As temperatures drop and the holidays come and go, many of us crave a respite from the stress, anxiety, and freezing weather. Thankfully, many of the nation's best cities rise to the challenge, amping up their offerings to become even better in winter. We're talking lower prices, fewer crowds, and major savings on accommodation, and that holds true whether you desire a snowy spectacle or a tropical retreat. If you're considering traveling in the colder months, consider one of these top destinations.
Millions of visitors storm The Big Easy for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, but the city has more to offer than its legendary party scene. As winter approaches, the temperature and humidity drops, so you can stroll through those historic streets without breaking a sweat. Since the city's so walkable, there's never been a better time to explore the French Quarter, Jackson Square, and the Garden District. Wind your way through The Cabildo, The New Orleans Museum of Art, or one of the city's countless historic sites without fighting off crowds, and book a table at one of New Orleans' hundreds of premier bars and restaurants to savor the city's finest cuisine without the lines.
Miami is majestic year-round, so it's no surprise that the tropical city attracts snowbirds in droves. There's something for everyone here, from world-renowned nightlife and entertainment to swimming, surfing, or just sunbathing beachside. With temperatures ranging between the mid-60s to the low 80s, it's the ideal time to pay Miami a visit. Explore the sprawling streets of Little Havana to sample some authentic Cuban cuisine, discover the vibrant energy of the South Beach party scene, enjoy a moonlit cruise, or discover treasures at Miami's countless museums and attractions.
Los Angeles' temperate climate makes the city a must-visit year-round, but winter is the perfect time to beat the crowds and get more to yourself. Hike to the highest point in LA at Runyon Canyon Park, then explore nearby Hollywood without hoards of tourists. Head to the Grove or Rodeo Drive for an only-in-LA shopping experience, then visit the Grand Central Market to take a step back into the city's history. From downtown to Malibu, the cuisine is unbeatable, so book a table at some top names and soak in the scene. Entertainment is a must, so score tickets to the historic Chinese Theater or catch a concert at The Wiltern, The Echo, or the Hollywood Palladium.
Nestled into the panoramic Jackson Hole Valley, this city features three distinct ski areas: Snow King Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee Resort, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. All three provide a dreamy cabin-like atmosphere complete with all the skiing, skating, and snowboarding your heart desires. Here, you'll access 3,000 acres of backcountry terrain, so even if you're not a winter sports fan, soaking in the striking scenery is an experience in itself. Small-town Jackson has a welcoming atmosphere brimming with charming mom-and-pop shops, vintage stores, homemade goodies, and farm-to-table dining.
America's best ski town is a must-visit for fans of the sport, especially when winter rolls around. Here, you'll discover 148 ski trails of every difficulty level, so you'll have a blast whether you're a beginner or have been hitting the slopes for decades. Stunning scenery is evident from every angle, and you can attempt one-of-a-kind ski experiences that aren't available elsewhere. Historic saloons, mountain excursions, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque trails — this winter wonderland is ready for the taking.
While each Hawaiian island has plenty to offer, Kauai comes out on top for its outdoor adventures, especially in the winter. When you can't explore in your hometown, head to Kauai to discover nearly 100 scenic hiking trails, take in breathtaking views of 3,000-foot tall cliffs, spot breathtaking waterfalls, such as the dramatic 700-foot Waimea Falls, or relax on the beach in Ha’ena State Park.
The nation's capital is crawling with crowds in the warmer month, but winter is the perfect time to explore the nation's top attractions without hoards of tourists. The striking gray sky and snow-covered paths give the city a winter wonderland vibe, and pedestrian-friendly paths make it easy to explore history and culture on foot. Special events occur throughout the season too, such as Restaurant Week, the Winter Wonderland Gala, and even city-organized snowball fights.
This charming southern capital is a must for history buffs. Founded in 1670, you'll discover splendid centuries-old architecture, such as the colorful homes along Rainbow Row, The Williams Mansion, and the Pink House Gallery. The weather's ideal this time of year, with temperatures averaging in the 50s and 60s and significantly smaller crowds. Explore Fort Sumter National Monument and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens without the lines, and savor classic Southern cuisine at the city's top spots.
Aspen has been the go-to winter retreat for millions since The Aspen Skiing Company was first founded in 1946. The ambiance of rejuvenation is evident nearly everywhere you turn, with skiing, skiing, and winter sports galore. Sit back and relax by the fire at Hotel Jerome, or receive a full-body hot stone massage, a facial, and some sound healing at the sensory-based Remède Spa or the aptly-named Heaven on Earth. From slope-side Jacuzzis to figure skating and late-night entertainment, this is your place to lay back and let loose.
Trek down to this adobe-filled capital to soak in the sunshine. Twinkling lights illuminate the city's central plaza, while local shops and artisans sell native clothing, jewelry, and decor. Santa Fe's home to incredible cultural attractions, such as the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art. Green chile is the king of the culinary scene, but you'll also find mouthwatering tacos, enchiladas, and huevos rancheros.