Bears and bats aren’t the only mammals that hibernate in the winter. Humans tend to slow down and take things indoors from December to March, too. But while we’re being all nice and snug on the couch, we’re missing out on a world of fun out there.
Cities all over the globe are using this time of year to host exciting activities, from skiing and wine tasting to festival hopping and genealogy seeking, making the timing perfect for you to pack the fleece pajamas in a carry-on bag and head out for a bit of winter exploring.
Prep for February’s Winter Games with a visit to Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, a ski lovers’ haven that is within snowshoeing distance of three venues used in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
See the British capital in a whole new light during the second edition of Lumiere London, a citywide festival of all things illumination from January 18 to 21. Rest your head in Five-Star style at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, perfectly perched between Hyde Park and the Buckingham Palace grounds.
Cabernet season should be enough to lure you to Napa right now, but the Calistoga Winter in the Wineries Passport will clinch it. Through February 4, flash the passport to taste your way through 17 wineries in Calistoga (an American Viticultural Area in northern Napa), then retire to the tranquil Four-Star Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort.
One of the hottest sporting trends to hit Colorado is coasters. Jump on the new Breathtaker Alpine Coaster and glide through more than a mile of forest on an elevated track at up to 28 mph. Then warm up at The St. Regis Aspen Resort’s new Mountain Social bar for après-coasting or Velvet Buck restaurant for mountain fare.
Lake Placid, New York
Trek to Whiteface Lodge Resort & Spa to partake in two Olympic-worthy packages: the Winter Games Experience, which consists of Olympic Center admission, a tour, seasonal spa treatments and more; and the Ski. Soak. Eat. Repeat promotion that has lift tickets, spa discounts and a $50 daily resort credit.
See Hungary’s National Dance Theater’s Budapest Dance Festival from February 18 to March 1. After the performances, two-step your way over to Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest for a luxurious scene set against a thriving downtown backdrop.
Welcome the start to the Year of the Rooster (February 18) at Five-Star Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler with a unique Chinese New Year celebration filled with family-style feasts, cocktails and British Columbia’s snow-capped mountains.
Be astounded by the Baltimore Museum of Art’s “Spencer Finch: Moon Dust” light installation (starting February 21) and “Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning” textiles (starting March 7) before retiring to Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, a colorful piece of work less than five miles away.
Indulge in a sweet escape to the Midwest with Five-Star The American Club’s annual Celebration of Chocolate. From February 16 to 18, indulge in food pairings, live demonstrations, decadent dinners and events centered around the world’s favorite dessert.
Witness a winter extravaganza like no other during Carnaval de Quebec, a celebration of the Canadian city’s cold-weather culture. From January 26 to February 11, explore Quebec City to find adrenaline inducers (the Snow Racer Grand Prix), art (Videotron virtual studio) and family fun (Bonhomme’s ice palace) before heading back to your sumptuous suite at the Four-Star Auberge Saint-Antoine.
Grab a glass and book it to Maine for cool cocktails, light bites and good vibes at the Ice Bar, a chill weekend hangout hosted at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Portland Harbor Hotel from January 25 to 27.
Nosh on some beautiful bites at Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s 10th annual Cayman Cookout. From January 10 through 14, this celebrated culinary event will feature tastes, talks and tours from world-renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain, José Andrés and Emeril Lagasse, all with your toes in the sand.
Swirl, sniff and sip nearly 100 wines at the seventh annual Winter Wine Classic, one of the largest gatherings of California’s top winemakers. After imbibing at the January 27 event, escape the crowds at Five-Star Belmond El Encanto’s exclusive bungalows.
Skiing isn’t the only winter game in town. At Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Sundance Resort, take to the sky and soar over snowy Mount Timpanogos on a thrilling 3,870-foot-long zipline at more than 65 mph.
The City of Light looks like the Swiss Alps this season with hotels housing their own chalets. L’Hotel du Collectionneur transformed its courtyard with an enchanting wooden chalet pop-up restaurant with warming fare like smoked beef filet, chicory and roasted potatoes. Nearby Hôtel Le Fouquet’s Paris’ chalet is more intimate with wooden furniture, fake animal fur and Alpine cuisine.
Elevate your cocktail skills during a master class with veteran director of mixology Agostino Perrone at The Connaught, whose bar is touted as one of the world’s best. Learn to make bitters, syrups and infusions; carve ice; and discover how to craft the house martini and bloody mary.
Art fans can check out Fertile Ground, an 11-day festival dedicated to Portland artists’ new work, ranging from dance performances to long-form improv. Then check into the stylish Dossier and take in the Slim Aarons photos peppered throughout the property.
Newport, Rhode Island
Avoid summer crowds by touring Newport’s famed Gilded Age mansions in the winter. Be sure to stop at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ Italian Renaissance-style palazzo. Afterward, settle into more contemporary accommodations at the new Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina.
Drink to a good cause at scenic Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples during the Naples Winter Wine Festival, held from January 26 to 28. Enjoy three days of sensational sips, culinary creations and soothing sunshine, guilt free — all proceeds from the annual event benefit the Naples Children & Education Foundation.
Embrace the snowy season with a Five-Star escape to The Point, just in time for the region’s Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. In full swing from February 2 to 11, this yearly festival is fun for the whole family.
Rediscover your past at the nearly 200-year-old The Shelbourne Dublin when a dedicated genealogy butler helps you uncover your heritage during your stay. Book the hotel’s Re-Discover Your Irish Roots package this winter and receive a one-hour consultation on your family history.
Get hyped for a 24-hour winter wonderland at Grouse Mountain on February 17 and 18. Skate under the stars, dance to the live DJ or go late-night sledding before returning into the city to rest your head at The Douglas, a brand-new chic boutique hotel.