December is a magical time of year to travel and explore different destinations in the United States. Whether you’re seeking a winter wonderland, a sunny beach getaway, or festive holiday celebrations, there are plenty of options to choose from. From the bustling streets of New York City to the warm beaches of Miami, the vibrant nightlife of Las Vegas to the historic charm of New Orleans, the United States offers a diverse range of destinations to suit every traveler’s preferences.
In this article, we will explore some of the best places to travel in December in the USA. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family-friendly vacation, or a solo adventure, these destinations have something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your winter coats or swimsuits, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey.
From dazzling holiday decorations to winter sports activities, December offers a unique experience in each destination. So, let’s dive into the top ten places to visit in December in the United States:
New York City, New York
New York City is a captivating destination to visit in December. The city comes alive with holiday spirit, adorned with spectacular decorations and dazzling lights. You can take a stroll through iconic spots like Rockefeller Center, where the famous Christmas tree stands tall, or enjoy ice skating at Central Park’s Wollman Rink. Broadway shows offer a range of performances, including the beloved “The Nutcracker” ballet.
Make sure to visit the holiday markets, such as the Union Square Holiday Market and Bryant Park’s Winter Village. With a plethora of unique gifts and delicious treats, these markets create a festive atmosphere that is perfect for picking up memorable souvenirs.
December is an excellent time to shop in New York City, with world-famous department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s offering incredible sales and holiday displays. From luxury brands to affordable finds, you’ll find a wide array of options to satisfy your shopping cravings.
Another highlight of visiting New York City in December is the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. Join the thousands of revelers as they count down to midnight, surrounded by incredible energy and an incredible backdrop of lights.
While the weather in December can be chilly, the city’s charm and festive atmosphere make it a must-visit destination. So bundle up and prepare to immerse yourself in the magic of New York City during the holiday season.
If you’re looking for a warm and vibrant December getaway, Miami, Florida, is the perfect destination. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culture, Miami offers a range of activities and attractions to enjoy during the holiday season.
One of the main highlights of Miami in December is the beautiful weather. While other parts of the country might be experiencing winter chills, Miami boasts pleasant temperatures that make it perfect for outdoor activities. Spend your days lounging on the sandy beaches, taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or trying out water sports like jet skiing or paddleboarding.
The Art Deco architecture of South Beach adds to the city’s unique charm. Take a stroll along Ocean Drive, where you’ll find colorful buildings, trendy restaurants, and vibrant nightlife options. The nightclubs of Miami are legendary, offering world-class DJs and a buzzing party scene.
December in Miami also means art and culture. Explore the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor art installation that showcases an array of colorful murals by renowned artists. Visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which features modern and contemporary art from around the world. Additionally, the city hosts various art fairs and events during December, such as Art Basel Miami Beach.
If you’re a food lover, Miami won’t disappoint. The city is known for its diverse culinary scene, with a fusion of flavors from Latin American, Caribbean, and international cuisines. Indulge in fresh seafood, try traditional Cuban dishes, or dine at one of the many award-winning restaurants spread throughout the city.
Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nearby natural wonders. Take a day trip to the Everglades, where you can go on an airboat ride and spot alligators, birds, and other wildlife. You can also visit the beautiful Key Biscayne, just a short drive from Miami, and enjoy its pristine beaches and stunning views.
Miami in December offers a perfect combination of relaxation, culture, and excitement. Soak up the sun, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, and create unforgettable memories in this tropical paradise.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada, is a destination that never sleeps, and December is no different. The famous Las Vegas Strip is transformed into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, offering a unique blend of entertainment, shopping, and dining experiences.
Las Vegas is known for its extravagant casinos and world-class shows. December is an ideal time to catch some of the most spectacular performances, including Cirque du Soleil shows, magic shows, and live concerts by renowned artists. The city’s entertainment scene is unmatched, with something to suit every taste.
Explore the numerous resorts and their elaborate holiday decorations. The Bellagio’s iconic fountain show is accompanied by dazzling lights and music that create a magical atmosphere. The Venetian offers a stunning replica of Venice, complete with gondola rides and charming Italian architecture. Each resort has its unique flair, making it worth hopping from one to another.
Las Vegas is also a prime shopping destination, with luxury retailers and boutique stores lining the Strip. Take advantage of the December sales and find the perfect holiday gifts for yourself or your loved ones. Additionally, the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian provide a unique shopping experience.
Don’t forget to indulge in the city’s world-class dining scene. Las Vegas is a culinary delight, with celebrity chef restaurants and a wide range of international cuisines to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet steakhouse, a fusion of Asian flavors, or a buffet showcasing a variety of dishes, you’ll find it all in Las Vegas.
For those seeking adventure beyond the casinos and shows, Las Vegas is surrounded by stunning natural wonders. Take a day trip to the Grand Canyon or Red Rock Canyon and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes. Helicopter tours offer a unique perspective of these natural wonders, providing unforgettable memories.
