December is coming around the corner. The weather has cooled down, and there is something refreshing in the air. At this time of the year, it is tempting to stay inside and sulk in a cosy corner of your house. But don’t let the year end on such quiet nights because December is the perfect time for a trip. Whether you are a solivagant or someone who likes to stick with your group on field trips, this is a magnificent time to enjoy countless entertainment activities. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list of best places to visit in December; it may give you some ideas!
December Holiday Destinations - Things to Consider Before You Plan
Before you read further or jump right into the list of the best places to go in December, there are a few things you may need to consider for a safe and fun trip:
- Check COVID-19 news in the area before your trip: As the COVID-19 situation changes around the world, it's best to get the latest updates before you head to the destination. You may want to regularly check the list of reopening countries in December and their travelling restrictions. In addition, make sure that you are vaccinated and up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travelling (According to CDC - Centres for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Know the weather pattern of the place you’re going: Depending on where you’re from and where you’re heading, the weather can cause certain troubles for your December trip. For example, if you’re someone who has been living in Hawaii for most of your life, visiting the UK may not be the best idea. With less than seven hours of daylight and cold temperature, you will find yourself enjoying the view… indoors. If you insist on taking such an adventure, make sure to check the weather forecast often and prepare your luggage thoroughly.
- Have a plan to guide you into the unknown: Perhaps you’re the type of person who likes to travel without planning. You love the excitement of going on an adventure with your bare hands and enjoying the world of the unknown. However, it’s not a bad thing to take into account the risks and troubles you may encounter, especially when you’re going to visit another country. Take note of any special events (religious events, political elections or even exotic festivals) and dangerous paths on your route. This will help you avoid unpleasant situations and have a smooth strip.
- Make a travel packing checklist: It’s never an enjoyable thing to forget stuff during your trip. When it comes to the point of forgetting your passport or your wallet at home, the trip will turn into a disaster. To prevent such cases, you may want to create a travel checklist in advance. You can make one by yourself or make it easy by downloading any travelling checklist online. However, customising the list on your own will help you become more experienced and cost you less effort during the next trip.
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- Be aware of the crowds and costs during the season: December is a busy season. It's jam-packed with tons of entertainment activities, and of course, with customers and tourists. Depending on your destination, you may need to book accommodation and travelling tickets far in advance, even one year ahead. It’s also recommended to research marketplaces and shops in case you want to get your beloved one’s gifts and souvenirs.
The Perfect Destination for Your December Adventure
The beauty of Japan attracts tourists every season. People love to watch the cherry blossoms bloom in spring, enjoy street festivals and firework displays in summer, and appreciate the crimson leaves and perfect weather in autumn. However, winter in Japan is something different. Its sacred and silent beauty makes it a winter wonderland and one of the best countries to visit in December.
Compared to other seasons, Japan is pleasantly cool and mild during December. You can expect snow in some areas, such as Hokkaido and northern parts of Honshu (Tohoku). But for the rest of Japan, it’s pretty warm and sunny, especially in Tokyo and Osaka. You can consider these two as ideal warm places to visit in December.
Although winter is the low season in Japan, there’s a wide variety of activities for you to try out. If you want to experience the cold temperatures and snow, skiing down the icy slopes in Hokkaido may just be perfect for you. However, the inconsistent snowfall in December is something you need to consider. In case you are still keen on skiing during this time, make sure to check out local conditions to see if the weather is right. If you’re not a thrill seeker, or perhaps you’re finding some relaxing leisure activity, how about camping? Having around 3000 campsites spreading from the forests to the coastline, Japan is the ideal destination for camping lovers inside and outside the country, making it one of the perfect December holiday destinations. In December, if you can manage to get a place near Mount Fuji, you’re likely to get a good view of the snow-covered mountain. Some camping sites even include hot springs paired with the views of Fuji, which are heavenly and great for relaxing when it’s cold out.
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Japan is also one of the best places to visit in December because it is the perfect time to enjoy annual events. Even though Japan is not a country that celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday, you can still enjoy the holiday atmosphere by walking down the streets. Wandering around the city while gazing at the bright festive lights and trees doesn’t sound like a bad idea. If you visit Japan by the end of December, you may as well celebrate the new year at the shrine. As a tradition, on New Year's Eve, Japanese people line up to pray for a better year at their local shrines. Sometimes there are also food and stalls finding the pathway. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience to drink warm kase and countdown to the new year with the locals.
