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2016 is coming to a close and what a year it has been! These are the Best Cities to Travel to in December. Bundle a sneaky stopover into that trip home to the family or gift yourself one last trip away before the year’s end. Where to Travel in December? Our favorite cities for December have put a freeze on prices, leaving more pocket change for seats at the Nutcracker in Washington, those front row seats at the Children’s Health Holiday Parade in Dallas or another round of Christmas Ale in Seattle.
Your D.C. Getaway
Weather Forecast: High 56°F ~ Low 26°F
Whether politics is your thing or not, Washington, D.C. still begs for one last visit this year. Come for the monuments, but stay for the rumbling dining scene, holiday performances and an impressive list of new hotel openings (which we touch on below).
The month-long weather outlook for D.C. is looking perfect for short strolls around the monuments and dashing between the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, including the newly-opened Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture. While in Penn Quarter, you may find that last-minute gift for your loved ones at the Downtown Holiday Market.
Don’t you worry about the budget this weekend, because hotel room prices in D.C. are at their lowest for the year. trivago hotel data shows average hotel room prices in the ballpark of $213 per night in December, 38% cheaper than the most expensive month of the year (October).
The Dupont Circle ★★★★
A hotel that mirrors the sophistication of its namesake area, The Dupont Circle finds itself sharing a zipcode with D.C.’s top bistros, private art galleries and many of the city’s embassies. Luxurious linens and balcony views onto Dupont Circle promise an unforgettable stay in the rooms and suites of this centrally-located property.
The Watergate ★★★★★
Yes, that Watergate! The Foggy Bottom address, next door to the Kennedy Center, is back after a $125 million overhaul and a nine-year wait. The well-appointed spaces at this exemplary modern hotel leave guests with a long-lasting impression (you won’t easily forget the enormity of the 2,500 whisky bottle display case). Guests in the know book their tables in advance at resident eatery Kingbird, which serves up a trendy menu using ingredients sourced from local purveyors.
Kimpton Glover Park ★★★★
For a lush respite in Washington, check yourself into the new Kimpton Glover Park. Guests can wake up to some sun salutations overlooking Georgetown and the Potomac River using the in-room yoga mats before heading down to the acclaimed Casolare for a morning shake from their breakfast menu. As with most Kimpton properties, particular attention is paid to kids, pets and guests with accessibility needs to ensure that everyone feels welcomed.
What to do in D.C. in December?
D.C. is not shy about getting into the holiday spirit and the abundant green spaces are happy to comply. With the help of Destination DC, we’ve tracked down the jolliest activities to get you into the Christmas spirit and imparting a conviction that December is the month to visit Washington, D.C.
Have a very Obama Christmas
Be hypnotized by the gilded Christmas Decorations at 1600 Pennsylvania, the last time it will be decorated by the Obama Family and their roster of holiday decorating volunteers. The festive spirit at the White House begins on December 1st with the National Christmas Tree Lighting, which promises performances by The Lumineers, Garth Brooks and Trish Yearwood in 2016. Your free ticket inside grants you access to these historic rooms with their carefully-selected decorations and can be arranged through your congressional representative or by securing one of the Congressional Member’s passes through the White House Visitors Office.
Catch a live performance
Make your D.C. stay all the more special with tickets to one of the countless small and large stage productions around town for the holidays. For families, there’s no missing Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 1 – 23), Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center (Dec. 6 – Jan. 8) and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the National Theater (Dec. 13 – 31).
For adults, December will see Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens (Dec. 9 -31), Holiday Pops: Laura Benanti and Santino Fontana (Dec. 9 & 10) and a bit of Duran Duran at the new Theater at MGM National Harbor (Dec. 31 & Jan. 1).
How Much to Budget
Once you’re on the ground in the Nation’s Capital plan to set aside roughly $602 over 48 hours as a couple in Washington, D.C.
Taxi from the airport: $15 from DCA, $75 from IAD
Metro from DCA: $3, Bus 5A from IAD: $7
Dinner for Two (before drinks): $70
One night in a 3-star Hotel – December: $177.90
Candlelight Tour of Georgetown’s Tudor Place: $40
Your Dallas Getaway
Weather Forecast: High 65°F ~ Low 34°F
Dallas gets decked out for the holidays — and by virtue of being in Texas, you can bet that the decorations are big. Visit Dallas was happy to guide us to the must-see Christmas decorations around town, including the brilliantly-decorated gazebos for “The 12 Days of Christmas” at the Dallas Arboretum and the 4,000-plus square foot world of miniature trains at NorthPark Center.
If you’re looking for a steal this holiday season, Dallas could be your answer. Like the other two cities on our list, December is also the cheapest month of the year for hotel rooms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. trivago hotel data points to savings of 22% over June rates (the most expensive month) with an average of $144 per night in December. Each of these Dallas hotels shows off a different side to the city, all at affordable rates.
NYLO Dallas South Side ★★★
Lofty dreams of Dallas? The NYLO Dallas South Side sets the young professional crowd up with spacious suites decked out with plush custom mattresses, complimentary shuttle service, and rain showers. The Lamar St. address is crowned by the hotel’s SODA Bar overlooking the hotel’s infinity pool which dissolves into the Dallas skyline.
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas ★★★
This brand-new Downtown property has all of the reliable amenities (complimentary WiFi, fitness center access and beverage area) that guests have come to love in their Hilton Garden Inns across the country. A location among Dealey Plaza, the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Arts District makes it possible to visit Dallas over the weekend without a car.
