21 Best Places to Visit for Christmas, USA

Looking for the best places to spend Christmas in the USA? Plan your next Christmas trip using our list of the best places to visit in the Christmas holidays including pretty Christmas towns, ski destinations, and even the North Pole! You may also like our post on 33 Best Places to Visit in the USA.

Christmas is our favorite time of the year! Frosted windows, pine trees, crackling fireplaces, twinkling fairy lights hanging from trees, holiday songs, childhood traditions, milk and cookies, letters to Santa – everything is so beautiful, come Christmas time!

The USA has a variety of Christmas destinations to make all kinds of visitors happy.

From hiking among real frost-covered Christmas trees in the national parks to drinking warm butterbeer in Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando, there are multiple Christmas experiences to enjoy in the USA. 

Best Warm Winter Holiday Destinations in the USA

The USA also has many world-class holiday lights, Christmas markets, and decorations that rival those the world over.  We urge everyone to get out for the holidays and plan a trip to one of our favorite Christmas destinations in the USA. 

Snow covered mountains in Aspen, Colorado

Best Places to Visit on Christmas

While the entire USA celebrates Christmas, some places really get into the holiday spirit and put on a fantastic holiday show for everyone.

On this list, you will find the prime destinations of New York and Chicago as well as hidden gems and less popular Christmas towns including Grapevine and Jackson Hole. 

We have even included instructions on how to visit Santa Claus in his home at the North Pole!

After being cooped up at home all year long, all are eager to get out and enjoy the holidays so we recommend practicing safety at all times! Here is our list of Best Places to Go for Christmas in the USA. 

New York City

When it comes to the best places to visit at Christmas, New York City is the most magical place to be! The Big Apple is one of the most popular Christmas vacation spots in the country.

It has a host of holiday events and glamorous Christmas celebrations to make everyone happy. From the majestic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to ice skating on Central Park, New York is the ultimate winter destination in the USA. 

Related: Best Things to do in New York City in Winter

The Christmas decorations in The Rockefeller Center NYC

The North Pole, Alaska

Yes, you can actually visit the North Pole! The city of North Pole in Alaska may be nowhere near the geographical North Pole, but it is magical enough to make everyone believe at Christmas!

While you can experience the Christmas spirit all year long at the North Pole, the holiday season is simply amazing here. You can see ice sculptures, see fireworks, and even visit the Santa Claus house.

The city of North Pole looks like a gingerbread house coming to life and is a must on your Christmas bucket list. 

Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas. Here you will find hundreds and thousands of twinkling, magical holiday lights all over the town.

Kids especially love Grapevine for all the magical activities. They can ride the North Pole Express and enjoy meeting Santa. You can also see parades, Texas-sized holiday decorations, and enjoy a Victorian Christmas experience in the historic downtown district.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is one of the best places to visit during Christmas for multiple reasons and they all begin at Walt Disney World! After all, Disney is the happiest place on earth and Christmas is the happiest time of the year.

You can be sure, Christmas at Disney is pretty epic!

From Mickey’s Christmas Party to New Years Fireworks, the holiday season has many events at Disney. You can also visit Universal Orlando to enjoy Harry Potters Magical World at Christmas. 

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City also happens to be the best places to visit in the USA during Christmas. Chicago in winter looks absolutely gorgeous.

The holiday lights sparkle everywhere and numerous events are held all over the city. You can visit the Christmas market to shop for handmade gifts or buy luxury goods on magnificent Mile.

Take a photo with the skyline and holiday lights at the Bean and enjoy Christmas in Chicago. 

Chicago Loop Christmas Lights

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen hosts the 12 Days of Aspen event during Christmas and is an amazing place to visit for the holiday season.

In Aspen, you’re sure to experience a white Christmas, go skiing, see gingerbread houses, roast marshmallows, and have fun in the holidays.

Apart from visiting just Aspen, you can also go through a magical festive road trip in Colorado and experience a bevy of ski resorts and Christmassy towns in one trip! Spend a couple of days each in Winter Park, Breckenridge, Aspen, and Vail. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

For a unique spin on Christmas and to enjoy warm weather, visit the city of New Orleans in Louisiana. Popularly known as Nola, this is a fantastic place to spend Christmas.

You can enjoy a beautiful tour of the holiday decorations on the balconies of the French Quarter, drink eggnog as you walk the cobblestone streets, and ride the vintage streetcars. 

New Orleans Jackson Square

Charleston, South Carolina

When it comes to the east coast, Charleston is a popular Christmas vacation destination for winter sun worshippers. The historic Downtown district of Charleston looks really splendid.

The antebellum mansions and historic homes are all decked up in pretty decorations. There are parades, plays, concerts, and historic events taking place all over the city. 

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is our favorite Christmas holiday destination in Texas. This charming Texan city has many holiday-themed events and celebrations throughout December and well into January.

You can see the beautiful riverwalk studded with millions of twinkling lights. Even the riverwalk bridges are decorated with large wreaths and bows and look magical.

