America’s 25 best city breaks this winter – and what to do there

Partners Statues—Walt Disney & Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom (Photo by Lauren Bowman)
With soaring snow-capped mountains, dazzling waters and lush rainforest, the majesty of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park gives Norway some stiff competition. The jewel in this magical region in the island's southwest corner is Milford Sound, one of the 14 fiords. Rudyard Kipling was onto something when he called it the "eighth wonder of the world”.
Slide 1 of 51: When the mercury plummets, the USA comes to life. So whether you want to embrace the chill in a snow-covered city full of festive cheer, or escape in search of milder climes, we've picked 25 of the best places for a break this season.
Slide 2 of 51: The Windy City pulls in the crowds year round with its world-class art museums, impressive skyscrapers and innovative food scene. And in winter, the city really comes into its own. There will almost certainly be snow – but don’t be put off by the plunging temperatures. Embrace them instead by skating on Millennium Park’s ice rink or heading to Palmisano Park for a frosty winter hike, sledding and sweeping views of a wintery cityscape.
Slide 3 of 51: When it comes to holiday festivities, Chicago doesn’t do things by halves either. Lincoln Park Zoo hosts the annual ZooLights festival (pictured), in which the beloved animal park is ablaze with 2.5 million Christmas lights. You’ll also find glittering Winter WonderFest down on Navy Pier, with family rides, an ice rink and live entertainment from early December right through to January. Be sure to make it up high to Willis Tower’s glass SkyDeck for uninterrupted vistas of the snowy city too.
Slide 4 of 51: Those after a little more sunshine should hotfoot it down to Tampa, a bayside city in western Florida – expect comfortable highs of 23°C throughout December. If you wish, you can eschew the holiday celebrations altogether in favor of relaxing by the water (beautiful Clearwater Beach is only half an hour away), or taking a bike ride along the scenic Riverwalk.
Slide 5 of 51: Yet if you’re still in search of some festive spirit, Tampa has it in spades. Fairy lights deck waterside palm trees and Curtis Hixon Park is transformed into a Winter Village until early January – you'll find it complete with an ice rink, pop-up shops and cafés doling out warming mulled wine. A 20-minute drive will get you to the little town of Brandon which hosts an impressive Christmas lights display at Hillsborough County Fairground each year.
Slide 6 of 51: Wisconsin’s capital is more than a little nippy in winter but there’s plenty worth braving the cold for. The college city is best known for its Beaux-Arts capitol building, its world-class history museum and its waterside location – Madison winds round Lakes Mendota, Monona and Waubesa, which you'll find frozen and all the more beautiful in winter.
Slide 7 of 51: Madison residents greet the festive season with zeal. Christmas trees are erected before the city’s landmark buildings, the zoo is adorned with twinkling lights, and ice rinks pop up across the city. The winter highlight is the city’s February festivals, though. Frozen Assets sees ice skating at The Edgewater hotel (pictured) and a fat-biking race across Lake Mendota, while the Madison Winter Festival boasts ice sculptures and cross-country skiing in Elver Park.
Slide 8 of 51: The coastal city of Maine has no trouble pulling in the summer crowds: its lighthouse, pretty harbor and lobster rolls see to that. But to write the city off in winter is a mistake. The picturesque lighthouse is just as fetching when rising from snow-dusted rocks, and the city’s indie shops brim with potential Christmas gifts.
Slide 9 of 51: For lovers of the outdoors, Baxter Woods should be high on your itinerary – the 32-acre forested city park is a popular spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Keen walkers, meanwhile, should follow the Back Cove trail, looping 3.5 miles around icy waters. The surrounding New England countryside is a boon too – the Sunday River Ski Resort is less than two hours away, and those able to travel further afield could enjoy a winter hike or dog-sled ride in Acadia National Park.
Slide 10 of 51: Minnesota’s state capital is often overlooked in favor of neighboring Minneapolis – but, though it’s a cinch to visit both in one go, St Paul steals the show in winter. Grand Avenue, St Paul’s main street, is a delight in the run-up to Christmas: the store fronts of its indie shops glitter with artisan gifts, and the many restaurants that stud the street lay on hearty festive menus. The Grand Meander, an annual event, brings visitors together to explore the street via a classic trolley ride.
