There are so amazing towns in America to visit during the Christmas Holiday Season, and our friends at Travel & Leisure have listen them out!
Nothing quite compares to the joy of holiday decorations. The sight of a town decked out with boughs of holly, among other Christmas decor, can send warmth all the way down to your toes — even in the midst of a blizzard. Whether you’re returning home to see family and find yourself eagerly awaiting the 25-foot tree illuminated in your town square, or you’re taking a solo trip to a seasonal destination this year and are ready to be met with holiday cheer, there’s always a reason to visit one of the best holiday towns in America. So, with that in mind, we’ve gathered 25 of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.A for you to travel to in December.
A combination of luxe living and quaint charm helped this Rocky Mountain town become one of the merriest in the country. Wandering along Cooper Avenue, you may chance upon cookie exchanges, public s’mores roasts, or elf meet-and-greets. The 12 Days of Aspen celebration happens from Dec. 20 to 31 this year — for a full list of activities, visit the Aspen Chambercalendar. And don’t miss the three most famous hotels in town while you’re here for the holidays. The lobby of the Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection often hosts carolers, while the Ajax Tavern and Element 47 at the Little Nell both serve fabulous holiday meals. Looking for a bird’s-eye view of the decorations? You can take in the holiday splendor from on-high at W Aspen’s sky residences.
Ski season kicks into high gear during the holidays in this Colorado wonderland. December brings fresh powder, the village tree lighting, and New Year’s Eve festivities. Vail is known for both good coffee and good cocktails — compare local favorites Yeti’s Grind and Loaded Joe’s in the morning, and tuck into cocktails at Root & Flower in the evening. You might ring in the New Year at Flame — the fine dining restaurant within Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, before innovative cocktails at The Sebastian – Vail, a Timbers Resort. Finally, lay your head to rest at the ever-charming, alpine-chic The Lodge at Vail, a Rock Resort, which boasts a heated outdoor pool flanked with gorgeous fire pits.
Travelers may be drawn to this former artists’ colony in Maine as a beach getaway, but the holiday season brings the perks of winter on the sand: lower prices and overall calm, with just enough festivity to keep things humming. Mid-December’s Christmas by the Sea festival typically includes a bonfire on the beach and visits with Santa. From Ogunquit, you can also easily reach two shopping areas for getting through your list: the Kittery Outlets and, an hour away, Freeport. For distinctive local shopping, browse the Harbor Candy Shop, where the gift boxes pack in holiday charm.
The banner event during the holidays in this island town started in the 1970s, because too many locals left to shop in Cape Cod. Today, during the annual Christmas Stroll — typically the first weekend in December — you can shop downtown amid dozens of seven-foot, decorated Christmas trees, and take part in wine tastings, ghost walks, and home tours. Pick up some gifts at Murray’s Toggery Shop (the mother ship for holiday-ready Nantucket reds) and Jessica Hicks, the boutique of a local jewelry designer. For more tree-gazing, go to the Whaling Museum, which houses 80 trees decorated by local artists, merchants, and kids.
This Florida town lacks snowman-building material, but the snowbird-style winter wonderland still lures holiday revelers with its luxury stores, cool boutiques, and festive ambience. Third Street South is the headquarters for the official tree, evening “snow” showers, and gorgeous window displays, like those at department store Marissa Collections in the Old Naples Historic District. Continue shopping along Fifth Avenue South, and check out whimsical clothing and gift shop Wind in the Willows.
Breckenridge gets revved up during the holidays, as ski season swings into high gear. Indeed, this resort town skates the fine line between thrills and low stress. During the month of December, festivities abound, from the tree lighting to the Race of the Santas. Travelers will also fall for the charming après-ski options in Breck, from the house-made brews at Breckenridge Brewing to the martinis and flights of Colorado beers at Base 9 Bar.
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Grande dame hotel The Greenbrier is the epicenter of the holidays in the Lewisburg area. The 18th-century resort trims the lobby with opulent decorations. Beyond the hotel, the town is peaceful and quietly lit with seasonal lights and low-key attractions.
Beaufort, North Carolina
Winter weather doesn’t really kick in until January in this Outer Banks town, so the holiday season is typically still a good time to paddle a kayak or take a boat tour along Taylor’s Creek. The Christmas lights take to the water, too: one of the biggest holiday events is the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla, a twinkling-lights-strewn boat parade held on the first weekend in December.
This California town with a rocky coastline doesn’t experience much in the way of winter, but the chilly air makes the crashing waves and neighboring wine country seem all the more enticing. Carmel has its own tree lighting — a huge resident tree at the corner of Junipero and Ocean avenues — and the quiet days of early December also make it a little easier to get a table at nearby restaurants like La Bicyclette and Flying Fish Grill.
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