With 2023 coming in hot, now is the perfect time to plan your first trips for the new year. Maybe you have some New Year resolutions you’re looking to get started on ASAP, or you just need to get to a sunny, warm place to destroy your winter blues. Perhaps you want to ski your worries away, enjoy a winter wonderland-style escape, or check out some new hotels and restaurants. Plus, there are some significant holidays and festivals in January that are worth traveling to certain destinations for. From Montana and Maui to the Netherlands and India, here are the top spots across the globe to visit in January.
Big Sky, Montana
January brings ideal skiing conditions to this resort town that has been investing heavily in its skiing infrastructure and hospitality offerings. The region’s Rocky Mountain snowfall is legendary, with 5,850 acres of skiable terrain, and it has the most technologically advanced lift network in the country, with features like heated seats, weatherproof bubbles, and the fastest chairlift in America.
New for this season, in addition to expanded snowmaking capabilities, are Powder Park, a one-of-a-kind recreation space featuring a 450-foot tubing hill, snow play, and snow bike area; a headlamp night skiing experience; and aprés fine dining at Everett’s 8800 at the top of Andesite Mountain, accessible by luxury heated lift.
Don’t ski? Not to worry: There are other activities like sleigh rides, dog sledding, Nordic skiing, ice skating, and more. Guests looking for a five-star experience can book a room at Montage Big Sky, which opened last year. For a more affordable stay, the Summit Hotel and the Lodge at Big Sky are at the base of Lone Peak, just steps from the lift.
If your New Year’s resolution consists of anything health or mindfulness related, consider heading to Miraval Arizona in Tucson for a wellness retreat. You can set your own intention, with options ranging from mental well-being to self-connection to fitness focus, and from there a customized itinerary filled with activities, workshops, and treatments will follow. Plus, the Sonoran desert Tucson location is ideal in January: Temps are much more bearable than being there in the heat of high summer, but will still keep you nice and warm, with average highs in the upper 60s (perfect for hiking and biking!).
Tack on some extra time in downtown Tucson to discover the UNESCO City of Gastronomy’s impressive culinary scene, and check out the schedule for the annual Tucson Desert Song Festival, which starts January 13, and features performances by Susanna Phillips, Maria Brea, Ricky Ian Gordon, and others.
One way to banish the post-holiday blues? Book a beach vacation for January, and Turks and Caicos couldn’t be a better choice. Boasting clear cerulean waters, powdery white sand, and perfect weather, the island chain has a plethora of places to stay, eat, and play. If you’re looking to get off the beaten beach, instead of popular Grace Bay, check out The Shore Club. Ideal for families and friend groups, it offers spacious suites and villas, six dining and drinking outlets, four pools, a full-service spa, a tennis court, complimentary watersports equipment, and a kids club to keep the little ones fully occupied. Bonus: Turks and Caicos are easily accessible, with direct flights from NYC, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, and more.
Hudson Valley and the Catskills, New York
While visiting the mountains north of New York City might not seem an obvious choice in January, it’s actually a wonderful place for cozying up or hitting the slopes. And with a flood of recent hotel openings, there are more options for where to stay than ever. If you’re looking to ski Windham or Hunter mountains, you can stay nearby at recently opened spots like Hotel Lilien, Wylder Windham, and Bluebird Hunter Lodge. Meanwhile, Windham area favorite Eastwind is opening a new location closer to Hunter, Eastwind Oliverea Valley, on January 6. Guests here will be able to book one of its beloved A-frame cabins and dine at its full-service restaurant, a first for the brand. Plus, Windham Mountain recently unveiled a new high-speed quad chairlift and significant snowmaking upgrades.
For those looking to spend more time in the warm indoors—perhaps cuddling up by a crackling fireplace or dining on farm-to-table cuisine—the recently opened Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection has well-appointed cabins with fireplaces and deep soaking tubs, an on-site farm and greenhouse that supplies its restaurant Clay, and a speakeasy bar called the Green Room that hosts local musicians. And, there are plenty of trails if you do want to venture out on a winter walk.
A few minutes away is the iconic Mohonk Mountain House, an all-inclusive, family-owned resort that’s been around for more than 150 years. January guests can enjoy its covered ice rink, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, snow tubing, indoor archery, and movie nights. Warm up in the heated indoor pool and renovated spa—the Contrast Hydrotherapy Massage involves a hot steam shower and a massage with CBD-infused lotion ideal for sore, ski-tired muscles.
India’s first World Heritage City and the former capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is known for its handmade cotton textiles, delicious and addictive chaats (snacks), diamond cutting, and being home to Mahatma Gandhi for several years. It also happens to host one of the world’s largest annual kite festivals, during which the sky becomes a riot of winding colors. From January 8—14, thousands of kite masters and lovers come from around the world to fly their colorful creations at the annual Kite Festival. There are also viewing parties, a kite bazaar, and plenty of special snacks and sweets for sale. A couple of weeks later is India’s national holiday, Republic Day on January 26, celebrating the day in 1950 when the Indian Republic was formed. Every year there is a parade and various parties and pageants. While you’re there, be sure to go on a guided Heritage Walk to learn about the history of the city.