Slide 11 of 51: St Paul’s Christmas Market, a European-style cluster of festive stalls selling nutcrackers and bratwurst, is another draw. The star however is St Paul’s Winter Carnival – dating back to 1886, it’s one of the oldest in the US. Expect elaborate ice sculptures and a 70-foot-tall ice palace in Rice Park, plus a trio of winter parades with flaming torches and colorful floats.
Slide 12 of 51: Sin City is a pleasure-seeker’s paradise year round – and the festive season is no exception. Gargantuan Christmas trees twinkle up and down the Strip, already dazzling hotel lobbies are given an extra dose of decoration, and restaurants serve slap-up festive meals. Winter Parq on the Linq Promenade is always a crowd-pleaser, with live music, the illuminated observation wheel and a generous sprinkling of fake snow.
Slide 13 of 51: The famed Bellagio resort and casino drums up the most hype, though. Its lauded conservatory (pictured) is festooned with larger-than-life Christmas decorations, from giant polar bears to snow globes, and its fountains dance to festive tunes. It’s worth sticking around in Vegas for New Year’s Eve too. Fireworks fizz above the Strip, which buzzes with thousands of partygoers spilling from the bars, hotels and casinos.
Slide 14 of 51: It’s no exaggeration to say that Salt Lake City was made for winter. Temple Square, the heartland of the Latter-Day Saints church, is bedecked with lights and filled with concert music come December, and the city and the surrounding Wasatch Mountains are covered in snow. Away from the cold, there’s no shortage of Christmas shows, either: there are festive concerts by the Utah Symphony Orchestra and annual holiday performances at the city’s Grand Theatre.
Slide 15 of 51: Salt Lake also makes the perfect base for an array of winter sports. Ski resorts surround the city – Deer Valley is among the most lauded – and there’s ample opportunity for hiking, fat biking, snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the surrounding Wasatch Range. A half-hour drive away, you’ll also find Utah Olympic Park – here you can try your hand at bobsledding and visit the fascinating Alf Engen Ski Museum.
Slide 16 of 51: Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has found itself on travelers’ radars of late due to its edgy arts districts, sprawling Biltmore estate and proximity to nature trails. A delight in summer, its winter charms are plenty too, not least because the surrounding mountains are coated with snow. Outdoorsy types can ski, snowboard or take a bracing hike a stone’s throw from the city.
Slide 17 of 51: Beyond the mountains, the North Carolina Arboretum puts on quite a show, illuminated with 500,000 lights for the holidays. The Omni Grove Park hotel’s annual Gingerbread House Competition, meanwhile, has been running for almost three decades. Not to be outdone, the Biltmore Estate, one of George Vanderbilt's former glittering mansions, comes alive at Christmastime too – you can explore the decorated pile by candlelight while being serenaded by carol singers.
Slide 18 of 51: The Aloha State might not be your first thought when planning a winter escape – but Honolulu, Hawaii's southern capital, is a perfect choice for winter sun seekers. The weather is balmy and the waters are warm and gentle – while the North Shore has huge waves at this time of year, you can comfortably take a swim from the shores of the city's Waikiki Beach in winter. There’s festive cheer aplenty too: a giant Christmas tree is erected before City Hall, and the city is aglow with lights.
Slide 19 of 51: Look out too for the city's Electric Light Parade, a lively, music-filled festive procession through the heart of the city. December also signals the start of Hawaii’s whale-watching season. Hundreds of humpback whales flock to Hawaiian waters to breed in winter, hanging around until May. You have the best chance of a sighting around February, and dedicated boat tours leave right from the city – Star of Honolulu is one of the top-rated operators.
Slide 20 of 51: There’s really no better time to take a bite out of the Big Apple than in winter. Gone is the sticky summer heat, replaced (most likely) with a dusting of snow, and the city's famous skyscrapers are framed against a stark sky. New York City is the holiday spirit incarnate. Shoppers clamor before Macy’s bedecked store front, that lauded tree towers outside the Rockefeller Center, and skaters twirl around Central Park’s ice rink.
Slide 21 of 51: Don’t miss Radio City Hall's annual Christmas Spectacular show with the Rockettes: a festive jamboree of music, dance and lights. Then, if you need a breather from the madding Christmas crowds, head to the High Line – thronged with people in summer, the railroad turned sky garden is quieter in winter, offering stunning views across an icy New York. Or if busy isn’t a problem, make sure you’re in Times Square when that legendary New Year’s Eve ball drops.
