Do you have a heart that swells with holiday cheer as December approaches? If so, then visiting a Christmas town or a Santa's Village near you could be the perfect way to immerse yourself in the festive spirit. Fortunately, you don't have to travel far to find these enchanting destinations; some of the most spectacular Christmas towns are right here in the United States. From dazzling light displays to charming Christmas markets, special performances, and meetings with Santa Claus himself, these local spots offer myriad ways to celebrate the holiday season in style.
Let's embark on a journey to discover 23 captivating Christmas towns and Santa's Villages that will make your holiday season truly magical.
Lake Arrowhead, California
Open year-round, Skypark at Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead, California, offers a winter wonderland in the San Bernardino forest. From mid-November through January, Santa and his elves host a special "nostalgic Christmas." Enjoy one-on-one meetings with Santa, ice skating, cookie decorating, holiday lights, train rides, gold coin mining, and more. Don't forget to explore Santa's Workshop and maybe even send a letter to the jolly guy.
Newport Beach, California, offers a unique twist on holiday celebrations with the annual Newport Beach Boat Parade. Sailboats, yachts, and kayaks adorned with lights create a spectacular sight in Newport Harbor. You can catch the parade on a boat cruise or enjoy the view from the shore. Don't forget to explore Marina Park, featuring a nautical-themed playground and fireworks on opening and closing nights.
The Mission Inn in Riverside, California, boasts the "Best Holiday Lights Display in the Nation" according to USA Today. With lights adorning every available surface, Dickensian robots, life-sized gingerbread houses, and more, this experience dazzles like Disneyland but at a more relaxed pace. Be sure to try Casey’s Cupcakes, nationally famous thanks to a Cupcake Wars win.
Koziar's Christmas Village, nestled in Bernville, Pennsylvania, is a fairy tale come to life. With its breathtaking light displays, a toy shop straight out of Santa's workshop, old-time bakeries, and Santa visits, this charming Christmas village is a must-visit. As you stroll along the stroller-friendly paths, sip on cider, and savor chocolate chip cookies, you'll be enveloped in the warmth of the season. It's the perfect holiday day trip for families in the area.
Silver Dollar City, located in Branson, Missouri, is not your typical amusement park, especially during the holidays. The park transforms into an enchanting 1880s Christmas wonderland with a nightly parade of lights, holiday sing-along steam train rides, and over 30 holiday shows. The entire park dazzles with millions of holiday lights, and a towering 80-foot Christmas tree adorned with dancing lights steals the show.
College Station, Texas
If you're dreaming of a white Christmas in Texas, Santa's Wonderland in College Station has you covered. Experience nightly snowfall, a snow playground, and snow tubing. Take a horse and carriage or hayride to view a stunning light display. Afterward, visit Santa, warm up by a fire pit, and enjoy live music. With a trackless train ride, pony rides, a petting zoo, a giant gingerbread village, and more, Santa's Wonderland offers endless holiday fun.
Leavenworth, Washington, transforms into a living Christmas snow globe from Thanksgiving to February. With over half a million lights adorning streets and buildings, the village comes alive with kids' activities, Santa sightings, gingerbread houses, sleigh rides, and even a Nutcracker Museum. It's a magical destination where the holiday spirit truly shines.
Stockbridge, nestled in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, turns into a classic New England Christmas town every early December. The annual Lights On Festival features a magical light display on historic Taunton Green, along with live music, fireworks, and family-friendly activities. Don't miss the chance to experience the town that inspired Norman Rockwell's iconic holiday paintings.
In Santa Claus, Indiana, Christmas lasts year-round. The town comes alive in the three weeks leading up to Christmas with its Santa Claus Christmas Celebration. With a 22-foot Santa statue, gift shops, bakeries, LED Christmas light displays, and more, it's a festive destination for all ages.
Manistee, in Northwest Michigan, becomes an idyllic Christmas town during its annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend. This event attracts over 10,000 visitors from all over the country. Enjoy a parade of Belgian Draft sleigh horses, carolers in period costumes, Christmas concerts, holiday cookies, carriage rides, and more. It's a picture-perfect Christmas destination.