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Every year, people descend on this Dutch city to attend the epic, one-day Sneeuwbal Winter Festival, where top house and techno acts take the stage and winter is fully embraced. This year’s festival is on January 28 in Park Transwijk, where festivalgoers can alternate between listening to live music in igloos and joining activities like ice skating and tobogganing. Refuel with plenty of bratwursts, Dutch soups, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and other wintry food and drinks. The dress code is funky winter wear—think bright, zany scarves, fabulous ski wear, and wacky and warm hats. Book your room now to ensure you’ve got a place to crash after—check out Moxy Utrecht or the BUNK Hotel Utrecht for good deals.
Beverly Hills, California
A visit to 90210 is always fun, and this winter, there are so many new things to check out in the glamorous 5.71-square-mile city. Recent restaurant openings include the laid-back, Italian all-day café Ella; the star-backed (we’re talking Ryan Phillipe and Evan Ross) Mexican steakhouse The Hideaway; and Tatel, the buzzy Spanish import backed by athletes Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Pau Gasol. Plus, January brings the relaunch of the iconic La Dolce Vita restaurant by Call Mom hospitality group, known for bringing Genghis Cohen, another L.A. landmark, back to life.
Of course, shopping (or at least window shopping) in Beverly Hills is a must, and new shops include eyewear brand Dita, a new Rodeo Drive Giorgio Armani store, and Louis Vuitton’s first menswear-only store. And don’t forget classics like Edelweiss Chocolates, which has been around since 1949, and Nate ‘n Al’s delicatessen, which opened in 1945. And while accommodations in the area aren’t cheap, a recent renovation at the iconic Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel means refreshed rooms and you get to live out your “Pretty Woman” fantasy. It’s a win-win.
If you stay long enough, you can celebrate the new year twice in Bangkok: on New Year’s Day on January 1 and on Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year), which falls on January 22 this year. New Year’s Eve celebrations include countdowns at shopping centers like CentralWorld, Iconsiam, and Asiatique: The Riverfront, as well as at hotels such as Banyan Tree Bangkok, where you can enjoy a spectacular rooftop fireworks display, live entertainment, cocktails, and a grand buffet dinner. Meanwhile, hotel brand Lebua is hosting parties at 10 different bars and restaurants in the city.
A few weeks later, ring in the Year of the Rabbit in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here you will find a large block party, complete with dragon parades, firecrackers, and plenty of tasty street food. And while a lot of other Asian countries’ businesses shut down for the holiday, Thailand’s shops and restaurants remain open, making it easy to be a tourist during the holiday there. Don’t forget to wear red!
Maui in winter is never a bad idea, and if you wait until January, you’ll miss all the winter break crowds. Visitors enjoy white and black sand beaches, towering volcanoes, jungle hikes leading to gushing waterfalls, is-this-for-real rainbows, and one of the most legendary and stunning roads in the world. Aside from reveling in the island’s natural beauty, check out Upcountry farm tours like Maui Chocolate Tour, Maui Pineapple Tour, and Ali’i Kula Lavender. We also recommend dining on Hawaiian food at places like Lineage, Pacific’o on the Beach, Tiffany’s, Star Noodle, Tin Roof, and wherever a local tells you is the best place for poke. January is prime whale-watching season, so book a whale-watching boat ride or spot them from the shore, along with plenty of sea turtles.
Maui also usually hosts several Chinese New Year parades and celebrations; this year it falls out on January 23. Several Maui hotels have recently been upgraded, including the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and the Fairmont Kea Lani, which will be revealing its phase one on January 6. If you’re looking for a quieter side of the island, Montage Kapalua Bay provides an all-residence home base amid gorgeous scenery.
Yes, our nation’s capital is chilly in January. But that just means there will be fewer tourists filling up the free Smithsonian museums, like the finally reopened National Air and Space Museum. Stroll the National Mall and reserve tickets to go up to the top of the Washington Monument for epic city views before ice skating at one of several rinks, including the National Gallery of Art Sculpture, the Wharf, or the Washington Harbor in Georgetown. Later, check out Yasmine, Union Market’s new Lebanese restaurant, and Chang Chang in Dupont Circle, a Sichuan spot earning rave reviews.
If you’re there over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 16), the city has several commemorations, including a peace walk, parade, wellness fair, and prayer breakfast. Be sure to visit his memorial at the edge of the Tidal Basin, and the National Cathedral, where he preached his last Sunday sermon before his assassination in 1968. Book a room at one of these three hotels that opened in the last few months: The Pendry Washington DC at the Wharf, The Morrow Hotel in NoMa, and Salamander Washington DC, which took over the old Mandarin Oriental.
Head to the Land Down Under in January and nab your first summer of the year. Loll on the whitest sand you’ll ever see on the Whitsunday Islands, and then snorkel or dive amid the Great Barrier Reef. Get a group together and take a boat to K’Gari, the largest sand island in the world, where you can rent a four-wheel-drive truck and motor along the stunning island’s ragged coastline, spotting shipwrecks and dingoes along the way. Head to Daintree National Park and the newly opened Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre, which is operated by mostly Indigenous staff since the park was returned to Eastern Kuku Yalanji people.
If you need uninterrupted beach and surfing time, Noosa Heads or Coolum on the Sunshine Coast are great options. And don’t forget to spend a few days in the capital city of Brisbane, where new luxury hotels include The Langham Gold Coast and Dorsett Gold Coast. During your visit, attractions like the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary—one of the few places where you can touch and feed koalas—should be on your list.