Slide 22 of 51: If you’ve got your sights set south this winter, the mountain city of Santa Fe is a sure bet for a great festive break and a snowy adventure. The Sangre de Cristo peaks that rise above the city are covered in snow during the season, and there are beginner and expert ski trails minutes from the city. But if the slopes aren’t your thing, there’s plenty to keep you busy in town.
Slide 23 of 51: Santa Fe is filled with museums perfect for whiling away a cooler winter afternoon: the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art are highlights. Farolitos, little paper lanterns, glow on the city’s streets and adobe buildings for the holidays, and fairy lights brighten the city’s historic plaza. On Christmas Eve, you can join the annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk, which draws thousands each year.
Slide 24 of 51: The Texan capital is well known for its scorching summers – but in winter residents get a welcome break from the searing heat.Austin's revered music scene and warming Tex-Mex joints are reason enough to visit the city, but in winter there'll be extra delights to cram into your schedule. Attractions such as Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Texas State Capitol keep visitors pouring in year round, and during the holidays they’re given festive makeovers.
Slide 25 of 51:  Zilker Park hosts the Austin Trail of Lights, with live music, food trucks serving comfort food and millions of twinkling bulbs fashioned into creative displays. The capitol building, too, is fronted by a towering Christmas tree. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is another festive favorite in the city – the artsy event, held in December, sees hundreds of creators descend on the city to sell and showcase their work, alongside plenty of food and cultural performances. Discover what else Texas’s open-hearted capital can offer here.
Slide 26 of 51: The Mile High City sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so it’s little wonder it takes on an added charm in winter. Framed by snow-capped peaks, Downtown is bedecked with Christmas lights, while the European-style Christkindl Market takes over Skyline Park. Below-freezing temperatures make the perfect excuse to duck into Denver’s first-rate art museums, from the avant-garde Museum of Contemporary Art to the sleek Clyfford Still Museum.
Slide 27 of 51: Winter in Colorado’s capital means festivals galore too. Time your trip for the Denver Winter Brew Fest (25–26 January), which sees beer lovers sip suds from craft breweries and feast on street food. Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks – a lively concert at iconic Red Rocks – also comes at the end of January. Or if you’re dreaming of the ski slopes, Winter Park Resort is just over an hour’s drive from the city. And these aren't the only reasons to visit Colorado, as you can find out in our feature on the state.
Slide 28 of 51: A modern metropolis with a mighty dose of Southern hospitality, the Georgian city of Atlanta is scorching for much of the year. In winter, the searing temperatures take a hit, but the city’s appeal certainly doesn’t. Beyond the well-loved aquarium and the impressive botanical garden, eating your way around the city – ever rising in the foodie stakes – is a great way to warm the cockles. Dine in urbane sushi joints or European-style bistros, or gorge on seasonal street food in Ponce City Market.
Slide 29 of 51: Holiday events range from festive displays at the World of Coca-Cola museum to a vast ice rink at Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta’s Botanic Garden is also transformed into a festive wonderland for Garden Lights, Holiday Nights – an event with ice sculptures, decorated plants and light tunnels too. The hotly anticipated 2019 Super Bowl will also be hosted at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February.
Slide 30 of 51: Revered Smithsonian museums, the landmark-packed National Mall and a handful of hipster neighborhoods makes Washington DC a year-round destination. But the nation’s capital certainly has no trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. Towering Norwegian spruces front government buildings (the most striking of all stands before the US Capitol) and the Downtown Holiday Market, with its gingerbread-house stalls, spreads a fug of mulled wine over the Penn Quarter.
Slide 31 of 51: Head for the water at DC’s National Harbor where you’ll be greeted with a horde of fabulous ice sculptures and holiday shopping ranging from artisanal gifts to designer clothing. Georgetown, a historic neighborhood in the city’s west, is a must-visit throughout winter too. The Georgetown GLOW festival runs right from early December into the new year, with a striking collection of light installations decorating the district.
