Are you searching for the Best places to visit in the USA in December? Look no further! We’ve compiled an extensive list of the top destinations across America, from iconic cities to breathtaking national parks. Whether you’re searching for adventure, relaxation, or festive holiday spirit – there’s something on this list for everyone – so start planning your December getaway now!
New York City, New York
December is a popular time to visit New York City due to its festive holiday atmosphere and many attractions and activities recommended for visitors during this season. Popular attractions and activities during this time include:
- Ice skating at Rockefeller Center: Ice skating at the ice rink is a beloved winter activity in New York City. Visitors often come here for some exercise and fun.
- Experience the Magic of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center: For holiday visitors to New York City, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center should not be missed! Each year, it is lit up in early December and remains illuminated until early January.
- Experience a Broadway Show: New York City boasts some of the finest theater productions in the world, making attending a Broadway show an especially popular activity for visitors.
- Visiting Holiday Markets: In NYC, several holiday markets open during the holiday season, such as Union Square Holiday Market and Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Here, shoppers can find unique gifts and souvenirs to commemorate this occasion.
- Walking Around Central Park: Central Park is stunning in any season, but especially picturesque during winter when snow blankets the ground. Visitors can enjoy ice skating at Wollman Rink or take a carriage ride through the park for an unforgettable experience.
- Experience the Holiday Window Displays: Shops along Fifth Avenue and other parts of the city often decorate their windows with elaborate holiday displays, making for a popular attraction for visitors.
- Experience the Beauty of the Empire State Building: The Empire State Building provides stunning views of New York City year-round. However, it’s especially captivating when its lights twinkle in the city during the holiday season.
Nashville is a popular destination to visit in December. Popular attractions and activities that are recommended for visitors during this time include:
- Experience Nashville’s Holiday Lights: Nashville is known for its stunning holiday light displays. Popular spots to view them include Gaylord Opryland Resort, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, and Belle Meade Plantation.
- Explore Holiday Events in Nashville: Nashville offers several festive celebrations throughout December, such as the Nashville Christmas Parade and Franklin Christmas Tree Lighting.
- Experience the Country Music Hall of Fame: This popular attraction in Nashville draws visitors year-round, but it’s especially captivating when they provide special exhibits and events during the holiday season.
- Enjoying Live Music: Nashville is known as “Music City,” and there are numerous opportunities to see live performances throughout the city. Many venues offer holiday-themed shows during December.
- Experience Visiting the Gaylord Opryland Hotel: This majestic resort is renowned for its extravagant holiday decorations. Visitors can stroll through its atriums to witness thousands of lights, decorations, and an enchanting winter wonderland scene.
- Experience the thrills of ice skating: Every winter, the Nashville Predators, the city’s professional hockey team, open up an outdoor ice rink for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
- Experience Nashville’s Delicious Southern Cuisine: Nashville is renowned for its delectable Southern cuisine. Visitors can explore some of its local favorites by taking advantage of numerous restaurants and food tours.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a popular holiday destination that offers visitors various outdoor activities and cultural attractions in December. Some top things to see and do while in Asheville during this month include:
- Visit the Biltmore Estate: The Biltmore Estate is a historic mansion and garden exquisitely decorated for the holidays. Visitors can tour the house, explore its gardens, and partake in festive events and activities.
- Experience the Holiday Lights: Asheville boasts several festive light displays, such as Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum and Festival of Lights at Lake Julian.
- Shopping for Unique Gifts: Asheville is renowned for its artisan crafts and local products. Visitors to the city can explore shops and markets to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take back with them.
- Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Asheville’s surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains provide ample hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities. December can be an especially beautiful time of year to trek through these majestic mountains and take in their winter scenery.
- Attending Holiday Events: Asheville hosts several celebrations throughout December, including Winter Wonderland at Grove Arcade, Downtown Asheville Art Walk, and Asheville Holiday Parade.
- Exploring the Art Scene: Asheville boasts a vibrant arts community with several galleries and museums to visit. Popular spots include the Asheville Art Museum and River Arts District.
