Looking to hit the slopes, going for some holiday shopping, or just strolling around Christmas markets? From the East coast to the West coast, here are the best American towns to celebrate the Christmas season.
1. New Hope, Pennsylvania
New Hope is a lovely East Coast city where you can experience a truly “white Christmas.” The city is home to the North Pole Express, a magic train pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive. The North Pole Express departs from New Hope Station and takes riders through the historic Bucks County countryside on the way to the North Pole. Anyone embarking on this journey will be delighted with Christmas carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and a special visit from Santa.
2. Denton, North Carolina
Denton is a small and cozy town located in North Carolina. During the holiday season, Denton attracts Christmas enthusiasts who want to take a ride on the famous Christmas Train, a tradition that started in 2009. The ride is an amazing experience for both kids and adults: Riders will stop by Santa’s cabin, travel through a nativity scene, sing Christmas carols, and watch a short movie about the true meaning of Christmas. After the train ride, families can stop by the Laramie’s Cakery to watch fresh baked goods and gingerbread cookies being made in front of them.
3. St. Augustine, Florida
Despite the warm temperature and sunny days, St. Augustine definitely deserves to be on this list. This enchanting Floridian town becomes extremely festive, with lights, candles, and Christmas decorations all around the city. Some of the most well-known attractions include the Nights of Lights holiday display, where more than 23 million white lights glow through approximately 20 city blocks in St. Augustine’s Historic District. Another popular event is the Holiday Regatta of Lights, which is normally held on the second Saturday of December and features boats decorated with brilliant displays.
4. Nantucket, Massachusettss
Nantucket is an island located 30 miles off Cape Cod’s south coast. Although it is a typical summer destination, during the winter months it becomes particularly peaceful and festive. Nantucket’s Christmas season begins at the end of November, with the celebratory Tree Lighting on Main Street. The city is famous for its annual Christmas Stroll, which takes place during the first week of December and is a way to boost local shopping. The stroll originated in 1973, when local merchants decided to keep shops open late that first Friday in December, urging locals to do their holiday shopping there on the island.
5. Park City, Utah
Park City is a little and quiet town nestled in the mountains. During the Christmas season, it becomes a winter wonderland. The city organizes several festive events throughout December, including holiday markets and sleigh rides. But one of the most unique events is the Christmas Eve torchlight parade, where skiers and snowboarders come down the slopes holding torches to lead Santa Claus into town. Park City is the perfect place to enjoy the season with kids, thanks to the numerous kid-friendly events and family-friendly activities organized in town.
6. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Situated in eastern Pennsylvania, the city of Bethlehem was named so by Count Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf on Christmas Eve in 1741. Since that time, Christmas in Bethlehem has been central to the city’s identity. Since 1937, the city has been recognized as Christmas City USA, as a proof of the holiday charm rooted in its history. The Christmas Huts situated along the city’s Main Street offer an amazing shopping experience inspired by the German Weihnachtsmarkt. The Christkindlmarkt has been recognized as one of the nation’s top holiday markets, with an array of vendors selling handcrafted goods and food.
7. Solvang, California
Solvang is a city located in Santa Barbara county with a special Danish charm. The city is home to the Julefest, a holiday celebration that features Christmas lights and decorations, as well as many Danish-style holiday events taking place from the end of November to the beginning of January. Guests can go on a Holiday Lights Tour, take part in the Santa Sprint, listen to live holiday music, go shopping in local boutiques, try typical culinary delights, and much more!
8. New York City, New York
Every year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade ends with Santa Claus stopping in front of the huge department store on 6th Avenue, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in the Big Apple. Although not as cozy as the previous cities, New York definitely deserves to be on this list. During the winter season, New York boasts offerings like Christmas markets, light festivals, ice skating in Central Park, and the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. And for some holiday shopping, 5th Avenue offers the best high-end options.