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The best US places to spend a white Christmas

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Waking up to snow on Christmas morning in these top destinations

On Christmas Eve, some of us search the sky for reindeer, but others scan for snow. After all, it’s the twinkle of snowflakes and the peacefulness of an untouched blanket of white on the ground that make the holidays so magical and merry.

This holiday season, we wanted to make your wish for a white Christmas come true. While we can’t control the weather (even with the help of some special elves), we can reveal some of the best places to spend Christmas in the USA where there’s a jolly good chance for snow, either already on the ground or in the sky.

Plan a trip to one of these winter wonderlands at Christmastime and discover oh what fun our suggestions are for getting in the holiday spirit!

1. Aspen, Colorado

With an almost perfect white Christmas record, Aspen boasts a 100 percent chance of snow, promising you a merry little Christmas.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Celebrate the Norse God of Snow at Ullr Nights with snowtubing, campfires, and Ullr’s ghost ship
  • Countdown to Christmas at 12 Days of Aspen with holiday activities all over town
  • Sing along with carolers in Santa’s Village at Snowmass Mall and Base Village
A group of snow tubers get ready to go down the slopes in Aspen, one of the best places to visit on Christmas.

Photo by Snowmass via Yelp

 

2. Lake Placid, New York

An average of 23 inches of snow flutters down on Lake Placid during the month of December, upping the odds for a frosty Christmastime in the Adirondacks. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best places to travel to for Christmas.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Join the Village Stroll and marvel at how Main Street decks the halls
  • Dress as Santa for a free lift ticket at Whiteface Mountain
  • Hop in a bobsled and brave the tracks at the Olympic Sports Complex
Snowflakes cover the ground and fall along the shoreline in Lake Placid, one of the best places to vacation for Christmas

Via Anne Richard/Shutterstock.com

 

3. Mammoth Lakes, California

In December in Mammoth Lakes, the mercury drops to an average low of 17 degrees F, creating ideal conditions. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Ride the scenic Village Gondola as fireworks go off during Night of Lights
  • Take part in the Mammoth Holiday Festivities
  • Venture on the December Full Moon Snowshoe Tour at Tamarack XC Ski Center
The sun shining down on a snow covered shoreline in Mammoth Lakes, a top place to visit on Christmas.

Via Darlene Wagner Butler/Shutterstock.com

 

4. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

The probability of flurries in the Twin Cities looks merry and bright, as three out of every four Christmases here have snow on the ground.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Hang out with Santa and admire the illuminated art installations during Holidazzle in Loring Park
  • Practice your best Kris Kringle impression at St. Paul Lowertown SantaCon
  • Take the Holiday Tour Season at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence to see the decorations
Christmas lights light up the snow-dusted street in Minneapolis-St. Paul, one of the best places to travel to for Christmas.

Via nikitsin.smugmug.com/Shutterstock.com

 

5. Anchorage, Alaska

If you’re looking to wake up to snow-covered ground on Christmas morning, make your way to Anchorage. This city has had 31 consecutive white Christmases!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Stroll along the illuminated animal displays at Zoo Lights at the Alaska Zoo
  • Sip hot cocoa while eying the ice formations at Holiday Lights in the Garden
  • Cozy up inside and catch “A Christmas Carol” at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Snow covers the cityscape and mountains in Anchorage, which is one of the best places to vacation for Christmas.

Via Rocky Grimes/Shutterstock.com

 

6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole sees temperatures as low as 7 degrees F in December, meaning you just may get your wish for a white Christmas.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Keep your eyes peeled for Santa skiing the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Christmas Eve
  • Decorate cookies and don your ugliest festive sweater at 12 Days of Christmas at the Wort Hotel
  • Nosh on holiday treats as you take a spin around the Teton Village Ice Rink
Snow covers alpine trees on the slopes in Jackson Hole, where you’ll find the best places to visit on Christmas.

