Don’t sit home this Christmas! Plan the ultimate holiday getaway at one of these festive Christmas towns in the U.S.! These small cities and towns roll out the red carpet and put on quite a show of events with their warm hospitality. Even the grinchiest of grinches will get into the holiday spirit once they see what they’d be missing!
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Christmas Towns in the U.S. to Visit During the Holiday Season
1. Leavenworth, Washington
Germany is the ultimate place to celebrate Christmas in the entire world. However, you don’t have to travel across the globe to celebrate this meaningful holiday!
Look no further than the charming Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth in Washington state. Leavenworth is regarded as one of the best small towns in America, especially in the snowy winter season. But we’re naming it as one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.
Leavenworth has a lot to offer tourists and visitors alike; making it actually a favorite four-season travel destination. You can go wine tasting, beer drinking, outdoor theatre, museum tours, and an array of winter fun such as sledding and snowshoeing.
Head outside to see half a million lights that glow while listening to the village choir cheerfully singing a variety of Christmas songs.
During your getaway, you must check out the Leavenworth Christmastown Tour. Definitely plan to visit to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. And of course, you have to round out Christmas shopping at Leavenworth’s Christkindlmarkt and Leavenworth Festhalle.
This very popular and celebrated northwest tradition features delicious and authentic Bavarian foods, handmade arts & crafts and other gifts, and family-friendly, Bavarian and Christmas themed entertainment!
Other Things to Do: Historic Shared Walking Tour in Leavenworth
Places to stay: Leavenworth
2. Santa Claus, Indiana
Who’d ever think the big jolly elf would get a town named after him!? Well, there’s a small town in Indiana that is just that! Santa Claus, Indiana is a tiny Christmas town that is the perfect place to celebrate a quiet holiday.
Santa Claus was actually founded as Santa Fe in 1854. However, the townspeople learned there was already a town in Indiana called Santa Fe. So, the new town took advantage of the fact that since it was almost Christmas, why not rename it Santa Claus? Today, this forever Christmas town is known as the Christmas capital of Indiana.
This Christmas town celebrates the holidays every day of the year with their holiday-themed attractions such as Santa Claus Museum & Village and Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Water Park.
And because Santa Claus is already decking the halls the other 11 months, why not make it extra special by spending the holidays there? This Christmas town’s 3-week celebration is jam-packed with events and attractions. When you go, you need to check out the Santa Claus Museum & Village where kids of all ages can explore the history of how the small town became a tourist destination.
Also, visit the Santa Claus Land of Lights for an incredible drive-through experience along the mile-long trail of LED lights at the Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph, As well, there’s 20+ Santa figures including the famous 22-foot Santa statue.
Because the town events vary year to year, check the event guide before planning your holiday getaway to Santa Claus!
Places to stay: Santa Claus
3. North Pole, Alaska
Have a magical winter in North Pole, Alaska where Christmas is celebrated all year with various winter events and activities. The small Alaskan town gained popularity because of the trading post called Santa Claus House. Built in 1952, visitors from all over could shop for an endless variety of Christmas decorations and gifts.
When you visit, photo opportunities abound in the Christmas-themed town of North Pole, such as Santa Claus Lane and Kris Kringle Drive. The largest Santa Claus statue in the world stands at 42 foot tall! Also visit Santa’s Reindeer Team at the Antler Academy.
The six-week “Christmas in Ice” exhibit at the Ice Park features a variety of sculptures carved by professional sculptors from around the world. And come with hungry bellies! There are several restaurants to choose from and you will be able to actually taste Christmas while visiting this Christmas town!
Places to stay: North Pole
4. Branson, Missouri
Don’t miss out on the ultimate holiday experience in Branson, Missouri, where Christmas begins in early November and continues until New Year’s Eve. This Christmas city transforms into a paradise, making it an ideal location for a fantastic holiday celebration.
Branson is popular for having live entertainment shows and tourist attractions such as the “Best Holiday Themed Park”, Silver Dollar City.
During the holiday season, the theme park is surrounded by thousands of Christmas lights and features an 80 foot tall tree in the city square. Visitors, young and old, can enjoy the holiday shows, including Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, Branson VIP Christmas Light Tour and more!
There are numerous things to do in Branson that will undoubtedly entertain you. So, plan your Christmas vacation now for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Ozarks!
Places to stay: Branson
5. Bardstown, Kentucky
Bardstown, known as Kentucky’s most beautiful small town in America, has much to offer as one of our favorite Christmas towns! During the holiday season, the town provides a one-of-a-kind magical ‘old time Christmas’ experience.
Bardstown, sparkles with lights and decorations as they celebrate six-weeks of Christmas festivities. Known as the bourbon capital of the world, Bardstown Kentucky certainly sparkles brightly when it comes to holiday decorations and festivities.
The town starts the Christmas season with Light Up Bardstown, a festive event that involves decorating the town and lighting the town Christmas tree. Visitors can take the town’s holiday road trip to see all the lights and decorations throughout Bardstown. There’s lots of festive music, fun refreshments, and of course, you know Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming for a visit for the littles!
