Cold as ice. Or maybe not quite that cold.
November 25, 2007 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Where can I go on holiday in March/April - if I want to go somewhere cold?

I miss winter.

Thanks to a well-timed move to Singapore, I haven't experienced temperatures under 25C in over a year, and it's making me nostalgic for cold weather. Which cities could I visit if I want to go somewhere chilly?

A few data points:
* It'll probably be in March or April sometime, but the timing is pretty flexible around there. (And yeah, I'm from the southern hemisphere; cold weather in March is a novelty);
* I can't ski or snowboard, so ski resorts are probably out;
* English-speaking - or English-friendly - would be best. My French only goes as far as "bonjour" and "un jus d'orange, s'il vous plait";
* If there's something science-geeky to see or do there, that would be awesome; my camera's feeling a bit unloved and underutilised, so photogenic or creativity-inducing spots are good as well.

I was vaguely looking at Tokyo, or the northern bits of the USA (a friend lives up in Minneapolis), but am open to any weird and wonderful ideas.
posted by The Shiny Thing to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
How about Fairbanks Alaska--looks like the World Ice Art Championships take place in March. (scroll down the page to get to the March events)
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 7:52 AM on November 25, 2007

Best answer: I don't know how cold is cold enough for you, but NYC in March is plenty cold for this former Southern hemisphere dweller. Also, I don't know if this would fit your bill for science-geeky, but it appears that the NYC First Robotics Competition is happening on March 17-18 at the Jacob Javits Center. There's plenty to see and do in NYC pretty much any time of the year, and you can always do short day or overnight trips upstate if you tire of the big city.
posted by lassie at 7:55 AM on November 25, 2007

sweden is supposed to be beautiful, and is sure to be darned cold that time of year. also, lots to do in scandinavia, and very english-friendly.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:58 AM on November 25, 2007

Any of the northern USian cities should do you, especially in early-mid March. (In New England, we often have the last big snowstorm around then.)

If you haven't been to NYC, well, there's no reason not to, and you'll have no shortage of things to do, especially since Lassie's pointed out the RoboComp. Average temp: 48-34 F, 8-1 C.

Boston (slightly more chance of winter persisting) or Philly (about the same as NYC, weather/temp-wise) might work for you too.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:12 AM on November 25, 2007

In March and April, you'll have to get pretty far north and quite deep inland if you want to ensure actual winter weather (as opposed to rain). Fairbanks is probably a good bet.
posted by Reggie Digest at 8:15 AM on November 25, 2007

How early in March? I live in Latvia and there's a lot in the neighborhood - Helsinki and Stockholm, St Petersburg and Moscow, Tallinn and Vilnius - that I'd jump at the chance to see at any time of year. Riga, the capital of Latvia, is on the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska, and it's actually snowing right now, right outside!

Alternatively: go overland from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Urumqi, China (though you can fly, too). Lots of mountains and barren wastes: basically the polar (hehe) opposite of Singapore, and getting to either end of the route isn't too hard from Singapore, surprisingly.
posted by mdonley at 8:51 AM on November 25, 2007

I can attest to Fairbanks being extremely cold having suffered through that place for one year. It is extremely cold in March/April. In fact, you can still ice fish in May. The ice sculpture competition is beautiful, but you would only spend a couple of hours there. Fairbanks is not a pretty town, though you could drive several hours to Denali national park. Fairbanks is better left for summer month travel when you can be outside longer.

I would suggest Anchorage where it will still be cold, but much more hospitable to human life at that time of year.
posted by Juicylicious at 8:55 AM on November 25, 2007

Other big US cities that can still be damn cold in March are Chicago and Minneapolis, though Chicago can occasionally start having a few warm(ish) patches by late March.
posted by scody at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2007

if you want some cool ice pictures, Lake Superior is awesome that time of year.
posted by RedEmma at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2007

Best answer: Can you skate? The largest skating rink in the world is the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. Last year it was open for skating until March 11, and I think that was an earlier close than usual because of mild weather.

Even if you don't skate, it's quite a sight to see people on the canal.
posted by saffry at 10:30 AM on November 25, 2007

Iceland, awesome geology and hot tubs. Expensive, windy and drizzly in March, but breathtaking.

Ottawa/Rideau Canal/Montreal, Canada
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2007

I haven't been here but I think it sounds amazing. They have some interesting "adventures" too.
The Ice Hotel
posted by BoscosMom at 11:34 AM on November 25, 2007

Here's the link to their ice driving course. Where else can you do that?
posted by BoscosMom at 11:39 AM on November 25, 2007

The northern U.S. will be pretty unpredictable in March/April — sometimes it's really cold, sometimes it's pretty warm. Your best bet would be Canada (Toronto/Montreal/Quebec City) or even somewhere in Scandinavia to assure that it will be good and chilly when you make your trip.
posted by General Malaise at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2007

Seconding Lake Superior. Gorgeous at any time of the year - you could meet up with your friend in Mpls (a fun town), then head for Duluth, and up the North Shore of Superior to Two Harbors and Grand Marais.

Temps can vary widely in March - Mpls is likely to be in the 30s-40s, Duluth a bit colder, and Two Harbors/Grand Marais a bit colder than that. However, it could be significantly colder or warmer. April will be more spring-like, but still chilly if you're coming from Singapore.
posted by lunasol at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2007

Sorry, mpls=Minneapolis.
posted by lunasol at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2007

New York will be cold then, but not so cold that you will want to die coming straight off a plane from Singapore, which might not be the case for places further north. And let's be honest, there is no place like the Big Apple. C'mere!
posted by lia at 1:12 PM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There are some awesome suggestions here - keep 'em coming!

Fairbanks might be a bit hardcore, but I've always wanted to go to Alaska - I'll have to keep it in mind for next time.

It seems like there's stacks of votes for the northeastern USA and adjacent bits of Canada - I love NYC, and Saffry and LobsterMitten might be on to something with the Ottawa-and-Rideau-Canal idea. Hmm. Flights to Ottawa...
posted by The Shiny Thing at 3:37 PM on November 25, 2007

Since Ottawa has been mentioned, I just want to point out that it has a lot of museums, some of which are pretty geeky. Nature, Aviation, and Science & Tech are all pretty science-geeky places.
posted by benign at 4:56 PM on November 25, 2007

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