While you might think February is the time to curl up in bed with a never-ending stream of Netflix, the shortest month of the year actually packs lots of travel opportunities for skiers and snow enthusiasts, romantics and anyone looking to get a little much-needed vitamin D (not this year, Season Affective Disorder!). Did we mention there’s deals to be had, too? Behold, the eight best places to travel this month.
The 8 Best Places to Travel in February 2023
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1. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Why We Recommend It: idyllic weather, nearby Mayan ruins, mouthwatering cuisine
- Where to stay: Cenote House with Private Pool and Jacuzzi (from $131/night), Aalada Boutique Hotel (from $88/night), La Casa de la Playa (2 guests) (from $1,402/night)
Playa del Carmen bumps in February for a number of reasons, but you’ll only need one: 80 degree temps. The weather is most pleasant at this time, so get out of the house *literally* and explore the nature reserves of Xcaret. At the eco-theme park located just outside Playa del Carmen, you can zipline into a waterfall, go hiking or birdwatching, or cruise through the jungle on an amphibious vehicle. Swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, and exploring underground rivers are also on offer. If you’re feeling the winter blues, a visit to the beautiful “blue” cenote—or even dining inside of it at night— will certainly help cure your ailment.
What’s new in the region? Located at Casa de la Playa, a chic new adults-only resort, Estero restaurant opened with food and plating that are out of this world. Led by Chef Virgilio Martínez, who you might recognize as the from Central in Lima (and who is regularly voted one of the best chefs in the world), the restaurant is a mix of sensorial and visual, with vibrantly hued dishes that resemble works of art. The hotel is also home to some other big name Latin chefs, including a restaurant by the Rivera-Rio brothers that completely changes depending on the night both in menu and decor. Martha Ortiz, a celebrated Mexican chef and the Mexican master of chocolate, Mao Montiel, have concepts at the resort, too—making it a must-visit paradise for those who love luxurious dining experiences.
2. Washington, D.C.
- Why We Recommend It: excellent cultural activities, easy transportation, posh shopping district
- Where to Stay: Rosewood Washington DC (from $471/night), Conrad Washington D.C. (2 guests): $354/night; Brick Townhouse Near Capitol Hill (sleeps 4, from $107/night)
Before the craze of Cherry Blossom season in March, deep discounts can be found at hotels in our Nation’s Capital, even at slick five-stars like the Conrad Washington DC, which are part of Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program that’s gives its members VIP, unique access (which last month, included a private John Legend concert).
February’s temps in D.C. are milder than other East Coast cities like New York, Philly, and Boston, with average highs of 47 degrees. Still, you’ll want to spend a majority of your time inside this month, and luckily, the city has some of our country’s premier cultural institutions. On tap for your visit: the excellent Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, which documents the history of African American culture history and experience in this country; a new, interactive exhibit at The Kennedy Center now on permanent display which highlights JFK’s appreciation of art and how it supported social justice and his leadership ideals. Housed in a historic school reimagined into a light-filled gallery, the Rubell Museum swung open its doors in October 2022 and features contemporary art and sculptures; meanwhile, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum also recently reopened after an extensive renovation with new exhibits and an upgraded planetarium.
Or, mix your culture with a bit of shopping. At CityCenterDC—the compact, urban outdoor shopping and dining district in a recently redeveloped part of downtown—Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Tiffany all have locations with inspiring art installations at their backdrop. The city has also seen a swath of exciting new restaurants to warm up at, including Bar Spero, a trendy, swanky bar and restaurant in D.C.’s East End which excels at a daily card of what’s fresh, inventive crudos, grilled oysters and a hearty, hearth vegetable dish. At the new Morrow Hotel in the vibrant Noma district, Le Clou is a bright, light-filled eatery serving up twists on classic French fare in a contemporary brasserie setting. Try the ceviche, ½ Maine lobster, steak frites and duck—you won’t regret it. Located at the revamped and rapidly expanding Wharf neighborhood, Moonraker is a handsome indoor and outdoor rooftop bar with fire pits located within the chic new Pendry Hotel that offers Japanese whiskey cocktails and a tasty menu of small plates, including dumplings, crispy rice with spicy tuna, and an inventive cacio e pepe rice cake.
3. Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Why We Recommend It: relaxed atmosphere, easy direct flights, primo golf and outdoor activities
- Where to Stay: Tryall Club (inquire for rates), Otaheiti House (sleeps 4, $248/night), Luxury Beachfront Apartment (sleeps 4, from $198/night)
Mental well-being is driving travelers to seek out sleep tourism, digital detoxes and even equine therapies—and lucky for you—Montego Bay, Jamaica offers great opportunities to try all three. Located on the north coast of Jamaica, Montego Bay is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and warm, tropical climate. Usually, this means days spent on sand filled with swimming, sunbathing and water sports, but it can also mean a private horseback ride and the ability to swim with a horse, if you fancy.
After you work up an appetite, recharge with a lunch at Tryall Club’s on-property organic garden, then leave your tethered device in your villa or guest room and spend the day laying in a hammock overlooking the beach—kayaks, paddle boards, Hobie cats and more water sports are available should you muster up the energy. Alongside Tryall Club’s excellent facilities, they offer access to an incredible golf course. Singles, couples and groups of friends who like to golf together can find a lot of variety in this region, though, including the White Witch Golf Course and the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course. All courses offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and are suitable for golfers of all skill levels.
Travelers to Montego Bay can also visit Rose Hall Great House, a historic and former plantation where you can better understand the property’s history of slavery, and learn why it’s rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Annie Palmer, the "White Witch of Rose Hall." Pro tip: Though it’s not located in Montego Bay, the Bob Marley Museum is also a quick day trip and a must-see for music fans, as it offers an in-depth look at the life and music of the legendary reggae artist.
4. Paris, France
- Why We Recommend It: discounted hotel rates, new attractions, Valentine’s Day dates
- Where to Stay: Spacious Rue Saint-Honoré Loft (sleeps 5, from $319/night), Latin Quarter Luxury Loft (sleeps 8, from $394/night), Art Deco Apartment (sleeps 2, from $170/night), Hotel Edouard VII (from $267/night)
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Paris, but it’s just trop cher? February is your month, then, because the City of Light sees some of its best discounts. Will it be cold? Sure, temps will hit daily highs in the high 40s, but with the right coat and ambition, you can conquer every monument, croissant and Emily in Paris photo opp your heart desires.
Start your petite vacances at some often-overlooked monuments, like Sainte-Chapelle, a gothic chapel known for its stunning stained glass windows which depict scenes from the Bible. We also like playing tourist at Père Lachaise, a hauntingly beautiful cemetery that’s the final resting place of many notable figures, including Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust and Jim Morrison. If you’re traveling with kids, or just a sea life lover, Paris’s aquarium offers visitors dramatic views of aquatic life including sharks and jellyfish. Our personal underrated gem, though: Opera Garnier—which was recently featured in season 3 of Emily in Paris—where Parisians still go to see opera. Insider tip: For the best view of the Opera Garnier, book an Opera-facing room at Hotel Edouard 7.
The city is also bursting with new and notable things to see, like Samaritaine, which is positioned overlooking the Seine at the foot of the Pont Neuf bridge. It houses Paris’s latest, very chic shopping experiences, as well as gorgeous eateries and an extra-glam hotel, Cheval Blanc Paris, where you can find the filled-to-the-brim-with-windows rooftop eatery, Le Tout-Paris.
With Paris being one of the most romantic cities, well, anywhere, visitors in February will find plenty of opportunities to cozy up should you decide to book for a Valentine’s Month trip. A love tour at the Rodin museum, which is described as an “ode to the body and the senses” is one option, as is cruising around in a classic Citroen car to see all the famous monuments. You can book the latter on GetYourGuide, and exchange bisous in front of the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge and more.
