There are magical places all around the country that are even better in winter. There is a winter destination for every taste, from big ski towns to quant Bavarian-style villages. You might live in a warm place but crave snowy mountains and outdoor winter activities. Or you could be someone who lives in a place where bitter winters are the reality. There are also a few places on this list that have mild winters but don’t skimp on the fun events. We’re here to help you find whatever you’re looking for!
We rounded up 20 cities that we feel are best to visit in the winter. Many have amazing events around the holidays that are fun for the entire family. If you have always wanted to take a trip for Christmas, we’ve got the destinations you’ll want to see, including places that call themselves Christmas Town USA and Christmas City. Now, discover the right place to take your next vacation and start planning for optimal fun!
Asheville, North Carolina
Take a tour of the incomparable Biltmore Estate, that’s situated on a sprawling 8,000 acres of land. The largest American home is full of attractions for any taste. With over 250 rooms, this will likely be one of the largest mansions you will ever tour. After you have spent a day or two at the Biltmore, check out seasonal offerings like the National Gingerbread House Competition. Enjoy a picturesque hike in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains if it’s not too cold.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It doesn’t get more New England than Portsmouth, located about an hour from Boston. Winter biking, ice skating, and other activities await. After you are done playing in the snow, grab a warm beverage in one of the town’s remarkable bars or restaurants.
Telluride is a charming, National Landmark-recognized town with one of the most scenic backdrops ever. Enjoy shopping and dining in town but getting outside is the real draw. There is just about every winter activity available to you, from a chill sleigh ride to blood-pumping heli-skiing.
If you can’t make it to Germany for Christmas, Leavenworth is your next best bet stateside. This alluring town is full of Bavarian-inspired Alpine architecture. There are some great beer halls to try and modest galleries and museums, including a Nutcracker Museum! If you’re itching for some downhill action, there are plenty of options to ski nearby.
Taos, New Mexico
New Mexico is probably not a state that’s front of mind when considering ski destinations. But the ski valley of Taos, New Mexico, gets over 150 inches of snow each year. If skiing isn’t your thing, hop on a snowmobile or shop the town’s little shops.
Although not a winter wonderland, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, is a blast to visit around the holidays. The museums that are already a huge draw get dolled up with festive decorations that often highlight the town’s long history.
Port Townsend, Washington
If you are looking to escape the winter weather, Port Townsend, Washington, is a great destination for outdoor fun that includes hiking, fishing, biking, and all other manner of fun that allows you to take the natural splendor of this amazing and historic town.
Another great town to visit if you’re trying to escape extreme winter weather is located in the mountains of Helen. Georgia. We aren’t likely to see much snow, but you will be treated to charming alpine architecture. Helen is modeled on a German village; you better believe this town plays it up for tourists. Enjoy freshly baked pretzels, a trip to a beer hall, and a Christkindlmarkt around the holidays.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
The cold is no match for a dip into the hot springs of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It’s so thrilling that it’s reason enough to make the visit. But you will also find world-class skiing and an adventure park nearby to for some high-octane fun.
Visit the snowy, Old West town of Jackson, Wyoming, for some fun in a pair of cowboy boots. The quant town is delightful to explore, but you will also be in close proximity to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, which you should definitely visit. Ride on a dog-pulled sled or take a dip in the Granite Hot Springs.
Cape Cod has a reputation for being a summer destination, but we’re here to tell you that it’s a great region to visit in the winter. Sandwich, the oldest town on the Cape that was established in 1639, is packed with history, and the architecture reflects its age. You have to explore the boardwalk that looks like it’s from a storybook.
You have not lived until you’ve visited the snowy wonderland of Vermont in winter. One of the best spots to explore is Woodstock, which has an idyllic Main Street with charms you won’t want to miss. See the area’s covered bridges or hop on your skis. If you visit in early December, be sure to check out Wassail Weekend.
Enjoy nature’s splendor in Bend, Oregon, where you can find all manner of winter sports to try. For culture, visit the Old Mill District, which is lit with twinkling Christmas lights around the holidays. The town also has live performances to catch during the holidays, and if you fancy a drink, there are a couple of distilleries to try as well.
If you live in Los Angeles and have never made the trip to Solvang, it’s really worth the drive. Located two hours north of LA, Solvang is modeled in a Danish style with Old World European pizzazz. The time to go is around Christmas, when the activities on Solvang really kick into gear. Ice skating, a market, carolers, and the whole festive nine yards are put out.
