Where do Americans travel in the winter? The answer might surprise you. According to Travel + Leisure magazine, warm-weather destinations like Phoenix and Miami top the list.
Unfortunately, many of these places are clogged with tourists in the cooler months. If you don’t want to brave the crowds, or deal with the hurried vibe of New York and Chicago, here are 4 underrated winter vacation destinations to consider.
With mild winter temperatures and infrequent snow, Houston is a prime spot for those wanting to escape the cold. Get cozy with nightly milk and cookies from 8-10 p.m. daily while staying at Magnolia Houston. The pet-friendly hotel is in a fully renovated circa-1926 newspaper office, less than 20 minutes away from the Houston Texans’ home field, NRG Stadium. Besides football games, winter travelers can enjoy outdoor ice skating at Discovery Green, view 2+ million lights at Houston Zoo, or grab a craft brew from Saint Arnold’s at The Conservatory. Click here for more info and 2017-2018 winter event listings.
- St. Louis
There’s something magical about the way the snow gleams off St. Louis’ famous Gateway Arch. Snap a pic before heading inside to the warmth and comfort of your room at Magnolia St. Louis, or check out the Midwest’s largest skating rink at Forest Park if you’re willing to brave the winter chill. Prefer to stay toasty all day? Originally opened as a planetarium, the St. Louis Science Center now boasts 700 hands-on exhibits and an Omnimax® Theater, plus upgrades to the original star shows. General admission is always free, making this a great day trip for large groups or family trips. Other major indoor attractions include St. Louis Art Museum and City Museum, a whimsical playground with an aquarium.
While some vacationers are sunning themselves on a Caribbean beach, the ski crowd is hitting the slopes. Denver is one of the most popular ski cities in the nation, with Echo Mountain, Loveland and Winter Park within easy driving distance. There’s also plenty to do in the city. Show off your skating skills on the rink at Skyline Park or beeline to Denver Botanic Gardens for holiday lighting displays with mistletoe, hayrides and a Santa’s Village for the kids. After a full day of activity, head to Harry’s Bar at Magnolia Denver for a nightcap. Open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the newly updated restaurant dishes up fresh Colorado trout, comforting pot pies and upscale entrees like seared scallops and sous vide duck breast.
The sleeper on our list, Omaha has a surprising diversity of cultural attractions. Topping the list is the Henry Doorly Zoo, lauded as the best zoo in the world by CNN Travel. Most sections of the park stay open in the winter months, including the Desert Dome, Lied Rainforest and night crawler exhibits. Winter weather staves off heavy crowds this time of year, and many of the zoo’s 17,000+ animals are especially active on sunny winter days. If you’re staying at Magnolia Omaha, consider checking out the hot foodie scene nearby. From the freshly sucked oysters of Plank’s Seafood Provisions to pork shoulder and duck appetizers at the new Monarch Prime, there’s something to please any palate. Click here for a guide to Omaha’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
One of the best aspects of visiting our most underrated cities in the winter is that it’s not peak tourism season. Crowds are lighter at major attractions and eateries are keen on offering holiday specials. No matter which city you choose to visit, the amenities at Magnolia Hotel will make you feel warm and welcome in the winter. Call 888-915-1110 to book your stay today, or find more info about boutique lodgings at your vacay destination online.