Bardstown’s holiday celebration is filled with a variety of Christmas ‘Round Bardstown events like the Gospel Choirs, Santa on the Square, and Bardstown Kiwanis Annual Christmas Parade, which will delight everyone on Main Street.
And, visiting guests and locals can enjoy Charles Dickens’ novel, “An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol” the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas at My Old Kentucky Home.
Also at My Old Kentucky Home, guides in Victorian Era hoop skirts and gentleman in tailcoats sing the song “My Old Kentucky Home,” on the Merry and Bright tour of Kentucky’s most famous landmark decorated for Christmas, My Old Kentucky Home!
Learn the origins of the Christmas tree, how mistletoe became famous for exchanging kisses, and the tradition of the yule log. Also, learn about the history of the Christmas pickle, the legends of Father Christmas and Santa Claus, and the bizarre Victorian traditions including Krampus who punished bad children. But let’s not forget why Victorians sent Christmas cards featuring sword fighting frogs & frozen birds to each another during the holidays.
The Victorian mansion is adorned and decorated with 6 beautiful 12′ tall Christmas trees, each with a unique Kentucky theme, beautiful garlands, mistletoe and stockings full of toys!
Places to stay: Bardstown
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6. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the ideal Christmas town to spend the holiday season. Experience a joyous Christmas in Lancaster’s themed attractions, which are open from November 25th to December 31st.
Some of the events you can attend include Christmas Light Shows, Small Business Saturday, Lancaster Shops Late, and Elf the Musical.
Whether it’s to watch Christmas shows, shopping sipping eggnog, or simply driving through the light displays, there’s something festive for everyone in Lancaster. If you want to explore the beauty of the city during the holiday season, start planning a trip today to witness the Pennsylvania Dutch magic!
Places to stay: Lancaster
7. Kennebunkport, Maine
Voted #2 as one of HGTV’s Christmas Towns in America, as a former New Englander, I can honestly see why! It’s one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in the Northeast! Visitors will enjoy a variety of Christmas activities in two fun-filled weeks celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.
Christmas in Kennebunkport is all about the town’s Christmas Prelude! This picture-perfect celebration comes beautifully gift wrapped with holiday lights, a dusting of snow and the North Atlantic stars. This New England town celebrates their coastal Christmas with seashore holiday trolley rides, wine tasting and mouthwatering lobster bakes.
Just a few of the many festival celebrations include a Christmas house tours and reception at White Columns, tree lighting at Dock Square, Outdoor Prelude Market at Old Vines, Annual Hat Parade, Candlelight Caroling at the Franciscan Monastery, Breakfast with Mrs. Claus, Merry Market at Maine Art Hill, and Christmas Prelude Fireworks. WHEW! Did you get all of that?!
And get this! Santa doesn’t ride in on his traditional sleigh in Kennebunkport! In this coastal town, Santa Claus arrives by lobster boat!
With the long list of festive activities, your Christmas will undoubtedly be memorable as you celebrate the holiday season! Kennebunkport is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New England; especially when it turns into one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.!
Places to stay: Kennebunkport
8. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Bronner’s, “the world’s largest Christmas store”, makes this 27-acre Christmas Wonderland a unique holiday destination. It features over 50,000 different items and is open 361 days a year. Even the biggest Christmas fan can be overwhelmed by the large selection of items they offer in December and even July!
But, during the holidays, there’s more to see in Frankenmuth than just Bronner’s; making it the ultimate of Christmas Towns.
Holiday visitors can enjoy over 150 colorfully decorated trees along Main Street, as well as exhibits of their favorite Christmas characters. Their seven-minute light and music show complements the 40-foot-high Christmas tree at the center of the town.
It’s not too late to pay a visit to this small town in Michigan. There’s an event almost every day where you can join in on the fun. Check out Frankenmuth’s Christmas Guide for details.
Places to stay: Frankenmuth
9. Christmas, Michigan
“Yes Virginia, there IS a town called Christmas!”
Christmas is a sleepy little town nestled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan just west of Munising and east of Au Train on the shore of Lake Superior.
How did Christmas get its’ name is in 1938? A local business man started a factory making holiday gifts. Now, nearing a century later, the factory no longer exists. but the 35 foot Santa Claus greets you as you enter Christmas. However, we learned the town doesn’t really lay out the festive red carpet or live up to its’ name.
Instead of ritz, glitz and glamour other Christmas Towns in the U.S. may offer, this town prefers a more low-key, quiet celebration. However, that’s not saying you shouldn’t visit Christmas during the holiday season.
If you’re a snow lover, Christmas Michigan is a great winter destination. Once the white stuff starts to fly the town becomes a bustling winter wonderland for ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice climbing.
And should you be looking for a place to stay with a little holiday vibe while enjoying the snow, the Yule Log Resort on Candy Cane Lane is the only game in town really. They decorate all nine of their cabins in Christmas themes making it ideal for a festive holiday get-away.
