Are you looking for the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA?
If so, I’ve put together some great ideas for you here!
December is one of the most popular times of year to take a vacation, but it can also be one of the most expensive times of year to travel too.
If you’ve found yourself craving a vacation, but your budget is tight, hopefully my list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA will give you many fun ideas.
And don’t worry! Whilst many places in the USA do increase in price in December, many places cater to the more budget-conscious travelers too.
Oh, and another great reason to travel in December to these locations I’ve chosen (aside from the cheap rates) is the festive and holiday events! I’ve tried to include lots of options for what to see and do where possible too!
So, here are some affordable options for the where to travel in December in the USA.
Now let’s get into it!
Here are the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA…
New Orleans, Louisiana
First up on my list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA, it’s New Orleans.
New Orleans offers a unique blend of culture, history, and a festive atmosphere during December, so it’s a fantastic place to check out during the winter.
In December, I recommend checking out the French Quarter, enjoying the live music, and savoring the delicious Creole cuisine.
But don’t forget some of the more seasonal events too!
- Krampus Dark Christmas Market
- The Roosevelt New Orleans Waldorf Wonderland Lobby Lighting
- Porter Lyons Sparkling Holiday Soirée
- Deutsches Haus Christkindl Market
- LPO Holiday Spectacular
- St. Nick Celebration
Because December is one of the low-season times in New Orleans (peak season is February – May, in case you were wondering) you’ll get cheaper prices at hotels during the winter, making it one of the most affordable places to travel in December in the USA.
San Antonio, Texas
December also tends to be a quieter month in San Antonio, so it’s a great choice for this list!
Peak months in San Antonio tend to be during the summer – and winter tends to attract fewer crowds. This means cheaper rates for you!
So, why visit San Antonio? Well, it’s is known for its rich history and affordable attractions, meaning there’s always something interesting and fun to get involved with.
And don’t forget the festive events and holiday-themed events going on December:
- SeaWorld San Antonio’s Christmas Celebration
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Holiday in the Park
- Zoo Lights! at The San Antonio Zoo
- The Rotary Ice Rink at Travis Park
- Christmas at the Caverns
- The San Antonio River Walk holiday lights
Visit the Alamo, stroll along the River Walk, and enjoy the city’s holiday lights and festivities.
Read more travel ideas: 15 most walkable cities in the USA
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is next on my list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA. And one of the most fun too!
There is tons to do in Las Vegas, from shows, concerts, restaurants, and gambling, to Grand Canyon day trips!
Whilst Las Vegas isn’t exactly cheap mid to late December (Christmas and New Year mean rates shoot up) it is definitely more affordable at the start of December.
Because of the colder weather, early December is a budget-friendly time to visit Las Vegas. You might also be able to grab some cheaper deals on hotels at this time, especially if you have any member benefits or reward programs.
For the cheapest hotel rates during December in Las Vegas, look at weekdays (instead of weekends). Rates will be lowest at this time and most competitive.
Read more about Las Vegas: 22 Christmas things to do in Las Vegas in December!
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is my next suggestion for the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA.
This lesser-known city hosts the River of Lights holiday event during December, featuring beautiful light displays. It’s a lovely activity and definitely a reason to visit during December.
Additionally, the city offers various affordable outdoor activities and cultural experiences to enjoy in December, making it a really fun and affordable place to visit in December.
Read more travel ideas: 20 romantic getaways in Colorado
If you’re a foodie looking for the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA, then Austin is a great shout!
Austin is a vibrant city with live music, great food, and outdoor activities, and the relatively mild temperatures in December make it a fab choice for affordable vacations in the winter.
How would I spend my time? Well, aside from eating my way around the entire city, I’d explore the city’s parks, enjoy food trucks, and experience the lively nightlife.
I’d also want to experience lots of the December events that happen during winter too!
- Miracle on 5th Street cocktail pop-up
- German-Texan Heritage Society Christmas Market
- Ballet Austin’s festive show
- Austin Trail of Lights
- Ice Skating On The Plaza at Whole Foods
- Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
- Driskill Grand Lobby Tree Lighting
Next on my list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA, it’s quirky and cute Portland.
If you’re not too bothered about the weather being warm or dry (because the weather in Portland isn’t known for being particularly great at this time of year!) then Portland could be a great choice for you!
Portland is a haven for nature enthusiasts, with many outdoor activities available. (parks and hikes are right on the doorstep).
But Portland is also fantastic for people who simply love soaking in a city’s vibe. Of which, Portland has a great one.
Visit many of the city’s breweries, food carts and markets, and enjoy being one of the quirkiest and coolest cities in the USA. There are also plenty of seasonal events in Portland in December too!
Read more travel ideas: Romantic getaways in Georgia!
Phoenix in Arizona is my next suggestion for cheapest places to travel in December in the USA.
Pheonix offers pretty good and mild weather during December, making it a fantastic destination for December vacations.
