25 Places to Go If You’re Dreaming of a White Christmas Gallery
25 Places to Go If You’re Dreaming of a White Christmas
Christmas is, of course, one of the biggest holidays of the year in many places around the world. There are certain cities and regions that are the absolute best destinations for an extravagant Yuletide celebration, but sometimes extravagance isn’t what someone might want. Sometimes, all you want is some snow.
There’s something about a white Christmas that’s extra magical. It can make for a more romantic vacation, or it can simply be the chance for more fun on the holidays — skiing, snow angels, and snowballs can all make Christmas Day that much more special. A train ride on Christmas is that much more like the Polar Express when snowflakes are passing by the windows, and Christmas cookies are somehow that much more delicious when they're warming you up from the freezing snow outside. So for a holiday that looks like something out of a snow globe, check out these 25 places to go if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas.
The subarctic climate of Anchorage brings in an average snowfall of 75.5 inches every year. Add in the gorgeous mountain scenery and a chance to see the Northern Lights, and you’ve got the perfect Christmas postcard here in Alaska’s largest city.
Snowfall can come as early as September in Aspen, and it’s so cold at this high of an elevation that snow only accumulates as winter goes on. An average of 23.1 inches of snow will have fallen in Aspen by the time December comes around, and there’s likely to only be more in time for Christmas. Star of the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is one of the best destinations for skiing snowy slopes.
The resort town of Banff is located in the Canadian province of Alberta, attracting hikers and skiiers from around the world. When it snows in a place year round, with an average annual snowfall of over 75 inches, you know you’re in for a picturesque and snowy Christmas.
Located 9,600 feet above sea level, Breckenridge, Colorado, is sure to be a winter wonderland come Christmas. Take care not to succumb to altitude sickness, however, and bundle up in the evenings.
Buffalo is the snowiest metropolitan area in the United States, receiving 91 inches of snow per year. The possibility of a white Christmas here, therefore, is quite high, and we recommend you take care to stay warm among the strong winds with a nice thick coat and perhaps some hot and spicy buffalo wings.
The idyllic New England town of Caribou, Maine, has a whopping 97 percent chance of a snowy Christmas, with a 57 percent chance of 10 inches or more. The town receives about 110 inches of snow each year and is known as the coldest in New England, a favorite of cross-country skiers and snowmobilers from across the country.
Finland’s capital is very likely to offer up a white Christmas, with the city’s first big snow falling right in time for Christmas. Even more gorgeous, however, are the hourslong sunrises and sunsets, a truly Instagrammable experience.
Japan’s northernmost major island, Hokkaido, is known for its volcanoes and hot springs, but in the winter the temperature can go down to -1 degree Celsius, and the island is home to a number of breathtaking ski resorts. In addition to hitting the snowy slopes, wintertime vacationers can also go on a guided tour in an ice breaker through the drift ice, take a frozen lake banana-boat ride, or even hit the hot springs.
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Perfect for a weekend getaway, Jackson Hole is definitely a place you should consider visiting for the holidays. An average of 18.6 inches of snow fall in December in Jackson Hole
Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.
The Lake Tahoe area gets three feet of snow every December, which is perfect for the skiing and snowboarding aficionados that visit every year from around the world. Even if snow doesn’t fall for some reason, the ski resorts in this area are sure to make sure their slopes are pure white. If you’re not up for a snowboarding class or a good time on the water, however, there’s still plenty to do in this popular tourist region. Get some of the country’s best waffles at the Red Hut Café. Dining, shopping, gambling, and nature sightseeing are all worthwhile endeavors to pursue in this beautiful getaway spot.
This Finnish region is the spot for a white Christmas. Visit the village of Rovaniemi, known as “Santa’s Village” because it’s said to be home to Saint Nick himself. Just by virtue of being in the Arctic Circle, you’re guaranteed snow on the ground if not falling around you on Christmas, and the Northern Lights may make an appearance as well. Lapland is also home to Levi, the biggest ski resort in Finland, where temperatures can dip as low as -9 degrees Celsius.