And lastly, if you do chance a visit to enjoy the winter solstice, head on over to the post office to get your Christmas cards stamped the actual December 25th date with the town of Christmas postmark.
10. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Since 1937, it’s a no brainer that Bethlehem, Pennsylvania earns its’ title as “Christmas City USA”.
This quaint Pennsylvania city celebrates the magical holiday season for good reason. Geographically, the original Bethlehem is on the other side of the globe where Jesus was born on Christmas Eve. But America’s Bethlehem doesn’t disappoint. This Christmas town puts on a spectacular show that welcomes visitors from all ends of the earth.
Catch a glimpse of the Trees of Historic Bethlehem, a time-honored tradition displaying over 28 trees across four historic sites. Each year, every tree is decorated by members of the Bethlehem Garden Club to reference a certain theme.
Enjoy an old time holiday tradition on a horse-drawn carriage ride through beautiful downtown North Bethlehem. It’s the best way to see glittering lights and hear the sounds of Christmas City with your favorite people!
Take a holiday Christmas city stroll tour downtown to view a candle-in-every-window, bees wax candles, the renowned Star of Bethlehem and Moravian Star, Bethlehem’s exquisite Victorian and colonial architecture and two National Historic Landmarks!
There’s so many more Christmas celebrations and festivities that we couldn’t name them all! You’ll just have to see for yourself and plan your next holiday destination to the sister city of where the very first Christmas took place.
11. Breckenridge, Colorado
Starting in the first week of December, Breckenridge lights up the Rocky Mountains! Their holiday magic begins when the city illuminates Main Street with over 3,000 feet and 250,000 sparkling LED lights! There’s a ton of winter events and activities while the town is blanketed in snow.
In Early December, locals and visitors alike attend events like the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas. Then, mid-month, the ULLR FEST and BreckCreate activities come alive! Witness the rich culture of Breckenridge and the splendor of their offerings during the holiday season.
There are also numerous shops where you can buy special holiday gifts for your favorite good boy or girl. And, there’s lots of opportunity to sample different cuisine at the local restaurants.
Breck, referred to by the locals, is a great winter destination where you and your family and friends can spend an amazing Rocky Mountain Christmas that your family will talk about for years to come.
Places to stay: Breckenridge
12. Durango, Colorado
While Durango is well-known as a tourist attraction, during the Christmas season, it sparkles with a whole new identity. This Christmas town transforms into a magical winter wonderland during the whole month of December. Holiday visitors can enjoy the majestic view of snow covered mountains while taking in this special time of the year and season.
Christmas in Durango offers kids ages 1 to 100+ a whole shopping list of festive events and activities including their Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, Noel Night, Snowdown Festival, Polar Express Train Ride, Cascade Canyon Winter Train, and Singing with Santa.
And of course, with snow being a major attraction, everyone can experience this Christmas town winter wonderland activities such as skiing, dog sledding and snowmobiling.
Places to stay: Durango
13. Solvang, California
Solvang, California is regarded as one of the best places to celebrate the holidays. Which makes it one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.
From November 26 to January 6, visitors can spend time in town admiring Solvang’s Danish-style aesthetics during Christmas. Also known as Julefest, the month-long celebration is full of events and activities you’ll want to return to.
Everyone will fall in love with the Nightly Light & Music Show, Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Julefest Parade. And, if you’re looking for a California Christmas with your loved ones, Solvang is the place to be!
Places to stay: Solvang
14. Duluth, Minnesota
Highly regarded as the “Christmas City of the North”, Duluth, Minnesota is one of the ultimate Christmas towns in the U.S.
In fact, it’s so festive, it’s a definite holiday destination. You and your family can enjoy and participate in a variety of holiday activities that will bring smiles to everyone.
Bentleyville will be open from November 19 to December for visitors to see and experience the magic of Christmas. The Bentleyville Tour of Lights features the largest walk-through Christmas lights display.
Aside from the sparkles and splendor, there are plenty of food options at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Take in a Christmas show while riding the Christmas City Express; one of Duluth’s most popular holiday activities. And during the two-day Duluth Winter Village Festival, there’s plenty of time to shop to support small businesses.
Places to stay: Duluth
15. Sevierville, Tennessee
This small city of Sevierville, Tennessee is ideal for a Christmas getaway! During the annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration, the streets of Sevierville, as well as sister cities Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, are all decked out in glitz and glamour!
Special events like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium add to the excitement of the holidays. The entire month of December presents a great list of Christmas events for all to celebrate the joys of the season.
Other winter activities include ice skating at the seasonal outdoor rink, a drive-thru Christmas adventure, and a visit to Dollywood!
Places to stay: Sevierville
Wasn’t that fun to learn about all those Christmas towns in the U.S.? Just reading them should put you into the spirit to plan for this year or even next year’s holiday season. No matter how big or small, when there’s magic in the air, every town becomes a Christmas Town.
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