Christmas is such a special time of year and while you may first think of Europe when deciding where to go for vacation, there are plenty of festive cities right here in the U.S.A., with The 15 Best Places in the USA to Spend Christmas.
These towns and cities alike, are sure to have you feeling the merry holiday spirit while walking through fairy-tale winter wonderlands.
Next up, The 15 Best Places in the USA to Spend Christmas
20 minutes south of D.C., Alexandria is picture-perfect, especially the Old Town’s row houses and centuries-old brick streets when adorned with snow, lights, and Christmas wreaths.
Expect lots of seasonal activities and make sure you head to King Street for your shopping needs. Once you have checked off the present wish list, head to Potomac for the Scottish Christmas Walk and try to spot Waterskiing Santa.
If you need to get in the spirit, go to Mount Vernon (George Washington’s former home) where you can see light installations and listen to carolers.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville could easily be considered one of the best places to go for Christmas, especially since it is tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Some of the events you will find will be a lit-up wonderland at the North Carolina Arboretum, a national gingerbread house competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn, and a Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley weaving through downtown.
To officially get in the holiday spirit, head to the Biltmore Estate, where you will be surrounded by 55 hand decorated trees, 1,000 live poinsettias, and 7,500 feet of evergreen garland.
Stay at The Foundry, which is newly opened in 2018 and the restaurant is run by a James Beard nominee.
A beautiful and luxurious ski town turned into the ultimate winter getaway during Christmas time; what more could you need? During the Christmas season, there is an annual tree lighting, a fun-packed “12 Days of Aspen” event and plenty of shows (must see The Nutcracker) at the Opera House.
During the day, head to the main pedestrian walking mall for some much needed retail therapy and then to Elk Camp on Snowmass on a Friday night for the wintertime party, which includes mountain activities, a bonfire, and culinary delights.
Stay at The Little Nell for all of the 5-star treatment you could want.
What more could ask for than a town named Bethlehem at Christmas? The city has a German-inspired Christmas City Village and and Christkindlmarkt featuring rotating displays by artisans, live music, and glass blowing demonstrations.
Make sure to attend the Winter Light Spectacular at the Lehigh Valley Zoo that features more than a million lights and illuminated scenes throughout the zoo.
Stay at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem that gets all decked out for the holidays, with 35,000 lights, giant toy soldiers, and several Christmas trees.
Chicago definitely knows how to embrace the holiday spirit, from its European-inspired Christkindlmarkt to light shows galore. Your can’t miss activities include visiting the Christmas Tree Farm on Goose Island, ice-skating in Millennium Park, and seasonal menus and decorations at virtually every restaurant in town.
Be sure to attend the annual light festival at Lincoln Park Zoo where you will be dazzled by 2.5 million LED lights.
Stay at The Gwen where you can find a pop-up curling rink and a cozy “apres-ski” cabin in the hotel’s outdoor terrace.
Every December, this tiny New England town bursts with holiday cheer during its annual Christmas Prelude, which is an 11-day bash that is about as New England as you can get. One of the main evens in a tree made of lobster traps and Santa’s arrival on a lobster boat.
Stay at the Cape Arundel Inn & Resort for its oceanside location and restaurant serving amazing seafood.
Country music and Christmas; what more could you want? The Music City Hall puts on a Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland, that includes shows, ice skating, movie marathons, and acres of light displays.
Or, you can take the two-mile drive through Jingle Beat, which is a light show set to remixed versions of classic Christmas carols.
Stay at The Germantown Inn that will give you the best hygge outside of Denmark.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Christmas here isn’t what we all of think of first, when we hear New Orleans, but this city knows how to throw a party. NOLA lights up with events like LUNA Fete, where the Central Business District around Lafayette Square fills up with installations and animated graphics.
City Park also becomes a wonderland for the entire month with Celebration in the Oaks, which is a festival with vendors, food and drink stands, and decorations.
Make sure to catch the annual Christmas Eve lighting of the bonfires along the banks of the Mississippi River, which is a tradition and authentically New Orleans.
Stay at the Hotel Maison de Ville, which is one of the best hotels in New Orleans.
New York City, New York
What would this list be if New York wasn’t on it? Especially if you’re looking for an over-the-top and big city Christmas holiday. Make sure you ice skate at Rockefeller center, take a carriage ride though Central Park, and shop 34th street to witness a holiday miracle.
Head to Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood for overboard Christmas decorations and a walking tour.
Stay at The Plaza.
Newport Beach, California
The beach town is an enclave not too far south from Los Angeles, and is perfect for that beach Christmas you have been wanting for years.
The Christmas Boat Parade is one of the longest-running holiday festivals in the country and takes places in the harbor of Newport Beach; yachts, boats, and kayaks oh my! You will definitely want to view the parade form Balboa Island.
Stay at the Lido House, Autograph collection.
Park City, Utah
Park City is known for its world-class skiing but is also a quaint spot for your outdoor Christmas adventures. In addition to skiing, you can fly fish, snowmobile, and go dog sledding if you so choose.
Enjoy the huge, interactive snow globes located in the Main Street Historic district; every globe is themed around the cities wildlife, silver mining heritage, or the Olympic legacy.
Stay at the Washington Room School House which is just a hop away from the lit up Main Street.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Midnight mass at the Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi, holiday exhibits at the New Mexico Museum of Art, a spectacular lights display at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, seasonal shopping at the Winter Indian Market, and all of the lights you can imagine adorning the already beautiful city center plaza.
One thing you can’t forget to get immersed in, is Santa Fe’s annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk, which consists of farolitos (paper bags filled with sand and topped with a votive candle) lining the streets and walls of the adobe buildings. If you’re a skier, Taos Ski Valley and Ski Santa Fe is a short drive away.
Stay at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi that you can cozy up with a fireplace and hand-carved four-poster bed in every guest room.
Seneca Falls, New York
Think, It’s a Wonderful Life in real life, while spending time in the five-square-mile hamlet in upstate New York. To add, each December there is an array of old-timey activities to prove it. Including, It’s a Wonderful Life Bonfire event, Christmas caroling, and a tree-lighting ceremony.
Stay at The Gould Hotel.
St. Louis, Missouri
Did you know, 76 years ago Judy Garland sang “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at the end of Meet Me in St. Louis and the city has been embracing that ever since.
You will want to make sure you hit all of the classics: Wild Lights at St. Louis Zoo, the poinsettia show at Jewel Box in Forest Park, and ice skating at Steinberg Rink. As well as, you can’t miss the Polar Express-themed train ride at the Union Station development.
If you are in need of spectacular lights, walk among a million of them at the Botanical Garden’s annual Garden Glow.
Stay at the glittering, Gateway Arch-facing Four Seasons.
What could possibly compare to the nation’s capital holiday Christmas Tree? But that is certainly not all. Check out the private igloos at the Watergate Hotel, the Downtown Holiday Market, and the Smithsonian museums (during the one time of the year there aren’t school field trip groups).
Make sure you head to Ford’s Theatre, which puts on an annual run of A Christmas Carol for the holidays.
Stay at The Hay Adams, which is historic and just steps for the White House and National Christmas Tree.
Now that you have your sites on where to go, make sure you get the best luggage to top off your luxury Christmas vacation. Check out my post on ‘The 5 Best Luxury Luggage Brands‘ to last a lifetime.
Which one of The 15 Best Places in the USA to Spend Christmas are you exploring first?