While “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a classic Christmas song, there’s nothing quite like taking a trip to an incredible Christmas destination to get you into the holiday spirit. Whether it’s a day trip or a special place to spend December 25 with the family, a vacation can take an already special time of year and make it even more memorable. At this time of year, pretty much everywhere is getting into the holiday spirit, so how do you choose?
We’ve combed through the country and internet to find some of the best places to get holly and jolly. To be fair, this certainly isn’t a conclusive list. There are just too many amazing Christmas destinations around the United States to narrow it down to five and catch everything. If we missed something that simply NEEDS to be noticed, tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, or over email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York City, NY
When it comes to Christmas destinations, it’s very difficult to top New York. The Big Apple is the setting for many, many classic Christmas movies, old and new, and for good reason. It’s packed with iconic Christmas sights. Between the Rockefeller Center Tree and ice skating in Central Park, it’s difficult to be Grinchy with all the holiday cheer emanating from the city.
New York City is packed with iconic Christmas sights.
If you’re in a shopping mood, New York’s Fifth Avenue is a delight of sights and consumerism as you check out some of the most glamorous shops in the world. Not only are the high-end shops covered in decorations, you can see the world-famous window displays. Each year, Fifth Avenue shops deck the halls with elaborate, festive tableaus that people from around the world flock to see. You can also catch a show, like the holiday classic The Radio City Rockettes or one of the many Christmas shows on Broadway or around the city.
Tucked away in Pennsylvania is a little town of Bethlehem that does Christmas in a big way each year. In fact, the city becomes so festive each year that they’ve taken to calling themselves Christmas City. As Winter rolls around, the town takes on a decidedly Christmas-look. Decorations and lights are everywhere, on every light post and every corner. The Christmas trees are a special sight, with tours set up so you won’t miss a single historic display. There’s also the annual Peace Pilgrimage, which is a 10-mile walk from nearby Nazareth to Bethlehem. No discussion of Christmas City would be complete without Christkindlmarkt, a massive Christmas market that brings together more than 150 artisans and merchants to sell one-of-a-kind gifts and delicious food.
Each year, Bethlehem, PA, becomes so festive that they’ve taken to calling themselves Christmas City.
Another advantage of visiting Bethlehem is that less than two hours away are two Christmas destinations that you won’t want to miss. First, Koziar’s Christmas Village has been a Christmas tradition for more than 70 years, and has been called a must-see holiday attraction. While you’re there, take a trip down I-78 to see how the Sweetest Place on Earth celebrates Christmas. Not only are the streets of Hershey, PA, lined with lights, the town is awash with events like meeting Santa. The theme park, Hersheypark, is also all dressed up for Christmas, with special rides, decorations, and events throughout November and December.
Walt Disney World, FL
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to go to Walt Disney World, go for the holidays. Something special happens at Disney World for Christmas. For many people, Christmas and the holidays are a magical time, and Disney is a company that’s traded on that “magical” feeling for decades. Want to spoil the family for Christmas? Book a trip and experience that magic together.
For many people, Christmas and the holidays are a magical time, and Disney is a company that’s traded on that “magical” feeling for decades.
So, what makes the park so special around this time of year? Nearly every section of the park does something different. At the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs November 8 to December 21, complete with special treats, attractions, and events. Other sections hold events, too, like the Epcot Center, which hosts the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. As with any time of the year, Disney can get a little pricey around Christmas, so do a little research to find any deals and tips that may help make your Disney Christmas dream a reality.
North Pole, AK
Want to visit Santa’s workshop at the North Pole this Christmas? Well, now you can thanks to North Pole, Alaska. Originally, the area was named North Pole by an enterprising development company hoping to sell the land to a toy manufacturer, so they could say they produced toys at the North Pole. While the land never got sold for this reason, the name was kept, and now, the little town 15 minutes outside of Fairbanks is a shrine to Christmas year-round.
Want to visit Santa’s workshop at the North Pole this Christmas?
One of the main attractions of North Pole must be the Santa Claus House. For more than sixty years, the Santa Claus House has been a popular Christmas destination. Stop in to see Santa’s home, complete with toy and candy shops for children of any age. Don’t forget to see the world’s largest Santa Claus or Santa’s reindeer. Another service the Santa Claus House offers is personalized Letters from Santa. Just fill out the fields and get your loved one a genuine letter from Santa Claus!
Las Vegas, NV
Our last entry on the list isn’t a place you’d normally associate with Christmas, but maybe that should change. Las Vegas doesn’t do anything without the glitz and glam that it’s famous for. Around the holidays, the famous Strip becomes littered with decorations, and each hotel and casino decorates in their own way. Half the fun of visiting Las Vegas at this time is wandering from hotel to hotel to see what each is doing for the holidays. The most famous example is at the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden. Each year, the staff makes a massive display that you just have to see to believe. You can also go ice skating at the Cosmopolitan or check out any number of holiday shows.
Las Vegas doesn’t do anything without the glitz and glam that it’s famous for, and Christmas is no exception.
Christmas used to be one of the secret times to go to Las Vegas, since the low temperatures and smaller crowds meant lower prices on rooms. The secret’s out, though, so you can actually expect prices to be up. With the return of crowds, it also means new shows especially for the time of year and that reservations at some of Vegas’s top restaurants are a must. That said, if you’re looking for a show only Las Vegas can deliver, it’s well worth the trip.
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Christmas is often a time spent at home, but if you’re feeling the traveler’s itch this year, you’re in luck. There are so many incredible Christmas destinations out there that it’s next to impossible to pick a bad one. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to spend Christmas or somewhere to get you into the holiday spirit, any of these trips will create cherished memories that’ll last a lifetime.