The Best U.S. Cities to Visit This Winter, for Every Type of Traveler
Whether you’re looking for a spa retreat in the desert or an action-packed ski weekend, here are the trendiest places to explore this season.
Updated Nov 19, 2018 3:03 PM
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Escaping to sunny Waikiki, hitting the Rocky Mountain slopes, retreating for a spa weekend in the Coachella Valley—here’s where to go (and what to pack) when exploring the U.S. this winter.
It’s still a “grand ole” time, but now Music City is less honky-tonk, more rocker—with an edgier style and a great hotel scene to match.
The just-opened Noelle Hotel nods to Nashville’s Art Deco days with pale pink Tennessee marbled walls and tiled terrazzo floors (the landmark building dates back to 1930). An old printing press still works in the lobby’s restaurant—and cranks out posters for the in-house experimental print shop—while the enormous emporium, Keep Shop, rotates limited-edition swag by local designers.
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Fancy drinks at the Fox Bar & Cocktail Club; cool design finds from Wilder; sorbet-colored banquettes and creative tapas at Little Octopus; a trawl through East Nashville’s record stores for vintage vinyl.
Nashville packing list:
Midnight Cowboy Eau de Parfum by West Third Brand, Omoi, $125 Give a Damn Sweatshirt by The Whitney Shop x Lingua Franca, Whitney Museum Shop, $125 The Bigger Carry-On, Away, $245 The Love Tempo Sunglasses, Crap, $58 Danay Eyelet Detail Leather Ankle Boots, Isabel Marant, $860
Nowhere does old-school cabin cozy (or moody ocean views) quite like the Pacific Northwest.
The check-in counter at the recently renovated Manka’s Inverness Lodge is inside an old Airstream nestled in the hills above Tomales Bay, creating the perfect time capsule to hole up in. The iconic property’s shingled fishing and hunting cabins (circa 1917) now come with inviting buffalo plaid sofas, stone fireplaces, flannel-layered bed linens, nooks full of antique oars, and refurbished outdoor porch showers.
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The nearby upscale roadhouse restaurant Sir & Star; hiking and kayaking along Tomales Bay; bivalves on the half shell and BYOB at the Marshall Store & Oyster Bar; shopping for organic linens at Coyuchi in Point Reyes Station.
Inverness packing list:
Merino Thermal Tights, Outdoor Voices, $80 Metal First AId Kit, Best Made Company, $58 Bishop Pajama Set, Sleepy Jones, $176 Grounding Bath + Body Oil, Earth Tu Face, $30 New Haven Shucker, Murphy Knives, $16 Hiking Suede Boots by Off-White, Net-a-Porter, $516
The epicenter of Philly cool, Fishtown boasts some of the East Coast’s best art galleries and a seriously indulgent food scene.
Housed in an 1890s whiskey bottling plant, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons opened as a hit restaurant—and earlier this year became a low-profile hotel with the addition of four rooms upstairs. Whimsical toile wallpaper, walnut headboards, tobacco-hued settees, claw-foot tubs, and dreamy watercolors feel as cozy as a second home.
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Philadelphia packing list:
Calf Ocean Bag, Mansur Gavriel, $695 Billie on the Bike Lipstick, Rodin Olio Lusso, $38 The Near Matcha Stick Box, Cap Beauty, $34 Mystic Mocha Chocolate Bar, Zenbunni, $9 Moya III LMTD Jacket, The Arrivals, $1,195
Mix a surfing safari with island-hopping, then add a few mai tais—a tropical adventure is the ideal antidote for beating the winter blues.
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club brings back Oahu’s 1960s modernist charm but in a playful, laid-back way: Beachy bungalows are clad in traditional aloha fabrics, koa carvings, vintage postcards, dream catchers, and Mark Kushimi’s retro surf prints. Waikiki has never been this, well, cool.
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Honolulu packing list:
Gwendoline glasses, Acne Studios, $420 Bannet Bag, Olli Ella, $45 Sand Combo Colorblock Wetsuit, Cynthia Rowley, $265 The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, Amazon, $25 Ray of Light Sea Salt Sun Spray by Captain Blankenship, Cap Beauty, $28
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
A mystical desert escape is the ultimate meditative mind-reset.
In a former 1940s bathhouse outside Joshua Tree, the newly renovated Two Bunch Palms is a boho hideaway with outdoor spa gazebos, Watsu pools, and lithium-rich waters. Restorative rooms feature rain showers, turquoise patchwork pillows, and timber beams made from giant tamarisk trees. Don’t miss the hotel’s mud-bath treatments and herbal body wraps.
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Desert Hot Springs packing list:
Kimono Robe, Hotel Saint Cecilia store, $190 The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, Indie Bound, $17 Natural Turmeric Aromatherapy Mask, Earthen Warrior, $60 Tarot Cards with Guidebook, Mystic Mondays, $75 Floral Smudge Stick, Burro Goods, $13.50
Ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes meets Old Hollywood glamour in this historic mountain town.
An ultra-luxe Rocky Mountain lodge, Hotel Jerome has been Aspen’s après-ski spot since the pioneer era; J-Bar, its legendary old Western saloon, is a favorite of Bill Murray’s and Jack Nicholson’s. Chalet-style quarters come with teak writing tables, antique oil portraits, burnished-leather campaign chairs, and epic views of Elk Range.
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Aspen packing list:
Flight Deck XM Factory Pilot Whiteout Prizm Snow Goggle, Oakley, $210 Ribbed-Knit Beanie Hat with Fur Pompom by Moncler, Neiman Marcus, $335 Mini Wooden Shotski by Rusted Pine LLC, Etsy, $25 The Snowdrift Jacket, AYR, $395 Isabel Slide, Loeffler Randall, $395
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue with the headline Happy Holiday.