best winter urban vacations

4 Best Urban Winter Getaways

So often we focus our trips on far-off lands filled with sun, sand or snow, but there is still a mystique that surrounds the urban getaway --especially during winter when decorated buildings are a twinklin', snow is a fallin' and hot cocoa is a steamin'. So whether you decide to take a quick getaway during the holidays or in the early days of winter, these urban hot-spots will offer an experience sure to stimulate all 5 senses! New York, NY Rockefeller Tree Let's face it, New York is great any time of year (except during heat waves), but there is something magical that happens in Winter.  The Big Apple transforms into a cozy urban backdrop offering endless hours of city and park walking, amazing shopping, people watching and SKATING to only name a few activities. Experience New York's vibrancy and nostalgia as you watch the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall [dec 14 - jan 3], skate at Rockefeller, meander in Central Park, warm up in the MET and cap it all off with dinner and a show!

San Francisco, CA DSC00038 Last year, I stood on the 6th floor of Macy's and watched as the Union Square Christmas Tree was illuminated.  Everyone simultaneously cheered as the Christmas season was officially welcomed...and then they went back to their shopping.  Adjacent to the tree is the union square skating rink --a prefect activity for a winter urban getaway.  Open until Jan 18th, the rink is an excellent stop-over during your San Francisco sight-seeing adventure. Don't miss the 1930's-style Tonga Room Lounge at the Fairmont, the city views from Coit Tower, riding the cable car, watching cars twist and turn on Lombard street, the multiple museums and dining atop Macy's.

Vancouver, Canada Grouse Mountain, Vancouver Scared to visit Vancouver because it is the home of the 2010 Olympics.  Don't let this hold you back.  The Olympics take place Feb 12 - 28; before and after this time, hotels are reasonable.  If you are going to see Vancouver during Winter, this is the year to do it!  The city is "dressed to the nines" as it prepares to host the world and shine in the international spotlight.  Vancouver's walkability also makes it an ideal place to use your downtown hotel as a base camp and explore the unique neighborhoods, poke into local shops, skate at robson square, take a sleigh ride at grouse mountain and even ride the famous Christmas train in Stanley Park [until jan 2].

Quebec City, Quebec Wall-e & Bonhomme If you are going to visit Quebec in the Winter, do so during Carnaval [jan 29 - feb 14].  This winter celebration is similar to Mardi Gras except done in much cooler temperatures.  After a long day parading through the street blowing on your red trumpet, dancing with Bonhomme, marveling at the ice palace and gawking at the outdoor museum's ice sculptures, stay at the Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glas).  Oh, and make sure to wear something red!