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
California’s sunny reputation doesn’t lend itself to an image of a winter wonderland, but the high elevation of the town of Mammoth Lakes — nearly 8,000 feet — means more than 45 inches of December snowfall on average. In fact, heavy snowfall persists from December to March.
Almost 20 inches of snow descends on Montreal every December, and it’s highly likely that you’ll see at least an inch of snowfall on Christmas Day itself. Take in the Christmas lighting of Mont Royal Avenue or snowshoe through Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Russian winters are notorious, so it makes sense that the nation’s capital makes this list. December temperatures in Moscow tend to stay around -10 to -15 degrees Celsius, with snowfall occurring an average of 17 days. The city is in full holiday spirit for the entire month, although it should be noted that Christmas in Russia isn’t celebrated until January 7.
Greenland is known for the Big Arctic Five: dog sledding, pioneering people, whales, the Northern Lights, and ice and snow. As a result, snow is an absolute guarantee in the winter at the island’s capital of Nuuk.
Prague, Czech Republic
The chances for snow in Prague on Christmas are high, which results in a beautiful wintery scene of gothic architecture and beautiful medieval streets. Christmas markets complete the picturesque scene, and the chill can be easily beat with a hot sausage or some svařené víno, a Czech version of mulled wine.
Lying just outside the Arctic Circle, the Reykjavík sees nighttime winter temperatures drop to -2 degrees Celsius, which means if snow isn’t falling on Christmas, it’s sure to already be on the ground. The snowy season starts in late September here, and the Northern Lights and Christmas markets make the city especially romantic this time of year.
Salzburg has already brought quite a bit of beauty into the world as the filming locale for The Sound of Music and birthplace of Mozart, and on Christmas it continues to deliver. Snow has a high chance of falling on this city in the Austrian Alps, and for a guaranteed white Christmas, plenty of ski resorts are available nearby.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Home to the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg is, of course, an ideal place for a snowy Christmas. There are an average of 118 days of snowfall from December to March, with an average of 7.5 inches covering the ground by February.
Tallinn sees only a few hours of sunlight during the shortest days of the year in late December, but the city’s many Christmas decorations and gorgeous snowscapes are sure to light up your Christmas. Christmas markets and holiday treats make this city the perfect place to celebrate Christmas in addition to the snowy weather.
In addition to subarctic winters, the Norwegian city of Tromsø offers visitors the chance to witness natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights and the midnight sun right from the city itself. The sun doesn’t shine at all here in December, but with such beautiful surroundings and awe-inspiring nature, you won’t feel glum for a moment.
The Baltic nation of Lithuania is known for harsh winters, but its capital has a way of making the best of it. A snowy Christmas is highly likely, which means sledding in Vingis Park before enjoying tasty holiday treats at the city’s Christmas markets. A popular Christmas train ride takes you around the city, and the city’s cathedral sees an ice-skating rink out in front of it as well as special films projected on its walls.
Home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, Whistler is a great destination for skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, tobogganing, and snowshoeing. Its location in the mountains means it’s ripe for snowfall in December, but even if snow is scarce from the sky, the town’s ski resorts ensure that everything stays white.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
Yellowstone National Park has a 100 percent chance of seeing at least three inches of snow on Christmas Day and a 91 percent chance of seeing a foot of it. While its beauty and Instagram-worthiness are often acknowledged during the warmer months, this national park deserves far more attention for its beauty during the holidays.
Located in the Valais region of Switzerland, Zermatt is a guaranteed white Christmas due to the fact that snow falls here 10 months of the year, and snow on the ground exists year-round. One of the world’s highest ski areas with an altitude of nearly 12,500 feet, Zermatt hosts many quaint shops and bars, as well as ice-skating rinks and opportunities for sledding, sleigh rides, and winter walks. Having banned cars, the town is truly picturesque and a pedestrian’s paradise. If you’re not just concerned about snow but want to explore more towns for a perfect Christmas, check out our list of the world’s 50 best places for a Yuletide celebration.