Change language

Where to celebrate the winter solstice in the USA

Celebrate the shortest day of the year at some of the USA’s most unusual, inspirational and simply magical winter solstice events.

The Hopi Soyal Ceremony in Arizona

Witness the Hopi Soyal Ceremony in Arizona

Witness the Hopi Soyal Ceremony in Arizona

The Hopi Soyal Ceremony is one of the longest running winter solstice celebrations in the USA. At this time of year, the Hopi people of Northern Arizona celebrate the Kachinas (Hopi spirit messengers) returning the sun to the world. While many Hopi ceremonies are closed to outsiders, the tribe also hosts social dances around late December where visitors can witness their celebrations.

The Feast of the Winter Solstice in Seattle

Attend the epic Feast of the Winter Solstice in Seattle

Attend the epic Feast of the Winter Solstice in Seattle

Seattle’s Feast of the Winter Solstice officially starts on 21st December but can last up to five days, largely thanks to the enthusiasm of the local community. The event aims to make everyone an artist, and with words and logos banned, elaborate, lavish costumes take centre stage. Headdress workshops run throughout the day, and artists and musicians are on hand to inspire and entertain. The feast is open to everyone and visitors are encouraged to bring a dish. To add to the spread, book a self-catered apartment like Staypineapple at University Inn and craft your own contribution.

The Children’s Museum Bonfire in Santa Fe

Toast marshmellow at the Children's Museum Bonfire

Toast marshmellow at the Children's Museum Bonfire

The Children’s Museum in Santa Fe hosts an annual bonfire to celebrate the winter solstice. Visitors can take the chance to explore the pathways of the museum’s complex labyrinth, or just sit back and toast a few marshmallows. This year, the event also includes a demonstration of African drumming by Akeem Ayaninni. It’s a family-friendly event from an institution that provides support to at-risk children throughout the year. Visitors hoping to join the celebrations can stay nearby at Pueblo Bonito B&B Inn.

The Winter Solstice Celebration in New York

Listen to the streets fill with music in New York

Listen to the streets fill with music in New York

It’s customary for churches to host a Longest Night Service on the night of 21st December, to support those struggling with despair and grief. New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine follows this tradition by staging an annual concert. Each year, the concert explores a new genre of music, with a special appearance this year from the Pletenitsa Balkan Choir. The cathedral’s impressive acoustics send music spilling out into the city streets. Stay nearby at this two bedroom townhouse.

Burnham Park Winter Solstice Walk in Chicago

Explore a winter wonderland in Chicago

Explore a winter wonderland in Chicago

Chicago’s hardy residents are not to be put off by frosty winter nights, and while celebrations take place throughout the city, one of the most popular events happens outside. Around the winter solstice, Burnham Park organises wildlife-spotting walks and the Burnham Wildlife Corridor features a trail of outdoor art installations. The walks are perfect for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages, especially children too young to attend the city’s late-night celebrations. Warm up afterwards at the Comfort Inn.