The city also has a holiday train for the kids and is amazing to visit to enjoy a Texan Christmas. 

Related: Best Restaurants to eat on the San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio Riverwalk

Branson, Missouri

The entire Branson area is one of the most underrated Christmas vacation destinations on this list. The city of Branson in southwestern Missouri has stunning Christmas lights.

There are live shows and concerts, lots of holiday shopping, a Polar Express, and lots of Christmas trees! After all, Branson calls itself the Christmas Tree City!

Also must visit is the Old Time Christmas celebrations in Silver Dollar City. 

Leavenworth, Washington

Located in the heart of the Cascade ranges of Washington, Leavenworth is a quaint Bavarian small town.

Here you will find beautiful traditional Christmas celebrations that will transport you straight to Germany.

You can take a sleigh ride, drink mulled wine, admire the alpine chalet architecture, marvel at holiday decorations, and see the Christmas tree at Town Square.  

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is hands down our favorite place to fly for Christmas! Las Vegas is always worlds apart from other cities in the USA. The glitz and glamour of Sin City come out in full force in the holiday season.

Each of the casinos has majestic Christmas trees that rival others and the holiday decors on the strip are straight out of a fairytale.

The Fountains of Bellagio dance to popular Christmas songs and the holiday lights are everywhere. If you have more time, you can also consider a road trip to the Grand Canyon

Las Vegas Strip

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City is a top Christmas destination for many travelers. There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Nashville during the holiday season and especially on Christmas.

Enjoy holiday decor and a Country Christmas on Broadway or see the beautiful lights at Opryland. You can also enjoy a historic and vintage Victorian Christmas at the Belle Meade Plantation.

Visit nearby Franklin to enjoy a Charles Dicken Christmas. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

For unique cultural Christmas celebrations, visit the beautiful city of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Santa Fe has stunning Pueblo architecture and celebrates the holiday season in the New Mexican tradition. Paper bag lanterns or farolitos are placed all over the pueblos and look beautiful at night.

The Santa Fe Plaza is the epicenter of all Christmas activities. 

Seattle, Washington

When it comes to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is definitely our top recommendation to spend a trendy, urban Christmas. The Emerald City hosts many winter events and festivals and is beautiful despite the winter rains.

There are many holiday lights festivals throughout the city and ice skating rinks are constructed in many places including the Winterfest Rink at the Seattle Center. 

Related: Seattle Itinerary Ideas for 3 to 5 Days trip

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is our favorite place in California to spend the Christmas holidays. The Golden Gate City knows how to put on a really great Christmas.

The epicenter of all activities is Union Square. Here you can see the beautiful Christmas tree, shop for your loved ones, and enjoy Christmas treats.

Walk to nearby Ghirardelli Square for a cuppa hot chocolate and stroll down Lombard Street hand in hand with your loved one.

See the beautiful gingerbread house displays in the hotels of San Francisco, ride the cable cars, and enjoy Chinese Christmas celebrations in Chinatown. 

San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf

Related: San Francisco Itinerary Ideas

Asheville, North Carolina

When it comes to the Blue Ridge region, Asheville is our favorite Christmas destination. Located in the North Carolina mountains, Asheville is a gorgeous romantic escape.

It is more beautiful in the holidays and a must-see if you are in this part of the state. See the majestic Biltmore mansion all decked up for the holidays and tour the holiday lights in their beautiful garden.

Experience the Christmas celebrations downtown: wander through the art galleries and try beer in the microbreweries. 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For a cozy Christmas experience that combines gorgeous small-town charm with an outdoor winter wonderland, you can’t go wrong than Jackson Hole.

Located in the backdrop of the stunning Teton mountain ranges in Wyoming, Jackson Hole has everything Christmassy!

Here you will find twinkling tree lights, lots of snow play, fun sleigh rides, a decked up Town Square, shows, and concerts. This is the true fun winter getaway for the whole family. 

Stowe, Vermont

While most visitors associate Stowe with charming fall foliage, this pretty town is also postcard-perfect in the winter.

The quaint New England architecture of Stowe looks even prettier with holiday decor and is the perfect backdrop for Christmas holiday photos.

Add in all the ski, snowshoe, sledding, and playing in the snow opportunities and you are really set for a memorable winter vacation. 

Yosemite, California

For another spot to enjoy the holidays in California, consider visiting Yosemite National Park. You are bound to get some snow during your visit, making it a beautiful white Christmas.

Yosemite, located in the Sierra Nevadas, is absolutely stunning in the winter. The trees in Yosemite Valley have a sprinkling of frost and snow and the granite peaks look majestic against the grey winter sky.

Go hiking in the Yosemite Valley and work up an appetite to enjoy a snowy picnic among the trees. 

Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

The Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our favorite Christmas vacation destinations when it comes to snow fun. You can begin your trip by visiting Denver and spending a day or two exploring the Christmas lights in the Mile High City. Then go to Estes Park which is the eastern gateway to the national park. Enjoy winter activities like snowshoeing under frost-covered trees, enjoying winter wonderland views, and sledding down the hill in the park. 

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