Winter in Germany brings out the traditions, the aesthetics and the livelihood, making it the best place to holiday in December. Tourists from all over the world gather here for the charm of the Christmas market and great outdoor activities. There’s nothing more than chowing down gingerbread and having a sip of Glühwein on a cold night when counting down to the new year.
At this time of the year, it’s not ideal to leave your warm clothing at home. Although winter officially starts on December 21, you’ll expect the early season changes, including lower temperatures and a dull sky accompanied by frequent rain. Snow is not easy to see unless you head to higher altitude areas near ski fields and resorts. However, the short daytime here (from 8 am to 4 pm) provides the perfect chance to take excellent shots of holiday lights at the Christmas market, proving that Germany deserves to be the best place to holiday in December.
There are plenty of things you can do here in the year’s final month. When you arrive in Germany, one of the best December holiday destinations, it will be a pity not to have a look at the Christmas markets. You will soon get into the holiday spirit after buying some tiny little Christmas decorations, having some of the warmest drinks and enjoying delicious treats such as crepes and fruitcakes. If you have a chance to visit Berlin in December, you’re likely to experience the extra festive vibe with around 80 Christmas markets along the city. In case you want to warm up your body, plenty of ski resorts offer ski jumping, ski runs, tobogganing and snowshoeing. When you’re done with sports and up for something quieter and more relaxing, you may as well jump on a horse-drawn carriage and get a spectacular view of historic castles. In addition, make sure you don’t miss out on Berlin's main sights when you get there. It may be a little crowded, but it’s worth the wait. Imagine how lovely it is to watch the Brandenburg Gate in the sunset, to wander among the famous five museums on Museum Island, and then end your day having fun with ice skating at Lankwitz.
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Being one of the best countries to visit in December, Germany also has some exciting events that attract both residents and tourists. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the most awaited times in the country. People celebrated this time with fireworks and food and drink stands lined with endless theatre performances and concerts. If you visit Germany in early December, you have the chance to join two of the most significant national events, which are Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day. It will be a pleasant experience whether to visit the menorah in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate or to watch children’s boots filled with goodies.
New York City
No place gives you the holiday experience like New York City does. It’s the best place to visit in December. If you’re the one who loves to blend in the crowds and enjoy outdoor activities along with street performances, New York City is the perfect place for you. There’s no exaggeration in calling New York the famous city that never sleeps because the road is always full of people, especially during the holiday season. In addition to the shopping and general sightseeing, tourists flow to NYC for the famous tree at Rockefeller Centre, the popular train show at the New York Botanical Garden, not to mention the one-of-a-lifetime experience of the countdown in Time Square.
New York is fun and all, but not one of the warm places to visit in December. The temperatures gradually become colder toward the end of the month, with the average temperature of 43F(6C) during the day and 32F (0C) at night. People expect a white Christmas during this time, but it’s unlikely to happen. Although the average temperature is not cold enough, keep your hope because there will be at least one or two days of snow. These days, the ideal pack for New York includes a good winter coat, some thermal clothing, winter boots and a few pairs of good warm socks.
After packing up your stuff, look at some seasonal activities to understand why New York City gained the title “the best place to holiday in December”. As mentioned above, one of the most anticipated events during Christmas is the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree Lighting. The tree will be lit for a total of 24 hours on Christmas Day, December 25th, and the front area is predictably cramped. If you want a good view of this “worldwide symbol of Christmas”, we recommend going early by 3 pm at the latest or taking note of some nearby locations for a better experience (without the crowds).
Along with the Tree Lighting, you can spend time watching the live performances in front of the Prometheus Statue or perhaps, going ice skating and taking a tour of Radio City Music Hall. However, while Tree Lighting is open for everyone, other activities will cost you some cash.
If you’re not fond of the Christmas Tree, how about walking around and taking a good look at the marvellous holiday window decoration in NYC? These stunning Christmas window displays are one of the best holiday attractions in NYC that attract both tourists and locals. The ornately carved window frame with hundreds of dazzling Christmas lights and vibrant winter decor holds a dreamy, magical vibe that only happens once a year. It’s impressive, and more importantly, it’s free. You can find these spectacular displays at any big department store and maybe take a closer look when the crowds thin out.
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Among other things, New York City also has terrific events that are exclusive in December, making it the best place to visit in December. Along with Christmas, New Year’s Eve is also a time that people highly anticipate. It's a lifetime experience for everyone to count down the last seconds of the year in Times Square. Despite the jam-packed space, it's pure excitement to blend in with people and shout out that same old greeting, “Happy New Year!”. In addition, if you arrive in New York in mid-December, make sure not to miss out on Hanukkah, the famous Jewish celebration from December 18th to December 26th.
