Winter Hostel Hygge | Hostelling International USA

5 Ways to Achieve Hostel Hygge While Traveling this Winter

20 November 2019

Whether you love or loathe the winter, there’s something to be said about the feeling of being warm and cozy inside when it’s so cold outside. The Dutch have a word for it, hygge (pronounced hue-gah), and it’s all about appreciating the little moments of bliss found in being comfy and content. There are a lot of ways you can create your own sense of hygge while traveling, like finding the ultimate feeling of winter joy at your favorite HI USA hostel. 

Sit under magical lighting at HI San Francisco City Center

christmas tree lights at HI SF City Center hostel

One of the key elements to achieving hygge is the right lighting, like candles and sweet fairy lights, for a magical, warm glow. The folks at HI San Francisco City Center always go the extra mile when it comes to setting the mood, and in the winter they’re especially good at making the hostel’s nooks and common areas extra cozy with lights and festive decorations. 

Indulge in comfort food at HI Chicago

a woman drinking hot chocolate at Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Comfort counts for your stomach too! It’s the season to warm up from the inside with mugs of sweet hot chocolate and bowls of delicious soup, and if you happen to be visiting HI Chicago in the winter, you’re in for all kinds of treats. Check out the Christkindlmarket, a German-style holiday market where you can indulge in some cold-weather favorites like glühwein (warm, spiced wine), hot cocoa, and roasted nuts. If you’ve missed the market, there’s always Cefecito, a Cuban café that is basically in the hostel’s lobby which serves all kinds of coffees and hearty pressed sandwiches. 

Take a walk and then get cozy at HI New York City

Central Park in the winter with snow

An underrated aspect of hygge involves getting outside to take in some brisk air, and to appreciate the magic of winter sunshine sparkling on a snow-covered city. HI New York City hostel is a short walk from Central Park, so you can bundle up and take stroll amongst the icicled trees, or if you prefer, take to the pavement and explore a New York neighborhood. 

Connect with nature or snuggle up with a good book at HI Point Reyes

a group of friends drinking coffee at HI Point Reyes Hostel

Winter in Northern California involves cold, crisp days with clear, blue skies perfect for hiking around the Point Reyes National Seashore’s extensive network of scenic trails. The other kind of winter day here is rainy, and that’s when you’ll want to get some snacks and a cup of tea, a fireplace (or a window with a view), and a good book to read in the common area at HI Point Reyes. Pure hygge. 

Play games with friends at HI Richmond

the common room at HI Richmond hostel in Virginia

Hostelling and hygge go together because one way of achieving this state of contentment is to surround yourself with friends to share the joy. Whether it’s a conversation by the fire, or a round of games to raise the spirits, hygge is definitely merrier with more. If you’re traveling solo, the pool table at HI Richmond (or one of the many common areas around the country) is a great place to find instant friends to make winter memories with. 

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