Photo by Diver923us via Yelp

 

7. Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe averages a low of 24 degrees F, so keep shaking that snow globe! You’ll be pressed to find a more whimsical Christmas setting than Tahoe blanketed in fresh snow.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Climb aboard a Borges sleigh ride and trot along the path between Merry Wonderland and the Village
  • Warm up inside and catch the “Twisted Nutcracker and the Tale of the Rat King” at Olympic Village Lodge
  • Indulge in the merriment at Heavenly Holidays Family Festival
A horse-drawn carriage with two people enjoy a ride in the snow on the banks of Lake Tahoe, which is a top place to travel to for Christmas.

Photo by Justine F. via Yelp

 

8. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago may not have the highest chances of a white Christmas, but it’s undeniably magical when it does snow. It has an average low of 24 degrees F, so snow is not off the table!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Discover the festivities during the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
  • Sample hot spiced wine and browse the vendors at Christkindlmarket Chicago, which dazzles like a European Christmas village
  • Head to the Broadway Playhouse for a “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” production
Groups of people ice skate around the rink in front of a Christmas tree in Chicago, where you’ll experience one of the best places to spend Christmas.

Photo by Kristin L. via Yelp

 

9. Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth flaunts an average annual snowfall of 85 inches each winter—18 of which occur during December alone. During the Christmas month, its average low of 7 degrees F gives you good reason to keep an eye on the forecast.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Ride the rails along the North Shore Scenic Railroad for a special reading of the “Christmas City Express”
  • Roast marshmallows and explore the majestic displays at Bentleyville Tour of Lights
  • Embark on a Candlelight Christmas Tour of Glensheen to see it decked out in wreaths and twinkly lights
Two people stand under Christmas lights at night in Duluth, which is a great place to vacation to for Christmas.

Photo by Yvette m. via Yelp

 

10. Bismarck, North Dakota

You’ll hopefully find yourself dashing through the snow in Bismarck, one of the best places to vacation for Christmas. It enjoys an average of 9 inches of snow each December, but wear your jammies inside out just in case.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Pray for snowflakes as you watch the “Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular” at the Bismarck Event Center
  • Wear a Santa suit for the Bismarck Santa Fun Run/Walk 5K around the State Capitol Grounds in early December
  • Hum along at the Central Dakota Children’s Choir Christmas Concert at Belle Mehus Auditorium
Trees and ground covered in snow in Bismarck, making it one of the most magical places to visit on Christmas.

Via
Magdaleno/Shutterstock.com

 

11. New York City, New York

Admittedly, this city doesn’t have the strongest track record for snowy Christmases (only once every six years), but based on our poll, the majority of travelers would love to spend a white Christmas in magical NYC.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Explore Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square and make a reservation to meet jolly ol’ Saint Nick
  • Watch the festivities unfold on stage during the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes”

 

12. Crested Butte, Colorado

On average, 42 inches of snow falls on Crested Butte in December, and reports say there’s a 99 percent probability for a white Christmas. Joy to the world!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Check out the Rock on Ice festival, where sculptors carve masterpieces out of ice
  • Count down the days until Santa’s arrival as you shred the slopes at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

 

13. Yosemite, California

The likelihood of seeing snow in Yosemite depends on what altitude you reach, but regardless, it’s one of the best places to spend Christmas in California.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Eat a divine Christmas dinner at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Big Trees Lodge, or The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
  • Ski, snow tube, and snowboard into the holidays at the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

 

14. Munising, Michigan

December is the most wonderful time of year in Munising, when it receives 41 inches of snow on average. Oh, holly jolly!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Head 4.5 miles west to the town of Christmas to visit Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and their elves and reindeers
  • Relish the frosty conditions at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

 

15. Telluride, Colorado

If snow is all you want for Christmas, make your way to Telluride where there’s nearly a 100 percent chance for you to see the white stuff.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Search the sky for snowflakes and watch the slopes glow during the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Telluride Ski Resort
  • Experience the enchanting Holiday Prelude in Mountain Village and don’t miss Santa’s workshop

