Best Christmas Towns in USA for A Memorable Winter Vacation

So go Downtown, where all the lights are bright

Downtown, waiting for you tonight

Downtown, you gonna be alright now…

As Petula Clark’s upbeat voice transpired from my car’s stereo, I was yet again lost in a reverie. This time it was all about riding to the best Christmas towns in USA, marveling at the glittering lights and twinkling stars adorning the cities.

Sweet November is here and with it, the month brings the merriment of Christmas. While a huge fir tree is making its way in New York City, somewhere in a quaint town a child is writing to Father Christmas. All the towns are decking up to welcome the Festival of Lights and are putting up their best unrivalled festive gear. Why not head towards the best ones when you are done admiring your own beautifully decorated neighborhood?

1. Orlando, Florida - Christmas along with Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter

Image Source: Jared/flickr.com

Welcome to fa la la land, the holiday destination for one and all! Orlando is the Theme Park Capital of the World. It has numerous theme parks, one of them being the Walt Disney World and boy who doesn’t love Disney?! This place turns into a paradise for kids and adults alike during Christmas with the amusement parks going all out for the Holiday season. The below list of Xmas events will tempt you to pack your bags and head towards Orlando.

    • Christmas at Walt Disney World: Step into the Magic Kingdom and attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The magical snowfall on Main Street, Cinderella's Castle gloriously decorated with white lights, live entertainment, parades, fireworks, and much more will simply leave you spellbound. All this is accompanied with many other parties serving mouth-watering desserts, sparkling ales, and scrumptious food that will fill your glass of Christmas shenanigans to the brim.
    • Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort: Who wouldn’t want to visit Hogsmeade village from Hogwarts during Christmas or walk down the Diagon Alley? Celebrating Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be like a dream come true for anyone (if not, you are just a muggle). Wave to Santa Claus, the Minions, characters from Madagascar and Shrek at the Universal’s Holiday Parade. Live entertainment shows along with this fanfare will make your Christmas the best one ever.
    • Christmas at SeaWorld Orlando: Meet Santa Claus, have dinner with Santa’s favorite reindeer - Rudolph, and enjoy the special performances arranged at SeaWorld Orlando. Visit this theme park along with kids and see their face lit with delight this holiday season.
    • Apart from theme parks, you can also live the Christmas spirit by visiting the Leu House Museum which showcases many Xmas trees. Head towards Frostbite Factory to see artists making ice sculptures that exemplify skillful craftsmanship.

 Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

2. Durango, Colorado - Celebrate Christmas The Adventurous Way

Image Source: Youtube.com

Enveloped in snow-capped mountains, Durango is a mecca for adventure lovers during the winter holiday season. Having many snow sports that would spoil you for choice, Durango is also packed with many Christmas events. While its downtown dazzles with strings of twinkling lights, the sparkling snow invites you to take a sleigh ride and step right into the spirit of Christmas. Let us see why Durango makes it to my list of the best Christmas Towns in USA.

    • Aboard the winter trains:  Hop onto The Polar Express train for a ride through the beautiful city that exudes a peculiar smell of pine. A window seat, a hot cup of chocolate, and you are set for the hour long ride through snowclad landscapes. This is accompanied with the reading of the The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg and a visit from Santa Claus.
    • Ski down the snowy blanket: Covered in snow, Durango sees a lot of skiers during the Christmas holiday season. The Purgatory Mountain with its perfect slopes gives a great opportunity to collect an unforgettable skiing experience. 
    • Get tickets to Snowdown: This winter festival sets the town on fire (no, not literally). Snowdown is that time of the year when all of Durango dresses up according to the decided theme, partakes in out-of-the-box events, and presents skits that have you bursting in guffaws. You would want to put your kids to sleep and then attend Snowdown since many events here are adult rated. 
    • You can explore the beautiful snowy town of Durango by walking along the Animas River Trail which is packed with panoramic vistas.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

3. Aspen, Colorado - Christmas in The Small Lovely Town

Image Source: aspenchamber.org

Oh, the joy of celebrating Christmas in a small town! Aspen turns into a magical wonderland during the winter holiday season. The downtown of Aspen has its trees lit up with many light strings making it look like a fairytale place. The good vibe of the town brings cheer to the festivities and makes you feel content at the end of the season. Here’s why you should head towards Aspen, leaving behind your hectic city life this Christmas.