- Experience Asheville’s vibrant food scene: Asheville boasts various restaurants and breweries to discover. Visitors can sample local dishes and craft beers to get a true sense of the city’s flavor.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an excellent holiday destination in December, with plenty of holiday events, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Some top things to see and do during this month include:
- Experience Santa Fe’s Holiday Lights: Santa Fe is known for its stunning holiday lights, with many buildings and streets decked out for the season. The Canyon Road Farolito Walk is a popular event where visitors can stroll through the streets to admire thousands of luminarias illuminated in vibrant hues.
- Visiting museums and galleries: Santa Fe boasts an exciting arts and culture scene, with several museums to discover. Popular destinations include the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, and Santa Fe Art Institute.
- Exploring Santa Fe’s Historic Sites: Santa Fe is a vibrant city that boasts numerous landmarks to discover, such as the Palace of Governors and the San Miguel Mission. Visitors can take a guided walking tour to learn about its rich history and architecture.
- Experience the local cuisine: Santa Fe boasts an exciting culinary scene, blending Native American, Mexican, and Southwestern flavors. Visitors can sample dishes like green chile stew, tamales, and enchiladas before exploring the local farmers’ market for fresh ingredients.
- Attending Holiday Events: Santa Fe hosts several holiday activities throughout December, such as the Santa Fe Indian Market Winter Showcase, Las Posadas procession, and Christmas at the Palace event.
- Enjoying Outdoor Activities: Santa Fe boasts an idyllic landscape that provides ample opportunity for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. December can be a particularly good month to explore the nearby mountains and parks.
- Relaxing at a spa: Santa Fe is renowned for its abundance of spas and wellness centers, offering visitors a range of treatments and services to help them unwind.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a popular holiday destination to visit in December, offering visitors an array of holiday events, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Some top things to see and do during this month include:
- Experience San Antonio’s Beautiful Holiday Lights: San Antonio is known for its breathtaking holiday lights, with several displays throughout the city. River Walk is especially popular during this time of year due to its festive atmosphere and nightly boat rides.
- Experience San Antonio’s Historical Sites: With so much to explore in and around San Antonio, visitors will surely find something that appeals to them – like the Alamo or one of its Missions. Take a guided tour to gain an insight into its rich past and culture by engaging with knowledgeable tour guides.
- Attending Holiday Events: San Antonio hosts several celebrations throughout December, such as the Ford Holiday River Parade, San Antonio Zoo Lights, and Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
- Experience the local cuisine: San Antonio boasts an eclectic culinary scene featuring Tex-Mex, barbecue, and other regional flavors. Visitors can sample dishes such as puffy tacos, brisket, and churros while exploring farmer’s markets and food halls around town.
- Exploring San Antonio’s Art Scene: San Antonio boasts an exciting arts community, offering visitors several galleries and museums to explore. Popular destinations include McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, and Blue Star Contemporary.
- Enjoying Outdoor Activities: San Antonio enjoys a warm climate year-round, providing ample chances for outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, and golfing. Visitors may also explore Hill Country nearby for scenic drives and exciting adventures.
- Relaxing at a spa: San Antonio boasts several spas and wellness centers that provide various treatments and services to help visitors unwind and unwind.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada, is a great destination to visit in December for all kinds of holiday events, entertainment, and outdoor activities. Some top things to see and do during this month include:
- Experience Las Vegas’ Holiday Lights: Las Vegas is known for its extravagant holiday decorations and light shows, which can be seen at popular spots like Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Ethel M Chocolate Factory, or Glittering Lights display at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Attending Holiday Events in Las Vegas: Las Vegas hosts several holiday events throughout December, such as the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village, Winter PARQ at LINQ Promenade, and Holiday Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolate Factory.
- Experience Las Vegas’ world-class entertainment: This city is known for its wide range of shows and performances, including Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere,” Blue Man Group, and Jabbawockeez dance crew.
- Experience the local cuisine: Las Vegas boasts an impressive culinary scene, boasting celebrity chef restaurants, international cuisine, and classic Vegas buffets. Visitors can sample dishes like prime rib, shrimp cocktail, and pizza as they explore local food halls and farmers’ markets for a unique culinary experience.
- Exploring the Nearby Natural Attractions: Las Vegas is situated near several natural landmarks, such as Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park. Visitors can take a scenic drive, go hiking or rock climbing, or even take a hot air balloon ride over the desert landscape for an unforgettable view.
- Enjoying Outdoor Activities: Even with the cooler temperatures in December, Las Vegas still offers several outdoor activities to enjoy, such as golfing, horseback riding, and ziplining.