Las Vegas in December offers a unique blend of entertainment, shopping, and outdoor adventures. Embrace the festive spirit of the city, try your luck at the casinos, and immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere that only Las Vegas can provide.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana, is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers a unique December experience. Known for its lively music scene, delicious cuisine, and historic charm, New Orleans is a destination that should be on every traveler’s list.
In December, New Orleans celebrates the holiday season with its own special flair. Take a stroll through the French Quarter, adorned with festive decorations and the sounds of jazz music filling the air. The famous Preservation Hall offers nightly jazz performances that capture the essence of the city’s musical heritage.
One of the highlights of visiting New Orleans in December is experiencing the charm of the city’s holiday traditions. The city is known for its vibrant parades and street parties, and December is no exception. The Krewe of Jingle Parade and the St. Louis Cathedral’s Christmas Eve Bonfires on the Levee are just a couple of the exciting events you can enjoy during your visit.
New Orleans is also a culinary paradise, with a renowned food scene that blends flavors from Creole, Cajun, and French cuisines. Indulge in beignets and coffee at the famous Café du Monde or savor delicious gumbo and jambalaya at iconic restaurants like Commander’s Palace or Antoine’s. Don’t forget to try the local delicacy, crawfish, which is in season during December.
Explore the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, such as the Garden District and the Marigny, with their beautiful architecture and charming streets. Take a stroll along the Mississippi River or visit the hauntingly beautiful Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to take a steamboat cruise along the river, enjoying live jazz music and picturesque views of the city.
New Orleans is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. From jazz clubs to lively bars, there are endless opportunities to listen to live music and dance the night away. Frenchmen Street is a must-visit, known for its energetic music scene and vibrant atmosphere.
December in New Orleans offers a unique blend of history, music, flavors, and festive celebrations. Embrace the spirit of the city, let the music guide your steps, and immerse yourself in the unmatched charm of the Big Easy.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California, is a captivating city with a unique charm that shines even brighter during the month of December. Famous for its iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and breathtaking views, San Francisco offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
One of the highlights of visiting San Francisco in December is witnessing the city’s festive atmosphere. The Union Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony marks the start of the holiday season, accompanied by live music, cheer, and the iconic ice skating rink. Take a cable car ride through the city, marveling at the beautifully decorated streets and storefronts.
The city’s vibrant neighborhoods each have their own flair and charm. Explore the colorful and bohemian streets of the Haight-Ashbury district, known for its connection to the 1960s counterculture movement. Discover the historic Victorian houses in Alamo Square, with the famous Painted Ladies providing the perfect photo opportunity. Don’t forget to visit Fisherman’s Wharf, home to delectable seafood, souvenir shops, and iconic attractions like Pier 39.
San Francisco’s culinary scene is a major draw for food enthusiasts. From mouthwatering seafood dishes at Fisherman’s Wharf to authentic international cuisines in Chinatown, the city offers a variety of dining options. Be sure to try the famous clam chowder served in sourdough bread bowls, a true San Francisco delicacy.
December in San Francisco also offers a chance to witness breathtaking views and natural beauty. Take a walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, exploring the surrounding Golden Gate Park. Visit the scenic Alcatraz Island, where you can learn about the history of the infamous prison through guided tours. And if you’re up for a short trip, head to Napa Valley for a day of wine tasting and picturesque vineyards.
San Francisco is known for its thriving arts and culture scene. Attend a performance at the renowned San Francisco Symphony or catch a show at one of the city’s historic theaters. The Museum of Modern Art and the Asian Art Museum are worth exploring for art enthusiasts.
Whether you’re marveling at the city’s landmarks, indulging in its culinary delights, or immersing yourself in its arts and culture, San Francisco in December has something for everyone. Soak in the holiday spirit, embrace the city’s diverse neighborhoods, and create lasting memories in the beautiful “City by the Bay.”
Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is a captivating destination to visit in December. Known for its iconic landmarks, rich history, and cultural institutions, Washington, D.C., offers a unique and festive experience during the holiday season.
One of the main attractions in December is the National Christmas Tree, located on the White House grounds. The tree is beautifully decorated and illuminates the surrounding area, creating a magical atmosphere. Additionally, the nearby Ellipse hosts the Pageant of Peace, with nightly entertainment and a display of state trees, representing each state and territory of the United States.
Visit the National Mall, where you can admire the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol Building. The reflecting pool and the memorials, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial, offer a serene and poignant experience. Take a tour of the Smithsonian museums, which encompass a wide range of subjects, including art, history, and science. The museums are free to enter and provide a wealth of knowledge and interactive exhibits.