Slide 32 of 51: A city surrounded by desert is the perfect choice for those wanting to escape the winter chill. Plonked in the stark Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is sunny year round, with highs of 21°C even in the depths of winter. A hike in the city’s immediate surrounds is much more bearable from December through to February than it is in the sweltering peak of summer: you could take the aerial tramway to Mount San Jacinto State Park or take a 50-minute drive to Joshua Tree National Park.
Slide 33 of 51: Despite the balmy temperatures, the city is not without festive cheer. The RoboLights sculpture garden (pictured) is a curious attraction dreamed up by local artist Kenny Irwin: he combines robots, Santa Claus and oodles of lights to create a weird and wonderful display that draws admirers from all over. Thousands also flock to Palm Canyon Drive for the annual Festival of Lights Parade, with its elaborate floats and marching bands.
Slide 34 of 51: Maryland’s state capital is often eschewed in favor of nearby Baltimore – but, come winter, Annapolis, with its grand state buildings and historic homes, has an edge over its northern sister. A packed roster of festive activities will please the whole clan. Perhaps most inviting of all is the Annual Chocolate Binge Festival in early December. Vendors come from all over to hawk their sweet treats from artisan truffles to oozing caramels.
Slide 35 of 51: Then there’s the Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, which sees boats festooned with blow-up Santas and garlands of twinkling lights sailed along the waterfront. Lights on the Bay, a two-mile drive-through light display, is also especially popular with the little ones. The fun continues into January when thousands run into the biting waters of Sandy Point State Park for the annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge.
Slide 36 of 51: A break in this little city, three hours from Portland, lands you right in the middle of Oregon’s backyard. And in winter, that’s a mighty fine place to be. Flanked by the Cascade Mountains, and with the Ochoco forest out west, the city is perfectly placed for a seasonal outdoor adventure. Mount Bachelor Ski Resort is less than 10 minutes from downtown, and there are trails for snowmobiling, plus a handful of operators offering dog-sledding trips (we recommend Oregon Trail of Dreams).
Slide 37 of 51: There’s plenty to do within city limits too. The quaint downtown area is crammed with cutesy boutiques, delis and gift shops, while a journey along the Bend Ale Trail (there are more breweries per head here than anywhere else in the state) is an ideal way to warm up. Pick up a trail map, a passport and assign a driver, then weave your way between the 18 designated breweries, from hip brewpubs to homely spots serving no-frills comfort food.
Slide 38 of 51: Set on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, Newport is a city of mansions, museums and maritime history. It dazzles in summer, a perfect place for coastal walks and ambling in the preening grounds of grand estates – but in winter, it takes on an extra sparkle. There’s a decent chance of snow, and the doors of the city’s significant buildings, such as the Old Colony House, are unlocked for festive open house events complete with carols and candlelight.
Slide 39 of 51: The Christmas at the Newport Mansions event is the highlight of the season. From the end of November through to New Year’s Day, The Elms, Marble House and The Breakers (pictured), each lavish estates, are elaborately decorated with wreaths, candles and gargantuan Christmas trees. The offering at The Breakers, a former summer home of the Vanderbilts, is most impressive of all, with a 15-foot poinsettia tree and a charming model railway on display.
Slide 40 of 51: This Gulf Coast city is mild year round, and it’s a favorite spot for winter vacationers escaping from the snow further north. Winter is Biloxi’s off season – the city’s champagne sands and idyllic Deer Island attract sun seekers in the summer. But come December, the windswept beaches are still a pleasant place to wander. It’s also a perfect time to soak up some of Biloxi’s other attractions, from a tour of the 19th-century lighthouse to a nosey around the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.
Slide 41 of 51: Despite the warmer temperatures, the holidays are not forgotten. The Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival kicks off at the end of November lighting up the waterside with neon Christmas trees and a handful of family rides. The Annual Christmas on the Water Boat Parade (pictured) is another eagerly awaited fixture of the festive calendar: on the first Saturday of December, boats bedecked with holiday ornaments sail on the water with fireworks to follow.
