The Cities With the Best Chance of a White Christmas

When you picture Christmas, a few things may come to mind — Santa, the reindeer, presents and, of course, snowflakes and sparkling, fresh snow. Regardless of where you live, a classic white Christmas is the quintessential image of a holiday town.

So, where are you most likely to experience a truly white Christmas day? We’ve made our list and checked it twice to find the best white Christmas cities in America.

Cities where you’re most likely to have a white Christmas

You can always ask Santa to deliver a white Christmas, but chances are, if you live in sunny California or Florida, you won’t get your wish. But don’t give up hope yet! We’ve seen Christmas miracles happen and there are 10 white Christmas cities where you’re likely to find the most snow. If you’re itching to experience a magical, snowy Dec. 25, you’ll want to live in or visit one of these white Christmas cities.

10. Cleveland, OH

Cleveland lands in the 10th spot on the white Christmas cities list. Here, you have roughly a 25 percent chance of experiencing a white Christmas on the 25th. Why not have a winter adventure ice skating at the Cleveland Foundation Ice Rink at Public Square?

You may wake up to an average of three inches of fresh snow in this winter-white city. Oh, and if you want to make Cleveland your hometown, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,965. But can you really put a price on Christmas magic?

9. Boston, MA

Out of 135 Christmas Days we tracked, Boston has seen a white Christmas 36 times. That’s a 26 percent chance of experiencing snow on Christmas Day as you walk the historic Freedom Trail throughout the city. This 2.5-mile walking trail might be dusted with snow as you pass sites like the Massachusetts State House, Quincy Market or the site of the Boston Massacre.

You’ll also catch sight of different apartments, where, in Boston, the average two-bedroom rent price is $5,031. In a city full of history, you might just experience a white Christmas Day, too.

8. Spokane, WA

Two inches of snow is enough to cover Spokane and make it sparkle. Ranking as the 8th city with the highest chance of experiencing a white Christmas, Spokane is a magical place to celebrate the season. With lots of resorts open for skiing and snowboarding, take advantage of the powder day.

7. Fort Wayne, IN

In Fort Wayne, you’ll have a 31 percent chance of a white Christmas this holiday season. Tell the reindeers on Reindeer Saturday to deliver a message to Santa — Fort Wayne residents want snow for Christmas!

While you’re waiting for the big day, you can actually visit real-life reindeer each Saturday in December at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. And, in case you want to make Fort Wayne your long-term residence, you should know that the average two-bedroom rent price is $1,341.

6. Detroit, MI

Let’s hear it for city No. 6 on the white Christmas cities list! Detroit residents have a 31 percent chance of waking up to snow on Christmas Day this year. While you’re waiting for the snow, take a lap around the ice skating rink at Campus Martius. This charming outdoor venue will get you all jazzed for Christmas. In Detroit, plan to spend $2,319 a month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

5. Pittsburgh, PA

When we looked at 128 weather entries for Pittsburgh, we noted that there has been snow on Christmas Day 41 times. That means you have about a 32 percent chance of a white Christmas this year.

To make the holiday season even more magical, make sure to check out Boyce Park. Here, you can take advantage of that snow and ski, snowboard or bound down the snow tubing slopes. Living in Pittsburgh has lots of perks and the average rent for a two-bedroom space is $1,632.

4. Minneapolis, MN

With a 35 percent chance of snow on Christmas Day, the odds are pretty high you’ll make it on the nice list this year and get your wish (that is, if snow is your Christmas wish)! In Minneapolis, you can even drive through an ice sculpture park as you patiently count down the days until the 25th. Rent in Minneapolis averages $1,976.

3. Anchorage, AK

When it snows, it pours! In Anchorage, you can expect an average of six inches of snowfall on Christmas Day. Anchorage is the perfect city for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re heli-skiing, dog sledding or viewing the Northern Lights, you’ll experience a magical, winter holiday.

