New York City at Christmastime
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7 popular cities to visit this Christmas season

Written by:
December 14, 2023

7 popular cities to visit this Christmas season

The winter season is always exciting, from the first snowfall to treading through deep snow and watching the holiday lights. Finally, Christmas trees and snowmen are starting to show up across the streets in states with medium to heavy snowfall.

After a few years where all celebrations remained low-key, we can now get back to celebrating Christmas the way it should be! looks at some of the most popular cities to visit for Christmas.  

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

For a little something different, you can plan a visit to the beautiful coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Unfortunately, it does not usually snow in this area. But you can still get into the holiday spirit with the tree lighting ceremony, holiday lights, lots of wine tasting, a stunning beach, and beautiful sunsets. The idyllic town also features the most unique houses in California. It's like walking through a live fairytale with gingerbread houses. As a bonus, the city is very dog-friendly, where dogs frequent most restaurants and run free on the beaches. 

New York City, New York

Very few cities in the U.S. can match the Christmas experience you get in New York City. It features one of the largest Christmas trees in the country at Rockefeller Center. If you plan to spend Christmas with your family, the Big Apple is one of your best choices. There are plenty of Christmas activities, and holiday spirits are always high across most NYC attractions. The city also features most of the attractions within walking distance of each other, making parking in New York City much more straightforward. Just don't forget to bring a very warm jacket.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is another popular city to visit for Christmas. Santa's Warmup rappelling down the Chimney Rock is the most fun activity in the buildup to Christmas. Santa Claus takes on this tradition every year to prepare for Christmas Eve. The iconic Vanderbilt mansion of Biltmore Estate also gets holiday cheer with ribbons, garlands, and twinkling lights. It is a visual treat to watch the Biltmore Estate all lighted up on December nights in the countdown to Christmas.   

Austin, Texas

Austin is an all-year city that never disappoints when it comes to exciting things to do in the holiday spirit. An average day for the holidays can start at Austin with a visit to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, where Christmas holiday décor would be in full swing by December. For midday, you can visit the Whole Foods roof for some ice skating, head downtown for a holiday stroll, or go shopping at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. With plenty of parking in Austin available, you don't have to worry about driving during your stay in Austin. Top off the day with a visit to the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park, which highlights the holiday season in Austin.  

Santa Claus, Indiana

Did you know that there is a small town in Spencer County, Indiana, called Santa Claus? How cool is that, right? So you can imagine how festive it would be during the holiday season? The small town of Santa Claus is locally known as America's Christmas Hometown, and it could be yours too. With themed parades, a drive through 1.2 miles of winter wonderland called Santa's Land of Lights (full of holiday lights), and a historic castle known as the Candy Castle, it is safe to say that spending Christmas in the city of Santa Claus will not be disappointing.  

Chicago, Illinois

If you are looking for a chilling winter experience for your Christmas holiday trip, you should consider planning a trip to Chicago. The highlight of the Windy City's holiday season has to be the many tree-lighting and holiday-lighting ceremonies. If you are really into holiday lights, you should check out the Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the St. Luca Festival of Lights, and the Christmas Tree Lighting at Millennium Park. The Museum of Science and Industry also hosts the Christmas Around the World experience, which is also a must-see.   

Leavenworth, Washington

Nothing comes close to the feeling of spending Christmas in Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth's lighting ceremony has made it an ideal Christmas destination for decades. The small town right below the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle, is known for lighting up the town with twinkling lights all over the street. You will be spoiled for choices with activities like sleigh rides, sledding, browsing Christmas stalls with holiday lights, Santa Claus making shock appearances, and caroling around the clock. Leavenworth completely transforms into a winter wonderland with the onset of Christmas. But, if you are looking for a white Christmas, this is still the place to be. 

This story was produced by and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

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