Average January Weather Patterns in Major US Destinations

Average Temperatures in the United States in January

A red barn sits in a snowy field.

January is deep winter across much of the United States. Expect very cold temperatures in New England, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic states. You can also expect cold weather in states in the Southeast and Southwest, though temperatures are typically milder here than in the North and Midwest. For mild temperatures, head to Hawaii or Florida.

No matter what you’re looking for, the United States has plenty to offer in January. Whether you’re hitting the slopes, escaping the cold, or just looking for an amazing vacation, you have tons of options. Take your pick!

For Snow Lovers

If you have a magical Winter Wonderland vacation in mind, there is no place like New York City. Fifth Avenue offers beautiful holiday window displays in the biggest department stores. Snow-covered Central Park is filled with horse-drawn carriages and Christmas lights. And of course, if you’re in New York during the first week of January, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting is a holiday tradition not to miss.

New York in the winter is definitely chilly but it’s not quite as extreme as some other U.S. cities because it's on the coast and the temperature is regulated by the ocean. Boston and Chicago are two popular destinations in the United States that have colder weather, thanks to the latter being located north and the former in the west away from the ocean air. Both cities average below 36 degrees during January and both get much colder at night. If you’re planning a trip to one of these cities in January, prepare for low temperatures and dress warmly!

If you are looking to get away for a weekend at the slopes, there are many ski destinations to pick from. Colorado is a popular place for a ski getaway, with Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and many other mountains; you’ll have your pick of locations! Utah is another popular place to ski with several famous mountains to choose from. If you’re more interested in a ski trip on the East Coast, Vermont is the place to go!

For Beach Lovers

If you’re looking for a sunnier, milder place to visit in January, there are many cities to check out: Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans are some popular destinations. Las Vegas offers many indoor activities with all of the famous concerts and shows to check out (and, of course, gambling!). San Francisco’s weather tends to be pretty mild throughout the year so any time is a great time to visit. L.A. is known for its sunny weather, but if you’re looking to avoid the extreme heat, January is a really pleasant time to visit.

New Orleans is another popular destination to explore during the winter because humidity levels drop, the weather tends to be milder and visiting the famous city before Mardi Gras is a way to avoid the crowds.

Hawaii and Florida are also postcard-worthy places to get away from the cold in January. With temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s, they are the perfect place to escape all that snow. With beautiful beaches, a plethora of theme parks, and incredible natural beauty, you really can’t go wrong with a trip to these destinations. 

At-a-Glance: average January temperatures for the Top 10 tourist destinations in the United States (High / Low):

  • New York City: 36°F / 26°F (4°C / -3°C)
  • Los Angeles: 67°F / 49°F (19°C / 9°C)
  • Chicago: 30°F / 15°F (-1°C / -9°C)
  • Washington, DC: 42°F / 27°F (6°C / -2°C)
  • Las Vegas: 57°F / 34°F (13°C / 1°C)
  • San Francisco: 57°F / 44°F (14°C / 7°C)
  • Hawaii: 82°F / 67°F (28°C / 20°C)
  • Grand Canyon: 41°F / 18°F (5°C / -8°C)
  • Florida: 72°F / 50°F (23°C / 10°C)*
  • New Orleans: 63°F / 42°F (17°C / 6°C)

*average temp given for Orlando, Florida (see Florida link below for average January temperatures for cities throughout Florida

Helpful January Weather Links for Top Tourist Destinations