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Despite this year’s mild weather, many are still eager to escape winter; and with good reason. According to Happiness Expert Dr. Aymee Coget, traveling during the winter months can provide more than just a suntan; it can also increase personal happiness during the most depressing time of the year. To help beat the winter blues, Hilton HHonors, the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide’s 10 distinct brands, commissioned a study to identify the happiest U.S. cities to travel to during the winter months. In addition, HHonors is offering its More Points promotion, rewarding members who travel through March 31 with extra Bonus Points.

“Research shows that the anticipation and savoring that comes from an upcoming vacation often increases a person’s level of happiness,” said Dr. Aymee Coget, happiness expert and CEO of the American Happiness Association. “In fact, spending money on other people and experiences, versus material objects, boosts personal contentment – and travel is a great time to do that.”

The destinations, selected by Sperling’s BestPlaces, were judged by their ranking in a number of categories, including relaxation, nature, culture, climate, uniqueness, accessibility and urban appeal. Furthermore, each of the cities was rated on its annual number of sunny days; average winter temperatures; number of restaurants; number of cultural institutions; number of bars, lounges and nightclubs; and number of ice cream shops.

 

Hilton HHonors Happiest Winter Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Rank

City

Highlight

Where to Stay*

1

Tucson, Arizona

With 286 annual sunny days, 39 golf courses and above average temperatures, Tucson stands out as the top U.S. winter destination.
  • Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
  • Hampton Inn Tucson – North

2

St. Petersburg, Florida

Fort De Soto Park, home of “America’s Top Beach” for its seven miles of waterfront, is just a short drive away from this winter hotspot.
  • Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront
  • Hampton Inn St. Petersburg

3

Charleston, South Carolina

Its blend of history, southern charm, and mid-sixties winter temperatures makes Charleston an ideal place to get your hospitality fix.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton – Historic District
  • Embassy Suites Charleston

4

Napa-Sonoma, California

As the off-season for Napa and Sonoma, travelers can still enjoy the 452 wineries, blooming mustard fields and temperate weather in both of these cities.
  • Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
  • Embassy Suites Napa Valley

5

Seattle, Washington

Forget the rain. Seattle provides the highest concentration of coffee shops in the U.S. (612), 26 major museums, and offers some of the best music and food in the country. Just remember an umbrella.
  • Hilton Seattle
  • Hilton Garden Inn Seattle

6

Los Angeles, California

With its warm, sunny weather (284 days a year), there’s a reason this cultural empire includes nearly 200 ice cream shops for vacationers to cool down. Possible celebrity sightings doesn’t hurt either.
  • Hilton Checkers Los Angeles
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles

7

Palm Springs, California

Hollywood’s former playground has plenty of luxurious desert architecture tours to keep vacationers active when they aren’t relaxing at the spa.
  • Hilton Palm Springs Resort
  • Hilton Garden Inn Palm Springs

8

Washington, D.C.

Fewer crowds visit America’s capital in the winter, giving vacationers little waiting time between the 23 national monuments and dozens of restaurant stops.
  • Capital Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown

9

Las Vegas, Nevada

The winner for most sunny days (294), Las Vegas’ weather is more comfortable in the winter and the city’s 120+ casinos and countless shows keep visitors both entertained and happy.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas
  • Hilton Grand Vacations – Las Vegas

10

Houston, Texas

For a southwestern destination with good drinks and good eats, look to Houston and it’s more than 2,100 bars, 5,123 restaurants – and for an added  “kick” – 12 custom boot makers.
  • Hilton Americas –Houston
  • Hampton Inn Houston – Northwest

* For additional hotels in these locations, please visit .

Providing travelers extra incentive to book a trip now, the More Points promotion offers Hilton HHonors members a chance to earn 1,000 Bonus Points per night an additional 5,000 Bonus Points for every two-night weekend stay at participating properties within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. From now through March 31, 2012, members can register at HHonors.com/MorePoints.

“Every day, our employees come to work at our more than 3,800 hotels in 88 countries with the number one goal of making our guests happy,” said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president, global customer marketing, Hilton Worldwide. “During these dreary winter months, we hope to ensure happiness comes even easier with our More Points promotion, allowing travelers to earn more HHonors points with each stay.”

For additional information or to register for the More Points promotion, visit HHonors.com/MorePoints. A weekend stay entails any night Thursday through Sunday, with a minimum of a two-night stay. Bonus Points earned are in addition to the standard points received per night for the length of the stay. To become a Hilton HHonors member, visit .

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