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Created at December 20, 2019

Best Christmas Towns

This is what Christmas magic looks like. Looking for a festive Christmas town to visit this year? You've come to the right place. It's been said that there's no place like home for the holidays, but we have a feeling our list of the best Christmas towns—which are towns across the country that really get in the holiday spirit with light displays, Christmas decorations, holiday craft fairs, and other fun festivities that should definitely be on this year's Christmas bucket list—might convince you otherwise. Plus, what's more magical than taking a trip with your family and kids during the most wonderful time of the year?

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Solvang
Solvang
4.9
(14)
Solvang, CA 93463
Rate
A weekend trip, just 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, small danish themed escape.
Mystic
Mystic
4.9
(8)
Mystic, Stonington
Rate
There's no better place to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas than in New England! In Mystic, you'll find illuminated boats, well-reviewed seafood restaurants, and even a lantern light tour that's fun for the whole family.
Leavenworth
Leavenworth
4.8
(5)
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Rate
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style town located on the eastern slopes of Washington’s Cascade Mountains and one of the best destinations in the state for fall color.
Newport
Newport
4.8
(4)
Newport, RI
Rate
Historic beach town with mansions that can be visited. Scenic ocean drive. Newport Vineyards is like 5 miles away which is an awesome winery and brewery.
Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg
4.8
(4)
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Rate
Fredericksburg, a Hill Country town that still honors its original German settlers, kicks off its holiday with a Christkindlesmarkt in November and continues the celebration with a Texas-scale flurry of parades, tree lightings, choral concerts, Nutcracker performances, craft shows, cookie decorating events, charity balls, and—in a nod to its German heritage—locally brewed seasonal beers.
Cape Cod
Cape Cod
4.7
(3)
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Rate
Looking for boatloads of Christmas cheer with a New England twist? Head to Cape Cod! There are few things more picturesque than lighthouses decked to their nines in Christmas garlands, wreaths, and lights. What's more, the quaint seaside destination hosts dozens of craft fairs, parades, theater productions, and even a "Train to Christmas Town."
Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
4.7
(3)
Ann Arbor, MI
Rate
There's so much to love about a Christmas in Ann Arbor, from the dozens of holiday events offered (think: free outdoor markets, German food fairs, lantern parades, s'mores roasting, and live music, just to name a few). The annual "Sing Along with Santa" event, presented by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, is a can't-miss spectacle. It's just what is sounds like: A carol sing-along featuring Santa himself, plus plenty of cookies and cider.
St. Augustine
St. Augustine
4.7
(3)
St. Augustine, FL
Rate
We're guessing you didn't expect our list to open with a warm weather locale. But St. Augustine won a spot here because it's downright festive. Lights, candles, and Christmas decor are sprinkled throughout the town throughout the entire holiday season—and best of all, you don't have to wear a coat to get out and enjoy it all.
Woodstock
Woodstock
4.7
(3)
Woodstock, VT
Rate
It sounds like the image of a Christmas card: a parade of horses and buggies circling a snowy village green. But Woodstock Wassail Weekend is an actual annual event in picturesque Woodstock, Vermont. Carolers serenade townsfolk and everyone gathers for the lighting of the tree and Yule log. Historic homes and farms open to celebrate rural holiday heritage. You may have to pinch yourself to believe the charming New England spectacle!
Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth
4.7
(3)
Frankenmuth, MI
Rate
Known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth's European heritage is on full display during the Christmas season. Some of the town's charming holiday highlights include a traditional Christkindlmarkt, a holiday home tour hosted by the Frankenmuth Women's Club, whimsical light displays, and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland — the world's largest Christmas store.
Helen
Helen
4.7
(3)
Helen, GA 30545
Rate
You may not expect to find an Alpine village along the banks of Georgia's Chattahoochee River, but Helen, a former logging town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, reinvented itself long ago as a Bavarian town. Visitors come to town in December to view the wreaths and artist-decorated holiday trees on auction at the Festival of Trees and to participate in the Kinderfest, the Christkindlmarkt, and tree lighting in tiny downtown Helen.
Williamsburg
Williamsburg
4.7
(3)
Williamsburg, VA
Rate
Colonial holiday traditions like caroling by torchlight, fife and drum performances, and interpretive programs (care to celebrate with the Madisons and Jeffersons?!) set the stage for Christmas in charming Williamsburg. The activities culminate in a Grand Illumination, a celebratory fireworks and historic gun-salute display, best viewed from the town green. For the less historic minded, nearby Busch Gardens opens for the holiday with Christmas Town, a stroll through European holiday traditions.
