10 Must-See Cities in the U.S. During Christmas Time
Fa La La La La… It’s officially Christmas season and the Erica Diaz Team loves this magical time of year, along with so many people around the world. However, in this article, we are focusing on some of the “must-see” cities in America During Christmas time!
With such festiveness in the air, it is the perfect time to hit the road and discover a magical Christmas town. Christmas time is one of the most popular times of year to travel. Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel ON Christmas day to visit these towns, many of them start decorating in November and do NOT start taking things down until after the new year. Thus, providing ample time to discover new cities around the country during Christmas time.
Keep in mind, due to Covid-19 all states have different restrictions in place. Please ensure you check out each destination’s website for more information on their current regulations and restrictions. Happy travels!
Favorite U.S. Cities to Visit During Christmas Time
1. Orlando, Florida
We certainly could not leave Orlando off of this list, now could we?! Actually, we are a little partial to all of the Holiday entertainment Orlando and neighboring cities have to offer! There are many options, from enjoying the festive décor at the Disney Parks and exploring the Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs. To the beautiful and iconic tree of Lake Eola. There is something for everyone right here in Orlando.
Photo Credit: Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll 2020 – Toy Story
While in Orlando, we highly suggest a day trip and head two hours north to historic St Augustine (America’s oldest town). In the evening, hop on the trolley to experience the 3 million plus lights that are used to decorate the city’s buildings and landscape.
Winter Garden is a popular suburb of Orlando. Make sure you plan a day in the downtown area of Winter Garden. Winter Garden is just about 25 minutes from the Orlando airport. It’s also just minutes away from Walt Disney World. Downtown Winter Garden is a wonderful place to spend a whole day. It’s loaded with local restaurants, unique boutiques, and during the Christmas season, it really sparkles.
2. New York, New York
New York City is a must-see place for the holidays! Nothing says Christmas more than walking around the city with hot chocolate and taking in all the spectacular lights. There are some fun Christmas markets in town such as the Union Square Park Market, Grand Central Holiday Fair, and the Bryant’s Park Winter Village.
While roaming the streets of New York, be sure to notice the festive trees set up all around the city. They can be found in parks, museums, grand hotel lobbies, and even the New York Stock Exchange! The most iconic tree of all that can not be missed is at Rockefeller Center! It is usually a towering tree over 75 feet tall, decorated to perfection. And… For added fun, while you’re viewing the tree at Rockefeller Center head on over to their ice skating rink!
Photo Credit: www.loving-newyork.com
In the city, you can find holiday movie tours! Perfect for taking you on a tour around the town of iconic Christmas movie classics. Make time to take in a showing of the Nutcracker or get tickets to see the Rockettes. Head to New York Botanical Gardens while in the city and check out the Holiday Train Show that is a favorite tradition of many. Displayed are more than 170 miniaturized landmarks including the Statue of Liberty.
3. Leavenworth, Washington
This Bavarian-inspired town is perfection at the holidays! It’s known and loved for its famous Christmas lighting ceremonies. The location of Leavenworth makes it a great place for those looking for an outdoor adventure such as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing! If you are interested in skiing, head to Steven’s Pass Resort just 45 minutes from Leavenworth. You will also pass the city of Seattle as you go to or from, which is another great place for even more sightseeing. Don’t miss out on their yearly Bavarian Christmas Market. It will give you all the German vibes without ever leaving the country!
Other notable towns offering similar Bavarian vibes perfect for celebrating the holiday season are Solvang, California, Helen, Georgia, and Frankenmuth, Michigan. These towns are so fun to visit and give you the feel of visiting Germany, giving you a little taste of Bavaria, right here in the states.
4. Taos, New Mexico
Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taos Pueblo is a thriving Native American Community. Visiting the mountain town of Taos is like stepping into another world. Visiting this town around Christmas time is even more magical! The town of Taos hosts a tree lighting, caroling, craft fair, and more. What makes this town extra special is how it celebrates using its unique New Mexico traditions.
Now, this IS the town to spend Christmas in! On Christmas Eve, head to Taos Pueblo to enjoy luminaries and bonfires as well as a historic gun salute from the 1000-year-old adobe pueblo rooftops. At Taos Pueblo, you will also enjoy a religious procession, called the Procession of the Virgin, that is simply breathtaking.