December in Washington, D.C., also means festive holiday markets. The Downtown Holiday Market, located in the heart of the city, offers a variety of unique gifts, crafts, and delicious treats. Additionally, the National Harbor hosts an annual Christmas Market, complete with an ice skating rink and live holiday performances.
For a quintessential Washington, D.C., experience, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the city’s vibrant neighborhoods. From the historic Georgetown, with its charming streets and upscale boutiques, to the trendy and eclectic Adams Morgan, each neighborhood offers its own distinct character and culinary delights. Indulge in delicious cuisine from around the world, and be sure to try the famous half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Visiting Washington, D.C., in December also provides the opportunity to attend special holiday performances. Experience the magic of the National Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concerts or watch a festive play at the renowned Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Immerse yourself in the history, culture, and holiday spirit of Washington, D.C. Explore the monuments, stroll through the festive markets, and discover the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Washington, D.C., in December offers a truly memorable experience that captures the essence of the nation’s capital.
Honolulu, Hawaii, is a tropical paradise that offers a perfect escape from the winter chill during December. With its stunning beaches, warm weather, and vibrant culture, Honolulu is an ideal destination for a sunny and relaxing holiday getaway.
One of the main attractions of Honolulu is undoubtedly its gorgeous beaches. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and white sandy shores of Waikiki Beach, where you can swim, snorkel, or simply bask in the sun. Surfing enthusiasts can catch some waves at the legendary North Shore, known for its world-class surf breaks.
December in Honolulu provides the opportunity to witness an important cultural event: the Honolulu City Lights Festival. The city comes alive with stunning light displays, festive decorations, and parades. The highlight of the festival is the lighting of the large Christmas tree at Honolulu Hale, accompanied by live entertainment and food vendors. It’s a celebration that perfectly combines the Hawaiian spirit with the holiday season.
Explore the rich cultural history of Hawaii by visiting the iconic Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Learn about the events of December 7, 1941, and pay homage to the lives lost during the attack. The Bishop Museum is another must-visit, featuring exhibits on Hawaiian history, natural history, and the Polynesian cultures of the Pacific.
Honolulu is also a culinary delight, with a wide array of cuisine options. Sample the fresh seafood at local poke shops, indulge in traditional Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork and laulau, or try international fusion cuisine influenced by the diverse cultures of the island. Don’t forget to try the famous Hawaiian shaved ice to cool off from the tropical heat.
For those seeking adventure, Honolulu offers numerous outdoor activities. Hike to the summit of Diamond Head for panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean. Take a scenic drive to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, where you can witness breathtaking vistas of the Koʻolau Range and the windward coast. You can also take a boat tour to explore the marine life, or go on a sunset cruise along the Waikiki coastline.
With its stunning beaches, warm weather, cultural events, and outdoor adventures, Honolulu in December is a slice of paradise. Relax, unwind, and embrace the aloha spirit as you soak up the sun and experience the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina, is a charming city nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a cozy and enchanting December getaway. Known for its vibrant arts scene, stunning natural beauty, and thriving food culture, Asheville has something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the main draws of Asheville in December is its scenic landscapes. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, especially when they are dusted with a layer of sparkling snow. Take a leisurely drive along this iconic road, stopping at overlooks and hiking trails along the way to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains.
In downtown Asheville, you’ll find a haven for art lovers. Explore the River Arts District, where talented artists showcase their work in converted warehouses and studios. Discover unique galleries, watch live art demonstrations, and even create your own artwork through workshops and classes.
Food enthusiasts will delight in the culinary offerings of Asheville. The city is renowned for its farm-to-table dining scene, with an abundance of local ingredients and creative chefs. From artisanal bakeries and coffee shops to award-winning restaurants, Asheville’s food culture is diverse and vibrant. Don’t miss the chance to sample some craft beer, as the city is known for its thriving beer scene and numerous craft breweries.
December in Asheville also means festive celebrations. Explore the Biltmore Estate, adorned with magnificent holiday decorations and festive lights. The Biltmore Christmas Tree is a sight to behold, towering over the Banquet Hall and filling the mansion with holiday cheer. Enjoy live music and dance performances, embark on horse-drawn carriage rides, and indulge in festive dining experiences.
Nature lovers will find plenty of outdoor adventures in and around Asheville. Go hiking in the nearby Pisgah National Forest, discovering beautiful waterfalls and scenic trails. Visit the North Carolina Arboretum, with its stunning gardens and impressive bonsai collection. You can also go skiing or snowboarding at one of the nearby resorts, such as Wolf Ridge Ski Resort or Cataloochee Ski Area.
With its natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and delectable cuisine, Asheville is a delightful destination to visit in December. Embrace the cozy atmosphere, explore the great outdoors, and indulge in the city’s unique and creative offerings.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a captivating destination that exudes a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. In December, this enchanting city transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a unique and festive experience for visitors.