Delray Beach
Delray Beach
4.7
(3)
Delray Beach, FL
Rate
A 100-foot-tall Christmas tree is just the thing to shift the mood from beach to holiday. At the center of the aptly named Old School Square (a historic district revived as a cultural center), the tree magically opens to reveal a wonderland inside, with toy trains running around miniature scenes depicting holiday traditions.
Taos
Taos
4.7
(3)
Taos, NM 87571
Rate
Some of the very best southwestern autumn foliage can be viewed along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway loop from Taos to Eagle Nest and Angel Fire.
Dyker Heights
Dyker Heights
4.7
(3)
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Rate
Okay, okay. It's not technically a small town, but Dyker Heights,, a neighborhood in South Brooklyn, shares a lot of traits with small towns—loyalty, pride, close-knit families and a deep, slightly competitive affection for Christmas lights. Residents of this walkable Italian-American enclave erect intricate and spectacular displays on and around their homes. Strolling around Dyker Heights will convince you that there's a small town lurking in the heart of the big city.
Park City
Park City
4.5
(2)
Park City, UT
Rate
Why not escape to a literal winter wonderland for Christmas? Park City is a breathtaking place nestled in the mountains. There are tons of Christmas events throughout December such as holiday markets and a ride on the North Pole Express. The celebrations culminate in a Christmas Eve torchlight parade, where skiers and snowboarders come down the mountain carrying torches to lead Santa into town.
Franklin
Franklin
4.5
(2)
Franklin, TN
Rate
Step back in time at the annual Dickens of a Christmas festival in historic downtown Franklin. The festival, which is in its 35th year, brings characters from A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist to life throughout its weekend-long festivities. Roam the Victorian Village and try Victorian era Christmas treats like sugar plums while listening to carolers. Stop for a chat with Jacob Marley or Ebenezer Scrooge before visiting Father Christmas.
Stockbridge
Stockbridge
4.5
(2)
Stockbridge, MA
Rate
Stockbridge might look just like a Norman Rockwell painting—and that's because it is! Each year, the town recreates the 1967 Rockwell painting, "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas)" during their annual festival. Old-fashioned cars line the main street to recreate the painting, and the public can tour historic homes decorated for the holidays.
Duluth
Duluth
4.5
(2)
Duluth, MN
Rate
Thousands flock to Duluth during the holidays to witness Bentleyville, a massive light display. The event is free to the public and runs through November and December. There's also a scenic train journey along Lake Superior, as well as a bustling Christmas village set up in front of the historic Glensheen mansion.
Essex
Essex
4.5
(2)
Essex, CT
Rate
here are plenty of reasons to visit Essex at Christmastime. Ride the North Pole Express with your kids where they can enroll in the special Elf Academy and meet Santa. Keep things locomotive-themed at the annual Holiday Train Show, or do some Christmas shopping at the holiday village where you can also catch a stunning light show. Have dinner or even stay at the historic Griswold Inn for the perfect New England holiday.
New Hope
New Hope
4.5
(2)
New Hope, PA 18938
Rate
Who wouldn't want to spend their Christmas in this lovely East Coast locale? You're bound to experience a "white Christmas" if you do. New Hope is also home to the North Pole Express, where you and your family will be treated to Christmas carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves.
Darby
Darby
4.5
(2)
Darby, MT 59829
Rate
Tucked within Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, this gorgeous town is the perfect place to enjoy a true cowboy Christmas. Over at Triple Creek Ranch, you can enjoy horseback riding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and more, and you'll find elaborate holiday décor all around the property and cabins. Guests are even given the option of choosing a real or artificial tree for their cabins, with ornaments provided.
Big Spring
Big Spring
4.5
(2)
Big Spring, TX 79720
Rate
What's better than an all-American Christmas right in the heart of West Texas? This charming town is big on holiday spirit. In fact, it's been dubbed the "Lighted Poinsettia Capital of Texa
Denton
Denton
4.5
(2)
Denton, NC
Rate
All aboard! The Denton Farmpark’s Country Christmas Train in Denton, North Carolina is well worth the trip—both for you and any little ones you're bringing along. You'll stop by Santa's cabin, travel through a real-life "gingerbread house," and even sing carols at a church. With a population under 3,000, Denton is a fabulous, homey place to spend Christmas this year.
Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge
4.5
(2)
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Rate
A Polar Express ride and bona fide Southern charm? It's almost too good to be true. All that and more is available for your family to explore in this northern Georgia town.