- Relaxing at a spa: Las Vegas boasts several spas and wellness centers that provide various treatments and services to help visitors unwind and unwind.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is a popular holiday destination to visit in December, offering visitors an exquisite winter landscape. Top things to see and do while visiting Grand Canyon National Park during this month include:
- Experience the Winter Scenery: The Grand Canyon in winter offers breathtaking views, with snow covering its rim and canyon walls. Visitors can take in these magnificent sights from overlooks such as Mather Point or Yavapai Point.
- Hiking and Exploring: Although some trails may be closed due to snow and ice, there are still several opportunities for hiking and exploring the Grand Canyon in wintertime. Popular hikes include Bright Angel Trail and Rim Trail; visitors can also take a ranger-led snowshoe hike.
- Attending ranger programs: The National Park Service offers several ranger-led programs throughout the winter months, such as talks, walks, and evening events. These events introduce the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.
- Stargazing at Grand Canyon National Park: With its dark skies, Grand Canyon National Park offers excellent stargazing opportunities. Visitors can join a ranger-led astronomy program or explore independently for an immersive astronomy experience.
- Enjoying Winter Activities at The Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon offers various winter activities, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.
- Exploring Nearby Attractions: While the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly the main draw, other nearby sights are worth visiting, such as Williams, Arizona, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.
- Experience a scenic drive: Drive along Desert View Drive for an unforgettable winter view of the Grand Canyon, featuring numerous overlooks and pullouts.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana
Yellowstone National Park is a popular winter destination, offering plenty of activities and stunning scenery. While you’re here, don’t miss out on any top things to see and do:
- Experience Yellowstone’s Winter Scenery: Yellowstone National Park is known for its stunning winter landscapes, featuring snow-covered trees and geothermal features like geysers and hot springs. Visitors can take in this breathtaking scene from overlooks or while taking walks or hikes through nature trails.
- Snowmobiling and snow coach tours: Snowmobiling and snow coach tours are popular ways to experience Yellowstone National Park during the winter, providing visitors a thrilling way to view wildlife and its geothermal features up close.
- Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing in Yellowstone: Yellowstone offers several trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, both groomed for skiing and off-trail exploration.
- Attending ranger programs: The National Park Service offers several ranger-led programs during the winter months, such as talks, walks, and evening events. These events provide an opportunity to discover more about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.
- Wildlife Viewing: Yellowstone National Park offers visitors a chance to witness various types of wildlife, such as bison, elk, wolves, and coyotes, during the winter months.
- Ice Fishing in Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone’s lakes and rivers freeze over during the winter, offering visitors the unique opportunity to go ice fishing for species such as trout or grayling. Visitors can rent equipment and rent rods to catch these tasty treats!
- Visit Nearby Attractions: In addition to Yellowstone National Park, there are several other nearby sites worth exploring, such as West Yellowstone, Montana, and the Museum of the Yellowstone in Gardiner, Montana.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a popular winter getaway with many activities and stunning mountain scenery. Some of the top things to see and do while visiting Jackson Hole during December include:
- Skiing and Snowboarding at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a top destination for skiers and snowboarders, with over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain and an elevation difference of 4,100 feet.
- Snowmobiling: Snowmobiling is an enjoyable way to explore the nearby mountains and backcountry, with guided tours available for all skill levels.
- Sleigh rides: Sleigh rides are a classic winter activity in Jackson Hole, offering visitors an enjoyable and scenic way to take in the picturesque landscape.
- Ice Skating in Jackson Hole: Jackson Hole offers several ice skating rinks, including an outdoor one downtown.
- Wildlife Viewing: Jackson Hole is home to abundant wildlife, such as moose, elk, bighorn sheep, and bison, which can be observed throughout the winter months.
- Attending Holiday Events: Jackson Hole hosts a variety of holiday activities, such as the annual Town Square lighting and Jackson Hole Ski Club’s Torchlight Parade.
- Discovering Nearby Attractions: Jackson Hole is worth visiting, but there are several other sights worth seeing, such as Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a popular holiday destination to visit in December due to its many holiday events and mild winter weather. Some of the top things to see and do during your time in San Francisco in December include:
- Holiday Events in San Francisco: Experience a range of holiday celebrations, such as the Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony, Macy’s Great Tree Lighting, and San Francisco Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”
- Shopping: San Francisco is renowned for its shopping, boasting several iconic districts like Union Square, Haight-Ashbury, and the Ferry Building Marketplace.
