City park Leavenworth Wa

35 Best Christmas Destinations in the US: Getaways to Spend the Holidays

If you’re considering shaking up your holiday plans this year, why not spend Christmas in a new location? Even though there’s nothing like being at home for the holidays, there’s something special about spending Christmas away from home.

Why not travel to locations that go all out for the holidays by decorating with twinkling lights and letting the festive cheer radiate?

If you’re looking to experience some holiday cheer in the United States, then look no further than these destinations. From alpine towns that will make you feel as though you’re celebrating Christmas in the German Alps to an Alaskan town that’s literally called the North Pole, there’s something for everyone on this list.

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Quaint Christmas Towns and Cities In The U.S.

There are many charming small-town Christmas getaways in the USA. These getaways are perfect for anyone who loves Christmas. Some Christmas getaways are offbeat and unexpected. 

Leavenworth, Washington, Is A Bavarian Winter Wonderland

winter in leavenworth

Have you been dreaming of a Christmas in the German Alps but aren’t sure if you’ll be able to make it this year?

Leavenworth is a small town in the Cascade Mountains that has kept its Bavarian culture alive. You’ll feel like you’re transported to Germany with the half-timbered buildings, German restaurants and beer halls, gingerbread cookies, and Christmas markets!

If you’re looking for a festive and charming Christmas experience, Leavenworth is the place for you come December.

The whole town glows with millions of lights, setting the scene for all sorts of holiday fun, like chestnut roasting, gingerbread house competitions, advent calendar contests, and more!

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana, is known as America’s Christmas Hometown. The city celebrates the holiday with local festivities, including a candy castle and a 1.2-mile drive-through light show.

Santa Claus is also home to the world’s first theme park, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. The park features rides, shows, and attractions themed after Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July.

Mackinac Island, Michigan Is A Magical Christmas Vacation In The USA

Mackinac Island is a popular resort destination in Michigan, known for its beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere.

The island is busiest during the Christmas season, and many visitors come to enjoy the island’s festive atmosphere and participate in popular events like the Christmas Bazaar and New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s recommended to book lodging as early as possible during these events to avoid disappointment.

North Pole, Alaska

The North Pole in Alaska isn’t just a town in a fairytale- it’s real! And its mayor is even named Santa Claus.

While it isn’t technically in the real North Pole, this lovely Alaskan village is the ideal destination to visit this season.

We’re talking light poles that resemble candy canes lining a street called Santa Claus Lane and a 42-foot-high statue looming over the community, with walls filled with children’s letters to Santa from all over the world and a large store packed with ornaments and toys.

Put simply, it doesn’t get any more Christmas-y than it does in the North Pole, and the town’s residents make sure the spirit stays on year-round.

Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re looking for a great place to visit during Christmas, Charleston, South Carolina, is a great choice. The city is decorated beautifully, and there are plenty of things to do, including walking around downtown, sipping on hot chocolate and visiting the Citadel.

Charleston is also a great place to eat, with many excellent restaurants. And the Holiday Market is the perfect place to pick up artisan gifts. It’s important to check the local weather forecast before you visit, as Charleston can be warm all year round.

But overall, Charleston is a great place to visit during Christmas and you’re sure to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a charming small-town Christmas getaway. It has a rich history and is known for its Christmas lights and festivities.

Although it’s not the real Bethlehem, the small town in Pennsylvania certainly knows how to celebrate Christmas. With its German-inspired Christmas City Village and traditional Christmas market, you will be spoilt for choice with ways to make your own personal Bethlehem magical this holiday season.

Today, Bethlehem is still known for its beautiful music and charming Christmastime atmosphere. It is a great place to visit during the holidays.

Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia, is a quaint Bavarian-style town located in the heart of the American South. During Christmastime, the town is decorated with lights and festive decorations, making it a magical place to visit.

There are plenty of things to do in Helen during Christmastime, from shopping and hiking to enjoying the many festive events in the town.

Hanover, New Hampshire

If you’re looking for a magical Christmas vacation in the USA, Hanover, New Hampshire, is the place to go. This quaint college town is decorated with Christmas lights and decorations, making it the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.

The Hanover Inn has an incredible gingerbread house display that you won’t want to miss. And be sure to check out The Green at Dartmouth College, where you can see a huge decorated Christmas tree.