    • Live 12 Days of Aspen: Starting from 20th December to 31st December, every year, Aspen comes alive with a series of joyous events. Aimed to entertain all ages, the events include sleigh rides, live jazz, art projects, Victorian caroling, ice skating, children’s story hours, and much more. Joining in the fun is Santa Claus and his favorite reindeer.  
    • Attend the tree lighting ceremony: The tree lighting ceremony announces the arrival of Christmas. If you decide to celebrate the holiday season in Aspen, you can go attend the Little Nell Tree lighting ceremony on December 12, 2017. A great way to bond with the locals, countdown the lighting ceremony along with them and enjoy the christmas spirit to the optimum. 
    • View the Night Lights: The torchlight parade and fireworks in Aspen is something one must not miss. The trail of torch-bearing skiers skillfully treading down the slopes is a spectacular sight to behold. 
    • Go walking in the downtown: Downtown of Aspen equals heaven during Christmas time. It is totally pedestrianized, with vehicles not permitted in the central part of city. Walking down the snow laden paths lined with enlightened trees is certainly a walk to remember. 

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

4. Branson, Missouri - Take a nostalgic Christmas ride

Image Source: Flickr.com

Branson is a town that lets you have a holly jolly Christmas. The numerous dazzling lights are enough to tell you that the town celebrates the Festival of Lights with much grandeur. With a plethora of Xmas shows, Branson has a lot in store for kids and adults alike. Take a look and you’ll surely want to spend your Christmas vacation in this cheerful town. 

    • Christmas at Silver Dollar City: 1,000 ornamented Christmas trees, 6.5 million twinkling lights, two broadway-style shows, and a 5-story special effects Christmas tree - now all that will surely make you feel Christmas-y. To top it, the Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade goes around the city and adds 100,000 lights to the already dazzling, enlightened town square. 
    • Christmas Shows: The Christmas shows in Branson immerse you in the spirit of the festival. Presenting the nativity scene, these shows take you right back in time through their enactments, clothes, and music. Attend these shows with your kids to let them know why we celebrate Christmas.
    • Get on The Polar Express: Like Durango, Branson also has The Polar Express train. Making its way through the Ozark Mountains, this train gives you a scenic ride through the magnificent vistas and provides entertainment throughout the journey.
    • Christmas Parades: Apart from Silver Dollar City’s Holly Jolly Parade, the town has The Most Wonderful Time of The Year Parade in November, followed by the Adoration Parade in December. People flock downtown to see the the lighting of the Adoration Scene on Mount Branson during the parade. 

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

5. Woodstock, Vermont - Experience the countryside Christmas

Image Source: Tony Alter/flickr.com

It is in December that the quaint towns like Woodstock come alive with the spirit of Christmas. Visiting the town makes you yearn to settle down here, leaving behind all the bustle of city life. If you are looking for a place to spend a quiet Christmas vacation and yet enjoy the festival, Woodstock is the town to be!

    • Wassail Weekend Celebrations: Marked with an array of events, Wassail Weekend Celebrations have been taking place for more than 30 years in Woodstock. Take a tour of The Woodstock Historic Center or sing along with the elementary school’s chorus, these celebrations dated around December 8th, 9th, and 10th, will inject you with cheerful Christmas mood. 
    • Visit the Woodstock Inn: Located in the heart of the town, the historic Woodstock Inn gets decorated with lights and pinecone wreaths. The warm lights give a soft glow to the entire space making it look like a house from the fairytales. 
    • Wagon Tours: Jump onto the wagon pulled by horses for a ride of the lovely town. Take a look at all the beautifully ornamented houses, snow covered bridges, and get an insight into the countryside life. 

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

6. Asheville, North Carolina - Enjoy a famjam Christmas

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Christmas vacation is a family affair where you spend some quality time with your loved ones. Asheville is a town which lets you do exactly that. A town that sparkles a little brighter during Christmas, there is an abundance of things to do in Asheville for your family members aging 7 to 77. The twinkling lights and detailed decorations infuse the right spirit of Christmas, letting you enjoy the festive celebrations to your heart’s content.

