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Wintery New York skyline covered in snow
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The 6 Best Places to Visit in December

December is the perfect time to travel, and whether you are looking for a Christmas wonderland or for some warmer weather to start off winter with, there are plenty of amazing places to visit. Here is our list of the best places to travel in December.

New York City 

New York City in winter at dusk as seen from Central Park, one of the best December travel destinations
f11photo | Adobe Stock

New York is one of the top destinations to visit in the USA in December, especially between Christmas and the New Year. Head to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas Tree and enjoy some ice skating at one of the most famous ice rinks in the world. You won’t want to miss the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, where there is more ice skating plus pick up some unique gifts at the open air holiday market. Don’t forget to check out the window displays of the department stores like Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. Take in the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular to make it a truly New York experience.

Where to stay: The Plaza has been a staple of the Central Park area since the original hotel opened its doors in 1890. From suites decorated by Oscar winning production designers to a special Eloise themed stay, guests will be able to find their perfect stay among the 282 unique guest rooms.

London

Red phone box in the snow in London, a December vacation spot
Jon | Adobe Stock

There is something quaint about visiting London during the holiday season that really gets you into the holiday spirit. Big cities are filled with holiday fun, with Christmas markets and mulled wine abound, London is no different. Ice skate at Somerset House, shop at Harrods, or Fortnum and Mason, be amazed by the decorations at the Burlington Arcade, and have loads of fun at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. While in London, you must go to the theatre, where there are plenty of Christmas shows and non-Christmas shows to choose from.

Where to stay: Built inside an ornate 19th century building situated snugly in the bustling Russell Square, The Kimpton Fitzroy London is just under a 20 minute tube ride away from the above attractions and a quick walk from The Charles Dickens Museum, dedicated to the famed author of the seasonal favorite A Christmas Carol.

Virgin Islands

Cruz Bay in the US Virgin Islands on a sunny day, one of the best places to visit in December
steheap | Adobe Stock

December marks the beginning of the Virgin Islands dry season, so it is the perfect time to visit—before tourism peaks in the spring months. Whether you visit St. Thomas, St. Croix or St. John, you are in for the perfect tropical vacation, and a great way to start off your winter. Stay at an all-inclusive resort for the ultimate relaxation vacation. Explore the Virgin Islands National Park, Buck Island Reef National Monument, or relax in Cruz Bay.

Where to Stay: The three pools, ocean-view guest rooms, and beachside beverage service at The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas will have guests forgetting all about the winter weather they left behind.

Maldives

Row of overwater bungalows on a sunny day in the Maldives, a top December destination
siraphol | Adobe Stock

While you might take a chance visiting the Maldive Islands earlier in December due to the end of the rainy season, you’ll likely get a hotel deal, so it is worth the risk. Explore Banana Reef, learn some history at Mulee’aage Palace and the National Museum, or relax on Fulhadhoo Beach.

Where to Stay: If you’re looking for a family escape over winter vacation, then the Family Fun package at Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is for you. The package includes complimentary babysitting, complimentary kids’ meals, and family movie nights. Kid-free travelers can enjoy a peaceful getaway with the hotel’s wellness experiences and dreamy overwater villas.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Beach on Riviera Maya, Mexico
marako85 | Adobe Stock

December is the perfect time to head to Mexico for some warmer weather and r&r. The Riviera Maya has beaches to relax on, and plenty of all-inclusive resorts for a worry-free vacation. Explore caves like the Rio Secreto, feel the stress leaving your body at the Water Journey at Grand Velas Spa, or check out ancient ruins like the Chichen Itza.

Where to stay: As a winner of a 2023 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice award and a filming location for the hit Netflix series Love is Blind, the all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya lives up to the hype. Choose between their three experiences—Romantic Getaway, Family Fun, and Relaxation—to curate your perfect stay.

Bahamas

Aerial view of roads running over water and surrounding beaches near Nassau, Bahamas
Jin | Adobe Stock

Whether you do a yoga retreat or simply relax on the beach, the Bahamas are the perfect place to start off your winter. From seeing the wonder of the Marine Habitat at Atlantis, taking in nature at the Garden of the Groves, to hiking up to the Hermitage, you will forget all about the craziness of the holiday season going on at home.

Where to Stay: Escape the winter blues by chartering a boat or hopping on an ATV to explore the Bahamas at Grand Isle Resort. Alongside a menu of offsite excursions, Grand Isle offers three on-site dining options, water sports, a fitness center, and a spa.

All of the products featured in this story were hand-selected by our travel editors. Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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