December is the ideal time to visit Frederick, Maryland. It’s located about an hour from Baltimore or DC. Each year, the town hosts the Maryland Christmas Show, which is a big market hosted on fairgrounds. Shop until you drop or visit a museum or two. The town hosts a program called Museums by Candlelight that allows you to see the cool venues in the romantic glow of a candle. For kids, there is also a Santa Train.
McAdenville, North Carolina
Just outside Charlotte, you will find Christmas Town, USA, AKA McAdenville, North Carolina. For the last six decades, residents have transformed McAdenville into a place decorated with tons of lights, dotted with celebrations, and replete with many activities that kids and adults love. The Yule Log Ceremony is a great time to visit because a parade and Santa coincide with the event.
Tons of winter sports and an inviting downtown make Bozeman an excellent spot to visit in winter. Have you ever wanted to try ice climbing? Hyalite Canyon offers one of the best places to do it on the planet.
Known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth is a great place to visit if you want to get that European Christmas feel without leaving the country. Millions visit the destination each year around the holidays to shop at the world’s largest Christmas store (or so Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland claims). Sleigh rides and Christmas light shows are also there to enjoy.
The town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, goes all out for the holidays! Shocker, right? This modest town calls itself Christmas City and offers several markets, a skating rink, and a Christmas light show. But, there’s so much more to explore. For instance, The Moravian Bookshop is the oldest operating bookstore in the world and has been open since 1745!
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Lake Placid, New York
Considering Lake Placid once hosted the Olympics, it should be no surprise that winter sports and activities are its main draws. From luge sledding to snowshoeing, Lake Placid’s got it all. There are also plenty of incredible restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to fuel your adventure.
There you go! Which town are you planning on visiting this winter? If you enjoyed reading about these destinations and also love antiquing, you will want to keep reading. We’ve got the best towns for finding amazing antiques to share with you.
Situated in the picturesque Verde Valley, Old Town Cottonwood has an eclectic antique and secondhand scene. Country Living recommends Larry’s Antiques & Things as it has more than two acres of treasures to shop. It’s not the only great spot you will find in this Cowboy town.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
If you have heard of Eureka Springs, Arkansas chances are that it concerned the town’s spas. But, there is more to it than just a lovely soak. The town boasts a great antique scene with Country Living singling out Castle Antiques, located near the scenic Inspiration Point, as one of the very best spots to shop.
Georgetown, Colorado has one of the best nicknames ever: “Silver Queen of the Rockies.” Take a day trip here and you will not be disappointed. It might be a small town but it is mighty in its galleries, coffee shops, and of course antique stores. We urge you to take a look at the shops that are there to find the places you want to stop.
Woodbury is considered the antique capital of Connecticut. Usually, when a place gets that sort of distinction it is for larger cities. Woodbury, however, is of modest size. They have some of the most cleverly curated antique shops in the US there. Country Living notes that it is one of Martha Stewart‘s favorite places!
Spanish moss dripping from the branches of giant trees is commonplace in Micanopy, Florida. The town, located in the North-Central part of the state, has dubbed itself “The Antique Capital of the Sunshine State.” The beaches often get all the attention in Florida but there are magical pockets across the state.
Thomasville, Georgia is steeped in history. As you might imagine, that means that there are a number of antiques that help tell the town’s story. Country Living suggests visiting the Toscoga Marketplace which houses multiple stories of antiques for you to explore.
As scenic as it gets, Pocatello, Idaho has plenty to do indoors as well. The town has no less than a dozen antique stores and four vintage shops for you to explore. Country Living encourages you to visit Vain & Vintage the next time you are in town.
Galena is a swoon-worthy town that represents the best of what the Midwest has to offer. If you have the pleasure of staying in town, be sure to check out one of the many treasured B&Bs located in the area. You will likely want to spend more than just a day here as there are 16 antique stores nearby and the crowning jewel of them is The Galena Antiques Mall which houses over 55 dealers.
There are only about 900 residents in Walnut, Iowa. Knowing this, you might find it curious that there are no fewer than 16 antique stores in town. There are likely more pieces of milk glass in this town than there are people. Beginning in 1987, Country Living says the town was officially nicknamed “Antiques City.”
