Christmas is everybody’s favorite time of year—but what if we told you that you don’t have to wait until December to celebrate every year? The USA has many destinations that look like something out of a Christmas movie.
These festive Christmas towns in the USA make you feel the magic of Christmas, regardless if it’s the night before Christmas or the middle of the summer.
These towns feature some of the world’s best Christmas light displays, multi-day festivals, and more. The most Christmassy towns in the USA seem like unreal destinations, but you can bet that the North Pole, Alaska, and Santa Claus, Indiana, have more in store than you can imagine.
Now is the perfect time to get in the Christmas spirit. These are the best Christmas towns in the USA.
|Table of Contents [Show]
Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.
When Leavenworth set a goal to become one of the best cities for Christmas in the USA, little did they know that they would far exceed their expectations. Now, it’s one of the most popular towns and a frequent destination for year-round holiday seekers.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style village with a distinctly European atmosphere thanks to architecture and local traditions. The best time to visit is during the holiday season when the fresh blanket of snow creates a beautiful winter wonderland that fills you with the Christmas spirit.
Over half a million lights decorate the town for the Christmas Lighting Festival. In addition, adults and kids can enjoy recreation in the snow like sledding, sleigh rides, and dog sledding. Visitors can also check out the local reindeer farm and feed the reindeer.
Immerse yourself in Christmas traditions like shopping the stalls at the Christkindlmarkt, visiting the Nutcracker Museum to see a collection of 7,000 nutcrackers, or tasting a fresh batch of cookies at the Gingerbread Factory.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Leavenworth
Address: Leavenworth, WA
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Washington State
Once the holiday season kicks off in Woodstock, this quaint New England town becomes a bustling hub of Christmas cheer. From the lights to the local events, there’s plenty to get involved with the seasonal activities.
Wassail Weekend is held on the second Saturday of December, where the season begins with a parade led by horse-drawn carriages. After what feels like the opening ceremony to the holiday, you’ll then find several activities leading up to the big day.
See the artistic talents displayed during the Snow Sculpture Festival with live carvings before the final day, revealing the ice masterpieces. Or visit the Billings Farm to see their farmhouse light display and family-friendly holiday events.
Woodstock is one of the best places to visit during Christmas. Treat yourself to a stay at a cozy bed and breakfast for pleasant New England hospitality while enjoying the widespread excitement of a holiday.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Woodstock
Address: Woodstock, VT
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Vermont
The residents of Durango, Colorado, waste no time getting into the Christmas spirit, kicking off their first event on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to see Santa and Mrs. Clause parading down Main Street to welcome in a new season at one of the top Christmas towns in the USA.
Winters in Durango are filled with lots of snow, making it a fun place for outdoor fun. Hit the slopes of one of Colorado’s largest ski areas at Purgatory or go snowmobiling.
Shopping is an exciting part of the Christmas season in Durango because it hosts the seasonal Winter Solstice Artisans’ Market and Noel Night.
These Christmas-themed markets invite local vendors and artisans to sell handicrafts, merchandise, art, and other items that go perfect for stocking-stuffers.
You can’t experience a true Durango Christmas until you’ve ridden on the Polar Express train—a historical train ride perfect for kids with storytelling and meet and greet with Santa.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Durango
Address: Durango, CO
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Colorado
The small Bavarian community in Helen, Georgia, creates one of the biggest holiday celebrations in the US. The locals know how to put on an impressive display of lights while showcasing their German heritage.
Christmas lighting is one of the key elements to transforming Helen into a Christmas town, and it gets all the locals involved in the task.
Not only will you see a colorful light display on the town’s buildings, but you can also visit the Hardman Farm to see acres of trees decorated by the local community. Visitors can vote on their favorite trees!
Stick around town for the Christkindlmarket, a German-style Christmas market held for two weekends in December. Also, the Christmas in the Mountains Festival.
Then there’s always the annual Christmas parade that you can’t miss with a remarkable display of floats, bands, and, of course, Santa making their way down Edelweiss St. leading to Festhalle.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Helen
Address: Helen, GA
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Georgia
North Carolina seems like an unlikely place for a Christmas town, but visiting Asheville will let you experience one of the best Christmas light displays.
Its popular attractions get a complete makeover during the Christmas season, giving you even more reason to add it to your holiday travel bucket list.
Asheville is nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, which provides a scenic backdrop to the illumines light displays around town.
One of the best attractions is the Biltmore Estate. This French Renaissance mansion from the gilded age was once one of the largest homes in the country, with over 250 rooms.