Visit Burlington, Vermont, For One Of The Best Christmas Vacations In The USA

Burlington, Vermont, is a great place to visit during Christmas. The Polar Express is a must-see, and Church Street is lit up with beautiful lights. 

Quaint And Historic Cities To Enjoy Christmas

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport, Maine, is a great place to celebrate Christmas in the New England style. The 11-day Christmas Prelude event is full of lobster rolls and New England charm.

The Prelude is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the big city. Many events take place in Kennebunkport to celebrate Christmas, including a tree lighting ceremony, a holiday concert, and a visit from Santa Claus.

The town is also home to many great shops and restaurants, making it the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate Christmas in the New England style, Kennebunkport is the perfect destination.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

If you’re looking for a charming small-town Christmas getaway, look no further than Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. This historic town is full of festive events and activities to enjoy during the holidays. Best of all, many of the events are free to attend.

One can’t-miss event is the Grand Illumination, where the entire town is lit up with over a thousand candles and lanterns.

The event also includes a firework show set to holiday music. Another popular event is the Santa Lucia Celebration, which celebrates Swedish Christmas traditions. Visitors can enjoy traditional Swedish food and drink, watch performances by folk dancers, and more.

Of course, no trip to Colonial Williamsburg would be complete without exploring the historic buildings and sites. Many of the buildings are decorated for Christmas during this time of year and are free to enter. Be sure to check out the Governor’s Palace, Capitol Building, and Wythe House while you’re in town.

Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia, is a great place to visit in the USA during Christmas time. The town celebrates the holidays with a Scottish flair. Alexandria is home to the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, which celebrates the town’s Scottish heritage.

The parade features Scottish clans dressed in their finest tartans and is accompanied by bagpipes. Alexandria is a great place to celebrate Christmas in the U.S., thanks to its Scottish heritage and annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

Best Cities for Christmas Vacations in the US

Seattle, Washington Lights Up At Christmas

The holidays are a great time to visit Seattle. There are many Christmas events and activities to enjoy in the city. Pike Place Market is a great place to start, with its free outdoor photo with Santa event and big carousel in Westlake Park.

The Seattle Sheraton annually holds a Gingerbread Village event where the theme changes each year. Other great places to see light shows and holiday performances include the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle Center, and Downtown Bellevue.

For a snowy Christmas experience, consider making a day trip to Mount Rainier or Leavenworth.

Related Things To Do In Seattle: 31 Bucket list Things To Do In Seattle and Most Unique Things To Do in Seattle

New York, New York- One Of The Best Christmas Places To Visit

One of the most iconic, but one that should undoubtedly be on every Christmas itinerary for all the right reasons. In a nutshell, you haven’t truly experienced a metropolitan Christmas until you’ve seen it through New York City’s sparkling lens.

Experience a festive Christmas in New York by taking a carriage ride through Central Park, ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, seeing Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and sipping seasonal cocktails and hot chocolate at the Winter Village in Bryant Park! A little cliché? Maybe. But who cares!

Downtown Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C., is a great place to visit during Christmas because there are so many things to do and see. You can visit the National Christmas Tree or the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree or go to Zoo Lights to see the animals in the zoo all lit up for Christmas.

The Botanic Gardens are also worth a visit during this time of year – they have models of famous D.C. landmarks made out of natural materials, as well as trains and a giant holiday tree. And if you’re interested in learning more about the history of our country, D.C. is the perfect place to do that too!

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a great city to visit during Christmas. Several Christmas markets are perfect for shopping and eating. The best time to visit Boston for Christmas is in November and December.

The SoWa Winter Festival & Holiday Market is a popular market in Boston during Christmas. The Seaport district’s Holiday Pop-Up Market and Snowsport have great ice rinks for children to play on. Boston has a lot of great places to visit during Christmas. The Boston weather can be cold, so wine tastes twice as good! .

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is a great place to visit during Christmas. There are many markets to visit, including the one in LOVE Park. To experience the best of Philadelphia during Christmas, head to Dilworth Park for great food and seasonal treats, Macy’s Department Store for a light show, and City Hall for festive decorations.

The light display in Franklin Square is another popular spot to see lights during Philadelphia’s Christmas season.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a great place to visit any time of year, but it’s especially enchanting during Christmas. The city comes alive with lights, decorations, and holiday cheer. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a great way to start the Christmas season in Chicago.

