US Christmas Towns To Visit In December (Or Any Time of Year)
Quite a few towns all across America go all out during the holiday season. In some, the most wonderful time of the year is actually year-round!
Let’s take a closer look at some of these magical getaway destinations. Grab yourself a mug of hot cocoa and join us as we dive into all things holiday cheer.
We’ll check out all the best Christmas towns with the most holiday events (bonus points if you don a holiday sweater). And who knows? If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even find Santa!
US Towns That Go All Out On Christmas
No matter where you live in the USA, come Christmas season, there’s a Main Street not far from you decked out with twinkling lights.
It’s a scene from a Hallmark card, a Dickens novel brought to life. Where horse-drawn carriages carry people clutching steaming roasted chestnuts past carolers singing Silent Night. Folks laugh and take part in the jubilation brought on by the season, spinning around the ice-skating rink, scarves trailing behind.
These towns really pull out all the stops when it comes to holiday cheer!
1. St. Augustine, FL
A white Christmas is guaranteed in St. Augustine, Florida — in the form of white sandy beaches, that is.
Here, those who love Christmas and the beach get both. Stay in the middle of it all at the Castillo Real, a mere two-minute walk to the beach and a few miles from the historic district.
Enjoy the Night of Lights tour — a dazzling display of over three million Christmas lights — as you glide through on the Old Town Trolley.
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2. Solvang, CA
This town’s month-long celebration kicks off with a tree-lighting festival in early December. Solvang, a charming Danish-inspired town located near Santa Barbara, California, has all the holiday festivities — music, shopping and more.
Solvang’s Julefest Procession is always a hit, with marching bands and floats, as more than 400 participants take to the streets in a full-on parade of lights and cheer.
Immerse yourself fully in the experience and check in at the Royal Copenhagen Inn. Their commitment to the Danish theme even includes authentic pastries each morning.
3. Williamsburg, VA
For one week in December, holiday magic gets into full swing in this picturesque historic town.
The streets of Williamsburg are decked out, transformed into a festival of lights, garlands and wreaths. The historic district glitters and gleams with ornate light displays, and the calendar is jam-packed with Christmas events.
Don your mittens and take a few spins around the rink at Liberty’s Ice Pavilion, then sip a peppermint mocha and take in the Colonial holiday decorations.
Stay on-theme and book your stay at the Colonial Houses at the Colonial Williamsburg Hotel. A treat for historians and antique lovers, each room is furnished with period artwork, lighting and furniture.
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4. Leavenworth, WA
Nestled at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State, Leavenworth is a Bavarian-inspired town.
Its scenic streets glitter with lights beneath snow-covered peaks during the month of December, where every day is unapologetically treated as though it’s Christmas Day.
Germans are famous for their Christmas spirit, and none of it is spared in Leavenworth.
Stay at the Bavarian Lodge and fuel up for a day of fun with cinnamon rolls, egg casseroles and savory potatoes. Then head into town for Christmas carols, gingerbread houses and of course, sledding in this winter wonderland.
5. Frankenmuth, MI
Affectionately dubbed Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth embraces Christmas to the max.
Spend a few nights at the Drury Inn & Suites Frankenmuth — a charming and inviting take on Bavarian-inspired dwellings — located conveniently only a mile away from all the festivities.
Christmas Lane positively glitters with Christmas lights throughout the winter, and people of all ages love Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. The 40-foot musical Christmas tree is decked out in lights that sparkle and “dance” along to classic carols.
It’s easy to enjoy all of it; just hop on the Christmas shuttle to the holiday festivities.
6. Bethlehem, PA
With a name like Bethlehem, it’s no surprise that this Pennsylvania town with a colonial and industrial history is also called Christmas City.
The highlight just might be the “Christkindlmarkt” (Christmas market), where hundreds of the region’s finest crafters and artisans show up and display their creations. Shoppers stock up on one-of-a-kind hand-carved nativity scene figurines and all sorts of other Christmas decorations and goodies.
Join the fun!
Skate the ice rink, sip hot chocolate and soak up the holiday cheer. Guests staying at the Hyatt Place Bethlehem are within walking distance of most of the festivities.
7. McAdenville, NC
Known as “Christmas Town USA,” this small town with a population of around 1,000 goes big for the holidays.
McAdenville celebrates Christmas with a Yule log, tree lighting ceremony and hundreds of homes decked out in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. The light show is big enough to land it on the map as one of the 10 places with the Best Holiday Lights display, according to USA Today.
Residents of this quaint North Carolina town delight in the joy they bring to everyone who visits and joins in with the holiday celebrations and fun.
Rooms at the Hampton Inn Charlotte-Belmont at Montcross are comfy and bright, and weather permitting, there’s even cozy outdoor seating, complete with outdoor fireplaces.
8. Woodstock, VT
This always-charming little New England town becomes even more appealing as it morphs into a Christmas village during the holidays.
Woodstock’s most notable event, the Wassail Weekend, occurs the second weekend in December.
