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These American Cities Are So Much Fun in the Winter

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.

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01 New Orleans, Louisiana

new orleans french quartier franckreporter / Getty Images

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.

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02 Miami, Florida

Ocean Drive and Art Deco District in South Beach, Miami at night, Florida, USA Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

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.

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03 Los Angeles, California

Christmas decorated. Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset. Low tide with reflection of sky and clouds and lights on the wet sand. Green lights at the end of the pier for Christmas decorations. California Coastline. Enio DePaz / Getty Images

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.

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04 Jackson Hole, Wyoming

man in a hat in front of a landmark sign in jackson hole, wy Photo by Glenna Haug on Unsplash

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.

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05 Telluride, Colorado

Ajax Peak can be seen in the background. Telluride, in the San Juan Mountains of the Rocky Mountains of southwest Colorado, is an historic mining town now well-known for its festivals, world-class ski resort and as the location of outlaw Butch Cassidy's first bank robbery in 1889. Glenn van der Knijff / Getty Images

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.

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06 Kauai, Hawaii

Palm tree shadows from above Jesse Stafford / Getty Images

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.

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07 Washington, D.C.

Christmas traffic in Georgetown, Washington DC, USA peeterv / Getty Images

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.

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08 Charleston, South Carolina

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.

09 Aspen, Colorado

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.

10 Sante Fe, New Mexico

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.

11 St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Gateway Arch

In the heart of the Midwest, St. Louis, Missouri, offers a surprisingly mild winter escape. The city, known for its iconic Gateway Arch, presents a plethora of indoor attractions perfect for chilly days. Explore the grandeur of the St. Louis Art Museum or take a unique tram ride to the top of the Arch for breathtaking city views. With daytime temperatures often cozy in the 40s, St. Louis combines the beauty of winter with the comfort of milder weather, making it an ideal spot for those who appreciate the season without the extreme cold.

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12 St. George, Utah

Spectacular sunrise illumination of the Navajo Sandstone mountains of Snow Canyon State Park in Utah.

St. George, Utah, is a hidden gem for winter travelers seeking a milder climate. Just a scenic drive away from Salt Lake City, this destination offers a serene desert landscape with daytime temperatures reaching into the pleasant 50s and 60s. The historic downtown is a treasure trove of museums, galleries, and quaint cafes. Nearby, the majestic Zion National Park remains open all year, offering hiking and mountain biking trails amidst its stunning natural beauty.

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13 Louisville, Kentucky

A frozen Caperton Swamp Louisville Kentucky at sunrise.

Louisville, Kentucky, famous for the Kentucky Derby and its rich bourbon heritage, transforms into a cozy winter haven. The city's charm shines through even in cooler weather, with highs in the 40s and 50s. Indoor enthusiasts will love exploring the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. For bourbon aficionados, the city's numerous distilleries provide a warm escape with tastings and tours, making Louisville a perfect blend of culture and comfort in the winter months.

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14 Palm Springs, California

Scenic Palm Desert Landscape California. Winter Season in the Coachella Valley. United States of California.

Escape to Palm Springs, California, for a sun-drenched winter retreat. This desert oasis, just a couple of hours from Los Angeles, basks in warm winter temperatures, making it an ideal spot for golf, spa relaxation, and exploring trendy restaurants and boutique hotels. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers spectacular views of the snow-capped San Jacinto Mountains, while the nearby Joshua Tree National Park is a haven for those who love unique rock formations and starry night skies.

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15 Burlington, Vermont

"Burlington, Vermont/ USA - December 25,2018 : sudden snow flurries during last minute shopping on Christmas Eve " vermontalm / Shutterstock.com

For those who revel in a classic winter wonderland, Burlington, Vermont, is a must-visit. Nestled on the shores of Lake Champlain, this charming city becomes a snowy paradise, with popular ski resorts like Stowe and Smugglers' Notch just a short drive away. Burlington's downtown area, with its vibrant shops, restaurants, and microbreweries, exudes a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The Church Street Marketplace, in particular, offers a picturesque setting for winter shopping and dining, making Burlington a delightful blend of urban and natural winter joys.

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