Looking for a great destination for a family Christmas vacation this year? For an unforgettable holiday experience that really puts the wonder in winter wonderland, you’ve got to find a town that goes all out for Christmas to create the holly-jolliest Christmas celebration possible. While just about every town in American puts on a Christmas celebration, some places really take it to the next level. Check out what these incredible towns do for Christmas and start planning a your holiday trip.
Every December, Branson plays host to the Ozark Mountain Christmas Festival, an entire month of holiday music, gorgeous lighting displays, parades, abundant holiday shopping, visits with Santa Claus, a Christmas tree trail, and more. You can also hop a train ride on the Branson Scenic Railway’s Polar Express, just like in the movie. Silver Dollar City has over a thousand trees and millions of lights to dazzle you, and the historic downtown area will fill you with yuletide spirit as you take in the garlands, lights, and festive decorations.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Located in the Smoky Mountains, this town’s annual Winterfest celebrations cover the city in breathtaking light displays, combining natural beauty with dazzling holiday cheer. At Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, you’ll find Christmas lights and decorations, holiday music, parades, and a stage production of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The Titanic Museum puts on Christmas pageantry as well, and you can also take in the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights, Santa and Mrs. Claus’s workshop, holiday shows at the Smoky Mountain Opry, and so much more. Stay awhile in a Pigeon Forge cabin rental for a cozy base of operations from which to enjoy your holiday adventures.
Located near the Green Mountains in central Vermont, Woodstock is the perfect town to visit if you prefer real old school Christmas celebrations. Woodstock’s Wassail Weekend is a throwback to the old Christmas traditions of bygone times, featuring an equestrian parade with horseback riders and drawn buggies, yule log fires, a craft fair, Christmas carolers, and beautifully decorated historic homes, farms, and inns that open themselves up for tours. You won’t want to miss the Wassail Celebration Feast, the Celtic music performances, or anything else this one of a kind event has to offer.
Nobody does Christmas like Disney, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a more magical place to spend Christmas than the home of the Walt Disney World Resort. Step into the Magic Kingdom and you’ll find Cinderella’s Castle and Main Street, USA decked out in holiday lights and decorations, and you can enjoy fireworks and parades as part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Head on over to Universal Studios and you can experience even more magic with Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You might even run into the Grinch while you’re at Universal’s Orlando Resort! Don’t miss the Christmas festivities at SeaWorld or Legoland either, and make some time to try ice skating (yes, in Florida!) at Central Park.
New York, New York
So many iconic movies, traditions, and Christmas-related events are set in New York City that there’s no way it could be left off this list. You can go ice skating at the rink and see the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, catch the Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center, take in the window decorations and shop at some of the world’s most famous department stores, and see the legendary Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. If you can make it into the city at the very beginning of the holiday season, you can see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which always concludes with Santa Claus riding in for his first public appearance of the year.
It’s true that there’s no place like home for the holidays, but you don’t want to miss the chance to experience a memorable Christmas at one of these great American Christmas towns!