marsh, strap on some snowshoes, and enjoy the crisp winter air as you search for animal tracks.

Irkutsk, Russia

Winter view of the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Irkutsk, Russia.
Credit: Tilpunov Mikhail/ Shutterstock

Irkutsk is one of the biggest industrial cities of Siberia, and its residents routinely brave January weather when the temperature stays below zero the whole month (-2°F to be exact).  Irkutsk’s population of just over a half-million people seem to thrive in the frosty weather of Siberia near Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. In the winter, this massive lake turns into the world’s biggest skating rink. A ride through forest trails on sleds pulled by Siberian huskies is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

Harbin, China

Ice sculptures in the Ice and Snow World in Harbin, China.
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Harbin is definitely not closed for the winter. In a city with more than nine million residents, the ice-cold temperature is perfect “Ice City.” Even January temps hovering at -3°F can’t keep people away from Harbin’s annual International Ice & Snow Festival. It runs from late December to mid-February each year. In addition to the incredible ice and snow sculptures, you can experience a huge variety of winter activities like ice-skating and ice golf.

Fairbanks, United States

View of Fairbanks, Alaska in winter.
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Sitting just north of Denali National Park and Preserve, you won’t find a better place to witness the gorgeous Northern Lights than the nippy Alaskan city of Fairbanks. If you plan to visit Fairbanks in January, expect average temperatures to be in the neighborhood of –7°F. For those hearty cold-weather fans, there are many things to do in the vast wilds of Alaska. In addition to the great light show in the sky, you can go dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and even frolic with reindeer.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Mongolia’s capital city is home to more than one million brave souls who experience January temperatures that average a bone-chilling -12°F. Ulaanbaatar sits 4,400 feet above sea level at the foot of Bogd Khan Mountain, which is home to the world’s first national park. If you are brave enough to visit Ulaanbaatar in January, you’re in luck. Winter tourism is is a growing business in Mongolia, and you’ll be rewarded with unique local festivals complete with singing, dancing, and wrestling. The traditional New Year’s celebration of Tsagaan Sar is a blast and features old-style winter horse racing.

Yakutsk, Russia

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Adventure travelers who want to check off one of the coldest cities in the world from their bucket list have to visit Yakutsk, Russia. This Siberian city of more than 250,000 people is a place of natural beauty and lies just 280 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The people from this remote land have a wonderful spirit of adventure and are perfect hosts for winters travelers who come to brave the January weather that averages -42°F. A big draw in Yakutsk is the Mammoth Museum, where you can see the world’s most diverse collection of exhibits from the Ice Age including a perfectly preserved head of a woolly mammoth.

Born in Paris, Jim is a retired lecturer of African Studies and self-described life-long global trekker. His career as an Air Force officer gave him the chance to experience amazing and exotic destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa. He is at home on the golf course or backpacking anywhere there is a story to tell.

5 Things You Should Know about A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

  • Michael Foust
5 Things You Should Know about <em>A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood</em>

Lloyd Vogel a is hard-nosed magazine reporter who makes the movers and shakers of the world flee.

He asks the tough questions that undercover corruption. He finds out what the politicians and the businessmen are reallydoing behind closed doors. In other words, he’s the type of journalist no one wants to talk to.

But then Vogel is given a nightmare assignment – interviewing Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame.

“You hired me as an investigative journalist. I don’t do puff pieces,” he tells his editor at Esquire.

His editor, though, won’t relent.

“I think this could help you, Lloyd,” she says, referencing his view of the world and his public image.

Will Vogel uncover any dirt on Mister Rogers? Or will the kind-and-gentle TV host end up changing Vogel for the better?

It’s all part of the new film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG), which stars Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story series) as Fred Rogers, Matthew Rhys (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) as Vogel, and Susan Kelechi Watson (This Is Us) as Vogel’s wife, Andrea.

It is based on a true story.

Here are five things you should know:

Warning: spoilers ahead!

1. It’s Marvelous

1. It’s Marvelous

Tom Hanks nails the performance of Mister Rogers – from the gentle mannerisms, to the soft-spoken cadence, to the unforgettable changing of the shoes. It is an Oscar-worthy performance. Rhys is impressive, as is Watson.

The film perfectly recreates the look and feel of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood set. Mr. McFeely makes an appearance. Picture Picture does, too.

The movie also weaves in elements from the show throughout the film. For example, instead of showing us the real skyline of Pittsburgh, where Mister Rogers lived and worked, the film shows us a Pittsburgh-like skyline recreated from toys. Toy cars crawl across the toy bridge. We see Rogers comment, as if speaking to the camera on television, about Vogel’s problems in life. We also learn about how magazines are made – just like the series would have done.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood isn’t a biopic of Fred Rogers, even though it contains plenty of Mister Rogers moments. Instead, the story carries us on a journey as we discover how one man, Lloyd Vogel, was changed by meeting Rogers. Vogel was harboring feelings of hatred toward his father, but Rogers teaches him how to forgive.

It’s not unlike the way millions of children were impacted by “meeting” Rogers each day through the wonder of television.