Middleburg, Virginia, offers a Christmas experience reminiscent of "A Christmas Carol." The historic downtown boasts antique street lamps, twinkling lights, and Federal-style buildings adorned with antique wooden Christmas ornaments. Don't miss the beloved holiday parade and other special events throughout the season. If you're in need of a Christmas tree, visit the picturesque Snickers Gap Tree Farm, and consider staying at the festive Salamander Resort.
For a dose of Victorian-era holiday charm, visit Troy, New York, during the Troy Victorian Stroll. The streets of historic downtown Troy transform into a Dickensian Christmas town, complete with concerts, street performances, and locals dressed in period attire. Play Stroll Bingo as you explore the town and enjoy shopping and dining specials throughout December.
Known for its summer allure, Kennebunkport transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas Prelude. The city sparkles with lights, bows, and boughs, turning it into a magical Christmas town. Enjoy tree lighting in Dock Square, enchanted sleigh rides, carolers, crafts for kids, and Santa's grand entrance by lobster boat. It's a coastal Christmas like no other.
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Peddler's Village, located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, transforms into a classic Christmas market with millions of twinkling holiday lights. Kids can meet Santa, ride a 1920s carousel, and marvel at magnificent gingerbread houses. Explore neighboring towns via a Christmas train ride and soak up all the holiday festivities in Bucks County.
Newport, Rhode Island, known for its opulent mansions, becomes a magical outdoor wonderland during the holidays. The Breakers, Marble House, and the Elms feature dazzling decorations, including a 15-foot poinsettia tree. The city's Sparkling Lights event offers illuminated paths, spruce trees, and festive music, while the Bowen’s Wharf Annual Christmas Tree Lighting marks the start of the holiday season.
Taunton, known as "The Christmas City," shines brightly during the holiday season. The Lights On Festival features a stunning holiday light display on historic Taunton Green, accompanied by live music, fireworks, and family activities. Taunton offers a unique and magical Christmas experience.
Woodstock, Vermont, transforms into an idyllic Christmas town during Wassail Weekend. Watch demonstrations of holiday traditions, enjoy sleigh rides, and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. Don't forget to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum's fair and witness the stunning Winterlights at Naumkeag.
Jefferson, New Hampshire, comes alive with Santa’s Village, a Christmas-themed park that offers a wide range of family-friendly activities. From feeding real reindeer to themed rides, there's something for everyone. The highlight is a visit to Santa's Home, where kids can share their holiday wishes.
Durango, Colorado, turns into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The annual Snowdown Festival features a magical light parade, costume contests, and festive activities for all ages. Explore the charming downtown adorned with holiday lights and decorations, making Durango a picturesque Christmas town in the Rockies.
Dahlonega, Georgia, known for its historic gold rush, also knows how to celebrate Christmas in style. Visit during the Old Fashioned Christmas celebration, where the town square comes alive with holiday decorations, a festive tree lighting ceremony, and appearances by Santa Claus. Explore local shops for unique holiday gifts and experience the magic of a small-town Christmas.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, transforms into a winter wonderland during the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. Hop on a trolley and enjoy the spectacular light displays throughout the city. The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park also offers breathtaking views of the illuminated town. With holiday shopping, festive events, and mountain charm, Gatlinburg is a delightful Christmas destination.
Ogden, Utah, hosts the annual Christmas Village, a beloved holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike. Stroll through the village filled with festive lights, animated displays, and cozy cottages. Meet Santa Claus, enjoy live entertainment, and savor hot cocoa and holiday treats. The lighting ceremony is a highlight, marking the official start of the holiday season in Ogden.
McAdenville, North Carolina
Known as "Christmas Town USA," McAdenville, North Carolina, is famous for its stunning holiday light displays. The entire town is adorned with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Drive or walk through the illuminated streets, and don't miss the town's official tree-lighting ceremony. McAdenville truly lives up to its name as a Christmas wonderland.
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