Cities and Towns in America That Do Christmas Big!

September 30, 2023

A picture-perfect Christmas town can take the festivities to a whole different level. Visiting one of these idyllic towns that are decked out for the holidays will make you feel like you’ve walked right onto the set of a Hallmark movie.

A woman at a holiday celebration drinking a hot chocolate.

The Best Christmas Towns In America

The days are getting shorter, the air is getting chillier, and that can only mean one thing: Christmas time is fast approaching! There’s already a certain kind of magic in the air that only comes around during December, but making a trip to a picture-perfect Christmas town can take the festivities to a whole different level. Visiting one of these idyllic towns that are decked out for the holidays will make you feel like you’ve walked right onto the set of a Hallmark movie - all you’ll need is a mug of hot cocoa and a pack of roasted chestnuts to complete the scene. So make your travel plans, reserve your airport parking spot and get ready to feel the Christmas spirit!

1. Santa Claus, Indiana

With a name like Santa Claus, you know this town is a must-see destination for Christmas enthusiasts. America’s Christmas Hometown is bursting with Christmas cheer during the holidays. Visit the enormous Santa Claus Christmas store to take care of all your holiday decorating needs, grab all the old-fashioned candy and hot cocoa you can stomach from Santa’s Candy Castle, or drive through the brilliant Land Of Lights. There’s even a Holiday World theme park for the thrill-seekers in your family!

2. North Pole, Alaska

A trip up to Santa’s domain may not be a realistic holiday venture, but a trip up to North Pole, Alaska certainly can be! This small town celebrates the spirit of Christmas all year long, but it’s especially festive during its annual Winter Festival. Some key attractions include The Santa Clause House, which has an incredible selection of Christmas keepsakes and candy, and the North Pole Post Office, which receives thousands of Christmas wishlists every year from children around the world.

3. McAdenville, North Carolina

McAdenville, North Carolina has earned a huge reputation and a very fitting nickname for its wintertime festivities: “Christmas Town USA”. Every year since the 1950s, the entire town lights up with thousands of Christmas lights and beautiful twinkling displays, accompanied by cheerful holiday tunes played from the historical McAden Mills Bell Tower. The best part? Driving and walking through the town and enjoying the views is completely free, making it a great stop-by destination!

4. Branson, Missouri

If you don’t consider your Christmas celebrations complete without a good dose of music and live performances, Branson, Missouri needs to be on your list of holiday travels. Every winter, Branson becomes a winter wonderland with its Ozark Mountain Christmas celebrations. You can enjoy the light displays and Christmas shopping options, but the best part of this town’s holiday celebrations is its star-studded lineup of performances and shows that range from country music to Broadway shows.

5. Solvang, CA

Aptly nicknamed “The Danish Capital Of America” and complete with windmills and quaint shops galore, the Danish-themed village of Solvang is a must-see stop year-round. But come Christmastime, this little town becomes even more magical as it celebrates the season with its annual Holiday Julefest Celebration. Learn Danish Christmas traditions like hunting for Danish gnomes, embark on romantic candlelit tours of the city, and see Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves during the festive Julefest Parade - all while enjoying the moderate California climate.

6. Woodstock, Vermont

If you’re dreaming of a Bing Crosby-worthy White Christmas, it doesn’t get much more quaint than spending Christmastime in New England. Take a step back in time and visit Woodstock, Vermont during its annual Wassail Weekend, where the town lights up with Christmas lights, sleigh bells, and tons of 19th-century charm. Enjoy musical performances, carriage rides around the town, and screenings of some of your favorite holiday movies.

7. Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming already has a big reputation among snow-loving travelers for its unmatched skiing opportunities. But during Christmas, the small central town of Jackson, Wyoming also offers another traveling option: a true winter wonderland for the entire family! The Town Square comes to life with a beautiful array of twinkling lights and accompanying performances during its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Santa Claus himself makes guest appearances throughout the month. The Holiday Art Bazaar gives you the opportunity to find unique gifts handcrafted with love, and hotels and resorts offer tons of festive seasonal celebrations. If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, consider taking a sleigh ride through the nearby National Elk Refuge.

