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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Leavenworth, four Idaho towns named among ‘coziest winter destinations’ in America

A horse and carriage is lit up in downtown Leavenworth offering rides through the city’s streets in January 2022.  (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
Shaun Goodwin, The Idaho Statesman

By Shaun Goodwin The Idaho Statesman

As the temperatures begin to dip and the snow falls more often, there’s nothing more comforting than turning down the lights, setting up a warm candle glow, and huddling under a blanket.

But you don’t have to spend all winter inside. In fact, according to a new study from New York Travel Guides, Washington and Idaho are great places to be if you’re looking for a cozy winter town.

New York Travel Guides evaluated several factors to determine the coziest winter towns in America that make for the perfect Christmas getaway. Idaho had four inclusions on the list of 110 towns, with Ketchum leading the way for the Gem State at the lofty rank of No. 11.

Study ranks best winter towns

The three categories considered for the rankings were popularity among the public and photographers during winter months, cozy winter weather, and a cozy atmosphere and activities. Each category was ranked on a scale of 0 to 100.

Ketchum had a relatively low score for winter popularity (67.9), which ranked 26th overall, but made up the difference by ranking 10th for cozy weather (93.6) and 11th for cozy activities and atmosphere (94.8).

So, why does New York Travel Guides rank Ketchum so high?

“Founded in 1880, the mountain town of Ketchum is one of the country’s best towns for a cozy winter getaway,” the website states. “Besides skiing, there’s much more to do in the town during winter, including spending time at a spa while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains, listening to live music, ice skating at the Christina Potters Ice Rink, and taking a cozy horse-drawn sleigh ride.”

If you’re looking to experience the true coziness of Ketchum, Visit Sun Valley has a list of the best downtown bars and pubs, including the Limelight Hotel lounge, the Pioneer Saloon for a spot of dinner, and the Cellar Pub once the night starts to ramp up.

What other Idaho towns made the list?

Ketchum can claim the title of Idaho’s coziest winter town, but it was far from the only Gem State inclusion in the list.

Up in the Idaho Panhandle, Wallace came in at No. 34 and Sandpoint at No. 41, while McCall rounded out Idaho’s inclusions at No. 59.

You don’t have to stick around Idaho to find a sense of coziness, either.

Many of the nation’s coziest winter towns can be found in states bordering Idaho, including what New York Travel Guides considered the coziest town in America: Leavenworth, Washington.

“The town offers many options for winter fun, including skiing, taking a sleigh ride, enjoying authentic Bavarian food, strolling the town’s beautiful streets, and Christmas shopping at unique stores,” the study states of Leavenworth, which can be found in central Washington along the Cascade Mountains.

Other nearby inclusions include Big Sky, Montana (No. 16), Jackson, Wyoming (No. 21) and Baker City, Oregon (No. 94).

What cities ranked within the top 10?

These are the 10 coziest winter cities in America, according to New York Travel Guides:

  1. Leavenworth, Washington
  2. Breckenridge, Colorado
  3. Stowe, Vermont
  4. Vail, Colorado
  5. Aspen, Colorado
  6. Lake Placid, New York
  7. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  8. Frankenmuth, Michigan
  9. Petoskey, Michigan
  10. Stillwater, Minnesota