Manchester
Manchester
4.5
(2)
Manchester, VT 05255
Rate
If you're a fan of White Christmas and are hoping to recreate the movie's iconic, rural Vermont atmosphere this year, there's no better place to do it than in Manchester. Guests from all over the country (not to mention the world!) look forward to spending their Decembers in the village. Our recommendation: Check out the mahogany-lined Wilburton Inn for a truly authentic Vermont Christmas experience—the whole place is lit up like a Christmas tree each year.
Atchison
Atchison
4.5
(2)
Atchison, KS
Rate
There may be less than 15,000 people living in this town, but that doesn't mean they're short on holiday spirit. Join the Atchison community for fun-filled, kid-friendly events including a Christmas parade, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a "coloring contest," and a Mr. & Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant. Trust us, grown-ups: You'll be jealous you can't partake in all of them yourself!
Beaufort
Beaufort
4.5
(2)
Beaufort, SC
Rate
Take a boat ride, go kayaking, or simply stroll the streets! There's so much to do in this sweet Southern town, including checking out the lights on the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla.
Nantucket
Nantucket
4.5
(2)
Nantucket, MA
Rate
Nantucket's typically thought of as a summer destination, but that's precisely why it made our list—you'll find it all the more peaceful during its off-season. The annual Christmas Stroll, which takes place in the first week of December, is an excellent way to get a little local shopping done while sipping mulled cider.
Carmel-By-The-Sea
Carmel-By-The-Sea
4.5
(2)
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Rate
This gorgeous coastal town offers pretty Christmas lights, dozens of wine tastings, and beach sunsets. There may not be snow, but we don't think your family will be complaining.
North Pole
North Pole
4.5
(2)
North Pole, AK 99705
Rate
Bet you never thought you could make a trip to the North Pole! This town may not be the real thing, but it's got the name—and it boasts year-round Christmas spirit. There's also a "Santa Claus house" with live reindeer, a mayor who goes by the name of Santa, and candy cane street lamps. How's that for a winter wonderland?
Bethlehem
Bethlehem
4.5
(2)
Bethlehem, PA
Rate
Spend Christmas in Bethlehem without shelling out a fortune on airfare or traveling back in time! This Pennsylvania town boasts horse-drawn carriage rides and a "Christmas City Stroll" that'll have your entire family smiling and laughing.
Sheridan
Sheridan
4.5
(2)
Sheridan, WY 82801
Rate
Christmas in the Cowboy State might seem like a too-good-to-be-true dream. Snowy weather, an annual Christmas Stroll, and small town charm will have you pinching yourself all day.
La Jolla
La Jolla
4.5
(2)
La Jolla, San Diego
Rate
Whether you stop by the La Jolla Christmas Parade or simply enjoy shopping at one of this locale's beachfront shops, you can't go wrong with a Christmas trip to beautiful La Jolla. Ice skating at Hotel del Coronado is a must.
Greenville
Greenville
4.5
(2)
Greenville, SC
Rate
Want to feel like you're walking around on the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie? Then you'll want to head to Greenville, South Carolina where the sidewalks twinkle with lights as Santa’s electric sleigh drives by with an elf in tow. There's even a miniature outdoor skating rink on Main Street, a "Festival of Trees" competition, tree lighting ceremonies, and more. It's downright magical!
Lewisburg
Lewisburg
4.5
(2)
Lewisburg, WV 24901
Rate
When you plan your trip to Lewisburg, be sure to make a reservation to stay at The Greenbrier Resort. Adults will love this festive hotel that features activities all season long, including parties, tree lightings, and a Gingerbread Ball.
Andalusia
Andalusia
4.5
(2)
Andalusia, AL
Rate
It doesn't get too cold in Andalusia, but that doesn't stop the town turning into a winter wonderland. Every weekend in December, residents flock to Candyland, a kid-friendly event where children of all ages can ice skate, visit the different holiday cottages, and meet Santa. The best part? Admission is free!
Bardstown
Bardstown
4.5
(2)
Bardstown, KY 40004
Rate
This Kentucky town kicks off the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving—that's November 23 this year—with the Light Up Bardstown celebration. Kids will have a blast at the Fun Christmas Corner, where they can enjoy sweet treats and face painting. Everyone in the family will love the annual Christmas tree lighting and an appearance by Santa Claus himself.
Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach
4.5
(2)
Myrtle Beach, SC
Rate
If you travel to Myrtle Beach during the winter, the best thing to do doesn't actually have to do with the ocean. The coastal town hosts an annual Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens during the month of December. Visitors will be wowed by more than 4,500 hand-lit candles while they listen to Christmas carolers.