The festival features a parade of decorated boats, live music, and more. Macy’s on State Street is a great place to get presents for loved ones. The store offers a wide variety of items, from clothing to home decor.

The Christkindlmarket is a great place to buy German cuisine. The market offers traditional foods and drinks, as well as handcrafted gifts.

Navy Pier has a popular Winter Wonderfest. The event features an ice skating rink, carnival rides, and holiday-themed activities.

Chicago has a range of attractions, including amazing dining and hotels. Whether you’re looking for festive fun or relaxing luxury, Chicago is the perfect place to spend your Christmas vacation.

Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota, is home to Bentleyville, the most magical light display in the world. During the holiday season, Duluth comes alive with a wide array of festive events and activities that will make you feel like you’re walking inside a real-life snow globe!

To get the full winter wonderland experience, take a scenic train ride along Lake Superior to the Christmas Village in front of Glensheen Mansion. You’ll find an array of locally made goodies there that would make great gifts – or you could just eat them all yourself!

For even more holiday joy, visit the Fairlawn Mansion on a Tuesday, when the house opens its doors, and visitors can tour its corridors while surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights.

Fun U.S. Christmas Getaways in the United States

Asheville, North Carolina

Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, looks like a storybook that comes to life during the holidays. Especially Christmas time when Biltmore -the historic Vanderbilt mansion- becomes decorated with garlands, ribbons, lights, and dozens of trees.

Biltmore is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but it also offers a unique Christmas experience. You can watch Santa rappel down Chimney Rock, take part in the gingerbread house competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn, and go in search of the Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley that makes its way through Asheville’s downtown.

Denver, Colorado

Denver is the ideal holiday getaway city to enjoy the magic of Christmas with its Christmas markets, colorful annual events, and a never-ending variety of fun seasonal activities.

A trip to Colorado’s capital city is a must on your list of things to do in Denver during the Christmas season. The city is home to two major Christmas markets: the Denver Christkindl Market and the European Holiday Market, which will transport you into a Bavarian village (or at least your mind will be deceived).

This next fun activity is the “I Love Christmas Movies” experience located just outside the city at the Gaylord Rockies Resort. You can watch all your favorites like Elf and Polar Express to get into the holiday spirit in no time!

New Orleans, Louisiana

Christmas in New Orleans is a special time. The city comes alive with lights, music, and good food. There are many things to do and see during Christmas in New Orleans.

One of the best things to do is enjoy the French restaurants that offer special menus in honor of Réveillon celebrations. This is a great opportunity to try some new and different foods. Another great activity is to see the amazing light displays at some of the hotels in New Orleans.

Be sure to pack layers for the colder weather during December. Even though it may be cold, many outdoor activities still exist, such as swamp boat tours and visiting Oak Alley Plantation. If you prefer indoor activities, the French Quarter is always busy and full of things to do during Christmas.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, is a great place to visit during Christmas because there are tons of events and activities related to the season.

Gaylord Opryland is a great place to visit for “Country Christmas.” You can also check out the Nashville Zoo, which has a “Zoo Lights” event during the holidays. And of course, no trip to Nashville would be complete without seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is a great place to visit during Christmas because it has a two-mile drive through Jingle Beat, a light show set to remixed versions of classic Christmas carols.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Christmas in Santa Fe is a special time. The city is already beautiful, but the Christmas season makes it even more so. There are plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy during this time of year.

Taos Ski Valley and Ski Santa Fe are both close by, making Santa Fe a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts. And the annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk is a must-do for anyone looking to get into the Christmas spirit.

The walk features farolitos – paper bags filled with sand and decorated with a votive candle – lining the streets and walls of adobe buildings. It’s a magical sight that’s not to be missed.

Outdoors-Focused Places To Spend Christmas in The U.S. (You May Even Find Snow)

Park City, Utah Enjoy Snow, and Skiing

Park City, Utah, is a great Christmas destination in the United States. It has a variety of events and activities that take place during the Christmas season, such as Snowfest, the North Pole Express, and more. Park City is also a great place to do some shopping and dining during the holidays. Although it can be a bit pricey, Park City is definitely worth visiting during the Christmas season.

The Rocky Mountains, Colorado Knows How To Throw a Holiday Celebration

The Colorado Rockies are a great place to see beautiful mountain scenery during Christmas. The Colorado Rockies have many different activities, such as hiking and snowmobiling tours.