- Dining: San Francisco boasts an exciting culinary scene, with many restaurants offering seasonal menus and holiday-themed meals.
- Exploring San Francisco’s Neighborhoods: San Francisco offers many fascinating neighborhoods to discover, such as Haight-Ashbury in the vibrant and historic Haight and Mission District in trendy.
- Museums and Galleries: San Francisco is home to several world-class museums, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, and the Asian Art Museum.
- Outdoor Activities: San Francisco’s mild winter climate makes it a prime destination for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and strolling along its many scenic trails and parks.
- Day Trips: San Francisco is conveniently situated near several popular day trips destinations, such as Napa Valley and Muir Woods National Monument.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is an exciting and festive destination to visit in December, offering holiday festivities, music, and delicious food. Some of the top things to see and do while in New Orleans during this month include:
- Holiday Events in New Orleans: New Orleans offers many holiday events, such as the iconic Celebration in the Oaks at City Park, the Christmas New Orleans Style concerts series, and Running of Santas.
- Music: New Orleans boasts an exciting music scene, boasting several live venues throughout the city that showcase jazz, blues, and other genres.
- Food: New Orleans is renowned for its delectable and unique cuisine, with many restaurants offering seasonal menus or holiday-themed dishes.
- Exploring the French Quarter: The French Quarter is a historic and iconic neighborhood in New Orleans, boasting stunning architecture, winding streets, and numerous unique shops and restaurants.
- Visit museums and galleries: New Orleans is home to several museums, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
- Experience the splendor of New Orleans by taking a swamp tour: New Orleans is surrounded by lush wetlands and swamps, so taking an organized guided tour is an excellent way to take in its unique flora and fauna.
- Attending a holiday parade: New Orleans is renowned for its Mardi Gras celebrations, and during the holiday season, several parades occur throughout the city.
Honolulu is an idyllic destination to visit in December, with warm weather, stunning beaches and plenty of outdoor activities. Some top things to see and do while visiting Honolulu during this month include:
- Beaches: Honolulu’s stunning beaches, such as Waikiki Beach and Hanauma Bay, draw visitors from around the world to swim, sunbathe and enjoy various water sports activities.
- Outdoor Activities: Honolulu’s warm climate and stunning natural landscape make it the ideal destination for outdoor adventures such as hiking, surfing, and kayaking.
- Visit Pearl Harbor: Pearl Harbor is a historic site and popular attraction in Honolulu, featuring several museums and memorials dedicated to the events of December 7, 1941.
- Shopping and Dining: Honolulu boasts an array of shopping and dining establishments, with several iconic stores located at Ala Moana Center and the Waikiki neighborhood.
- Attending Holiday Events: Honolulu hosts several holiday events during the month of December, such as the Honolulu City Lights display and Honolulu Marathon.
- Exploring Honolulu’s Neighborhoods: Honolulu offers several interesting neighborhoods to discover, such as vibrant and historic Chinatown and the hip Kaka’ako Arts District.
- Visiting Museums and Galleries: Honolulu boasts several museums and galleries, such as the Honolulu Museum of Art and Bishop Museum.
Park City, Utah
Park City is a popular winter destination with world-class skiing, stunning natural scenery, and plenty of winter activities. While visiting Park City during December, don’t miss out on these top things to see and do:
- Skiing and Snowboarding in Park City: Park City boasts several world-renowned ski resorts, such as Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, offering a variety of terrain suitable for skiers of all abilities.
- Snowshoeing and Cross-Cross Skiing: For those who prefer non-skiing winter activities, Park City provides several snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails through its stunning natural landscape.
- Holiday Events in Park City: Park City hosts several holiday activities throughout December, such as the Electric Parade, Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Annual Torchlight Parade.
- Experience Park City’s Museums and Galleries: Park City boasts several world-class museums and galleries, such as the Kimball Art Center and Park City Museum.
- Shopping and Dining: Park City’s historic Main Street offers an array of unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and studios to enjoy.
- Hot air balloon rides: Experience Park City’s captivating natural landscape from above with a hot air balloon ride.
- Spa and Wellness Activities: Park City boasts several luxury spas and wellness centers that provide services to help visitors unwind and recharge.
