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Where To Go For Culture Or Sightseeing In December?

Last update: 2023-12-07

December is a magical month filled with holiday cheer, festive events, and fabulous destinations to explore. If you're looking for some culture or sightseeing adventures this December, there are plenty of excellent options across the globe. Here are some of the best places to travel for culture, history, and iconic sights during the most wonderful time of the year.

Experience Christmas Markets in Europe

DEU Mittelfranken Nuernberg Christkindlesmarkt Frauenkirche
One of the most iconic December traditions is visiting the charming Christmas markets in Europe. Major cities like Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Zurich all host sprawling markets that offer seasonal food, handmade gifts, warm drinks, and a festive atmosphere. Wander the wooden stalls during the day and enjoy the sparkling lights at night while sipping on mulled wine. It's a quintessential Christmas experience. Some of the best and most famous markets are Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany and Striezelmarkt in Dresden.

Soak Up Holiday Cheer in New York City

New York City absolutely sparkles during the holiday season. From the enormous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to the department store window displays on 5th Avenue, the Big Apple is a sight to behold in December. Go ice skating in Central Park, marvel at the holiday decorations, see the Rockettes Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, and experience the festive vibes all over the city. The holiday spirit is palpable. It's one of the best places for culture and sightseeing this December.

Visit Art Museums in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE, DECEMBER 01, 2022 : interiors, collections, furnitures and decors of Nissim de Camondo museum, Paris, france
Paris, the city of lights, takes on a special glow during the winter. December is a slower tourist season, so you can avoid crowds at landmarks like the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Pompidou Center. Spend days wandering the galleries and admiring classic works of art. Stop for crepes, coffee, and people watching at sidewalk cafes. Stroll down the Champs-Elysees to see its glittering holiday decor and pop into the lavish department stores. With far fewer tourists, December is a magical time to experience the refined culture of Paris.

Go Northern Lights Hunting

December is prime viewing season for the Aurora Borealis at northern latitudes. Book an Aurora hunting tour in destinations like Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Bundle up and venture out into the dark wilderness on snowmobiles, sled dogs, or small group vans. With minimal light pollution, you'll have an excellent chance of glimpsing the magical glowing ribbons of the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky. It's an unforgettable natural phenomenon. Just be sure to pack your warmest winter gear!

Celebrate Art Basel in Miami

USA, Florida, Miami Beach, December 3, 2016. Art Basel week. Biggest art exhibition in the world. Editorial use only
For a huge annual cultural event in December, head to Miami for Art Basel. This premier international art show draws artists, collectors, galleries, and art enthusiasts from all over the world. The weeklong event features thought-provoking contemporary works of art, stimulating conversations, lavish parties, and more. Miami's beaches and parks are even transformed into public art installations. It's the perfect place to immerse yourself in groundbreaking culture and creativity this December.

Go to Art Museums in Washington DC

Washington DC has some of the best art collections in the world at museums like the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. Their expansive galleries are home to masterpieces by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol, and O'Keeffe. Plus, the holiday season is less crowded with tourists. Spend days getting lost amongst the paintings, photographs, and sculptures on display. It's an art lover's paradise this December.

As you can see, December offers phenomenal opportunities for culture, sightseeing, and one-of-a-kind holiday magic across the globe. Bundle up and get ready to embrace the festive spirit, twinkling lights, bustling markets, and fabulous art collections this season. Where will your December travels take you this year? The world is your oyster for holiday fun and seasonal sights.


What are the best Christmas markets to visit in December?

Some of the best Christmas markets in Europe include Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany, and the Vienna Christmas Market in Austria. These markets are renowned for their traditional crafts, ornaments, foods, mulled wine, and general Christmas cheer.

Where can you see the Northern Lights in December?

December is an ideal time to view the Northern Lights in far northern destinations like Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of Canada. Tour companies offer Aurora hunting tours that take you to remote locales ideal for Northern Lights spotting when solar activity is high.

What are the top holiday events in New York City in December?

Top holiday happenings in NYC include ice skating at Rockefeller Center, seeing the enormous Christmas tree, shopping the holiday windows on 5th Avenue, admiring the light displays, seeing the Rockettes Christmas show, and feeling the joyful spirit across the city.

What are the best art museums to visit in Paris in December?

Paris's top art museums include the Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, Musee d'Orsay, featuring impressionist masterworks" and Centre Pompidou, known for its modern art. December is less crowded so you can avoid long ticket lines.

Why is December a good time to visit Washington DC's art museums?

December is an ideal time for art lovers to visit Washington's amazing museums like the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum because the crowds are smaller than peak season. You can leisurely view the masterpieces without fighting swarms of tourists.


December offers a myriad of outstanding cultural and sightseeing opportunities across the globe. From Christmas markets in Europe to museum hopping in Paris and Washington DC, holiday magic in New York City to Northern Lights displays up north, and Art Basel in Miami to holiday shows and decorations everywhere, there are phenomenal places to soak up the seasonal sights. Bundle up, pack your calendar, and get ready for festive adventures this December. Wherever you travel, embrace the spirit, culture, and cheer of the season. Happy holidays!

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