Winter can be an ideal time to travel. This is the time of year when people have breaks from work to visit friends and family, and there are certain cities that simply are more spectacular in wintertime. It is important to keep in mind the weather might impact winter travel. Different parts of the country have climates that range from mild to snowy so be sure to check the weather reports before traveling, and pack clothing accordingly.
The sparkle and excitement of New York City in the winter is unmatched. If you are lucky enough to visit this city during the winter, take advantage of going to Times Square during New Year’s Eve to celebrate alongside the world famous ball drop. Of course, delectable food abounds in New York, and you can try the culinary delights of Little Italy or Chinatown, or get a slice of the famous New York style pizza. Enjoy the holiday window displays and lights as you window shop in Soho and along Fifth Avenue. Be sure to catch a Broadway show while you’re there; you can get discounted rush tickets the day of the show. The quintessential wintertime activity is ice skating in the Central Park or at Rockefeller Center or where you’ll also be able to enjoy the Christmas tree on display.
Surprisingly mild weather will greet you in San Francisco during the winter months. Winter is the perfect time to visit San Francisco because temperatures will be in the mid 50’s. San Francisco is known for the unique architecture of its many charming Victorian homes. You can see them in an entirely new light at the Union Street Fantasy of Lights. This free event is a spectacle of outdoor lighting that the whole family will enjoy. Many other famous destinations of San Francisco will boast Christmas tree displays so be sure to visit Ghirardelli Square for some tantalizing chocolate, Union Square for a wondrous Christmas tree display, or Pier 39 for even more dazzling holiday decorations. Hop on the San Francisco trolleys for the best views of the city!
Southern California is known for its mild winter temperatures, and San Diego is no exception with temperatures ranging from 50-60 degrees. While temperatures are mild, be sure to check the weather report before your trip because it does sometimes rain during the winter months. San Diego has a special appeal for winter travel because there are a number of events and activities that take place during the winter season. San Diego is a well-known whale watching destination, and December-March are the best months to spot whales. You can also enjoy ice skating by the beach at the Hotel Coronado. There will be holiday and Christmas light displays held at various locations around the city. One unique holiday display of lights is the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, which takes place on the water. Another spectacular holiday display can be seen at the Garden of Lights at the Botanic Garden, where an entire forest is lit up with a dazzling lighting display.
Our nation’s capital has an incredible variety of activities and sights that are even more spectacular during the winter season. The many national monuments will all be adorned with holiday lights, and there will be outdoor ice skating aplenty. A holiday must-see is the National Christmas tree, which is adorned with special decorations from all 50 states. The National Zoo has its own dazzling holiday light display, and you’ll get to catch a glimpse of the famous panda bears who love to play in the snow. If it snows, you’ll enjoy sledding down the hills underneath the Capitol building or the many places to sled in nearby city parks. If you tire of the cold, enjoy a hot chocolate sitting next to a roaring fire at the Red Hen, a cozy neighborhood restaurant. If you still have shopping to do, be sure to go to the Downtown Holiday Market that has an array of unique and handmade gifts for that special someone.
Portland, Oregon is known for its rainy winters, but there are many seasonal events and activities that take place only during the winter months, making Portland a wonderful winter destination. For craft beer lovers, the Holiday Ale Festival celebrates the many craft breweries that produce the famous artisanal beers unique to Portland. This popular downtown event takes place underneath the dazzling Holiday Tree that is adorned with sparkling lights. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, be sure to head to the coast where you’ll have a chance to catch a glimpse of one of 20,000 gray whales on their annual migration. Portland abounds with spectacular holiday lighting displays, which can be found in various locations throughout the city. One of the most famous is the Christmas Festival of Lights in Northeast Portland, where 500,000 lights twinkle amidst carolers and choral performances.
The mile-high city is the perfect place to start your winter skiing vacation. Even though there will be plenty of snow for skiing and snowboarding adventures, the dry climate of Denver will actually make the weather not seem as cold with sunny days and dazzling blue skies. You might even see people skiing in shorts. Nearby skiing spots are plentiful, but a must-see is world-renowned Arapahoe Basin, which is easily accessible from Denver. If you are a football fan, you could catch a Denver Broncos game, or simply join the raucous crowd to watch from a friendly pub or bar. For a pedestrian-friendly stroll, take in the 16th Street Mall area, where you will be able to window shop, eat at highly rated restaurants, sip wine at a bistro, or enjoy a craft beer at the many breweries. The holiday light displays will be in full effect, which looks even more spectacular at night.
While Phoenix may be quite hot during the summer with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees, the winter months will be a dream with temperatures in 60’s and 70’s, and a dry desert climate. Phoenix features a number of festive holiday light displays, such as ZooLights taking place at the Phoenix Zoo, and Las Noches de Las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden. For ice skating, try the CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink in downtown Phoenix that also features an enormous holiday tree festooned with sparkling lights. In historic Glendale, a fabulous lighting display will glitter with 1.5 million twinkling lights. For a unique shopping experience, go to the Pueblo Grande Indian Market that features American Indian arts and crafts.
The winter season is the perfect time to visit these cities and see their spectacular holiday light displays, seasonal winter markets, and other special activities that take place only during the winter months. Bundle up and enjoy your winter travels!
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