Climate and Clothing

The weather in Minnesota will change quite a bit during your stay!  Make the most of Minnesota's wide range of weather conditions by being prepared.

Minnesota has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. In the summer the weather is generally warm and humid. In autumn, leaves turn colors and the temperature gradually starts to drop.

Winter in Minnesota is usually very long, from November through March. During the winter months, cloudy, warmer days may bring a snowfall. Daylight is very short and the nights are long during the winter. During the winter months the air is very dry and cold.

Many students wonder if activities in Minnesota carry on during winter. The answer is yes! The state does not close down unless there is dangerously cold weather or extreme amounts of snow. People in Minnesota tend to make the most of the weather and enjoy outdoor activities like snowshoeing, skiing, or sledding. RecWell offers some winter trips and clinics. And if you want to stay inside, there are plenty of ways to keep busy, such as catching a movie or going bowling at Coffman Memorial Union.

By spring you will be ready for warmer weather and green grass. During spring it gradually warms up, the sun starts setting later and later in the afternoon/evening, and the air becomes more humid. It also tends to rain a lot and the weather can be very unpredictable.


With the appropriate clothing, you can enjoy each season that Minnesota has to offer. For both fall and spring, it's always a good idea to have a light jacket with you. The day usually starts and ends with cooler temperatures. During the day you may only need to wear pants and a long-sleeve shirt. During the summer, students will usually be wearing shorts and t-shirts.

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Dressing in Layers

When walking in cold weather, you need to dress in layers that will wick away moisture, insulate from the cold, and keep out the wind and rain. From head to toe and inside to outside, here is what to wear:

  • Inner layer (next to the skin): Your base layer should wick sweat away from your body to keep your skin dry. Cotton should not be used—save your t-shirts for other purposes. Good long underwear pieces are appropriate for both an inner layer shirt and pants; they are made from fabrics such as Thermion, polypropylene, Thermax, Thinsulate, and silk.
  • Insulating layer: This layer will keep you warm and can be shed once you warm up. Wool, fleece, and pile are all good materials for an insulating layer shirt or vest. A down jacket also works.
  • Outer layer: To protect you from the elements, a windproof and water resistant jacket should be worn loosely.

Average Temperatures

Make sure you check the wind chill in winter, as it can often make the weather feel much colder.

Month Avg. High Temp F° (C°) Avg. Low Temp F° (C°)
Jan 22 (-6) 4 (-16)
Feb 29 (-2) 12 (-11)
Mar 41 (5) 23 (-5)
Apr 57 (14) 36 (-2)
May 70 (21) 48 (9)
Jun 79 (26) 58 (14)
Jul 83 (28) 63 (17)
Aug 80 (27) 61 (16)
Sep 71 (22) 51 (11)
Oct 58 (14) 39 (4)
Nov 40 (4) 25 (-4)
Dec 26 (-3) 11 (-12)


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Last updated: May 21, 2021