Warwick Melrose ★★★★
Uptown and a tad bit more upscale is the Warwick Melrose. Classic hospitality and an old world charm has made this 184-room hotel a reliable bet among its patrons since 1924. Terry robes and slippers and pillowtop mattresses draped in Italian Fili D’Oro duvets are just some of the reasons why trivago users have given the Warwick Melrose an ‘Excellent’ satisfaction rating.
What to do in Dallas in December?
Celebrating a Wild West Xmas in Fort Worth
If you’ve never seen a cowboy Santa Claus, drive over to the Fort Worth Stockyards where Jolly Old St. Nick stops by for the month in true North Texan garb. Better yet, celebrate Christmas in The Stockyards on Saturday, December 3rd with their very Western take on Xmas including cowmilking and a Legends of Texas gunfight. Those last minute stocking stuffers are sure to be found in one of the Stockyard Station’s shops (beef jerky, anyone?)
Take in the Children’s Health Holiday Parade
A Dallas tradition since 1988, the Children’s Health Holiday Parade was created jointly by local hotelier The Adolphus Hotel and the parade’s namesake children’s hospital. Now delighting crowds of more than 400,000 every year, experience this nationally-syndicated holiday parade in person on the streets of the downtown core. For unobstructed views of the marching bands and the Big Man himself on Saturday, December 3rd, look into pre-purchasing tickets on the parade route.
How Much to Budget
Once you’re on the ground in the Big D, plan to set aside roughly $562 over 48 hours as a couple in Dallas.
Taxi from the airport: $45 to Downtown
DART Orange Line (Two-hour Ticket): $2.50
Dinner for Two (before drinks): $70
One night in a 3-star Hotel – December: $126
Two Dallas Children’s Holiday Parade seats (Commerce/St. Paul): $50
trivago Travel Planner Tip: Quickly pull up the latest availability for hotel rooms using ‘Recent Searches’. Check back on your searched city tomorrow, later this week or in a month by choosing ‘Recent Searches’ on your trivago profile. Stay posted on the best hotels at your destination with the click of a button!
Your Seattle Getaway
Weather Forecast: High 65°F ~ Low 34°F
A snowcapped Mount Rainier welcomes visitors to Seattle in December. It’s no secret that Seattleites love the outdoors and a little (or a lot) of rain has never known to slow them down. Take the Ugly Sweater Run, for example, whose 3.1 mile run on December 3rd embraces the chill and thrill of the holiday season. Come 11:59 PM on December 31st, all eyes will be fixed on the fireworks display fired off the top of the Space Needle.
trivago hotel data is showing a cold front freezing hotel prices in the Pacific Northwest with the average hotel room price in Seattle standing at $178 per night in December. Our December accommodation picks highlight the city’s ingrained quirkiness and longstanding support for the arts, which now has found its way into the hotel scene.
Hotel Max ★★★
A boutique hotel that imparts its imagination at every turn, the Hotel Max is loaded with perks for the visiting urban creative. In-room turntables, locally roasted coffee by Caffe Vita, a craft beer happy hour, pillows à la carte and doggie welcome amenities are just some of the signature amenities offered on the house.
Hotel Five ★★★
Looking out onto the eye-catching Seattle Center Monorail, the Hotel Five is ideally located for exploring Seattle’s Pike Place area and for trips further afield owing to the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service. Guests who know the Pineapple Hospitality chain are already familiar with their dog-friendly accommodations, free bike rentals (during warmer months) and eco-friendly housekeeping.
The Palladian ★★★★
One of the newer hotels to open in Seattle (and with plenty more scheduled for 2017), this Kimpton propety has been retrofitted with 97 guestrooms, two eating and drinking spots; Shaker + Spear for seafood and Pennyroyal for old-world drinks. Smartly-decorated interiors are at once tongue-in-cheek, retro and refined. Check yourself in and you’ll see what we mean.
What to do in Seattle in December?
We guarantee you won’t be short on activities for a weekend trip to Seattle. For those chilly December days, Visit Seattle suggests checking out the Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) or for the little ones, a live performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre until Dec. 31. We tapped the shoulders of two local bloggers to learn how they embrace the snow and the foam in December.
Get outside with your Pup
“Seattle is a wonderful place to travel with your dog, even in December. When it’s raining in the City, it’s usually snowing in the mountains. It’s a great time to rent some snowshoes from REI and head out for a winter-wonderland snowshoe romp. If you want to stay in town, you and your pooch can hang out at the Dogwood indoor dog park & bar or just hop on a bus (the buses in King County are dog-friendly) and see another part of the City. We do see a sunny day or two in the winter, too. In that case, head to Discovery Park for a urban hike or take a ferry ride on Puget Sound.”
— Jessica Rhae Williams, YouDidWhatWithYourWiener.com
Cozy up with a Local Brew
“The weather is notoriously cold and rainy in Seattle in December, so I like to use that as an excuse to visit the city’s many excellent breweries. This time of year, you’ll find me cozied up to the bar at Holy Mountain Brewing, Rooftop Brewing, Urban Family Brewing, and Seapine Brewing. You can’t go wrong with a dark stout or a refreshing, bright IPA this time of year!”
How Much to Budget
For a cozy December weekend in the Pacific Northwest, plan to set aside roughly $738 over 48 hours as a couple in Seattle.
Taxi from the Sea-Tac: $45
Link Light Rail: $3
Dinner for Two (before drinks): $60
One night in a 3-star Hotel – December: $169
Winterfest at the Seattle Center: $0
Learn more in our Travel Advice Calendars
If you can’t make it to our “Where to Travel in December” destinations this month, try them out later this year with the help of our Travel Advice Calendar.
Click the price charts below to learn about the cheapest months to visit and our exclusive tips for seeing the most of each destination…