Lawrence is the sixth largest city in Kansas but, trust us, it still retains its small-town roots. The sweet downtown features a number of shops and galleries and places to grab a snack. Make sure you stop at Mass Street’s Antique Mall where Country Living says you can spend an entire day shopping for antiques.
The second Georgetown to make the list is found in Kentucky, in an area steeped in Bluegrass. The historic district found here really has a small-town feel to it. While you are there, you will want to check out Georgetown Antique Mall which has spread to not one but two buildings.
Ponchatoula is known for a couple of things in Louisiana. To start, it’s the “Strawberry Capital of the World.” We’ll take it, yum! Second, it is also known as “America’s Antique City.” The small yet beguiling town is home to CJ’s Antiques, a 15,000-square-foot shop packed with antiques and collectibles, Country Living explains.
We have news for you: there’s more to Maine than just lobster. That does not mean you should not get some lobster while you are in Wiscasset! We can think of no better pairing than lobster and antiques! Spend a day (or two) going through over 16,000 square feet of antiques at Wiscasset Village Antiques. You won’t be sorry!
Yet another one of the towns on our list nicknamed “America’s Antique Capital,” Essex has everything from high-end to modest antique offerings. For the fancy stuff, Country Living suggests visiting David Neligan Antiques. If you’re after more down-to-earth offerings, The White Elephant Shop is the place for you!
Boulder City, Nevada
Do you like offbeat, quirky little towns? Boulder City is a place you must visit! It is a town of about 15,000 located 26 miles from Las Vegas. At The Antique Depot and Sherman’s House of Antiques, you can find everything from old neon signs to an antique washing machine, suggests Country Living.
New Bern, North Carolina
The handsome Tryon Palace was originally the governor’s mansion and is a landmark in this small town. After stopping to see the mansion, you will need to check out the antiques shopping in the region, including New Bern Antiques, which Country Living says is the largest antique and collectibles mall in Eastern North Carolina.
Only 25 minutes from Portland is this antique-filled town, which was originally founded as a Utopian society, Country Living notes. Now, Aurora is a utopia of dozens of antique, vintage, and specialty shops.
Wickford, Rhode Island
Historic Wickford Village and nearby North Kingstown boast some of the best antiquing in Rhode Island. Furniture is popular here: Wickford Antique Estate Liquidators offers beautiful period pieces, Country Living says. For smaller items, check out Re Rhode Island, which focuses more on vintage and consignment pieces.
It doesn’t get more picturesque than Chester, Vermont which feels like an idyllic New England town. When you visit, you should definitely check out Stone House Antique Center which covers over 20,000 square feet! At Yankee Ingenuity Antiques, you will find stereotypical Vermont items alongside plenty of cast iron and vintage hardware.
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Nicknamed the “Antiques Capital of the Northwest,” Snohomish is home to over 175 antique dealers. Visit one of the antique malls that house many of these dealers’ goods for all things old and vintage. You are sure to walk away with something extra special!
What did you think of these small towns? Which ones do you want to visit?
- 1 Asheville, North Carolina
- 2 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- 3 Telluride, Colorado
- 4 Leavenworth, Washington
- 5 Taos, New Mexico
- 6 Williamsburg, Virginia
- 7 Port Townsend, Washington
- 8 Helen, Georgia
- 9 Glenwood Springs, Colorado
- 10 Jackson, Wyoming
- 11 Sandwich, Massachusetts
- 12 Woodstock, Vermont
- 13 Bend, Oregon
- 14 Solvang, California
- 15 Frederick, Maryland
- 16 McAdenville, North Carolina
- 17 Bozeman, Montana
- 18 Frankenmuth, Michigan
- 19 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- 20 Lake Placid, New York
- 21 Cottonwood, Arizona
- 22 Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- 23 Georgetown, Colorado
- 24 Woodbury, Connecticut
- 25 Micanopy, Florida
- 26 Thomasville, Georgia
- 27 Pocatello, Idaho
- 28 Galena, Illinois
- 29 Walnut, Iowa
- 30 Lawrence, Kansas
- 31 Georgetown, Kentucky
- 32 Ponchatoula, Louisiana
- 33 Wiscasset, Maine
- 34 Essex, Massachusetts
- 35 Boulder City, Nevada
- 36 New Bern, North Carolina
- 37 Aurora, Oregon
- 38 Wickford, Rhode Island
- 39 Chester, Vermont
- 40 Snohomish, Washington
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