Around the world, there are magical towns and villages that come alive during the holiday season. From beautiful light displays to giant Christmas ornaments hanging from buildings, Christmas is the one time of the year when towns go all out. These American towns are the best to visit during the Christmas season.
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This town in the mountains transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays. You can stay in one of the many popular ski resorts while looking at the beautiful holiday lights from your cabin in Vail, Colorado. Don’t forget to visit the famous Gilded Spruce, where it is Christmas all year round and you can buy specialty gifts or decorations that will get you into the holiday spirit.
Witness the jaw-dropping Christmas tradition of extravagant decorations at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. For more than 120 years, this large American home has brought the people of Asheville joy through 100,000 holiday lights and 25,000 ornaments throughout the Estate as well as a 35-foot tall Christmas tree.
St. Augustine, Florida, may be known for its amazing waterfronts, but you can also count on this coastal town to be festive around Christmas time. The city lights up at night during its annual holiday event where citizens and visitors alike can stroll around and enjoy the amazing sights of lights displays.
What’s more Christmas than visiting Santa Claus’ house in North Pole, Alaska? Though it may not be the same North Pole as in your childhood storybooks, it definitely is a place worth visiting in your lifetime. Create memories that you will cherish as you explore through Santa’s workshop, join in the reindeer games and take a picture with a 43-foot-tall wooden Santa statue.
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Take the family on a nice stroll through a walkway covered in holiday lights in Helen, Georgia. You can expect to feast on German delicacies in this Bavarian village and explore the annual Christkindlmarkt that fills the town with gifts, decorations and more. Not enough holiday spirit for you? Take your kids to the Helen Christmas Parade, which stars a certain jolly ol’ man dressed in red.
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You can go on a scenic train ride just like in the Christmas story “The Polar Express” in Durango, Colorado. Experience all of the characters from the award-winning book come alive while enjoying a hot mug of cocoa. Winter in this Colorado town is just as fun as summer. From snowboarding to dog sledding, Durango truly becomes magical.
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Jackson, Wyoming’s four elk antler arches date back to 1953 when local Boy Scouts and a number of community members created the first arch. Christmas is the best time to see the twinkling lights on the arches as well as jolly people caroling.
Christmas light displays glow brightly in Boothbay, Maine. Experience a garden of over 500,000 LED lights from the comfort of your vehicle that will put you in a festive mood. There are many more holiday traditions to enjoy in this seaside town, such as gingerbread house displays, fireworks and a lighted boat parade.
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The people of Leavenworth, Washington, get into the holiday spirit by lighting up their houses with amazing Christmas displays. You can go on a romantic adventure to see the town light up every day from Thanksgiving weekend through Valentine’s Day.
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Tour the American Revolution Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, where you can learn about the holiday traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries during Christmastide. Or maybe head over to Busch Gardens and witness the theme park transform into a winter wonderland full of sparkling lights, festive foods and live seasonal music.
Celebrate this Christmas season in Park City, Utah, where you can plan for perfect skiing conditions. This charming town becomes filled with cheer as it hosts a giant tree light ceremony, rides on the North Pole Express and Christmas sing-a-longs.
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Fully immerse yourself in the holiday season while window shopping for the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones in Alexandria, Virginia. While walking through the historic streets, visitors can enjoy holiday markets and will feel like they stepped inside one of Charles Dickens’ books.
Beautiful Christmas lights shine brightly on the Christmas tree in Branson, Missouri. It’s not called America’s Christmas Tree City for nothing. You also don’t want to miss the holiday celebrations at Silver Dollar City theme park. This theme park is home to the largest Christmas light display in the area with around 6.5 million lights across the park.
Why not make it a holiday tradition to visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the largest Christmas store in the world, in Frankenmuth, Michigan? You can count on the store to have all of your Christmas decoration needs. Also, go for a joy ride on a horse-drawn carriage to view the beauty of this Bavarian-inspired town.
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Trees aren’t the only things that can be decked out with Christmas decorations. Mystic, Connecticut, gives its lighthouse a new look for the holiday season. While you’re exploring the town, prepare to be transported back to the Victorian era during the Mystic Seaport Museum’s annual lantern light tours.
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Christmas is no simple occasion for the people of Duluth, Minnesota, as they go all out on holiday light displays during the Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” celebration. Be sure to hop on the Christmas City Express, where you and your family can enjoy a 30-minute train ride to Lake Superior with hot cocoa, cookies and holiday caroling.
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Feel like you’re living in a Christmas movie as you admire the holiday decorations, activities and 30-foot Christmas tree in Fredericksburg, Texas. You also can’t miss out on the German Christmas Pyramid, a 26-foot carousel-like spectacle that symbolizes the town’s German heritage.
Visit Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for its annual Christkindlmarkt, where you can find handmade crafts from some local and national artists and enjoy live Christmas music. The kids can even spend some quality time with Santa himself during a special storytime at Christkindlmarkt.
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Cape Cod is one of the best photo spots in Massachusetts, not only for its beautiful seaport but also for its dazzling Christmas light displays in the Gardens Aglow celebration. Decorate your own space and support local artists during the Glassblowers’ Christmas, where you can buy hand-crafted glass ornaments.
Enjoy days of fun in Woodstock, Vermont, with your loved ones on the weekend before Christmas. Shop for gifts while admiring the festive lights and decorations around town. You can join the local community members in caroling, sledding and at ugly sweater parties while sipping on delicious cocktails for the holiday season.
Rock around the Christmas tree in Hershey, Pennsylvania, when you visit Hersheypark during the holiday season. Take in the sights of over 5 million lights in the theme park, including the dancing lights at the popular NOEL show. After seeing the sights, head over to Santa’s Reindeer Stables to meet Santa and all of his reindeer.
Join the locals in their annual tree lighting ceremony complete with joyous celebration, singing and dancing on Dec. 4. Despite the pandemic, you can still go to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. Though all rides remain closed, there’s a new outdoor experience called Taste of Merry Farm, where you can try seasonal foods and drinks and shop for specialty gifts.
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Chestnuts literally roast on an open fire in Santa’s Candy Castle in Santa Claus, Indiana. After grabbing a snack, head to Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, where you can experience the magical story of Rudolph the reindeer told in LED lights.
There are many reasons why you should visit Disney World during Christmas, including the amazing light displays that can be seen throughout the four theme parks as well as seasonal snacks. However, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Florida other than Disney, such as some last-minute gift shopping during the Winterfest and Holiday Market at the Orange County Convention Center.
New York City is a classic Christmas destination. This year, go to Rockefeller Center to be amazed by the giant Christmas tree or head over to Brooklyn to experience the bright Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights. For the holiday, make sure to have a talk with your friends and family about attending holiday gatherings during the coronavirus.
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