2. Buffalo, NY

With just shy of three inches of snowfall on Christmas Day, Buffalo takes second place for a white Christmas city. This town has lots of parks and walking trails, so meandering around while bundled up and sipping hot chocolate is the perfect winter activity. If you live in Buffalo, rent prices are $1,870 for a two-bedroom apartment.

1. Rochester, NY

Three cheers for Rochester! This is our No. 1 pick for places to experience a white Christmas. Historically, you have a 48 percent chance of enjoying snowfall on Christmas Day in Rochester. That means every other year the city gets 2.25 inches of snow. So, wake up, open your presents and spend time outdoors snowshoeing, sledding, skiing or just taking in the scenery.

All cities with a historical chance of a white Christmas

But what if you were really, really good this year? Will Santa bring a white Christmas to your city? Here’s a list of all of the other cities that have experienced a white Christmas in the past. Who knows? This may just be the year that you’ll wake up in a decorated apartment to powder outside.

RankCityPopulationHistorical Chance of a White Christmas
1Rochester, NY205,69548.39%
2Buffalo, NY255,28444.90%
3Anchorage, AK288,00039.22%
4Minneapolis, MN429,60635.94%
5Pittsburgh, PA300,28632.03%
6Detroit, MI670,03131.31%
7Fort Wayne, IN270,40231.09%
8Spokane, WA222,08130.77%
9Boston, MA692,60026.67%
10Cleveland, OH381,00925.89%
11Milwaukee, WI590,15725.68%
12Madison, WI259,68024.67%
13Columbus, OH898,55324.60%
14Chicago, IL2,693,97623.28%
15Des Moines, IA214,23721.62%
16Aurora, CO379,28920.51%
17Toledo, OH272,77917.39%
18Omaha, NE478,19217.35%
19Lincoln, NE289,10215.75%
20Albuquerque, NM560,51315.69%
21Denver, CO727,21115.45%
22Newark, NJ282,01115.08%
23Cincinnati, OH303,94013.38%
24Reno, NV255,60113.21%
25Baltimore, MD593,49012.70%
26Philadelphia, PA1,584,06411.95%
27New York, NY8,336,81711.72%
28Jersey City, NJ262,07511.48%
29Louisville, KY617,63811.31%
30Kansas City, MO495,32710.06%
31Richmond, VA230,4369.45%
32Colorado Springs, CO478,2217.69%
33Lubbock, TX258,8627.41%
34Seattle, WA753,6757.20%
35Washington, DC705,7497.04%
36Oklahoma City, OK655,0576.74%
37San Bernardino, CA215,7846.35%
38Wichita, KS389,9385.74%
39Tulsa, OK401,1905.65%
40Greensboro, NC296,7104.00%
41Virginia Beach, VA449,9743.64%
42Irving, TX239,7983.26%
43Norfolk, VA242,7423.26%
44Raleigh, NC474,0693.15%
45El Paso, TX681,7283.00%
46Portland, OR654,7412.69%
47Dallas, TX1,343,5732.50%
48Arlington, TX398,8542.50%
49Fort Worth, TX909,5852.50%
50Tucson, AZ548,0732.38%


Weather data was collected from the National Centers for Environmental Information’s (NCEI) Global Historical Climatology Network daily (GHCNd) integrated database of land surface stations. The analysis considered city-level data aggregated for stations within specific latitudinal and longitudinal bounding boxes for the 100 largest cities in the United States by population. The scope of the data encompassed the years 1836 to 2020, but entries were not present for every year and every location within the scope.

The probability of snow was calculated by dividing the total number of entries for December 25 across all years for a given city by the number of entries where station aggregation readings for snowfall within the bounding box were greater than zero.

Snowfall average is the average daily snowfall on December 25 in a city given it snowed. It was calculated by dividing station aggregation readings for snowfall within the bounding box by the number of entries for the aggregation that were greater than zero.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.’s multifamily rental property inventory as of October 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.


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