And with all the amazing outdoorsy activities in Pheonix, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy those outdoors activities.
Here are some of the winter events you can look forward to:
- Devour Culinary Classic
- Arizona Strong Beer Festival
- Reduced golfing rates at many courses
- Arizona Cardinals home games!
- Arizona Coyotes home games!
- British Wheels on the Green Classic Car Show
- Christmas at the Princess
Memphis is next on my list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA.
Obviously, one of the most compelling reasons to visit Memphis in December is its affordability, but there are so many other reasons to love it here too.
Beyond the cost savings, Memphis is steeped in rich cultural and musical heritage, and the temperate December weather allows for pleasant outdoor exploration.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the soulful rhythm of Beale Street, tour the iconic Graceland, or delve into the city’s profound civil rights history at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Here are some other seasonal events to look forward to:
- St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend
- Memphis Botanic Garden’s Holiday Wonders
- Memphis Christmas Parade
- Memphis Holiday Market
- Ice skating at the Memphis Zoo
With fewer crowds and reasonable prices, December in Memphis offers a remarkable blend of history, music, and value for every traveler.
Kansas City, Missouri
Next up on my list of affordable travel locations in December, it’s Kansas City!
If great food and great music is your kind of thing, then I think you’re going to love it here because Kansas City is known for its barbecue, jazz music, and affordable attractions.
Here are some of the best winter activities on offer in December too:
- Dazzling lighting ceremonies
- Evergy Plaza Lights
- Union Station lights and decorations
- Christmas in the Park light display
- The Soul of Santa
How would I spend my time in Kansas City? Well, I’d be sure to explore the local museums, enjoy lots of live music, and (obviously) savor the local cuisine.
Read more travel ideas: Birthday trip ideas for your next birthday vacation!
How could I write a list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA, and not include the iconic Nashville?
Nashville is ‘off-peak’ in December, so it’s one of the most affordable times of year to visit this musical city.
As you probably already know, Nashville offers a vibrant music scene and rich history, which can pretty much fill up an entire itinerary!
But alongside the year-round attractions, there are lots of fantastic seasons events too:
- Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center Christmas lights
- Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland
- “Dickens of a Christmas” event
- “The Dancing Lights of Christmas” event
- Holiday lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
- Festive tour of Belmont Mansion
But you can also spend time exploring the city’s iconic landmarks strolling along the Cumberland River, and trying local breweries too!
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Another wonderful suggestion for the affordable places to travel in December in the USA, is Sante Fe in New Mexico.
Santa Fe is known for its unique Pueblo-style architecture, art galleries, and rich Native American and Spanish heritage.
It’s one of the cities that people absolutely love visiting, because it has such a distinct energy, appearance and vibe.
The city is also really well-known for it’s vibrant art scene, so if you consider yourself a bit of a creative, I think you’re going to find lots to love in Santa Fe!
Charleston, South Carolina
If you’re looking for cheap places to travel, that are also super cute and charming, look no further than Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina, is a delightful destination to discover in December, and it also offers a budget-friendly experience for travelers at this time of year too!
As well as being affordable during December, the city is also adorned with festive decorations, creating a magical atmosphere perfect for the holiday season.
Here are some festive events you can expect to experience:
- Light the Lake at Colonial Lake
- Holiday Festival of Lights
- Charleston Holiday Market
- Life-size gingerbread house inside Hotel Bennett
- Miracle on Market Street
And I don’t know about you, but one of the main reasons I love traveling in December is because I love feeling festive!
When you visit Charleston, you can stroll through historic streets adorned with twinkling lights, visit historic sites (with reduced winter rates), and enjoy the many cafes and restaurants too.
Read more travel ideas: 20 inexpensive weekend getaways in the USA
Tampa is next on my list of affordable locations to visit in December!
Florida, in general, isn’t the cheapest destination in the US during December because people tend to flock there for the warm weather.
But, saying that, some cities in Florida tend to be much cheaper than others. Where Orlando and the Keys will be very pricy, Tampa tends to be much more affordable in comparison.
Tampa has everything you’d expect from Florida. Great weather, lovely beaches, lots of amenities, shopping and much more.
Here are some of the more festive events you can experience during December:
- Busch Gardens Christmas Town
- Tampa River Lighted Holiday Boat Parade
- Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
- Oakdale Christmas House
Read more travel ideas: 15 best places to travel in your 20s, in the USA
Last, on our list of the cheapest places to travel in December in the USA, it’s Santa Rosa.
If you’re looking to explore wineries and vineyards as part of your December vacation, then you can absolutely find some great deals with Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa is one of the biggest cities, closest to the Napa Valley wine region, and because it’s a large city, you can find quite competitive hotel rates (especially in December).
Of course, in terms of things to do in Santa Rosa, you have all the stunning wineries withing an hour’s drive. Perfect for any wine lovers!
But you also have some stunning landscapes and scenery to enjoy too around the city!
Read more travel ideas: 15 best places in the USA for solo female travelers