    • Christmas at Biltmore: If you are vacationing in Asheville during Christmas, you must visit the Biltmore Estate. The Christmas wreath welcomes you at the grand entrance and once inside, you feel as if you have stepped into a magical place. Decorated with strings of lights, streamers, garlands, and 55 heavily ornamented Christmas trees, the Biltmore house exudes a charm that warms you on the cold wintery days. Explore the house to see the antiques and art proudly displayed here, all of it accompanied with live melodious music by choir and soloists. Don’t forget to give a toast to the Christmas celebrations at the Biltmore winery. 
    • Winter lights at North Carolina Arboretum: Decorated with 500,000 LED lights, a tour of the North Carolina Arboretum will leave you mesmerized. Its illuminated christmas tree coming alive to the music beats and the Rocky Cove Railroad garden-scale model train add to the joy of touring this dazzling place.
    • Gingerbread House Competition: The Omni Grove Park Inn will be hosting the 25th Annual National Gingerbread Competition. The numerous entries will be put up on display between November 26, 2017 to January 4, 2018. From small houses to giant castles, the intricately made gingerbread structures will absolutely leave you awe-inspired.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

7. Frankenmuth, Michigan - A Town Celebrating Christmas All Year Round

Image Source: Ken Lund/flickr.com

It wouldn’t be wrong to rename Frankenmuth as the Christmas town of USA. With the largest Christmas store in town, Frankenmuth basks in the twinkling Xmas lights for 365 days of a year. The arrival of winter festival further turns this place into a wonderland and a perfect vacation destination. Step onto this land and you will feel as if you are celebrating Christmas in your own little Germany. 

    • Visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland: Not just any retail shop, this place boasts to be world’s largest Christmas store. While it rings with the spirit of the festival throughout the year, during Christmas, the store exceeds all your expectations. Just a variety of 150 different nutcrackers is enough to tell how crazy this store can make you go. Get those perfect Christmas gifts and put a check to your list. 
    • Attend the magic show: Head towards the historic Fischer Hall to watch magician Keith Stickley and Jon-O perform some magic tricks. I bet you will be fooled by the cunning magician and yet applaud louder. A surprise visit from Santa will certainly delight the kids. 
    • Take the holiday home tour: What better way to experience a town’s hospitality than visiting the locals there? Frankenmuth Women’s club opens doors of 6 different houses, inviting guests to help the visitors socialize during the festival season.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

8. Naples, Florida - Celebrate Christmas by The Beaches

Image Source: Flickr.com

If you wish to escape the cold snow this holiday season, then Naples in Florida has you calling with open arms. Packed with plenty of beaches, Naples is a favorite destination of couples yearning for a romantic Christmas. Besides the soft sandy beaches, Naples offers many Christmas events to its visitors. 

    • Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade: Grab a spot along Naples Bay for there is nothing like watching the Christmas Boat Parade during night time. The vessels are beautifully decorated with twinkling lights that brilliantly sparkle in the pitch black water. The parade is held around December 9 and is something one must not miss.
    • Visit the Palm Cottage: The historic Palm Cottage in Naples is the oldest home in town. During Christmas the cottage adorns a mesmerizing look since it is decorated with thousands of lights, pine circlets, and many other period holiday decorations. At the doors stands the Christmas tree welcoming its visitors. Now serving as a museum, this year Palm Cottage will be taking you back in time with its “telling of holidays’ past” events. You wouldn’t want to miss this if you are in Naples for Christmas.
    • Attend the Tuba Christmas Concert: Imagine more than 70 musicians ringing in Christmas playing tubas and euphoniums! With artists aging right from 11 to 80, this concert enlivens the spirit of the winter festival. Sing along with the locals and celebrate Christmas in a unique way. 

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

9. North Pole, Alaska - The Home of Santa Claus

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Head towards North Pole city in Alaska to have the best Christmas vacation with kids. With Santa Claus’ House in town, this is one place where children have the best time during the holiday season. Besides, the numerous lights and display of candy canes in the downtown will instil the cheerful Christmas vibes in you. 

  • Visit the Santa Claus House: While a giant figure of Father Christmas invites everyone into his house, once you are inside, you will be bowled over by the variety of toys and souvenirs found in this place. Every year, thousands and thousands of letters are received addressed to the Santa Claus House. Community volunteers also go an extra mile to reply to these letters. Now, isn’t that heart-warming?
  • Christmas in Ice event: Many ice sculpturists flock to North Pole in Alaska during the winter holidays to participate in the ice sculpting competition. Besides Christmas in Ice also has ice slides, a maze, twirlers, indoor kids’ crafts, and educational ice sculpture demonstrations. Held at the ice park which is near to the Santa Claus House, you must visit it to see the magnificent ice statues. 