McAdenville
McAdenville
4.5
(2)
McAdenville, NC
Rate
The map might say McAdenville, but to locals, this place is known as Christmas Town USA. For the past 63 years, this Charlotte suburb has put on an impressive holiday display, with 265 evergreen trees covered in 500,000 lights, plus more than 160 decorated houses. The best part? You can view everything for free.
Bernville
Bernville
4.5
(2)
Bernville, PA 19506
Rate
Back in 1948, William M. Koziar began decorating his home in Bernville for the viewing pleasure of his family. Now, Koziar's Christmas Village is one of the top attractions in the state of Pennsylvania, and boasts both indoor and outdoor displays.
Branson
Branson
4.5
(2)
Branson, MO 65616
Rate
Each year, this Missouri city hosts the Ozark Mountain Christmas festival, a month-long extravaganza with festive music, light shows, and plenty of parades. You can even hop aboard the Branson Scenic Railway's Polar Express Train Ride and feel like you're in a scene from the classic movie. Don't forget the hot chocolate!
Asheville
Asheville
4.5
(2)
Asheville, NC
Rate
Not surprisingly, much of Asheville's holiday focus is on Biltmore, the historic Vanderbilt mansion, which dresses up lavishly with ribbons, garlands, and sparking lights. Elsewhere in this active mountain town, locals gather to watch Santa rappel down Chimney Rock as a warm-up exercise for his upcoming Christmas Eve activities. The well-established arts scene in town makes shopping for unique gifts easy at craft shows and studio visits in the River Arts District.
Jackson
Jackson
4.5
(2)
Jackson, WY
Rate
No town lights up for the holidays quite like Jackson. The town at the base of the Tetons has a spectacular town square any time of the year, with monumental arches of elk antlers at the four corners. But around the holidays, the arches are wrapped in strings of lights to illuminate the nights with a festive glow. Stick around until New Year's Eve if you want to see the torch parade of ski instructors snaking down the mountain at the town's two ski resorts.
Natchitoches
Natchitoches
4.5
(2)
Natchitoches, LA
Rate
Christmas in Natchitoches begins in June when the bulbs on the strings of holiday lights are tested in anticipation of the town's proud Festival of Lights. The town of 18,000 celebrates the season with more 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces displayed along the banks of Cane River Lake, honoring the holiday and their Creole heritage. Festivities, including carriage rides, historic home tours, a children's festival, fireworks, a 5K race, parades, and live performances, go on until early January.
Durango
Durango
4.5
(2)
Durango, CO
Rate
This historic mining town uses the local steam-engine train to festive advantage with snowy rides through the surrounding mountains along the Animas River. The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge train operates year-round but in December, its runs include a Polar Express-inspired trip for kids as well as weekend Christmas Tree runs on which passengers can cut their own tree and get it transported back to town.
Annapolis
Annapolis
4.5
(2)
Annapolis, MD
Rate
Annapolis showcases its impressive 18th-century historic district at the holidays, with candlelit strolls and guided tours of some of the town's grand homes. The town is lavishly trimmed with evergreen garlands and, down on the City Dock, reflections of the holiday tree twinkle in the water of the harbor. The town's nautical traditions are honored with a lighted boat parade in December.
Sierra Madre
Sierra Madre
4.5
(2)
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
Rate
Where do Southern Californians go to get the Christmas spirit? Sierra Madre, a foothills town just a few miles east of Pasadena, imports snow from the San Bernadino Mountains every year to build a big snowman in the town's central square, Kersting Court, until the balmy local temperatures send him downstream. There's still plenty to see, with the town's houses and businesses decorated for the season, a life-size nativity scene, and a 154-tree-long Christmas Tree Lane.
Santa Claus
Santa Claus
4.5
(2)
Santa Claus, IN
Rate
Santa Claus, Indiana, with a strong year-round commitment to the holiday, calls itself America's Christmas Hometown. In the late 1920s, the local postmaster began to promote the town and pretty soon, children's letters to Santa began pouring in. Every year, thousands of letters are answered by volunteer Santa's Elves. Local festivities include a themed parade, a candy castle (selling nostalgic hard-to-get favorite treats), and Santa's Land of Lights, a 1.2-mile drive-through holiday light show.
Oxford
Oxford
4.5
(2)
Oxford, MS
Rate
It might not often get cold and snowy in this college town, but the locals have a clear understanding of Christmas giving. The Gingerbread Village, elaborate structures made from scratch each year by volunteers, benefits local food banks. The town also holds an Ornament Auction, selling unique decorations made by local artists, to raise money for its arts council.