Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? If you haven’t made up your mind of where to go for the holidays, it’s still not too late to start planning, although time is quickly running out. While it’s true that last minute accommodations will be noticeably higher, it’s the most magical time of the year and there’s nothing quite like a spontaneous winter vacation. Even if it’s too late for a last minute trip, you’ll have a whole year to start planning for next year! Here then is a quick look at just five of the best places in America for a white Christmas.

Wheeler Opera House and Aspen has a very high probability of a white christmas
Wheeler Opera House, Aspen (credit: Randy Yagi)

Aspen, Colorado

One of the world’s most famous ski destinations, Aspen is one of just a dozen destinations with a 100 percent chance of snow on Christmas Day. While skiing and snowboarding at Aspen Snowmass are tops for activities, there will be plenty of other things to enjoy throughout the holidays. Beginning December 20, Aspen will host 12 Days of Aspen, with multiple events on December 25, including ABBA Mania at Wheeler Opera House. Additional highlights will be the Christmas Day Buffet at Hotel Jerome, Christmas Dinner at Ajax Tavern and Features & Fun at W Aspen. Of course, the Aspen-Snowmass area will also host a number of exceptional après-ski events, like Base Camp Bar & Grill, Belly Up Aspen, Limelight Lounge, Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar. Rooms for a white Christmas may still be available at area hotels, including Aspen Meadows, Hotel Aspen, Limelight Hotel, W Aspen and Wildwood Snowmass.

Related: The Grand Hotels Of New Hampshire

Chicago's Millennium Park in winter
Millennium Park (credit: Bryan Rodriguez)

Chicago, Illinois

At just 41 percent, Chicago doesn’t have a high probability of snow on Christmas. But Christmas in Chicago is like no other, with a vast number of special events held throughout the holiday season. High on the list of things to see do are the City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park, the Christkindlmarkets in Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville and ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. If that’s not enough there are also also the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier, A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre and the Christmas Around the World & Holidays of Light exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, among several others. Area hotels still have many last minute rooms available for a white Christmas, including the Langham Chicago, Four Seasons Chicago, the Peninsula Chicago and Waldorf-Astoria Chicago. Check for other last minute lodging options through HotelTonight, AirBnb, Vacasa and VRBO.

Christmas trees in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City
Rockefeller Center (credit: Elias Andres-Jose)

New York City, New York

Major cities in Upstate New York like Buffalo and Rochester may have a better chance of snow on Christmas day. But none comes close to the magic that America’s largest city can offer. Take for instance the colorful holiday markets, the dazzling Fifth Avenue storefront displays and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. But there are many more attractions to take in, like the light display at Saks Fifth Avenue, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Nutcracker at Lincoln Centre and Winter Onederland at One World Observatory. Even more special events are held at leading attractions the Hanukkah lighting at Empire State Building, Bank of America’s Winter Village in Bryant Park, Santaland at Macy’s and Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Gardens. Last minute hotel suggestions include 1 Hotel Central Park, Hotel Indigo Lowes, Arlo SoHo and the Pierre, all with rooms currently available. Additional lodging may be found through major travel sites like AirBnb, Hotel Tonight, Vacasa and VRBO.

A skier taking air at a world class snow ski event in Park City, Utah
Park City (credit: Patrick T’Kindt)

Park City, Utah

One of the country’s leading ski destinations, Park City is bustling with activities over the Christmas holiday. And with a better than 75 percent chance for a white Christmas, it’s all the better reason to visit this magnificent area just southeast of the Great Salt Lake. Many of the premier events are held at Park City Mountain Resort, like Santa Comes Downtown Lift December 21, Silver Sky Nights with fireworks and live music December 22, and Snowfest through January 5, including the must see Torchlight Parade on December 24. Around Park City, there are other recommended events to consider, like It’s a Wonderful Life with Park City Film, Christmas with the Celts December 18-20 and Kurt Bestor December 21-25 at the Egyptian Theater and the Nutcracker December 21 with Ballet West. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley are well known for its high end resort hotels like Grand Summit Hotel, Montage Deer Valley and the world famous Stein Eriksen Lodge. However, many more rooms are available during the holidays, with recommendations like Treasure Mountain Inn, Lodge at Mountain Village and Silver King Hotel.

Snow covered boat dock in South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe (credit: Joshua Coleman)

South Lake Tahoe, California

The southern section of Lake Tahoe has a lesser probability of Christmas snow than its neighbors on the northern side. Nevertheless, South Tahoe will host many more noteworthy events to celebrate an unforgettable white Christmas. Among Tahoe South’s signature events are the Holidays Family Festival and the daily Community Tree Lighting with Santa, both at Heavenly Mountain Resort. But several more Christmas events continue after December 25 at Heavenly Mountain, with the Holidays Carnival, Winter Wonderland Photo Booth and Heavenly Express all running from December 26 – December 31. Additionally, the village will host live entertainment at its stage and an ice sculpture contest on December 27. In addition to world-class ski and snowboard conditions at Heavenly, South Lake Tahoe casinos like Harveys Resort and Harrah’s will host non-stop gambling action, as well as ongoing live entertainment and multiple food options. Other top lodging suggestions are Marriott’s Timber Lodge, Grand Residences by Marriott, Landing Tahoe and Edgewood Tahoe.

Related: Five Winter Driving Tips


About the Author & Founder of

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University and a member of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

Randy is also a veteran of the United States Army, having served stateside and in Germany. He is a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California