• Posted:Monday, October 7, 2013
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Top 5 American cities you should visit this winter

Top 5 American cities you should visit this winter

Wouldn't a little getaway be just great right about now? But where to go?! There's so many choices, when you consider there's a whopping 3,794,101 square miles of the United States to explore! Check out our pick for five American cities that are perfect to visit this winter.

Miami

(Pictured above) Depending on where you live, winter could mean being chest-deep in snow or just that you have wear longer sleeves. But chances are you’re not as warm as in Miami, which has an average winter temperature of 70° – not bad! This means you can go on partying at South Beach and tanning at Miami Beach. While you’re there, make sure to grab some authentic Cuban food in Little Havana.

So what’s going on there this time of year? Lots, actually. The Beaux Arts Festival is on the second week of January at the University of Miami campus, while Ocean Drive will host exhibits, tours and live music as part of their Art Deco weekend from January 18th to 20th.  It’s perfect for picking up some choice antiques.

Half an hour’s drive straight down Highway 41 is the Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival, held December 26th to January 2nd. There will be dancing, singing and performances, local food, arts and crafts and even alligator shows. It’s $13 for adults, $9 for kids aged 7 to 12 and free for children 6 and under.

Of course, we haven’t forgotten the Orange Bowl. Whether or not you have tickets to the big game, get yourself down to Sun Life Stadium on January 1st for the Fan Zone party. It’s a bit of an extravaganza, with games, cheerleaders, marching bands and some yet-to-be-announced big-name bands.

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San Francisco

If you’re looking to soak up some culture, the beautiful city of San Francisco has so much to offer right now. Ever wanted to look around the inside of one of those iconic Victorian San Francisco houses, featured in every movie about the city ever? Head for Hass-Lilienthal House at 2007 Franklin Street this Halloween season to get a frightfully ghoulish tour of a stunning historical house. On 25th, 26th and 31st October this house will be transformed into a dimly-lit, chilling place of terror (with a few interesting history tidbits thrown in).

One of our other seasonal favourites is the San Francisco Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’, running from December 7th to 28th. This is one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the US and they have been doing the Nutcracker every year since 1944. In fact, they were the first ever to do a complete production of it in the US. If you love the Nutcracker – or if you’ve never seen it – this is the place to do it.

Elsewhere, the Edwardian Ball is on at the Regency Ballroom on January 18th and 19th. It’s co-hosted by the highly-respected Vau de Vire and is ideal for ‘steam punks, Edward Gorey fans, ballroom dancers, cat lovers, eccentrics, literati, Goths, humorists and lovers of the macabre’, according to the website. There will be tons of vendors, cabaret acts, bands and more.

Always wanted to see California’s legendary redwoods? There will be free entrance to several national parks on Martin Luther King Jr Day (January 21st), including Muir Woods in Marin County.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to stop by the holiday window display at Macy’s on Union Square – the SF SPCA will have kittens and puppies in the window until January 1st, and they’re all up for adoption.

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New York City

It’s easy to feel like a big kid in the Big Apple, especially this time of year. All of Fifth Avenue lights up with some serious Christmas window displays, including giant toy shop FAO Schwartz, where you can dance on the big floor piano a la ‘Big’. Elsewhere, you can go sledding in Central Park or go ice-skating at the iconic rink in front of the Rockefeller Centre.

This city has something to offer no matter what age you feel like. For instance, you can try the city’s finest restaurants for a mere fraction of the price during NYC Restaurant Week. The final dates haven’t been announced yet but it’s usually on mid-January; check their website for updates.

Want to catch a basketball game while you’re there? Go see the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden. There are games on every week at the moment and tickets start at just $20. You might even spot someone famous courtside – now that’s value for money!

Of course, NYC is also known for its great shopping opportunities. Whether you’re checking out the elaborate Christmas displays or snatching up bargains at the January sales, there’s always something to keep you busy. As an added bonus, you’ll be helping to boost the economy of a beloved city recovering from Sandy.

Book hostels in New York City, New York

 

Los Angeles

If you really want to feel like you’re in an eternal summer, the City of Angels has legendarily mild weather. You won’t quite be sunbathing in your bikini here but you definitely won’t need your thermals, either. Winter temperatures in LA stay around the mid-60s.

It’s not all artificial summer here though – there are several ice skating rinks open through January and some are even open to mid-February! Prefer to go skateboarding? Van’s Skateboard Park in Anaheim is the size of a large department store and is just heaven for skateboarders. There’s a skate pool, indoor and outdoor street courses, a beginners’ area, mini-ramps and a video game arcade.

Prefer to get your exercise outdoors? This is a great time of year to hike up along the Griffith Observatory West Trail Loop and get stunning views of the city and the Hollywood sign. The Observatory itself was famously featured in key scenes of the classic 'Rebel Without a Cause'. And as there’s a lot less crowds in winter, you’ll have more breathing room as you stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and check out the weird and wonderful sights.

Museum fiends won’t be left out either; from now until January 23rd, the Guggenheim has Picasso Black and White, a look at the artist’s inspired use of black and white to strengthen his paintings.

And if you must insist on spending time at the beach, grab a warm coat and head down to Santa Monica Pier to watch the waves at night.

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Las Vegas

There might be less crowds in Las Vegas in the winter, but believe us, this city never stops. For one thing, there is so much free stuff to do here if you know where to look, from exotic bird shows to free gigs at the House of Blues. You might not want to jump in a pool yourself but if you swing by the free Sirens of TI show outside Treasure Island you can see the gorgeous performers leaping into the cold winter water as their ship goes down.

Along with all the usual shows, many casinos and hotels have elaborate Christmas displays from the start of December through the first week of January. One of the most charming and bizarre is at Ethel M’s Botanical Cactus Garden, where carollers sing around cacti strung with thousands of glittering lights.

In fact, this really is the perfect time to visit Las Vegas. There’s no snow and little rain so it’s great for golf – and some private courses open specially for non-members in January. The luxurious hotel spas often have special deals this time of year, too, so keep your eyes peeled. Not to mention that this is a lovely time to venture out the couple of hours to Death Valley. Temperatures here are in the comfortable mid-60s in winter, compared to an average above 110° in the summer.

Book hostels in Las Vegas, Nevada

By: heather.thompson

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