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Thinking of doing the holidays a bit differently this year? Even though there is nothing quite like cozying up at home during the holiday season, there’s something fun and exciting about spending Christmas elsewhere. If you’re considering jetting off for the holiday season, what better way to do so than by visiting destinations that dress themselves up in twinkling lights and take their festive spirit to the next level? Here I share 7 of the best Christmas vacations in the US, 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.
With all these destinations, events are subject to change due to COVID and you should check out their specific restrictions prior to planning a trip!
And be sure to grab our FREE Christmas Planner below as our gift to you! Whether you are planning Christmas dinner while at a resort in the mountains or decide to stay at home and take your Christmas vacation next year, this planner will help you plan the perfect Christmas celebration.Here I share 7 of the best Christmas vacations in the US, 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. #travel… Click To Tweet
Dreaming of a Christmas in the German Alps but can’t quite swing it this season?
Leavenworth is a tiny town in the captivating Cascade Mountains that’s famed for its Bavarian roots, which are still visible with every step you take. Think half-timbered buildings lining the streets, restaurants serving German beer, and Christmas markets that will make you forget you’re still in the US!
When December rolls around, Leavenworth puts on a light show (it’s dubbed the Village of Lights a reason) and becomes a haven for those in search of a truly magical Christmas season. Day and night, you’ll stumble across chestnut roasting stands, gingerbread house competitions, advent calendar contests, and so much more. All of this is backdropped by the beauty of twinkling lights, of course!
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville in North Carolina will give you major storybook vibes during the holiday season. Come Christmas, Biltmore, the historic Vanderbilt mansion, becomes the star of the show as it dresses up in garlands, ribbons, glimmering lights, and dozens of lavishly decorated trees.
Aside from the stunning beauty of Biltmore, other Christmas musts in this extraordinary mountain town include watching Santa rappelling down Chimney Rock (yes, it’s a thing!), taking part in the gingerbread house competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn, and going in search of the Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley that makes its way through Asheville’s downtown.
A must in your Denver Christmas bucket list is a visit to its major Christmas markets: The Denver Christkindl Market and the European Holiday Market, both of which will transport you into a town deep in Bavaria (or at least you’ll feel that way).
For another fun outing, the “I Love Christmas Movies” experience just outside the city at the Gaylord Rockies Resort, where you can binge-watching classics like Elf and the Polar Express to get your holiday vibes on in no time! Again, be sure to check COVID restrictions before making plans.
Yes – there IS actually a town called the North Pole in Alaska and as one would expect from the North Pole, Santa is the center of holiday activity.
While it’s not technically located in the real North Pole, this quaint Alaskan town is the perfect place to go if you want to get super extra this year. Yep, we’re talking light poles shaped like candy canes lining a street called Santa Claus Lane, a 42-foot-high statue towering over the village, walls covered with children’s letters to Santa from all over the world, and a sprawling store with endless isles filled with ornaments and toys.
Put simply, it doesn’t get any more Christmas-y than it does in North Pole, and the town’s residents make sure the spirit stays on year-round.
Yep, there’s a town in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem and while it’s far, far away from the real one, this quaint location sure does know how to celebrate Christmas. From its German-inspired Christmas City Village to its traditional Christmas market, there’s no shortage of ways to make a Christmas in Bethlehem the most magical yet.
Ah my hometown!
As a native New Yorker I could not leave this one out. I LOVE going to NYC during the holiday season. There is something magical about the city that is almost indescribable.
You haven’t really experienced a metropolitan Christmas until you’ve done it through New York City’s gleaming lens.
Explore snowy Central Park on a horse and carriage ride where you can bundle up under a blanket and watch the beauty of the park as you trot by! Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center with the infamous Christmas tree, and drink some festive-inspired cocktails at the Winter Village at Bryant Park to get a taste of what Christmas in New York is all about!
And while you’re there, you just HAVE to take a trip to the observatory at the Empire State Building, visit Tiffany & Co. because it is just magical that time of year (my must-do when I am in the city) and definitely visit Macy’s.
While there, take in a Broadway show and maybe a visit to Radio City Music Hall for their annual Christmas Spectacular! See the Rockettes AND Santa in this Christmas show that makes NYC so special during the holidays. You will never forget this show!
To me, there is no more wonderful time to be in NYC than the Christmas season.
Home to Bentleyville, the most magical light display in the entire world, Duluth in Minnesota is home to an enormous array of holiday offerings and events that will have you feeling as though you’re walking inside a real-life snow globe!
For the ultimate winter wonderland experience, hop on a scenic train journey along Lake Superior and check out the vibrant Christmas Village in front of the Glensheen Mansion, illuminated by 25 Christmas trees, where you’ll find locally-made goodies to bring back home (or gorge on right on the spot!).
Have you ever celebrated Christmas away from home? What are some of the other best Christmas vacations in the USA and beyond that you fell head over heels in love with? Let us know all about your favorite Christmas destinations in the comments section below!
And visit Grace to Go Travel for some other great destinations which you can even book yourself using our booking engine and still get all the benefits that come with having a Travel Advisor!