10. Helen, Georgia - Christmas in the Bavarian town

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Helen is the little Bavaria of Georgia. The small mountainous town adorns a warm charm during Christmas beckoning visitors to enjoy their winter vacation here. From the town lighting ceremony to Christmas parade, this town takes you on a fun festival ride. 

    • Lighting of the village ceremony: Wave to Mr. and Mrs. Claus as the local musicians lead the parade to the downtown. Here  Santa and Mrs. Claus illuminate the village with numerous twinkling lights, thus announcing the arrival of Christmas. An extravagant affair, this is the perfect time to bond with the locals. 
    • Hardman Farm Historic State Site: Experience Christmas the Victorian style by visiting the Hardman Farm Historic State site. The home is beautifully ornamented using the periodic decorations that make the place exude an old-gold charm. 
    • The annual Christmas parade: Making his way through the town, Santa once again makes an appearance in Helen. Children love all the attention bestowed upon them by the Giant Man. The bonfire and s’mores followed at the end of the parade is a real treat.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

11. St. Augustine, Florida - The Town of Holiday Lights

Image Source: Joe Ross/flickr.com

St. Augustin brilliantly sparkles with thousands of lights every Christmas. The Nights of Lights in the town are quite popular all around and are attended by many visitors. The entire town basks in the glow of these lights radiating the Christmas vibes. Here’s what to do if you are in St Augustine during Christmas.

    • Attend the Tree Lighting ceremony: Head downtown of St. Augustine to witness the tree lighting ceremony of the city. It is followed by illuminating 3 million tiny white lights that turn the town into a winter wonderland. 
    • Visit the lighthouse: Head towards St. Augustine lighthouse on the first Wednesday in December to be a part of the Luminary night. While the keeper’s house is decorated in the old Victorian style, the walkways are illuminated with thousands of light. You can climb to the top of the tower to view the sea of lights below. 
    • Tour the Nights of Lights: The numerous historic buildings in St Augustine are covered in thousands of lights. It is a treat to watch these structures basking in glory. While you can tour all the places on foot, you can also opt for the Old Town Trolleys famous Nights of Lights Tour.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

12. Williamsburg, Virginia - Celebrate Christmas in the historically rich city

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Step onto the land of Williamsburg and you will see here a perfect blend of the old and new. The same is reflected during Christmas too. With twinkling lights, many historical buildings in the town come alive and look spectacular. If you haven’t yet made up your mind, the below events will tempt you to enjoy your Christmas vacation in Williamsburg of Virginia.

    • Busch Garden Christmas Town: With eight million glowing lights, Busch Garden Christmas Town turns into a magical theme park. Walk through the park with a mug of peppermint fudge hot chocolate and soak yourself in the Christmas festivities. Toast to the holiday season and take your taste buds on a feast at the fine dining restaurants here.
    • Experience colonial Christmas: Through an array of events, Williamsburg takes you on a ride of centuries old holiday traditions. The traditional music, period appearances, and the custom of keeping a single candle at the window of the historic homes let you collect some unforgettable colonial Xmas memories.
    • Visit the Merchant Square: Marked with street theater performances, musical trails, and an appearance of Santa, Merchant Square is a bustling place in Williamsburg. You can go on a shopping spree at the any unique stores here or head towards the Holiday’s Farmer Market.

Check out the nearest accommodations for a comfortable stay.

Check Availability

Kick off your holiday season by visiting any of the above towns for a memorable Christmas vacation. I have already packed my bags, so maybe I’ll see you there.

dotted-line
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KETKI HANAMSHET KETKI HANAMSHET

Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask her out for a cup of hot steaming tea & she'll be up in a jiffy. She puts books, cricket, and pets above everything materialistic. Someone who loves to have a heart-to-heart, Ketki is that 2 AM person who replies back with long text messages. Although she believes she can take on the world, you'll see her screaming her head off at the sight of a tiny moth flying her way. As this wandering soul finds her way through the maze of life, her only motto is - 'Enjoy the journey, rather than hurrying to the destination'.

dotted-line

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

NEXT ARTICLE

dotted-line
0