One of the main attractions of Santa Fe in December is the rich art scene. The city is known for its numerous art galleries and museums, showcasing a diverse range of traditional and contemporary works. Explore the historic Canyon Road, lined with art galleries featuring paintings, sculptures, and jewelry created by local and international artists. Visiting during December means you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the renowned Canyon Road Farolito Walk, where the street is illuminated by the soft glow of farolitos (small paper lanterns) and bonfires.
The holiday season in Santa Fe is celebrated through various events and traditions. The annual Santa Fe Winter Indian Market showcases the works of Native American artists, bringing together a stunning collection of jewelry, pottery, textiles, and more. The city’s Plaza is beautifully decorated for the holiday season, and the lighting of the Christmas tree is a festive event that draws locals and visitors alike.
For a taste of Southwestern cuisine, Santa Fe offers a vibrant culinary scene. Sample traditional New Mexican dishes like green chile stew, sopapillas, and enchiladas at one of the many authentic restaurants. Don’t forget to indulge in delicious chocolate treats from the renowned Kakawa Chocolate House, known for its unique flavors and artisanal creations.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to explore in and around Santa Fe. The surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains offer opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing during December. Take a scenic drive to the nearby Bandelier National Monument, where you can explore ancient cliff dwellings and hike through canyons. The natural beauty of the area, with its rugged landscapes and breathtaking vistas, is truly captivating.
Santa Fe’s adobe-style architecture, colorful markets, and rich Native American and Hispanic heritage create a unique and charming atmosphere. The city’s warm and welcoming ambiance paired with its vibrant holiday celebrations make it an ideal destination to visit in December.
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah, is a winter paradise that offers a magical experience in December. With its world-class ski resorts, charming Main Street, and breathtaking mountain views, Park City is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and winter adventurers.
Park City is renowned for its exceptional ski slopes and winter sports opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner hitting the slopes for the first time, the resorts of Park City have something for everyone. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort offer a wide range of terrain and amenities, ensuring an unforgettable experience on the pristine powder-covered slopes.
Besides skiing, Park City offers a multitude of other winter activities. Try snowboarding, snowshoeing, or even dog sledding through the glistening snow. The city also offers exciting adventures like snowmobiling and tubing, providing thrilling experiences for all ages.
Winter in Park City means stunning scenery and breathtaking views. Take a scenic drive through the majestic mountains, capturing the beauty of the snow-covered landscapes. For a truly magical experience, embark on a hot air balloon ride and witness the snow-capped peaks from a unique perspective.
After a day filled with outdoor adventure, explore the charm of Park City’s Main Street. Lined with quaint shops, galleries, and excellent restaurants, Main Street offers a delightful experience. Browse through art galleries, pick up unique handcrafted souvenirs, and indulge in delicious cuisine from around the world. The street is particularly enchanting during the month of December, with twinkling lights and festive decorations creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
For a touch of culture, visit the Kimball Art Center, which hosts rotating exhibits showcasing the works of local and international artists. The Sundance Film Festival, held annually in January, brings the world of independent cinema to Park City, attracting filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the globe.
For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Park City offers numerous spas where you can unwind and pamper yourself. Enjoy a soothing massage, indulge in a hot tub session, or partake in wellness treatments inspired by the surrounding natural elements.
From skiing and snowboarding to strolling through charming streets, Park City in December offers an unforgettable winter getaway. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountains, enjoy the adventures of winter sports, and experience the warm hospitality of this charming mountain town.
December is a wonderful time to travel and explore the United States, as it offers a wide range of destinations and experiences to suit every traveler’s preferences. From the vibrant streets of New York City to the sunny beaches of Miami, from the dazzling lights of Las Vegas to the cultural richness of New Orleans, each destination has its own unique charm and attractions.
If you’re looking for a city that truly captures the holiday spirit, New York City with its iconic holiday decorations and festive atmosphere is a must-visit. For those seeking warm weather and beach vibes, Miami is the perfect destination to unwind and enjoy the sun. Las Vegas offers a thrilling, fun-filled experience with its world-class entertainment and vibrant nightlife.
Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant music scene of New Orleans, or explore the cultural and culinary delights of San Francisco. Embrace the historical significance and political power of Washington, D.C., or escape to the tropical paradise of Honolulu. Asheville’s artsy and natural charm is perfect for a cozy getaway, while Santa Fe showcases a blend of history and culture against a beautiful southwestern backdrop.
Lastly, Park City provides a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts with its exceptional skiing and winter sports opportunities.
Wherever you choose to travel in December, each destination offers its own unique experiences and memories waiting to be made. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the festive spirit, and embark on an unforgettable journey to one of these incredible destinations in the United States.
Remember to plan and prepare accordingly, check for any travel restrictions or guidelines, and ensure you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable trip. Happy travels!