8. New York, New York

While not exactly small and quaint, visiting the Big Apple during Christmastime is a rite of passage for many - and is there any wonder why? The New York City Christmas festivities start with the Thanksgiving parade and stretch all the way to the New Year, and there’s never any shortage of Christmas cheer. From the iconic Rockefeller Center tree to ice skating and shopping, you’ll never run out of magical things to do or places to see in December.

9. Durango, Colorado

The Old West meets Christmas fun in Durango, Colorado. In addition to the skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling fun that you can expect while you’re spending your winters in the Rocky Mountains, Durango also boasts one major Christmas attraction that’ll appeal to the whole family: The Polar Express! Take a journey on a vintage steam train from Durango to the North Pole, where you’ll pick up Santa Claus while indulging in hot cocoa and cookies - then receive gifts from the Big Man himself.

10. Vail, Colorado

Vail, Colorado is a must-see destination for anyone looking for a white Christmas. This gorgeous mountain town becomes a quintessential Christmas village during the holidays, complete with horse-drawn sleighs and cobblestone streets. Visit the Kris Kringle Market for your Christmas shopping, see the tree lighting ceremony, or simply stroll through the town and enjoy the lights and trees that make this town one of the most gorgeous destinations on the list.

11. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is bustling with things to do during the winter. For example, this city is home to the National Gingerbread Competition, where you see the whimsical creations of master bakers on display every year. You can also enjoy some of the most tasteful and classy Christmas festivities around at the Biltmore, the largest home in America. Every Christmas, the house is extravagantly decorated with trees (that are brought in on Santa’s horse-drawn carriage!), poinsettias, and candlelight, making for a gorgeous and intimate holiday excursion.

12. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is an Alpine-style town that feels like it’s been plucked straight from a Christmas carol. Otherwise known as Christmastown, this “village of lights” certainly lives up to its name, boasting over half a million Christmas lights scattered throughout the town. You’ll be able to enjoy festive Christmas cheer all week long: enjoy performances of carolers serenading you in the streets, buy chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and take pictures with Santa Claus (or Krampus, whichever floats your boat).

13. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

You might already be able to tell by its name - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is a town that knows how to celebrate the season. Also known as Christmas City, Bethlehem was given its name on Christmas Eve in 1741 and has made it a point to celebrate the holiday season to the fullest ever since. Make sure to visit Christkindlmarkt, a world-class holiday market where you can take care of everyone on your Christmas list with unique artisan gifts, all while enjoying festive performances throughout the month of December.

14. Williamsburg, Virginia

For a Colonial-style Christmas experience, take a trip to one of America’s oldest colonial towns, Williamsburg! See Busch Gardens decked out in lights as it turns into Christmas Town, peruse the annual Christmas Market and find unique gifts for everyone on your list, eat delicious seasonal treats during the Mistletoe Market, and enjoy the ambiance of a city that is a true piece of American history.

15. Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Norman Rockwell, the painter famous for his depictions of everyday American culture, chose Stockbridge, Massachusetts as the scene for his depiction of small-town holiday celebrations in his painting “Home For Christmas.” Every year, Stockbridge lights up during Christmas to celebrate, even recreating the classic painting scene during its annual Main Street Christmas celebration. Unfortunately, the recreation isn’t happening in 2021, but there are still plenty of festive reasons to explore this quintessential New England town during the holidays - and good reason to bookmark this destination for upcoming years.

16. Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah is truly a paradise for anyone who wants to get away and spend their Christmas in a white-capped mountain town. The city has a seemingly endless calendar of Christmas events including the Electric Parade, Sing-A-Longs, and music shows, all in a gorgeous snowy town in the Rockies.

17. Taos, New Mexico

You might not think of New Mexico as a destination for Christmas celebrations, but don’t let the location fool you. Unique New Mexican celebrations wait for you in Taos during their annual Yuletide In Taos festival from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Support folk artisans by buying unique crafts and gifts, enjoy bonfires and local fare, and celebrate all the holidays of the season during their Annual Holiday fiesta.

They say that there’s no place like home for the holidays - but these must-see travel destinations might just give your hometown a run for its money this year.

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