Visitors get treated to:
- Sleigh rides
- Horse-drawn carriage rides
- Christmas movie nights
- Hot drinks and sweet treats
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9. Natchitoches, LA
For almost 100 years, Natchitoches has hosted its annual Christmas celebration.
What started out as a small Christmas festival has grown. The light display becomes more brilliant every year, and the Christmas parade has grown to include the Christmas Belles, Miss Merry Christmas and Miss City of Lights, as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
With a fireworks display, Christmas gala and, of course, delicious food, this small town really brings the festive cheer.
Return to the peace and quiet of your room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, which is located near the Cane River National Heritage Area and other noteworthy spots.
10. New York City, NY
Christmas in New York City is magical, there’s no doubt about it. Especially seeing the decorated trees and ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.
Those visiting during this time of year get to enjoy peering out their hotel window and looking down on a city lit up with twinkling lights — made even more magical when viewed through a veil of light snow, softly landing on the streets below.
Stay in the heart of it all at the Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square Central.
Bask in the glory of the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree, skate the rink, and enjoy the magic as this big bright city becomes even more brilliant during the holiday season.
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Year-Round Christmas Destinations In The USA
If you wish the Christmas season was every season, take heart. Some places are always in the holiday spirit.
The joy, connection, togetherness and love that make up a huge part of the Christmas spirit exist in these places, just waiting for you to visit during any season and enjoy some feel-good events.
11. Santa Claus, IN
We found him! When he’s not at the North Pole, Santa can be found keeping a low profile here in this Indiana town named after him.
With a holiday-inspired theme park and other attractions, there’s a good chance you’ll be treated to a rare off-season sighting of the jolly fellow himself. He’s all over town; there are 15 Santa statues hidden in plain sight, including a hard-to-miss one that’s 22 feet high.
Guests who choose the Baymont by Wyndham Dale are close to the theme park and other quirky tourist destinations. Fuel up on the free breakfast before heading out on your search for Santa.
12. North Pole, AK
It’s no secret that Santa and the lovely Mrs. Claus reside here in North Pole, Alaska, at least some of the time. Because of this, the Christmas season here is year-round. In that spirit, they even open their home to visitors.
Visit their “official” house, pet the famous reindeer, and pose for a picture with Santa himself. Venture elsewhere in this village, and you’ll find all the street names are inspired by the holiday. You’ll see candy cane decorations and a red and green color scheme with no shortage of snow in the colder months.
Get the feeling back in your toes by soaking in the hot tub at the Springhill Suites by Marriott Fairbanks. Guests enjoy free breakfast and are “mushing” distance to a whole lot of other noteworthy only-in-Alaska spots.
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13. North Pole, NY
If Alaska is too far, you can still treat your family to a North Pole experience in the lower 48.
In North Pole, NY, you can have breakfast with the Clauses, celebrate Christmas in July and participate in a tour of Santa’s workshop. Additionally, guests can see Alyx Frost, Jack Frost’s daughter, create wintery magic.
The McCarren Hotel & Pool is a new and exciting vibrant urban retreat, perfect for those who want to add a little local flair to their holiday experience.
14. Pigeon Forge, TN
If you dream of a never-ending Christmas, The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge is a dream-come-true.
Here Christmas lights, stockings, home decor… all of it awaits at this Yule-themed shop, any time of year.
In conjunction with neighboring Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge also puts on a four-month-long Christmas lights show, which runs each year from November through February.
Even if you happen to be traveling with a grinch, they are bound to enjoy the variety of things to see and do in this picturesque town. Take a train ride through this unique place and visit the iconic Dollywood while you’re there.
A stay at Music Road Resort guarantees the full experience of this fun and whimsical place; balconies give way to views of the Smoky Mountains and Little Pigeon River, and the resort has both an outdoor waterpark and an indoor pool.
15. Cascade, CO
Nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado lies a very special place.
The North Pole, home of Santa’s Workshop, is an enchanting vintage amusement park, a place that invites the whole family to let go with glee on the Candy Cane Coaster. Pick your favorite reindeer and take it on a spin around the carousel.
In addition to rides, you’ll find shops, live entertainment, glassblowing workshops and opportunities to meet Santa. It’s all surrounded by breathtaking views of the 14,000-foot Pikes Peak and the surrounding landscape.
Enjoy your choice of the breakfast buffet or an American Breakfast at the Hyatt Place Colorado Springs Downtown. You’ll find plenty more to do in this tourist-friendly part of Colorado — including continuing up to the top of Pikes Peak via car or the cog railway.
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Well, we’ve visited all sorts of places here, haven’t we?
There’s just one question left to ask: where will you be going this holiday season? Which spot are you adding to your Christmas plans?
You can find delightful hotels in each of these charming towns on Hotel Engine — along with over 700,000 more around the world.
Cara Meglio is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She assists with content creation, researching and writing articles to help businesses improve their travel experience and discover helpful solutions with Hotel Engine. Cara has a passion for travel of all types. Based in Denver, CO, Cara loves exploring the Mountain West as well as international destinations.