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Kip Tips

Affordable Places to Escape During the Holidays

If you’d rather get away than go home for Christmas, you’ll find great last-minute deals in these six cities.


The holidays are just around the corner and maybe, just maybe, you’re secretly fantasizing about escaping the annual hoopla. This year you’d rather enjoy a quick vacation getaway than head home to hang out with grumpy Grandpa, crazy Aunt Martha and your boisterous brother-in-law.

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If you want to turn your fantasy into reality, you actually can find some great last-minute deals the week of Christmas in several big cities that won't be overflowing with the usual throngs of tourists and business travelers. “Don’t go home for the holidays,” says Gabe Saglie, senior editor of travel deal site Travelzoo, which identified the top North American cities where travelers can find discounts up to 50% off regular midweek rates. And the editors of also shared picks for value destinations the week of Christmas. Not only will you find deals on accommodations in these places, but also you should be able to take advantage of some discounted entertainment options.

Chicago. If you can tolerate the chill in the Windy City, you can get a deal on a hotel room around Christmas. A combination of a slowdown in business travel and famously frigid lake-effect weather conditions pumps up hotel availability in a big way, Saglie says. In some cases, even special dates such as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve can be deeply discounted. For example, the Dana Hotel and Spa’s rates are 35% lower December 21 through 25, according to Travelzoo. While in Chicago, you still can get into the holiday spirit at the open-air Christkindlmarket, a free German-style Christmas festival that runs through December 24.

Las Vegas. If you’d rather listen to the sound of slot machines than Christmas carols, here's a little secret: Las Vegas sees some of the lowest prices all year in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Saglie says. Naturally, New Year's Eve will be packed and expensive, but you can find hotel rates below $75 – even $50 -- most days leading up to December 31. For example, you can get a room at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino for as little as $45 on a weeknight including a $50 dining credit.


New York. During the holiday season business travel to New York slows, which means you can find some of the lowest hotel rates of the year, Saglie says. For example, if you book a room at 70 Park Avenue, a boutique Kimpton hotel, by December 24, you can save 45%. Note: You should avoid the Big Apple on New Year’s Eve, when rates will be much higher.

Philadelphia. Business travel drops off in Pennsylvania’s largest city the week of Christmas, so deals are particularly good at hotels that cater to business travelers. Executive Editor Anne Banas recommends the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia. Rates for the week of Christmas average $160 per night double occupancy versus $195 per night during the first full week of January. Some hotels are offering free parking (up to a $100 value) for two-night stays as part of a Visit Philly promotion. You won’t have to worry about freezing while visiting most of the city’s historical sites because they are indoors – and you shouldn't have to battle crowds either.

San Francisco. Summer hotel prices here are among the highest in the country, but low-season conditions bring prices down around Christmas, Saglie says. Expect bargains from centrally located and business-friendly hotels, and look for deals on hotels packages, he says. And Travelzoo is offering deals on dining and entertainment in the Bay Area.

Toronto. Canada’s biggest city turns into an urban winter wonderland with a cozy Christmas market, great shopping, ice skating and holiday events, Banas says. Plus there are hotel deals and packages, and Porter Airlines (which is based in Toronto) is offering winter airfare deals of up to 40% off base rates.