5 Awesome Staycations You Should Take Before Winter Ends


Is it cold enough for you? In New York City, a typical winter brings about 25 inches of snow. This winter New York City has had over 40 inches of snow, and spring is weeks away. Well over half the country has been in the freezer, and the cold has extended all the way to the Florida panhandle. (See also: 50+ Life Hacks to Help You Win at Winter)

All this winter weather has left a lot of people wondering how to get a much-needed warm and comforting break. If you have the vacation time and the extra cash, the Caribbean is an option, although there are probably warm staycation options in your own backyard that will cost a lot less, take less time, and don't require navigating the country's jammed airports. Here are ideas that offer respites from the cold, won't break the bank, and will bring some warmth into your life despite the chill in the air.

1. Warm Up With Afternoon Tea

Nothing warms us up like a spot of tea, right? Many hotels and restaurants across the country offer afternoon tea that ranges from simple and elegant to traditional and decadent. Although Revolutionaries threw tea into Boston Harbor, there's a very different kind of tea party going on over at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons, for example. On Saturdays and Sundays, they offer quite the spread for Afternoon Tea at a very reasonable price. The Four Seasons Tea includes sweets, sandwiches, and tea for $32 per person. They also offer the Royal Tea for $40 that includes everything in the Four Seasons Tea plus a glass of Kir Royal. Your city's hotels may offer something similar and if they do, jump at the chance to grab some friends and go. Afternoon tea is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon with friends. (See also: Best Online Tea Merchants)

2. Jacuzzis, Saunas, and Steam Rooms, Oh My!

When the wind is howling and the snow is falling, nothing feels better than the warmth and comfort of a local day spa. They're cropping up in many cities, and your local full-service gym may have them, too. While some require a membership, most have the option of a day pass or a pass that is good for a limited number of hours. One of my personal favorites is Body by Brooklyn. Sleek and modern, it provides plenty of comfort with its wide variety of options. A day pass costs just $45 and includes a Russian sauna, Swedish sauna, Turkish aroma steam room, thermal hot tub, and cold plunge pool.

3. Get to Know Your City From the Inside

Historical and neighborhood tours are big business in most major metropolitan areas. The cold weather gives us the perfect opportunity to be tourists in our hometowns. Chicago is a great example of a city that knows how to turn foul weather into interesting indoor opportunities for its residents. Chicago Detours offers indoor tours that feature the city's stunning architecture and racy history. My favorite is the historic bar tour that takes guests back to the days of swanky prohibition underground spots, hot jazz, and iconic theater, all while sipping tasty Chicago libations. Prices run between $26 and $34. The Second City also has a great way to have fun for zombie fans. Trapped in a Room With a Zombie is a group game that requires guests to collectively solve puzzles and riddles to help them locate a key to get out of the room before the zombie is unchained from the wall. This blood-pumping excitement will only set you back $28, and if you escape those zombies, you'll have priceless bragging rights with your friends and colleagues. Connect with your local tourism office to find out what types of indoor tours are available in your city.

4. Let's Get Cultural

Like the farmer's markets we've grown accustomed to seeing when the weather is sunny and warm, some cities are also starting to invest in indoor markets that offer a wide variety of food, art, and entertainment that celebrate the city's heritage and diversity. You can eat, drink, and be merry (and warm!) while showing your hometown pride in places like this. Minneapolis, one of the snowiest cities in the country, has taken this concept to new heights. With the tagline "Many Tastes, One Place," Minneapolis offers a toasty culinary escape to hungry Twin Cities residents and visitors at Midtown Global Market. Over 50 vendors serve up tasty and authentic food and drink, hard-to-find specialty groceries, and a plethora of unique gifts from all over the world. The market even offers group tours. (See also: Free Things to Do in Any City)

5. Climb to New Heights

When it's cold outside, it can take the fun out of our fitness routine, especially if you're like me and enjoy mixing up your physical activity. Started in the 1980s, indoor rock climbing gyms give us a way to enjoy being active while staying warm and providing us with an activity that challenges our bodies and minds. If the cold and lack of sunlight have you down in Seattle, combat them by going up...way up! Vertical World has multiple locations in the Seattle area that offer unbeatable indoor rock climbing experiences for adults and kids. They're the experts in their field; they opened the very first rock climbing gym in the US in 1987. Now they boast a wide variety of classes and programs to keep Seattle moving so they're in shape for a serious case of spring fever when the cold subsides. Many other rock climbing gyms all over the country have followed their lead by establishing a very similar set-up and newbies are always welcome with plenty of instruction. (See also: How to Be Fit and Frugal in Winter)

These ideas offer plenty of inspiration to escape the cold wherever you call home. Other options could be creating a movie night at home complete with all the concession stand fixings, breaking out the crockpot for a delicious, easy, and nutritious home-cooked meal, and dedicating a day to art in all its indoor forms — museums, theater, dance, and live music. Soon winter will fade into spring. In the meantime, get through these last few weeks of cold by finding warmth right where you are.

How are you keeping yourself sane and entertained throughout this extra chilly winter? Share your favorite staycation spots in the comments section below!

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