We are all at the mercy of less daylight in winter, but colder temps and darker days needn’t mean a total sacrifice of the sun. Winter sunsets across the United States are often staggeringly beautiful — here’s where to catch the very best of them.
The winter solstice, happening December 21, marks the official first day of winter and kicks off a season of less sunlight across the Northern Hemisphere. What better way to bid farewell to long stretches of daylight than by catching an epic sunset! With six different time zones across all fifty states, the U.S. alone has quite a handful of times and places to watch the sun dip below the horizon. From Florida spectaculars to snow-capped mountains in Alaska, here are 10 perfect sunset across every U.S. time zone:
Eastern Standard Time
Key West, FL
Join fire breathers, jugglers, vendors and tourists in the Conch Republic’s Mallory Square to watch the sun melt over the Caribbean into a sublime blend of pinks, purples and oranges.
Finger Lakes, NY
For a sip with a sunset, travelers can head to the Finger Lakes region of central New York for stunning views at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, a 110-acre, lakefront winery estate boasting breathtaking panoramic views.
Central Standard Time
Northwest of Austin lies Lake Travis in all its glory. To capture the sunset just right, try moonlight boating or dining at The Oasis, a restaurant with perfect front row sunset seats.
It’s true that Cindy’s Rooftop, the partially open-air bar at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel faces east. It’s also true that it directly overlooks Millennium Park which means front row views as enchanting colors glide over park icons like the Pritzker Pavilion, Crown Fountain and, of course, the Bean!
Mountain Standard Time
Grand Canyon, AZ
Marvel at the wonders of nature from the Grand Canyon’s unforgettable North Rim, higher in elevation than the popular South Rim, and a perfect spot to catch the sun’s sweeping descent.
Colorado Springs, CO
Garden of the Gods, a national landmark, is famous for 300’ jagged rock formations framed by Pike’s Peak in the background. At sunset, the sandstone rocks turn even redder. Even the Visitor’s Center offers priceless views.
Pacific Standard Time
La Jolla, CA
Skip the beach and instead head to Torrey Pines National Reserve, a coastal state park with massive cliffs. Sit on the bluff’s edge and get eye-level with the setting sun.
San Francisco, CA
Capturing the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset? A cinch. Head to the Marin Headlands and watch the sunset over the city with the Bridge perfectly framed in the foreground.
Hawaii Standard Time
Head to Point Bar at Merriman’s Kapalua with a Mai Tai in hand to catch the stunning Maui sunset dip below the horizon, with a panoramic view that spans the ocean and nearby islands.
Alaska Standard Time
Experience Alaska’s early setting sun (and a little later, the Northern Lights) from a mountaintop. Seven Glaciers Restaurant at The Alyeska Hotel offers incredible scenic views of snow caps and glaciers paired with wine and Alaskan cuisine.
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