5. Scottsdale, AZ
- Why We Recommend It: unique cultural offerings with blue skies, warm weather, and cheap flights (for now)
- Where to Stay: Dreamy Bungalow (sleeps 5, from $250/night), House with Private Pool (sleeps 14, from $341/night), Breakthrough Acres Luxury Estate (sleeps 16+, from $2,540/night)
With daily highs hovering near 72 degrees in the wintertime, Scottsdale, Arizona beckons come February—but the great weather is not all this buzzy city has to offer. Scottsdale’s Celebration of Fine Art event is entering its 33rd year (Scottsdale’s longest-running art show) and features over 40,000 square feet of gorgeous works by 100 juried artists from across the U.S. Scottsdale’s surrounding region is an outdoorsman's paradise, where you can desert bath in the Sonoran Desert, which features more than 400 miles of well-maintained trails, or stand-up paddle board in the Lower Salt River, surrounded by saguaros and cottonwoods. Rock climbers and advanced hikers will appreciate Pinnacle Peak Park, filled with photo-worthy desert mountain trails. You can further experience the fruits of our earth back downtown in Old Town at a wine tasting room. Arizona is surprisingly home to three wine-growing regions, and you can experience many of the varietals directly at The Wine Collective.
Running from January through March, and curated under a signature big white tent, the show gives visitors the opportunity to discover new artists, mediums, and experiences in a spacious setting—and to find the right pieces to add to their personal collections. The Celebration’s inviting and interactive atmosphere includes the popular Art Discovery Series in which guests can learn about the stories and processes that shape art, a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden that features nearly 100 life-sized and monumental pieces, and fascinating demonstrations in woodturning, welding, kiln firings, and glass blowing. Adult passes are just $10 and come with free parking, plus free admission for children under 12. Bonus: there’s a cute onsite cafe where you can grab a glass of wine for an elevated art-viewing experience.
Further expand your cultural knowledge at Scottsdale’s Arizona Indian Festival, which takes place in early February, celebrating the traditional arts, crafts, foods and innovations of the state’s 22 indigenous tribes. Spanning just two days, the festival provides a rare opportunity for visitors to learn about the native history and beauty that Arizona has to offer through unique experiences like traditional storytelling, singing, and dancing. Dozens of tribal leaders also make special appearances throughout the weekend.
6. London, England
- Why We Recommend It: smaller queues, art-infused restaurants, Chinese New Year celebrations
- Where to Stay: Notting Hill Flat (sleeps 2, from $109/night) Designer Studio Apartment (sleeps 2, from $203/night), Historic Georgian London Home (sleeps 10, from $791/night)
Steeped in rich history and tradition, London is a charming place to visit with that special someone thanks to its particularly romantic backdrop in February. London’s Valentine’s Day atmosphere is strong throughout the month and typically void of the cliches we’ve come to expect in America. For example, many hotels and restaurants (like the world-famous Fortnum & Mason) offer traditional British afternoon tea and scones with a tasteful Valentine’s Day theme, and you can even pair your food with a stunning cruise on the Thames for rare views of iconic landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. You can also snap some colorful, romantic photos with your partner at the Orchid Festival in the Princess Of Wales Conservatory, running for four weeks from February through late-March.
If romance isn’t in the cards for you, or you’re traveling solo, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in this diverse European capital. One example is Chinese New Year—the largest celebration of the holiday in the world outside of Asia. Join thousands of Londoners and tourists in the West End to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with colorful parades and dragon dances, martial arts displays, Chinese pop performances and mouth watering street food.
London also offers a free large-scale public art gallery in Wembley Park through the end of February, featuring 22 pieces across mediums like paint, digital mixed media, and upcycled materials. 2023’s theme is “Winter’s Wander,” meant to inspire joy, togetherness, and sense of adventure with new permanent artworks gracing unique locations like Olympic Way and Arena Square.
In the posh, central London neighborhood of Mayfair, you can also dine alongside incredible pieces of art at the recently opened Mount St. Restaurant. Inside this gorgeously-designed space, you feel like you’re eating in a private art gallery and can indeed look up to see artworks by Matisse, Lucian Freud, Warhol and more—in fact, it’s so chic, King Charles recently ate there. Blocks away, hospitality group Noble 33 also recently launched an outpost of Sparrow Italia. The sexy, multi-level restaurant took over the space of a full townhouse and is filled with flickering fireplaces throughout, not to mention a snazzy first floor bar. It’s the perfect spot to cozy up in London’s colder months.
