There are many cities around the country that will kick your holiday spirit into overdrive. These Christmas towns roll out the red carpet and lure you in with fun (and often free!) attractions and events. Twinkling Christmas lights, festive displays, traditional carols, smells of bayberry and pine, decorated sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and colorful Christmas trees are some of the things that leave us with “visions of sugarplums.”
1. Leavenworth, Washington
It’s Christmas year round in Leavenworth WA. View the lights and then take in the holiday market. You’ll be as close to a Bavarian (German) Village as you can get in the US with a visit to Leavenworth, Washington during the holidays. The foothills of the Cascade Mountains come alive December 1st with a Winter Wonderland of carolers, sleigh rides, a lantern parade, roasted chestnut vendors, 1.2 million lights, weekly festivals, a traditional Christkindlmarkt, and a massive tree in the center of town.
2. Asheville, North Carolina
You can feel the Christmas spirit in gorgeous Asheville especially when checking out the Christmas train. The holiday spirit is in the air at the Vanderbilt family’s historic and magnificent home: The Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina. Wander through the 55 decorated trees on the Biltmore property or feast on the Christmas fare menu options at its restaurants. Holiday fun doesn’t end at trees and food, though. The town loves to watch Santa Claus rappel Chimney Rock in anticipation for Christmas night. Over at Grove Park Mansion is a dazzling gingerbread house display.
3. The Palm Beaches, Florida
Don’t forget to check out the holiday sandcastles. Then make your way to the 100 foot tall Christmas tree. It doesn’t snow in Florida, but that doesn’t mean they skip the holiday season. Start in Delray Beach with a 100 ft. tall Christmas tree in Old School Square. Notably, Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked it the best in the state of Florida. It has a toy train exhibit to complete the picture. Runners eagerly anticipate the Delray Beach Jingle Bell Jog 5K event, and the Charlie Brown Christmas, at the Kravis Center, is an event everyone will love.
4. Natchitoches, Louisiana
It wouldn’t be a Christmas town list if we didn’t include Santa, Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles from Natitoches, Louisiana. From mid-November through the first week in January (40 days total), Natchitoches celebrates the Christmas Festival of Lights.It includes live music, 300,000 twinkling lights, historical tours, home tours every weekend, and a huge parade. Santa Claus and his Miss Merry Christmas and Christmas Belles honor Louisiana’s Creole heritage for the 93rd year at this incredible parade.
5. Washington, DC
It wouldn’t be Christmas in America without seeing the National Christmas Tree. Other DC festivities include Georgetown’s GLOW DC exhibit of outdoor light displays, a downtown holiday market, and Holiday Parade of Lights. Live theatre events include A Magical Cirque Christmas, The Illusionists Magic of the Holidays, Disney Jr. Holiday Party, and Sing! An Irish Christmas.
6. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Frankenmuth, Michigan is a quaint American town with stately Bavarian architecture and a reputation for celebrating Christmas 365 days a year with its traditional Christkindlmarkt. The town of Frankenmuth has a noteworthy holiday home tour, huge displays, and the world’s largest Christmas store: Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.
7. Grapevine, Texas
The small town of Grapevine brings an incredible 1,400 events to life in 40 days during the holidays. It’s easy to see why Grapevine bills itself as the “Christmas Capital of Texas.” Events include Christmas concerts, movies at the historic Palace Theatre, a Christmas Vintage Railroad North Pole Express train ride and a Parade of Lights. Drop by the grand Gaylord Texan Resort to see the 50 ft. tall rotating tree and life-sized gingerbread house for great Instagrammable photogenic displays.
8. Cape May, New Jersey
The lamplighter Christmas tour is a unique way to see area bed and breakfasts adorned in their holiday finest. You can also enjoy the Hereford Lake Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Christmas parade in Cape May, New Jersey, America’s original seaside resort town. The Cape May Christmas candlelight historic home tour is one of the town’s most anticipated events. It tours several picturesque Victorian inns, hotels, and churches.