On Christmas Eve, other celebrations around town include the Torchlight Parade where skiers come down from the mountains of sky resorts carrying flares that light up their way. Fireworks are also a part of the festivities. On Christmas, there is an ancient Native American ceremonial dance that takes place in the Taos Pueblo Plaza.
5. Asheville, North Carolina
One of the things Asheville is best known for is the Biltmore Estate. There really is no better time to visit than around the holidays. The Biltmore Estate is more like a castle, as it is the largest home in America. Explore this exquisite historic home (turned museum) because there’s nothing like it during the holidays.
While in town check out the Omni Grove Park Inn. Here you can view intricately made gingerbread houses at the National Gingerbread House Competition (How stinking cute, right?). You can even purchase festive drinks and snacks out of a life-size gingerbread house! Just like at the Grand Floridian (for those reading who are local to the Walt Disney World area). Take a winter hike in the Mountains, shop the downtown Asheville area, check out a brewery (or two), and visit the North Carolina Arboretum to see the winter lights on display.
6. Natchitoches, Louisiana
Calling all Steel Magnolia fans! Not only can you book a room at the Steel Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast, but you can also enjoy the Natchitoches Christmas Festival just like in the movie. Though you may not see Truvy and Annelle slinging some low country boil at one of the food booths, there is so much Christmas spirit in the air that it won’t matter! Each Saturday during the Christmas season there is even a grand display of fireworks. With over 300,000 lights and festive décor throughout, you can visit any night of the week.
7. Newport Beach, California
Not only is Newport Beach California beautiful, but it is also full of Christmas spirit! One of the jolliest things to see while there during the festive holiday is the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. With over 100 boats varying in size from small canoes to mega yachts, this is one parade you will not want to miss. For five nights these boats are lit up and decorated to the nines as they sail around Newport Harbor. Owners of these boats are known to go all out over the decorations and lighting. This is a town that knows how to put on a show!
8. Hershey, Pennsylvania
Did you know there is actually a town called Hershey?! If you are a fan of chocolate, a great place to visit during December is Hershey, PA. The street lamps are shaped like Hershey Kisses year-round and once upon a time, one could smell chocolate as you entered the town! It is home to a fun theme park that transforms during the holidays. Hershey Park becomes covered with 5 million lights all twinkling in spirit throughout the park. Enjoy the holiday decorations and family rides full of fun and thrills.
Photo Credit: www.pizzainmotion.com
Meet Santa in a chocolate sleigh, take a tour through the Hershey Sweet Lights drive and enjoy the more than 600 festive displays set up including a Victorian village, toy factory, and more. Hop on the Sweet Lights Trolley where there will be caroling and chocolate along your tour. As a “sweet” Christmas vacation, Hershey, Pennsylvania definitely makes our list!
9. Stockbridge, Massachusetts
This adorable little town was made famous by Norman Rockwell’s 1967 “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas.” During their yearly festival, the town of Stockbridge recreates this masterpiece and brings the painting to life. For over 30 years, this quaint New England town has been recreating the magic of the painting along with festively decorating with lights, wreaths, and decorations. There are also historic homes decorated for the holiday season that the public is able to tour. This annual tradition is held the first weekend in December, so you won’t have to worry about being away from home for Christmas here. Plan a visit for next year!
10. Franklin, Tennessee
A suburb of Nashville, Franklin, Tennessee is a must for those fans of Charles Dickens! This historic town becomes a Victorian Village as they bring characters from some of his classics like Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol to life. Visit with Jacob Marley, Ebenezer, and Father Christmas before trying Victorian treats like real sugar plums. It is literally like taking a step back into time here!
While in town, you must see the incredible light displays at the Gaylord Opryland! Just a 30-minute drive from Franklin, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel decorates with a wondrous amount of lights. Touring this enormous hotel lobby, one feels like the display just keeps going! Definitely do not miss this while in Nashville.
Erica Diaz Team – 10 Must-See Cities in the U.S. During Christmas Time
The U.S. certainly does not fall short on festive cities to visit during Christmas Time. There are so many amazing places throughout this amazing country just waiting to be visited, enjoyed, and loved. From north, south, east, and west each of these towns has something special to offer. Pack your suitcase and don’t forget your Santa hat and see what magical place and fun things you can find to make the holidays extra special.
And if you happen to visit Orlando during your festive travels and fall in love with it in one of the nearby cities… Contact us, the Erica Diaz Team, we will gladly show you around and find your perfect home.