Looking for the most festive places to visit in the US for Christmas? Look no further!
Having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit? Well, no one would blame you because this has been a challenging year for all of us. Thankfully, these amazing towns across the US have plenty of holiday cheer as well as a couple of Christmas villages, parades, tree lighting ceremonies, and even a chance to meet the big man himself, Santa Claus. So start preparing a festive road trip because Christmas is just around the corner.
1. Stockbridge, Massachusetts
If Stockbridge, Massachusetts, looks familiar to you, it’s because every Christmas, the city decks itself out to look just like the “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas” painting by Norman Rockwell. No one knows how to get into the spirit of Christmas like the Stockbridge locals. Every year, thousands of folks around the neighborhood decorate their historic homes with garlands, Christmas trees, and lights. And there are plenty of other things to do here! Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, stroll through the Berkshire Botanical Garden, or check out the Berkshire Theatre Group if you’re a major theater buff.
2. Duluth, Minnesota
Visit a Christmas village in front of Duluth, Minnesota’s Glensheen Mansion, and marvel at thousands of Christmas lights as well as magical gift shops full of blown glass, wood art, and more. And while 2020 is only offering access to the Christmas village virtually, they’re working hard to ensure that everyone can safely visit the area in 2021.
In the meantime, there are plenty of local shops that are full of holiday cheer, local dishes, and lots of events that will knock your socks off. Don’t miss out on the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, which allows tourists to drive through a park completely decked with glittering lights.
3. Park City, Utah
From hiking to biking and driving through scenic views, there’s a little bit of everything at Park City, Utah. The winter season is perfect for ski bunnies looking to slide down a few slopes. And during the month of December, the city goes all out with its Christmas decorations. Tucked in between snowy mountains, this picturesque destination is surrounded by pine trees, Christmas markets, tree lighting ceremonies, and cheerful events like the Christmas Eve torchlight parade.
4. New Hope, Pennsylvania
Cultural attractions like the Parry Mansion, built by one of the town’s founders, Benjamin Parry, and local eateries in the scenic town by the Delaware River are one of the many reasons New Hope is worth visiting.
Don’t forget to ride aboard the New Hope Railroad, a 1925 locomotive that’ll take visitors on a short ride through the city’s beautiful countryside. But the holidays here are extra special courtesy of the North Pole Express, a magical train ride that allows passengers to enjoy some hot cocoa, listen to Christmas carolers, and even meet Santa and his wife, Mrs. Claus.
5. Franklin, Tennessee
Every year, Franklin, Tennessee, holds the Franklin Kiwanis Christmas Parade on the first Saturday of the final month of the year. That’s when tourists and locals get together as one community to celebrate the holidays as they walk down the Historic Downtown Franklin area. The town also holds the famous Dickens of a Christmas event, which recreates the Charles Dickens era and floods the streets with dancers, characters, and musicians in period-piece costumes.
And for anyone with a serious sweet tooth, there’s the Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt, where everyone gets to grab a flashlight and hunt for candy canes that have been tossed on the ground of Eastern Flank Battlefield Park.
6. Denton, North Carolina
Head to Denton, North Carolina’s Denton Farm Park to check out the various exhibits of farm artifacts and buildings that date back as far as the 1800s. Enjoy some music or climb aboard the Country Christmas Train to experience the magic of Christmas and see thousands of twinkling lights around the area. Along the way, passengers will make a pit stop at Santa’s cabin and even see what it’s like to pass through a life-size gingerbread house, too.
7. Atchison, Kansas
For such a small town, Atchison, Kansas, sure knows how to party BIG around the holidays. Besides strolling through boutique shops and enjoying the beautiful scenery that this riverside town has to offer, tourists can go on horse-drawn sleigh rides, enjoy a Christmas parade, attend a puppet show, and watch a Mr. and Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant.
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, is known by travelers as a culinary wonderland with gorgeous downtown scenery that offers culture, art, and so much more, especially around the holidays. Feel like singing with Santa? The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra gives locals and tourists the chance to sing their hearts out during their annual “Sing Along with Santa” event.
This buzzing city full of Christmas cheer also offers cider and cookies at this one-of-a-kind sing-a-long. But besides this, the town offers lantern parades, live music, and outdoor Christmas markets that are free to the public. What more could anyone ask for?
9. Newport, Rhode Island
The scenic shores of the Newport, Rhode Island, coastline are one of the many things you’ll find along the way. There are also plenty of cultural spots to explore, like the Newport Art Museum, The Breakers, (a Vanderbilt estate that’s truly spectacular), and lots of hiking and walking trails to explore. But the locals here believe in celebrating the holidays all month long, so they decorate their homes with lights, hold an annual Christmas tree lighting, and hold tons of concerts for anyone who’s in desperate need of some Christmas cheer.
10. St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida, is known as one of the oldest cities in the US, and it has a heavily influenced Spanish architectural design that might make you feel like you’re in Madrid. But a few things that will definitely feel quite familiar around the holidays are the Christmas decorations and dazzling lights that are decked out all over the city. And the best part is that it’s the perfect destination for anyone who isn’t a fan of the snow, because Florida is, after all, the sunshine state, and while it might get chilly in December, the temperatures here rarely dip below freezing.
11. Denver, Colorado
If you find yourself in Denver, Colorado, during the holidays, then you’re in for a real treat because this city knows how to do Christmas right. From the giant tree in Union Station that gets decked out with lights and ornaments to ice skating in Skyline Park, there’s plenty to do here. And if you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, then take a drive up to Estes Park where you can go on sleigh rides, drink hot cocoa by a fire, and even go dog sledding.
12. New York City, New York
Last but not least is good old NYC—the city that never sleeps, and certainly not during the holidays. From the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to all of the holiday windows at Macy’s, there’s so much to see and do here. But one of the best things about spending Christmas in NYC is that you can find something for everyone, whether it’s ice skating in Bryant Park or catching a show on Broadway. And if you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle, then take a stroll through Central Park where you’ll feel like you’re in a real-life snow globe.
No matter where you decide to spend your Christmas vacation, you’re sure to find plenty of festive cheer. So pack your bags, and don’t forget to bring your holiday spirit with you!