Miami is a popular tourist destination to visit during December due to its warm climate, stunning beaches, and cultural experiences. Some of the top things to see and do while you’re here include:
- Beaches: Miami is renowned for its stunning beaches, such as South Beach and Key Biscayne, where visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy various water sports activities.
- Art Deco District of Miami: Miami’s Art Deco District is a vibrant and historic neighborhood featuring several iconic buildings, hotels, and restaurants.
- Art Basel Miami Beach: Art Basel Miami Beach is one of the world’s premier art shows, boasting over 250 galleries and thousands of works of art.
- Shopping and Dining: Miami boasts an array of shopping and dining establishments, with several iconic stores in the Design District and Wynwood neighborhood.
- Holiday Events in Miami: Miami hosts several festive events throughout December, such as Bayfront Holiday Village, King Mango Strut Parade, and Art Basel Miami Beach.
- Visit museums and galleries: Miami is home to several museums and galleries, such as the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Outdoor Activities: Miami offers an idyllic climate and stunning natural scenery, making it the ideal spot for outdoor adventures like kayaking, fishing, and hiking.
Seattle is a popular winter getaway offering visitors various winter activities, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant arts and culture venues. Some top things to see and do during December in Seattle include:
- Holiday Events in Seattle: Seattle offers several festive holiday activities throughout December, such as Winterfest at Seattle Center, Gingerbread Village at Sheraton Seattle, and Christmas Ship Festival.
- Space Needle: The Space Needle is an iconic landmark in Seattle, offering breathtaking views of the city and its environs.
- Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is a historic public market in Seattle that provides fresh produce, seafood, and crafts from local vendors.
- Seattle Art Museum: The Seattle Art Museum is a world-class institution that exhibits art from around the globe, both contemporary and modern pieces alike.
- Seattle Symphony: The Seattle Symphony is a renowned orchestra offering various performances throughout December.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: Seattle is within driving distance of several ski resorts, such as Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass, that offer a variety of skiing and snowboarding terrain.
- Visit Museums and Galleries: Seattle boasts several museums and galleries, such as the Museum of Pop Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass.
- Outdoor Activities: Seattle’s stunning natural scenery makes it the ideal spot for outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and kayaking.
Chicago is a popular holiday and cultural destination attracting many visitors in December. Here are some of the top things to see and do during your time in Chicago this month of December:
- Holiday Events in Chicago: Chicago hosts several holiday events during December, such as Christkindlmarket, Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, and Lincoln Park ZooLights.
- Museums: Chicago boasts several renowned museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry.
- Millennium Park: Millennium Park in Downtown Chicago is home to the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture and several outdoor art installations.
- Shopping: Chicago boasts an array of shopping destinations, with several iconic stores and boutiques along the Magnificent Mile and in the Wicker Park neighborhood.
- Navy Pier: Navy Pier is an iconic Chicago waterfront destination with restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.
- Ice Skating in Chicago: Chicago boasts several ice skating rinks for those cold winter nights, including McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon.
- Chicago Architecture River Cruise: Take the Chicago Architecture River Cruise for an unforgettable view of Chicago’s renowned architecture and learn about its fascinating history.
- Food & Drink: Chicago boasts an acclaimed food and drink scene, boasting several iconic restaurants such as Alinea, The Aviary, and Green Mill Jazz Club.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, is an enchanting city that shines beautifully during December. Some top things to see and do while in Charleston during this magical month include:
- Historic District: Charleston’s historic district is a must-visit, boasting stunning 18th and 19th-century architecture and breathtaking gardens. Visitors can opt for guided tours or explore the district on their own.
- Christmas-Themed Events: Charleston hosts several festive events throughout December, such as the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park, Holiday Festival of Lights at Magnolia Plantation and Charleston Christmas Special at Charleston Music Hall.
- Beaches: Charleston’s coastline offers several picturesque beaches, such as Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island. Visitors can still take a leisurely walk along the shoreline, even if it’s too cold for swimming.
- Shopping: Charleston offers a diverse selection of shopping, with several boutiques and art galleries on King Street, the historic City Market, and the Charleston Farmers Market.
- Plantations: Charleston has several historic plantations, such as Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Middleton Place, and Boone Hall Plantation. Visitors can take guided tours or explore independently for an immersive experience.
