These are the places to head to if you’re looking for a mid-winter pick-me-up. I’ve eschewed a list full of tropical resorts (although there are a few tropical picks) to favor places with small winter-time crowds and mild weather. Winter is the perfect time to explore these destinations.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras is the main winter-time draw to this party city. Even if you’re not into partying for 24-hours strait, watching the festivities is a truly unique experience.
Mild weather and few tourists (except during Mari Gras) grants easy access to the café culture and world-class dining New Orleans is famous for. Hotel rates are usually lower at this time of year as well and, after Christmas, the shopping centers are low-key. Pick up some beignets and coffee and enjoy the “big easy.”
Rome isn’t exactly warm in the winter. You’ll actually have to bundle up a little with average winter-time temperatures around 40 F and 50 F in the daytime. Rome is on this list because of its rich history and plentiful attractions that are nearly void of tourists from January to April.
Roam the Colosseum, tour the Vatican, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain– do all the cute touristsy things you’ve always wanted to do in this amazing city without the horrific summer-time crowds. You’ll have a better chance of getting to know the locals too. Warm up with some amazing cuisine and a cappuccino and discover Rome.
From Taipei you can head south to lounge on the beach or north to ski and hike on the mountains and in the national parks. Winter temperatures in Taipei are mild and if the city gets a little dreary with rain, you’ll find warmth in a traditional teahouse. Make sure to gorge on street food and do some shopping in one of the night markets.
Winter is the off-season for Seville, meaning more for you to see and do. Located in southern Spain, winter temperatures are mild with highs around 65 F. Enjoy tapas and a glass of wine in the evening and strolls through historic neighborhoods. The laid-back culture is even more laid-back without the tourist crowds. Daily siestas and filling food will leave you relaxed– you won’t want to head home.
Winter isn’t the off season for Phuket but the weather is generally best from November to February. You’ll miss monsoon season but have to deal with tourist crowds. Don’t worry though– you’ll have plenty of space to lounge and relax on this island paradise. While hotel prices go up during the winter season (November through April), Phuket is still affordable with an overall low cost of accommodations and food.
Enjoy vibrant cuisine, relaxing spa treatments, time on the beach and gorgeous aquamarine waters.
Singapore is a multicultural hub packed with people, food and cultures from around the world. The entire country of over 5 million people is only as large as the Kansas City metro area. For such a small area, Singapore packs a punch.
Singapore is home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, an infinity pool on top of a high rise that overlooks the city and plenty of unique neighborhoods to explore. Singapore’s warm tropical climate boasts balmy temperatures year-round. This island is a popular destination any time of year, but there is a slight lull in tourist traffic from mid-January through March.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you’re looking to find some peace and quiet, Sante Fe is the destination for you. During the summer, temperatures soar but in the winter, the climate is mild. Relax downtown for head to the slopes to ski.
Santa Fe’s cultural exploits shine. Tour the Loretto Chapel, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Santa Fe is a wonderful mix of culture and arts.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Two of my coworkers sing the praises of this town on Mexico’s Pacific coast. You’ll enjoy savory Mexican street food, beachside dining and picture perfect romantic architecture. Highs are in around 80 F and 90 F year-round, so you’ll be able to enjoy time on the beach whenever you visit.
Whale-watching season is from January to March and the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe is in early December. People escaping harsh winters flock to Puerto Vallarta from January through March, so you won’t have the town all to yourself, but the humidity is low and the waters are perfect for a rejuvenating trip.
Enjoy the beaches off southwestern India in the multicultural city of Kochi. Filled with Arab, Chinese and European influences from several hundred years of trade, Kochi is urban and ancient all at the same time.
A mix of religions, cultures and architectural styles comprise the areas around downtown. Explore the nearby islands for hints of the past. Tour any of the many synagogues, catholic churches and museums for a hint of Kochi’s long and complex history.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hotel rates in sin city usually go down right before Christmas and after New Year’s Eve. While gambling is the major draw, you can easily spend your time watching shows and dining at some of the country’s top restaurants.
Don’t expect warm weather though– Las Vegas is cold in the winter. Spend your time indoors at any of the many attractions to enjoy the best of what this city has to offer.