7. Big Sky, Montana
- Why We Recommend It: Yellowstone cowboy vibes, modern new hotels, unique dining experiences
- Where to Stay: Gallatin River Cottage (from $293/night), Lone Mountain Ranch (from $459/night), Swift Bear House Luxury Home (from $4,175/night)
Cowboy-cations are officially a thing, according to Expedia Group. Rustic getaways inspired by shows like Yellowstone and a yearning for that Wild West charm have renters opting for private vacation homes with lots of space and enchanting views. For skiers and snowboarders, February offers all of this and the chance to ski the epic Big Sky Resort, the reliable mountain that keeps on giving. Short lines on the snazzy lifts—many with bubbles and heated seats to keep you warm—are an easy draw, but the true highlight for Alpine enthusiasts is Big Sky’s varied terrain spread across some 5,850 skiable acres. Seriously, even after three days of skiing, you’ll feel like there are still parts of the mountain to discover, which is why it’s great that the resort also offers guided headlamp night skiing so you can really maximize your time on the slopes.
Beyond skiing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing and sleigh rides are just a few of the activities offered to visitors as is a nearby, one-of-a-kind snowmobile tour of Yellowstone; one of aforementioned that is truly special is the sleigh ride dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch, a property as popular for its luxe private cabins as it is for horseback riding and fly-fishing. During this unique experience, you’ll take a horse-drawn sleigh up a hill on the ranch’s property to enjoy a dinner cooked on a 100-year-old wood-fired stove inside a historic kerosene-lit cabin. Prime rib, mashed potatoes, veggies and a superb turkey potpie are just a few of the items on the menu, as is cowboy entertainment. As an authentic Marlboro Man serenades you with songs that recount our country’s beauty, you’ll be served a huckleberry cobbler à la mode and some of the strongest coffee out there. It’s the kind of experience that will have you singing along to “Home on the Range” in no time.
The restaurant and saloon at Lone Mountain Ranch, Horn & Cantle, is also an experience in its own right should you want to have a quality meal in a shorter amount of time. One of our favorite things to experience here is a house-made cinnamon whiskey shooter, served in a shot glass shaped like a ski boot and even bound into a decorative ski when you order a round for the table. On the grub front, Montage Big Sky—a posh, modern alpine resort—recently opened a great spot for après called Alpenglow, which pays tribute to the region’s gorgeous sunsets and features gorgeous fireplaces and live piano music all surrounding a handsome circular-shaped bar. On the menu: warm, comfort foods like Baked Camembert, French Onion Dip and a Red-wine Braised Short Rib.
8. Berlin, Germany
- Why We Recommend It: cozy museums, cheap fares, mega club parties
- Where to Stay: Tiny Garden Townhouse (sleeps 3, from $181/night), Modern Lynarstr Apartment (sleeps 14, from $345, night), Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin (from $400/night)
Berlin obviously isn’t a place to escape the cold, but there are lots of exciting events taking place during the month that make it worth the visit. Berlinale, one of the world’s largest public film festivals, kicks off on February 16 and offers movie buffs the chance to encounter hundreds of films spanning all genres, lengths and formats. Notably, attendees will be able to witness the honoring of Steven Spielberg’s lifetime achievement with an Honorary Golden Bear award in 2023.
Beyond Berlinale, the city is offering some exciting concerts (including Lizzo at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on February 28) and traditional dance and electronic music festivals. For something a little off-beat, there’s also a cute Valentine’s Run leading to Berlin’s breathtaking Gardens of the World with mulled wine waiting at the finish line.
Highs will average in the 40s in February, so to stay warm, visit Museum Island, a complex of five world-famous museums located on the historic site of Berlin’s founding with vast collections of artwork ranging from classical antiques to ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. Or, for something more contemporary, there’s the Boros Collection. Housed in a converted wartime bunker that later became one of Berlin’s wildest clubs, you’ll find a dynamic collection of contemporary sculptures, photography and paintings that only date back to the 1990s.
When hunger strikes, we recommend the cozy, cosmopolitan Orania.Berlin. Just a 15-minute drive from the Boros museum, this stylish eatery offers a range of hot innovative dishes (like Peking duck and grilled eggplant with Szechuan peppercorn sauce) in a cozy environment where you might expect to hear a piano player from the nearby hotel’s lobby come dinnertime. If you’re looking for some indoor R&R, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, the iconic hotel that overlooks Brandenburg Gate, has one of the city’s finest spas boasting private spa suites and access to an indoor swimming pool and hot tub.