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TN Picks: 10 Winter Destinations For Black Travelers
Summer is officially behind us, and that mild weather we were able to enjoy for much of October is also a thing of the past, at least here in the tri-state area. But the colder months are full of promise, and now is the time to start thinking about which winter destinations to go to for some fun.
One common misconception about Black people is that we don’t do cold. Sure, some of us aren’t fans of it; we thrive when the sun is shining. It activates our melanin and lifts our spirit. But when winter hits, we find ways to enjoy ourselves whether we’re traveling or not, just like any other demographic.
Here are 10 winter destinations that might be of interest to Black travelers.
Our neighbor to the north has been a popular winter destination for many years.
Essence did a feature on how Black people have carved a space for themselves in Canada. There’s Black presence in Toronto; with its sizable West Indian population.
But Alberta also has potential; endowed with beauty that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Kevin Coleman (mr_nonchalantt) shared pictures from his trip to Alberta on Instagram, hoping to inspire other Black travelers to go there.
He visited the Mount Royal Hotel, with its rooftop hot tub, and dined at the Sky Bistro, with its heart stopping views of Sulphur Mountain.
Yes, there’s no way around it: Vermont is pretty white.
But it’s one of the most progressive states in the US, and Black travelers have written of mostly positive experiences there.
As highlighted by Ebony, “the state has a rich African American history,” one which isn’t highlighted as often as it should be.
There’s an African American Heritage Trail, which was created to educate guests on Black history in the state. Guests can learn about Black “teachers, storytellers, activists, ministers and legislators, who participated in Vermont institutions to make the state, and country, better for all.”
Vermont was the first state to “abolish slavery in its state constitution, and the first to enroll and graduate a Black student.”
As for what there is to do in the winter, you won’t struggle to find activities. During the festive season, Burlington glitters with newly lit Christmas trees.
Be sure to try out some skiing, snowmobile riding, snowshoeing and ice skating.
Colorado, as noted by Travel Noire, also has a rich Black history, furthered by the presence of Black-centered museums, and Black-owned businesses. Be sure to give them your patronage if you can.
Yes, plenty of people go to Breckenridge and Aspen for skiing, but what if that isn’t your thing?
Rocky Mountain Food Tours recommends hiking through Rocky Mountain National Park, with its “miles of hiking trails and picturesque alpine lakes.”
You can also enjoy dinner while on a sleigh ride, ice skating, ice climbing and tubing.
4. New York
New York is a melting pot of cultures, with plenty of nods to Black culture, from the Apollo Theatre to The Schomburg Center. Not to mention the many restaurants and other businesses affiliated with the African diaspora, especially in Brooklyn and The Bronx.
If you want to do the standard winter activities, going upstate might be your best bet. Within the city limits, you can go ice skating in Bryant Park, Wollman’s Rink in Central Park or, if you’re feeling fancy, Rockefeller Center.
If you haven’t experienced a Chicago winter, you should know that it’s no joke. One coat alone won’t cut it- you’ll need layers under said coat.
According to Choose Chicago, there’s a plethora of nods to Black culture. Grant Park witnessed Black excellence; it was where former President Obama issued his victory speech.
You’ll find restaurants, bars, and cultural centers focused on how Black people have contributed to Chicago, and Illinois in general.
Utah is endowed with raw, natural beauty, from the red rock of Arches National Park to the vibrant blue waters of Bear Lake. It’s a great state for winter sports lovers.
Essence encouraged Black travelers “not to sleep on this southwestern state,” and to really take the time to appreciate what Utah has to offer.
Travel enthusiast Chae Michael (@chaemichael) posts breathtaking photos of his many travels on Instagram, including his adventures in Utah.
In one striking image, he’s seen looking over the majestic Factory Butte in Wayne County. Some rock formations are so imposing that they dwarf him, while others ripple like water.
While beautiful all year, Switzerland surges to life during the winter, with no shortage of festivals, markets, and winter activities. In lieu of a hotel, you can experience staying in your own chalet.
Though Swiss society has become more diverse due to immigration, racism still rears its head. It’s about impossible to escape it completely, no matter where you go.
Christine Worrell, an African American expat residing in Switzerland, wrote of her son’s experience with racism. One incident involved a white woman clutching her purse tightly as the Black boy walked by.
But Worrell’s personal interactions with the Swiss have been mostly positive. “I have experienced them to be polite, cheerful, helpful and willing,” she said. “When possible, they speak to me in English when my basic Swiss German fails me.”
The bulk of the snow in Austria falls between November and March. So if you’re looking to score extra likes and follows on Instagram, this is the most picturesque time to go.
According to Travel Passionate, Austria “transforms into a fairytale land, where every city and town becomes the scene of an enchanting story.”
The Christmas markets of Vienna are known for their food and drink, especially the mulled wine. There are ice skating rinks, like the one by Wilhelminenberg Palace.
For an Alpine experience, where skiing is offered, head to Wildschönau, which is part of the Kitzbühel Alps.
While there’s so much to see and do in France, we’ll focus on Paris.
Historical monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre take on a certain magic when snow has fallen.
Head over to the Tuileries Gardens, with its Christmas market and ice skating rink. But be aware that the rink isn’t “made of actual ice, rather, it’s an artificial surface that imitates ice.”
According to Duke University, “people in France are simply French; allegiance to France trumps all other aspects of your identity.”
But don’t let anybody tell you racism doesn’t exist in France, because it does. All you can do is be aware, navigate as best you can, and enjoy yourself.
Believe it or not, there’s some good skiing in parts of California, particularly in Lake Tahoe. You’ll find resorts here, which are listed by Ski Lake Tahoe.
While the face of skiing tends to be very white, make no mistake, there are Black folks who enjoy it.
In an effort to “bring melanin to the mountains,” a group of Black British women founded Mount Noire.
Their objective is to “increase diversity and representation in winter sports,” and the founders coordinate excursions for Black folks interested in skiing and snowboarding.