Every year, millions of Americans get into the holiday spirit by traveling to visit family and friends. And while many people would love to see their loved ones during this special time of year, others are looking for an excuse to get out of the house and explore new places! This list is a compilation of America’s 10 best towns that offer plenty of seasonal entertainment opportunities no matter what your tastes may be. From quaint town squares with live caroling performances in December, to dazzling light shows at Christmas time, these destinations will make you feel like you’re somewhere magical this holiday season!
For over 100 years, Santa Claus has been recognized as the Christmas capital of America. Visitors come to see this small town’s enchanting light show and festive atmosphere with more than two million lights throughout December! This year will be especially special for visitors since the town is celebrating its 50th anniversary of turning into a ‘Christmas Wonderland.
Stop by on your way through Indiana to take some pictures at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari – one of the area’s most popular amusement parks which also happens to open up an entire month earlier around Halloween time! You’ll get double entertainment in half the amount of time; it doesn’t get better than that!
If you’re feeling hungry after all of that excitement, stop by Santa’s Candy Castle for some delicious candy apples and other tasty treats. You can also pick up a souvenir at one of the many shops in town before you head out to your next destination!
Every year, visitors flock to the small city of Rock Hill to see over a million Christmas lights light up Main Street. This festive event begins around Thanksgiving and lasts through early January. To kick off the season, be sure to visit Santa’s village which includes dozens of bright trees lining Main St.
After taking some pictures with jolly ol’ Saint Nick himself, you can take your picture home as an official Rock Hill keepsake or browse one of its many shops that carry all sorts of holiday presents for friends and family! As soon as night falls every December, the entire town is lit up by stylish white lights on lampposts along streets – making it feel like a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored!
This quaint town is the perfect place to take the whole family this season. With plenty of sights, sounds, and tastes all around you, Rock Hill’s sparkling lights will help put everyone in a festive mood no matter where they are from!
Located in north-central Pennsylvania, Lititz is home to the world’s largest gingerbread village with around 20 different houses for visitors to see! Every year, local bakers put together holiday-themed displays that are sure to inspire.
Come by on December weekends when hundreds of thousands of lights light up Main Street and all surrounding areas during a spectacular holiday parade complete with floats depicting scenes from popular Christmas movies like ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ or ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’.
Visitors can also stop by one of the many shops along the main street which include wreaths made out of candy canes and other tasty treats – they make great gifts for your favorite friends back home! If you’re feeling hungry after walking around all day, stop by Lititz Brewing Company for a hearty meal and delicious craft beer!
With over 100 years worth of holiday cheer, it’s sure to be an experience your family won’t soon forget.
Thanks to its festive Victorian-themed downtown district, Grand Rapids has been known as one of the best places to visit during the wintertime for over 100 years! Every year around December, visitors flock there to take pictures with Santa Claus and shop through holiday markets.
At Christmastime in Grand Rapids, you can catch a glimpse of all things Christmas by attending their annual festival which celebrates everything from gingerbread houses decorated with candy cane fences to hot chocolate served up at community bonfires. Come explore this cheerful town that is sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit no matter your age or background!
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, visitors are greeted by stunning views of snow-capped peaks and cozy mountain villages! It’s no wonder Telluride has been called one of America’s best small towns for more than 20 years now.
If you’re looking to escape your hometown during wintertime but want to stay close enough that it feels like a short trip, then this is the place for you! Come see why National Geographic Traveler named Telluride as having some of “the most beautiful landscapes on earth” throughout December with picturesque snowy trees lining Main St., holiday markets filled with handcrafted gifts made by local artisans, and festive Victorian houses decked out in Christmas lights at every corner.
For those looking for a little more adventure, there are tons of winter sports and outdoor activities to keep you occupied such as zip-lining through the trees or skiing down one of the mountain’s many slopes!
Lodging in Telluride is easier than ever with plenty of luxury hotels like The Peaks Resort & Spa. With access to their private ski lift and a heated outdoor pool, you’ll never want to leave!
6. A small coastal city where you can experience ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ any day of the year thanks to its festive atmosphere – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
With its gorgeous coastal views, friendly residents, and festive atmosphere year-round, it’s no wonder that Hilton Head Island has been named one of the best places to visit in America by Travel + Leisure for several years running!
Known as ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ on this island holiday destination, visitors won’t be able to resist coming back again and again. Just steps away from their hotels are shops filled with Christmas trinkets like handcrafted ornaments, brightly colored scarves made out of 100% wool yarns, and more than 20 different varieties of gourmet chocolates – some even paired up perfectly with wine.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity while visiting during December, look no further than the Annual Festival of Lights. This festive event features over one million lights throughout 40 acres of forest which illuminate beautifully against snow-covered pine trees and sparkling fountains!
