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These 3 Iconic U.S. Cities Are Trending for Travelers This Winter

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As the cold settles in and you swap your skirts and shorts for warm coats, you might already be planning your winter escape. It seems others have the same idea, as online travel agency, Priceline, has crunched its data and identified three cities that have more than doubled in online searches. It’s no surprise that all three have been considered the best warm destinations for winter travel in the U.S. and are conveniently the most affordable between mid-November and the new year.

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans, travel

Check out the three cities below and why they are considered hot spots for the season.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Coming in at number three as the trendiest destination, with searches up by 143%, is Las Vegas. It’s also considered the number one most affordable destination based on average return airfare, sitting at around $300. Temperatures can range from anywhere as high as 58°F to a chilly 38°F in December, but there’s nothing more warming than a city filled with bright lights.

Catch your favorite Vegas entertainment from a plethora of Cirque Du Soleil shows or a limited season of the Christmas ballet classic, The Nutcracker. Swing by the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens for its winter wonderland display, or take a stroll down the Linq Promenade to view its epic Christmas decorations.

Las Vegas, Nevada,, travel

Adults will enjoy the “Disneyland for Liquor” at the Lost Spirits Distillery or some Vegas culture at the Neon Museum, which celebrates the history of iconic Vegas signs. A trip to Vegas obviously wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a casino; catch the dancing water fountain show at the Bellagio, hit the elegant shops at Caesars, or go dancing at Venetian’s nightclub.

Priceline’s data shows that Vegas offers the most affordable domestic accommodation for the season, with the average hotel rate coming in at around $133 per night when booking online. Keep in mind this likely doesn’t take into account the hidden fees that Vegas implements in taxes and other charges since these don’t typically come up until the final booking screen. These extra costs can range from $40 to $80.

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Neon Museum, travel

Honolulu, Hawaii

There should be no surprise with the second location on this list. Honolulu is a well-known winter travel destination, and this is proven by its search history, being up by 151%. Temperatures are a lot warmer, ranging from a balmy 81°F and rarely falling below 64°F in December.

Take advantage of the sun by enjoying a dip in the surrounding sea at Honolulu’s many gorgeous beaches, or try your skills on a surfboard at Sunset Beach. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from a variety of activities, such as a hike to the top of Lēʻahi (Diamond Head) to take in the stunning views of Waikiki and Honolulu, a swim with dolphins from a catamaran; or enjoying the tide pools at low tide at the Mermaid Caves.

Honolulu, Hawaii. Skyline of Honolulu

For history buffs, a trip to Pearl Harbor offers fascinating insights into the story behind the War in the Pacific, or explore the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which will also be hosting special Christmas events and marketplaces. The Honolulu City Lights will be back this year, featuring the famous tree lighting and a holiday parade on December 10.

Honolulu’s nightly rate is more on the expensive side, with an average of $340 per night, but if you’re quick, travel sites are offering deals on accommodations, such as Priceline’s 60% off popular hotels during the holiday period, so make sure you shop around.

Diamond Head crater in Hawaii

New Orleans, Louisiana

Securing the number one spot for the top trending destination is New Orleans, with online searches increasing by over 2.5 times (153%). It comes in third as the most affordable domestic destination based on an average return airfare ($321), while its average nightly rate is around $220. Temperatures sit a little higher than Las Vegas, averaging between a moderate 68°F and 48°F in December.

This magical city is always full of life, and it’s easy to understand why it’s called “The Big Easy,” a synonym for the city’s spirit that describes the gentle and easy-going approach to life. Popular activities include a boat ride along the famous Mississippi, hopping on one of the city’s six vintage red streetcars, or a visit to the Carousel Bar for some live piano tunes.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA street cars.

Make sure you taste a beignet at the oldest and most iconic cafe, Café Du Monde. While you’re in the French Quarter, wander around to see the unique ‘second generation’ Creole and Greek revival architecture styles, or head south for an architectural gem and some New Orleans’ history at House of Broel.

The city is filled with Christmas celebrations, including a Cajun tradition of lighting 20-foot bonfires on the river levees; caroling at the iconic St. Louis Cathedral; or watching the festive lighting projections during LUNA Fête, which combines art, film, and technology all in one festival.

Beignets in New Orleans

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