You can also find world-class skiing and snowboarding at ski resorts. However, there are also many other activities to enjoy in different mountain towns during Christmas.

During Christmas, some places to see and do in the Rocky Mountains include Vail, Aspen, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Keystone Resort, Steamboat Springs, and Frisco.

Yosemite National Park, California

If you are looking for an outdoors-focused Christmas trip, consider visiting Yosemite National Park in California. This world-renowned park is especially beautiful during the winter months when it transforms into a snowy wonderland.

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your visit, such as skiing and snowshoeing. And be sure to take some time to enjoy the festive decorations – Yosemite National Park goes all out for Christmas!

Whitefish Montana- One Of Our Favorite US Christmas Getaways

Whitefish, Montana, is a great destination to visit during Christmas time. The small town has a lot of charm and is nestled in the mountains, making for a picturesque setting. 

Once in Whitefish, there are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy. There are many boutique shops to browse, and the annual Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade is not to be missed.

Glacier National Park is also nearby and makes for a great day trip. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open during the winter and looks magical, covered in snow.

Enjoy The Festivities of Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is the perfect Christmas destination for anyone who wants to get away from it all. This charming mountain town is decorated with over 250,000 lights and snowflakes and is home to an amazing ski resort.

There are also lots of unique shops selling presents, making it the perfect place to find that special something for someone special.

Enjoy Trees Covered With Snow In Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers several events during the Christmas season, including fireworks and New Year’s Eve.

There are many lodges to choose from, including the luxurious Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and the ski-in/ski-out Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are nearby for those who want to see them at their wintery best.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Festival of Lights is a popular event that takes place in Colorado Springs every December. The festival features a variety of events, including a light show, caroling, and an ice skating rink. 

The Cog Train at Pikes Peak is another popular activity during Christmas in Colorado Springs. The train takes passengers up to the top of Pikes Peak to see the Christmas lights display.

Colorado Springs also has several other activities for Christmas, including skating at Acacia Park and visiting Santa’s workshop.

Warm Christmas Destinations In The USA

Newport Beach, California Throws A Great Holiday Celebration

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is one of the longest-running Christmas festivals in the United States. The 113th annual parade will take place in the harbor of Newport Beach, California.

To get into the Christmas spirit, view the parade from Balboa Island. Lido House is a great place to stay during Christmas, with festive decorations and a nautical feel. The Ring of Lights is an annual holiday light display on the waterfront that is worth seeing.

San Antonio, Texas- Best Christmas Vacation Spot With Warm Weather

San Antonio is a beautiful city located in Texas with a lot of history. Christmas is a great time to visit San Antonio, and there are many things to do during this holiday season.

One of the best things to do is take a stroll around the Alamo. You can also skate around the Rotary Ice Rink or visit the Riverwalk, a great place to see the Christmas lights and watch performances by different groups. Make sure to plan your time carefully so you can enjoy all that San Antonio offers during Christmas!

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a great place to visit during Christmas. The weather is usually in the 60s, which makes it perfect for exploring the city.

There are tons of Christmas-themed events and activities, such as the Hollywood Christmas Parade, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and the Los Angeles Zoo.

You can also find a number of holiday markets selling unique gifts and seasonal food. Traffic can be a pain, so plan your trip accordingly

Mobile, Alabama Great Place To Spend The Holiday Season

If you’re looking for a sunny escape during Christmastime, Mobile, Alabama, is the perfect spot. The city has mild winter weather and beautiful white sand beaches.

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home is a must-visit in Mobile at any time of year.

The gardens are decorated with millions of Christmas lights, and the Oakleigh mansion is also decked out in holiday lights. There are many restaurants in Mobile that offer a wide variety of cuisines.

So whether you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors or indulge in some good food, Mobile is a great place to visit during Christmas time.

Other Options For Christmas Holidays

If you’re looking for a warm Christmas away from cold weather, Destin is a great option. The beach will be more than warm enough, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy, including parades and dolphin cruises. Restaurants and shops are abundant on Destin Harbor Boardwalk.

Taking a sunset dolphin cruise is a must-do while spending Christmas in Destin. Few tourists visit during this time, making it the perfect opportunity to really explore the city.

Get Out And Explore The Best Christmas Getaways

I hope this list of Christmas destinations will help you to get out and explore new and different areas. Let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite you think should be added to the list.

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