 

16. Marquette, Michigan

According to records, over the last 70 years, Marquette has only had four Christmases without snow. You just might be walking in a winter wonderland!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Tell Santa what you want for Christmas when you visit him at Donckers in downtown Marquette
  • Settle in for “Scrooge!”, a musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” at Forest Roberts Theatre

 

17. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Baby, it’s cold outside in Steamboat Springs, where the chance of snow sightings on Christmas is around 98 percent.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Scan the slopes for Santa on horseback and decorate cookies at the Holiday Festival
  • Go night skiing at Steamboat Ski Resort before sugar plum ferries dance through your head

 

18. Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

All is calm and all is bright in Sault Ste Marie, which has over a 90 chance of having snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Ride the Tower of History and experience Light up the Soo from the sky
  • Sip holiday-themed beverages in the BARmuda Triangle after admiring the town’s Christmas lights

 

19. Whitefish, Montana

According to averages, 23 inches of snow falls in Whitefish during December, so here’s to hoping the weather outside is frightful!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Start the festivities early when you attend the Christmas Stroll on Central Avenue
  • Set your sights on Whitefish Mountain Resort for the annual Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade

 

20. North Pole, Alaska

Alaska’s North Pole is graced with an average of 55 inches of snow each year, but surely its name alone is enough for you to venture to here, “Where the Spirit of Christmas Lives Year-Round.”

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Watch sculptors make art out of ice blocks at Christmas in Ice
  • Visit the Santa Claus House and snap a photo with the World’s Largest Santa

 

21. Sandpoint, Idaho

On average, Sandpoint earns a hearty 20 inches of snow each December, but there’s no harm in flushing some ice cubes down the toilet just for good measure!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Ski the slopes with Santa at Schweitzer Mountain on December 23
  • Head to the Basin Express chairlift for the Christmas Balloon Parade with Santa on Christmas Eve

 

22. Missoula, Montana

Tut, tut, it looks like … snow! An average of 11 inches of snow comes down in Missoula each December, so it’s certainly not uncommon to see white fluff on Christmas Day.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Spark up conversation with Santa at Southgate Mall
  • Reserve a spot on a Holiday Lantern Tour at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

 

23. Snowshoe, West Virginia

You don’t need to go way up north to enjoy snowy conditions. By the end of December, Snowshoe has already racked up an average of 35 inches of snow!

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Join the jolly festivities—look out for Santa!—at Snowshoe Mountain Resort
  • Listen for the sound of jingle bells as you take an evening snowmobile tour at Snowshoe Basin

 

24. Red River, New Mexico

Brrr! Red River drops to an average low of 9 degrees in December and with that comes a very strong chance of a snow storm.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Discover the New Mexican tradition of placing luminarias during the Christmas Luminaria Tour
  • See the Torchlight and Fireworks Parade at the Red River Ski & Summer Area

 

25. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston once averaged a white Christmas once every five years, but lately it seems to have lost its touch. That won’t keep us from trying all the snow day tricks in the book though, because Boston at Christmastime is absolutely irresistible.

Get in the holiday spirit:

  • Witness the Blink! Holiday Light Show & Sound Extravaganza at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
  • Watch a whimsical performance of the Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

 
Prefer to head somewhere warm for Christmas? Check out the best places for snowbirds and retirees in the winter!
 

Where are your favorite places to visit on Christmas?

Header image via SusaZoom/Shutterstock.com


Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Chloe Mulliner

As a staff writer for Expedia, Chloe Mulliner is dedicated to providing top travel tips for your jaunts around the world. She believes there are adventures to be had on every inch of the globe from surf spots on the Peruvian coast to the charming villages of the English countryside. Chloe specializes in showcasing all the must-see attractions on your travel wish list. She lives by the belief that every adventure is a story worth sharing.

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