- Food & Drink: Charleston is renowned for its delectable cuisine, featuring everything from fine restaurants to casual cafes. Popular dishes include shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and she-crab soup.
- The Battery: The Battery is a waterfront promenade that offers spectacular views of the harbor and historic homes along the water’s edge.
Austin, Texas is a vibrant and diverse city with plenty of December activities. Here are some of the top things to see and do while you’re here:
- Live Music: Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” There are plenty of concerts and events to attend in December. Popular venues for live music include Continental Club, Antone’s, and Mohawk.
- Zilker Park: Zilker Park is an expansive urban park in Austin’s heart that features hiking trails, a botanical garden, a nature center, and more. Each December, it hosts the Trail of Lights festival, featuring over two million lights and festive displays for an unforgettable holiday experience.
- Food & Drink: Austin boasts an exciting food and drink scene, boasting numerous restaurants, food trucks, and bars. Popular local dishes include barbecue, Tex-Mex, and breakfast tacos.
- Museums and Galleries: Austin boasts many art museums and galleries, such as the Blanton Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum, and Contemporary Austin.
- Outdoor Activities: Austin enjoys mild winter temperatures, making it a perfect destination for outdoor activities in December. Visitors can explore Barton Creek Greenbelt by foot or bike, paddle on Lady Bird Lake, or dip in one of Austin’s natural swimming holes at Barton Springs Pool.
- Shopping: Austin boasts vast shopping opportunities, from the chic boutiques along South Congress Avenue to the eclectic shops on East Sixth Street.
- Festivals and Events: Austin hosts several festivals and events during December, such as the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Cherrywood Art Fair, and German Christmas Market.
Denver is a popular winter destination in December, offering plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to see and do during this month:
- Winter Sports: Denver is conveniently situated near several popular ski resorts, such as Breckenridge, Vail, and Keystone. Visitors can hit the slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing; alternatively, they can partake in other winter activities like ice skating or sledding.
- Christmas Markets and Festivals in Denver: Denver hosts several Christmas markets and festivals during December, such as the Denver Christkindl Market, Georgetown Christmas Market, and Blossoms of Light event at Denver Botanic Gardens.
- Museums and Galleries: Denver boasts an array of art museums and galleries to discover, such as the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and Clyfford Still Museum.
- Food & Drink: Denver boasts an exciting food and drink scene, boasting numerous restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. Popular local dishes include green chile, Rocky Mountain oysters, and craft beer.
- Shopping: Denver boasts a vast array of shopping venues, from upscale boutiques on Larimer Square to vintage stores on South Broadway.
- Holiday Lights: Denver boasts several neighborhoods that go all out for Christmas lights, such as Denver Country Club, Washington Park neighborhood, and Cherry Creek North shopping district.
Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian-style village nestled in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, and it’s especially popular during December due to its festive holiday events and winter activities. Here are some of the top things to see and do while visiting Leavenworth this December:
- Christmas Lighting Festival: This festive event takes place over three weekends in December and features more than half a million lights around town, live performances, carolers, and holiday treats for visitors to enjoy. A popular lighting ceremony usually takes place at dusk.
- Winter Sports: Leavenworth is near several ski resorts, such as Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
- Shopping: Leavenworth offers a range of shops and boutiques that sell handmade crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Visitors can also shop for holiday gifts and decorations.
- Sleigh Rides: Visitors to Leavenworth can enjoy a nostalgic winter experience by riding a horse-drawn sleigh through the snowy countryside.
- Nutcracker Museum: Leavenworth is home to the Nutcracker Museum, boasting an impressive collection of over 6,000 nutcrackers from around the globe. This popular attraction draws a particularly large crowd during the holiday season.
- Wine Tasting: Leavenworth boasts several wineries and tasting rooms that offer tours and tastings. Visitors can sample local wines while taking in the festive atmosphere.
- Outdoor Activities: Leavenworth offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, snowmobiling, and ice climbing, in addition to winter sports.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana is a small town in the southwestern part of the state named after a renowned Christmas figure. As such, it becomes a popular holiday destination during December when there are plenty of things to see and do there. Here are some top things you should check out while visiting Santa Claus, Indiana, this December:
- Santa Claus Museum & Village: The Santa Claus Museum & Village is a must-visit attraction in the town. Inside, visitors can learn about Santa Claus and Christmas history, while outside in the village are festive displays and an iconic statue of Santa Claus. Plus, there’s even a post office where visitors can send letters to Santa Claus himself!
- Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari: This amusement park is a favorite summer destination but hosts “Holiday World’s Happy Halloween Weekends” in December. Decorated with holiday lights, the park features rides, shows, and other attractions for an enjoyable Halloween experience.
- Santa’s Candy Castle: Santa’s Candy Castle is a candy store and museum featuring vintage Christmas displays and candy-making demonstrations. Visitors can sample canes and treats and take photos with Santa himself!
- Christmas Lake Golf Course: This golf course transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Festive lights and decorations are throughout, and visitors can play mini-golf, take photos with Santa, ride a train, and experience an authentic winter wonderland atmosphere.
- Christmas Shopping in Santa Claus, Indiana: Santa Claus, Indiana, offers several Christmas-themed shops and boutiques that sell ornaments, decorations, and gifts. Visitors can also find unique items like personalized letters from Santa and handcrafted toys.
- Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort: This campground and RV resort features holiday-themed cabins and campsites, a Santa’s Workshop activity center, a Christmas movie theater, and a drive-through light show.
- Santa Claus Land of Lights: Experience an immersive light show featuring over two million LEDs and holiday-themed displays.
Frankenmuth is a charming Bavarian-style town located in the mid-Michigan region. Known for its rich German heritage, Frankenmuth has become a popular tourist destination during the holiday season. Here are some of the top things to see and do while visiting Frankenmuth this December:
- Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland: Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the largest Christmas store in the world and a popular destination in Frankenmuth. Here, shoppers can find over 50,000 festive items like ornaments, decorations, and gifts to bring home for Christmas.
- Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge: The Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge is a beloved destination for dining and lodging in Frankenmuth. Their menu offers traditional German fare like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and strudel; their lodge has warm rooms decorated in traditional Bavarian style.
- Christmas Activities: Frankenmuth hosts several Christmas-themed events during the holiday season, such as a tree lighting ceremony, parade, and Christkindlmarkt–a German-style Christmas market featuring food, crafts, and gifts.
- Riverboat Tours: The Frankenmuth Riverboat Company offers picturesque tours aboard a replica paddlewheel riverboat along the Cass River. This floating hotel is decked out in lights and Christmas decorations during the holiday season for an extra-special experience.
- Cross-country Skiing: Frankenmuth area cross-country skiing trails, such as Zehnder’s Snowfest Trail (7.5 miles long), offer scenic views of the winter landscape and are an excellent way to get some exercise and fresh air.
- Zehnder’s Snowfest: Held annually in January in Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s Snowfest is a winter festival that begins its preparations months prior. Highlights of the event include snow and ice sculptures, fireworks displays, and a warming tent with food and drinks.
Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico is an idyllic town in the high desert of northern New Mexico. It’s renowned for its historic adobe architecture, vibrant cultural heritage, and stunning natural landscapes. Here are some of the top things to see and do while visiting Taos in December:
- Taos Pueblo: Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of North America’s oldest continuously inhabited communities. A must-visit during the holiday season, when it’s illuminated with traditional luminarias and offers cultural events and performances.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: Taos Ski Valley is a world-class ski resort 18 miles from Taos. It features over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain, 110 trails, and an elevation drop of 3,274 feet – making it an ideal destination for wintertime skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.
- Christmas Celebrations: Taos hosts several festive events during the holiday season, such as a tree-lighting ceremony, light parade, and craft fair. Taos Pueblo Christmas Eve also features an iconic procession, bonfires, and luminarias in front of Santa’s house.
- Hot Springs: Taos is renowned for its natural hot springs, which are especially inviting during winter. Popular hot springs in the area include Black Rock Hot Springs and Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa.
- Art and Culture: Taos boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, boasting several museums, galleries, and studios showcasing local artists’ works. Worth visiting? The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos Art Museum, and Millicent Rogers Museum!
- Taos Gorge: The Rio Grande Gorge is a dramatic geological feature outside Taos. It is over 800 feet deep and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. This gorge takes on an even more captivating beauty in wintertime with snow-covered peaks framed by icy waters.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best places to visit in the USA in December. Which destination will you be choosing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!