Slide 42 of 51: Philadelphia’s deep historical significance is its main attraction, with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall both calling the city home. The legendary Philly cheesesteak gets visitors excited too. But in winter, the city’s attention turns to festive fun. The Philly Holiday Festival starts early, in November, with a cheerful Christmas Village and Macy’s Christmas Lights Show. There are also free events at many of the city's institutions, from the Penn Museum to the National Liberty Museum.
Slide 43 of 51: Franklin Square is also taken over by 50,000 lights, plus Santa’s grotto. Stick around until January and you’ll not be able to miss the Mummer’s Parade – not without its controversies over the years, the procession dates to 1901 and sees hundreds of costumed individuals march through the city center. If your trip is later in the season, you might also catch the Philadelphia Auto Show in February – a playground for car enthusiasts, it showcases classic vehicles and futuristic new models.
Slide 44 of 51: The Big Easy knows how to throw a party – so it should come as no surprise that the holidays are celebrated with vigor here. Temperatures are comfortable (a reprieve from the searing summer heat) and fellow tourists are fewer, so winter is an ideal time to enjoy NOLA’s charms. Start in the French Quarter, with its Creole townhouses and ubiquitous watering holes (lit up for the season), and make time too for the quieter Garden District, home to leafy Lafayette Cemetery.
Slide 45 of 51: Once you’ve exhausted the sights, embrace the holiday spirit. Celebration in the Oaks is an annual winter festival in City Park with family-friendly parties, organized charity runs and plenty of lights and amusements. On New Year’s Eve, Jackson Square is the place to be for live music and an eye-popping fireworks display. Stick around for the historic Sugar Bowl, too: taking place on 1 January, this annual college football game has been a Big Easy tradition since 1935.
Slide 46 of 51: Charming Alexandria is only half an hour from Washington DC – and if you’re itching to escape any holiday crowds, this is just the place. Alexandria has an independent spirit – there’s barely a chain store in sight – with a small-town feel that comes into its own through the holidays. Temperatures, usually in the single figures through the season, are bracing but bearable, and present the perfect excuse to sample Alexandria’s cultural charms.
Slide 47 of 51: Top spots include the Torpedo Factory Art Center, home to some 82 working artists’ studios, and the tiny Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum with its lotions and potions presented in a real historic pharmacy. The throng of indie gift and curio stores make for great holiday shopping, and you can take a pit stop at a cozy, locally-owned coffee shop. Festive activities range from candlelight tours of the city’s historic homes to a dazzling New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
Slide 48 of 51: If you can handle the chill, then Anchorage, the biggest city in Alaska, makes for a rewarding city break. Winter means cheaper accommodation and the chance for a wintery outdoor adventure – but temperatures can plummet to -10°, so be prepared. Those who do brave the cold will be greeted with Anchorage Museum, a perfect introduction to Alaskan heritage filled with art and historical displays, and the Alaskan Native Heritage Center, dedicated to the state's indigenous peoples.
Slide 49 of 51: When it comes to winter sports near the city you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can cross-country ski, ice climb or sled in Chugach State Park (pictured), 20 minutes from the city center, or take to the snowy Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which starts downtown and spools out for 11 miles along the water. The historic, 10-day Fur Rendezvous festival takes place later in the season, in February, with a snow sculpture competition, snowshoe softball tournament and a Native artworks market.
Slide 50 of 51: Drenched in sunshine pretty much year round, Phoenix is not your average winter escape. The city's Desert Botanical Garden and first-rate Art Museum are top reasons for a visit to the city, and the cooler winter temperatures make sightseeing a joy. The season also offers perfect conditions for hiking in the city's bucolic surrounds: Camelback Mountain rises 20 minutes from downtown with two challenging trails (Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail) winding to its summit.
Slide 51 of 51: Las Noches de Las Luminarias is one of the best parts of the season: the festival sees the city’s Desert Botanical Garden lit up with glowing lanterns. Phoenix Zoo gets similar treatment, with millions of fairy lights strung across the site. If your trip is planned for February you may catch the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival: celebrating the Chinese New Year, the event is a week of traditional dance, street food and arts and crafts.