And don’t forget to visit at least once during your stay for a taste of their local holiday dishes like traditional shrimp ‘n grits, roasted turkey with ham hock gravy and oyster stuffing, or fried green tomatoes with maple-glazed country ham.
Hilton Head Island offers a wide variety of hotels to choose from whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations like The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa which features an onsite spa, indoor pool, and even watercraft rentals by the hour!
7. A Victorian village with ice skating, holiday markets, and a Christmas parade – Leavenworth, Washington
Located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains is one of America’s best small towns for an unforgettable winter getaway: Leavenworth! Just two hours from Seattle sits this charming Bavarian-themed town during the holidays that are often referred to as ‘the little German capital of the Northwest.’
Visitors will be greeted by festive decorations like European street signs paired up next to red wreaths on doors and windows which line every street. And once you see your first ever Nativity scene at Weihnachtsdorf (Christmas Village) or walk through their magical Enchanted Forest complete with thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights all around you, you’ll feel like Christmas has come early!
But Leavenworth is also filled with plenty of winter activities to keep you occupied during your stay. You can ice skate on the frozen Icicle Creek or at their outdoor Ice Skating Rink located in the town square where visitors are surrounded by festive decorations and even a 75-foot tall Christmas tree.
8. A Victorian village with a historic main street, horse-drawn carriages to rent, and plenty of holiday cheer – Santa Barbara, California
The name says it all: the city is filled with classic Victorian houses that were first built back in the late 1800s where visitors can tour around town by foot or hop on one of their many horse-drawn carriage rides. And if you’re looking for other family-friendly activities during your stay here at Christmas time then look no further than taking a ride up into Mount Parnassus aboard an authentic Swiss alpine coaster! But beyond just great shopping and sightseeing opportunities there are also tons more festive events going on such as ice skating rinks which will be opening up soon enough at both The Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta and The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa.
For your dining pleasure, be sure to try out their award-winning wines paired up perfectly with locally sourced seafood dishes that often include the catch of the day or roasted free-range chicken filled with wild rice pilaf and fresh cranberry sauce! Santa Barbara is truly a winter wonderland that you don’t want to miss out on!
And while the Los Olivos neighborhood may be home to some of Santa Barbara’s most popular wineries such as The Merry Vine and Sanford Winery, if wine isn’t your thing then there are plenty more unique things for visitors here at Christmastime like taking a horse-drawn carriage ride around town, attending a Christmas concert at the Santa Barbara Biltmore featuring festive tunes from The Pacific Chorale and Symphony Orchestra under their glowing lights of an enormous holiday tree.
9. A Victorian village with a picturesque waterfront, ice skating on the lakefront trail, and holiday markets – Chicago
Just steps away from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago are The Holiday Market which will be open daily through December 24th. You’ll have your pick of arts & crafts plus delicious treats to choose from including vegan confections, apple cider donuts, hand-spun hot chocolate topped off with fresh marshmallows for dunking! And once you’ve worked up an appetite then grab lunch or dinner at one of their many food stalls where you can sample authentic foods native to various cultures like empanadas filled with beef picadillo or even hearty German sausage over sauerkraut paired up perfectly with warm kartoffelpuffer potato pancakes.
And those who are looking to take a stroll around town during the holidays will have plenty of options to choose from including ice skating on their lakefront trail which is located at The North Avenue Beach House. They also offer visitors free public transportation as well as festive tours aboard vintage trolley cars that can be boarded near Chicago’s Navy Pier.
10. A historic town on the coast of Maine, a festive harbor filled with unique shops and restaurants, and plenty of holiday cheer – Kennebunkport
Located just an hour south of Portland, Kennebunkport is the perfect place for a winter getaway during Christmas time with its quaint historic town on the coast of Maine filled with unique shops and restaurants. And if you’re looking to do some holiday shopping while here at Christmastime then be sure to stop by their harbor where visitors will find over 50 specialty stores selling everything from local arts & crafts plus gifts that include handblown glass ornaments! For those who are interested in sampling some delicious new flavors then head over to Dock Square where they offer seafood shacks serving up lobster rolls, clams steamed in white wine sauce, smoked fish chowder as well as fried oysters all paired perfectly with cold frosty mugs of craft beer or hot apple cider!
For those who are looking for a more family-friendly vacation during the holidays then be sure to check out one of their many holiday events going on such as The Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony which will take place at Monument Beach in Kennebunkport on December 12th. And while you’re here, there’s plenty of festive things to do like taking horse-drawn carriage rides around town, attending the Parade of Boats which will take place on December 19th at The Harbor in Kennebunkport that features over 100 decorated boats all waiting to share their holiday cheer!
The holidays are one of the most exciting times to visit America. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite spots to go this year! Whether your family is local or visiting from another country, there’s something on this list that will bring joy and love into their hearts. If you want to have extra activities that will make your holiday extra special please don’t hesitate to contact us! Wherever you end up celebrating, have fun and happy holidays!