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If you find yourself growing bored of the usual White Christmas and longing for something different, with more warmth and sunshine, then the Caribbean is your must-pick. The Caribbean is depicted as one of the best places to go in December for sun. It’s a sunny paradise featuring everything you need on a hot summer day: perfect beaches, delicious treats, bustling outdoor dining spots and colourful festivities.
As one of the ideal warm places to visit in December, Caribbean weather isn’t a great concern to tourists. During this time, the Caribbean's average temperature fluctuates between 83°F (28°C) and 73°F (23°C), with a high chance of rain. However, this shouldn’t bother you as it tends to be a light shower rather than a torrential downpour. The optimal travelling pack for a Caribbean trip would include some summer clothing, bathing suits and of course, sunscreen for hot, sunny days. In case it turns colder at night, bring a sweater, a light jacket and maybe a pair of long pants.
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When it comes to the Caribbean, the best place to holiday in December, there’s no shortage of activities for tourists to enjoy. If you’re a food lover or spicy food enjoyer, you may want to head straight to Jamaica. They serve tasty and rich local dishes such as Jerk chicken, Ackee and Saltfish. You can appreciate the blowing mixture of flavours and spices while listening to Bob Marley’s greatest hits. After filling yourself with Jamaican cuisine, if you want to stretch your muscles gently, come and visit Curacao. The stunning coral reefs here attract many divers and snorkelers, plus accommodations and meals come at a very reasonable price.
Aruba is an excellent option if you simply want a sunny paradise. Sandy beaches, crystal blue water, chill drinks and colourful resorts in one place, how luxurious and relaxing is that!
While you’re here having a sunny Christmas, you may as well skim through the list of December-only events. Being the best place to holiday in December, the Caribbean offers tourists colourful and exotic festivities on these special days. Two of the main events this month are Junkanoo and St. Kitts and the Nevis National Carnival. Junkanoo is a major cultural festival in The Bahamas, featuring a street parade with vibrant music, dance and costumes. It celebrates the importance of life, freedom and spirituality. As for St. Kitts Nevis Carnival, it’s the most prominent national event in Saint Kitts and Nevis and a significant symbol of Kittitian culture. By joining the carnival, tourists can enjoy the national calypso and soca competitions, the historical performances from Folkloric Groups and especially the Parade. The costumes, music and energy will lure you into the infinite loop of dancing and singing.
When it comes to travelling, you can’t go wrong with Hawaii. With the comfortable and warm weather, the beautiful natural landscape and hundreds of exciting activities, Hawaii is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in December. However, December also brings crowds and costs to Hawaii. Therefore, tourists should book accommodations and plane tickets well in advance and visit the place in the first two weeks to enjoy the holiday with fewer crowds.
Thanks to the stable mild weather, Hawaii is portrayed as one of the best places to go in December. Tourists are assured of enjoying the calm and pleasant sea breezes and short little rain bursts. There’s not much change in air temperature. However, travellers coming to Hawaii for water activities must check out the water conditions from time to time. Specific changes in water temperatures and wave heights can cause trouble whether you tune in for swimming or surfing. The perfect travelling package for your December trip should include light clothing, a good pair of flip-flops, sunscreen and perhaps one or two sweaters for cold days.
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There are plenty of things to do here in one of the best places to visit in December apart from swimming, surfing and snorkelling. December is a beautiful time of the year when tourists have the chance to enjoy exclusive activities and events. If you love the Christmas lights and live performances, check out the Honolulu City Lights. It’s a month-long holiday event and a tradition for the residents on this island. Guests coming to Honolulu during this time can challenge themselves with Keiki rides, appreciate the impressive display of decorated Christmas trees in the Honolulu Hale Courtyard or try out delicious treats at the food & drink stalls.
Another exciting event for tourists this December is the Makahiki festival in Lahaina. This traditional festival will feed you with delicious dishes and fantastic game matches. Here people play games such as boxing, wrestling, surfing and canoe racing to honour Akua Pa’ani, the god of sports. During this time, you can also watch the lovely unofficial Christmas flower, the poinsettia, blooming in abundance in the Hawaiian climate.
This is the end of the list. We hope this inclusive destination list gives you a spark on where to head in December. Have a safe and fun trip!