Urban playgrounds to visit this season

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

St Paul, Minnesota

St Paul, Minnesota

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Look out too for the city’s Electric Light Parade, a lively, music-filled festive procession through the heart of the city. December also signals the start of Hawaii’s whale-watching season. Hundreds of humpback whales flock to Hawaiian waters to breed in winter, hanging around until May. You have the best chance of a sighting around February, and dedicated boat tours leave right from the city – Star of Honolulu is one of the top-rated operators.

New York City, New York

There’s really no better time to take a bite out of the Big Apple than in winter. Gone is the sticky summer heat, replaced (most likely) with a dusting of snow, and the city’s famous skyscrapers are framed against a stark sky. New York City is the holiday spirit incarnate. Shoppers clamor before Macy’s bedecked store front, that lauded tree towers outside the Rockefeller Center, and skaters twirl around Central Park’s ice rink.

New York City, New York

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Zilker Park hosts the Austin Trail of Lights, with live music, food trucks serving comfort food and millions of twinkling bulbs fashioned into creative displays. The capitol building, too, is fronted by a towering Christmas tree. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is another festive favorite in the city – the artsy event, held in December, sees hundreds of creators descend on the city to sell and showcase their work, alongside plenty of food and cultural performances. Discover what else Texas’s open-hearted capital can offer here.

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Winter in Colorado’s capital means festivals galore too. Time your trip for the Denver Winter Brew Fest (25–26 January), which sees beer lovers sip suds from craft breweries and feast on street food. Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks – a lively concert at iconic Red Rocks – also comes at the end of January. Or if you’re dreaming of the ski slopes, Winter Park Resort is just over an hour’s drive from the city. And these aren’t the only reasons to visit Colorado, as you can find out in our feature on the state.

Atlanta, Georgia

A modern metropolis with a mighty dose of Southern hospitality, the Georgian city of Atlanta is scorching for much of the year. In winter, the searing temperatures take a hit, but the city’s appeal certainly doesn’t. Beyond the well-loved aquarium and the impressive botanical garden, eating your way around the city – ever rising in the foodie stakes – is a great way to warm the cockles. Dine in urbane sushi joints or European-style bistros, or gorge on seasonal street food in Ponce City Market.

Atlanta, Georgia

Holiday events range from festive displays at the World of Coca-Cola museum to a vast ice rink at Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta’s Botanic Garden is also transformed into a festive wonderland for Garden Lights, Holiday Nights – an event with ice sculptures, decorated plants and light tunnels too. The hotly anticipated 2019 Super Bowl will also be hosted at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February.

Washington DC

Washington DC

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland

Then there’s the Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, which sees boats festooned with blow-up Santas and garlands of twinkling lights sailed along the waterfront. Lights on the Bay, a two-mile drive-through light display, is also especially popular with the little ones. The fun continues into January when thousands run into the biting waters of Sandy Point State Park for the annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge.

Bend, Oregon

A break in this little city, three hours from Portland, lands you right in the middle of Oregon’s backyard. And in winter, that’s a mighty fine place to be. Flanked by the Cascade Mountains, and with the Ochoco forest out west, the city is perfectly placed for a seasonal outdoor adventure. Mount Bachelor Ski Resort is less than 10 minutes from downtown, and there are trails for snowmobiling, plus a handful of operators offering dog-sledding trips (we recommend Oregon Trail of Dreams).

Bend, Oregon

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

Biloxi, Mississippi

Biloxi, Mississippi

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy knows how to throw a party – so it should come as no surprise that the holidays are celebrated with vigor here. Temperatures are comfortable (a reprieve from the searing summer heat) and fellow tourists are fewer, so winter is an ideal time to enjoy NOLA’s charms. Start in the French Quarter, with its Creole townhouses and ubiquitous watering holes (lit up for the season), and make time too for the quieter Garden District, home to leafy Lafayette Cemetery.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

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