Photo courtesy: Sony

2. It’s Convicting

2. It’s Convicting

The movie forces us to ask: Why aren’t we kinder and more compassionate with friends, neighbors and strangers? Why do we get distracted, so easily, by worldly things? And why aren’t we the same person in private as we are in public?

The film portrays Mister Rogers as someone who always had time to do a kind deed. When a Make-a-Wish Foundation child appears on set, before taping, Rogers gives them prolonged one-on-one attention – as the crew stands around and waits for the visit to end. When he and Vogel sit together in a restaurant, Rogers listens intently to his companion – instead of looking around as so many of us would do.

“His focus was always on the individual with whom he was speaking. He was never distracted,” Bill Isler, the former president & CEO of The Fred Rogers Company, told Crosswalk.

The Mister Rogers we saw on TV was the same person his friends knew behind the camera, Isler said.

The Lloyd Vogel character is based on the life of a real-life journalist, Tom Junod.

“I think that you expect everybody to be a different person behind the camera than they are in front of the camera,” Junod told Crosswalk. “Fred was definitely one of those people who was not.”

Photo courtesy: Sony

3. It’s Inspiring

3. It’s Inspiring

Politicians often debate the solutions to society’s problems. Perhaps some of the answers rest in the New Testament’s Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood shows the power of kindness and compassion. It demonstrates what can happen when one person invests in the life of another person. Despite Vogel’s reputation as a hard-nosed journalist, Rogers agrees to the interview. And thanks to Mister Rogers, Vogel changes for the better.

“The thing that struck me about Fred was his degree of empathy,” Junod said. “… It was just an extraordinary thing to watch how quickly he could get people to open up to him and how quickly he could feel whatever it was that they were feeling.”

The movie teaches us about forgiveness and reconciliation, and the importance of fathers and families.

The plot changes a few things about Junod’s story – in real life, he had a good relationship with his father — but it correctly mirrors Junod’s desire to be kinder and gentler than his dad was.

Junod enjoyed the movie. The father angle, he said, “struck me for its emotional truth, rather than its factual adherence.”

Photo courtesy: Sony

4. It’s a Movie America Needs

4. It’s a Movie America Needs

Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, our can’t-agree-on-anything culture gets a Tom Hanks movie about … kindness.

And even though it’s based on a true story, Fred Rogers’ wife says it has a lot of symbolism.

“This is a parable,” she told Crosswalk, referencing the word’s Webster definition: a short story that illustrates a moral principle.

Her husband practiced kindness and wanted “others to do likewise,” she said.

It’s a lesson all of us could learn.

Photo courtesy: Sony

5. It’s Faith-Driven

5. It’s Faith-Driven

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood isn’t a faith-based like War RoomOvercomer or I Can Only Imagine. Rogers’ faith is mentioned, but it’s not the core of the plot. The film also has minor language (details below).

Still, the film makes clear that Mister Rogers practiced the Fruit of the Spirit because his faith propelled him to do so. We see him kneeling at his bed, praying for individuals by name (Vogel among them). We hear his wife mentioning how he reads Scripture.

In real life, Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

“[The television show] was a ministry for him,” Joanne Rogers, his wife told Crosswalk. “… He wanted to be a minister. He wanted to be a teacher.”

His belief in Christ, she added, played a “very strong” role in his beliefs about kindness and forgiveness.

“His faith was exceedingly strong.”

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is rated PG for some strong thematic material, a brief fight, and some mild language. Content warnings: Language includes h– (4), OMG (2), d–n (1) and s–t (1). (None of it is spoken by Fred Rogers.) We hear a reference to a character “sleeping around.” Two men fight at a wedding.  

Entertainment rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

Family-friendly rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: Sony


November 20
The One Weapon Satan Fears the Most
“The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds.” (2Co_10:4, Good New Bible)
We have an arsenal not made by human hands, but is stocked full with the powerful weapons fashioned by God Himself. They aren’t for marketing or manipulation of any sort, but are specifically designed to demolish demonic strongholds — putting down every false argument raised against Truth. These weapons have the power of God to destroy the enemy’s efforts against our Faith.
Prayer is one of these weapons, and when it is coupled with the Word of God it possesses a power that is invincible. It is the one weapon Satan fear the most. That’s why the early disciples said, “We will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.” When we follow their example, we will experience the same results that happened for them.
Let’s look at a remarkable example found in the Scriptures.
When Joshua was battling the armies of the Amalekites in the valley of Rephidim, the Bible tells us that Moses was on the mountain lifting up the Rod which God had given him. As long as the Rod was held up, Joshua advanced in battle. When Moses’ arms grew weary and he lowered the Rod, the enemy began to make advances against Joshua. Aaron and Hur, two of Moses’ friends, stood beside him and held his arms up — the result was a overwhelming victory for Joshua. (see Exo_17:8-13).
The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly. An example of this happened in Jerusalem when the disciples gathered in prayer and “the place where they were assembled was shaken.” They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and preached the Word of God with boldness — even in the face of death threats.
This brief scan of the biblical record proves the age old adage — “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!” (Jas_5:16). Prayer makes tremendous power available, the kind of power that is dynamic in its working and effective in its results; great power that produces wonderful results.
Why not pray today and look for happens as a result. You just might find yourself praying every day! For, after all, you are wielding the one weapon that Satan fears the most!