It boasts over 100 Christmas trees, including a 35-ft tree in the front. The next place to see incredible light displays is at the North Carolina Arboretum. Lights cover 434-acres of the garden, which features a massive 50-ft animatronic tree.
Every holiday season, Asheville hosts the National Gingerbread House Competition, where you’ll see some of the most creative Gingerbread houses, from traditional style to recreations of historical landmarks.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Asheville
Address: Asheville, NC
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Asheville
With a name called Santa Claus, it’s hard not to be one of the best US towns for Christmas. Let’s be honest, most people visiting (or passing through) will be expecting something Christmas-related, and Santa Claus, Indiana, doesn’t disappoint.
Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed town that has fun attractions for the entire family. Learn about the history of the town and its name in the Santa Claus Museum.
Don't forget to snap photos in front of the 22-foot tall statue of Santa. The kids can also write letters to Santa and send them to the Santa Claus Post Office.
Families looking for a bit of thrill for the holidays can enjoy a day at Holiday World, a Christmas-themed theme park full of wild roller coasters.
On the way back to your cozy Christmas Cabin on Lake Rudolph, drive past the Santa Claus Land of Lights to see the story of Rudolph told through a light show extending over a mile long.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Santa Claus
Address: Santa Claus, IN
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Indiana
Have you ever wondered where all the letters go when kids white them to Santa? Then, celebrate Christmas in the USA at the North Pole in Alaska to discover the real-life location of Santa’s Workshops. Flooded with letters all year, it gives the locals plenty to do to create a Christmas spirit the entire year.
The North Pole is a town destined to be one of America’s best Christmas towns, where it’s Christmas everywhere you look. Stop by the Santa Claus house to shop for Christmas gifts and see the wall of Christmas letters written to Santa.
And as if the Christmas lights decorating the town all year isn’t enough Christmas energy for you, it’s hard to ignore the street lights designed like candy canes or the GPS giving directions like turn right on Mistletoe Lake or make a left on Kris Kringle Drive. And there’s always the annual Christmas parade that runs right down Santa Claus Lane.
Accommodation: Where to stay in North Pole
Address: North Pole, AL
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Alaska
Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia, is charming at any time of year, but there’s a special magic that happens during the holidays that makes it one of the best Christmas towns in America.
Walk the same brick sidewalks that the founding founders once strolled and discover how it creates a spectacular Christmas setting.
Alexandria is located just outside of Washington DC, so it’s a popular destination for those who want a unique Christmas experience.
The Winter Stroll is one of the main events where crowds admire the lights decorating the trees lining Old Town’s King Street. There’s also the annual parade that happens in Old Town.
Grab a spot on the Alexandria waterfront to see a stunning display of sailboats decorated in Christmas lights as they sail down the Potomac River. And if you’re lucky, you’ll land tickets to see a world-class performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Little Theatre of Alexandria.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Alexandria
Address: Alexandria, VA
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Virginia
Nestled within the Santa Ynez Valley in Solvang, California, a destination that seemingly transports you to a small town in Denmark.
Solvang is a Danish community known for its traditional-style architecture, traditions, and shops reminiscent of Denmark. So, save yourself a trip to Europe for the holidays and spend it right here in Solvang.
Solvang gets the entire community involved with its Christmas celebrations. During the day, check out the shops on Copenhagen Drive to see the uniquely designed trees for each storefront and excellent gift ideas. At night, these shops provide the canvas for a spectacular light show.
Join in the celebrations at Solvang Park as you welcome the holiday with the Christmas tree Lighting Festival and ice skating.
In addition, the ever-so-popular Julefest is something hundreds of locals prepare for all year to put on a major parade through town with giant floats and an appearance from the big guy himself.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Solvang
Address: Solvang, CA
Also Read: Most European Style Cities in America
If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned Christmas, no other place does it better than Skaneateles, New York. This lakeside city in New York’s Finger Lake Region will give you an immersive experience into one of Christmas’s favorite tales, “A Christmas Carol.”
Skaneateles is famous for its Dickens Christmas Festival. This month-long celebration of the Christmas story brings the tale to life with characters such as Scrooge, Father Christmas, and the Spirit of Christmas Past, making appearances around town for pictures and fun.
The Dickens Christmas Festival includes several live events, shopping, and dining. Skaneateles has stores like the Christmas Shop and White Sleigh, where you’ll find excellent gift ideas. And the kids will love watching the snowman-building contest.
You can join in the fun of celebrating Christmas in Skaneateles as soon as the day after Thanksgiving because it’s never too early to revel in the Christmas cheer.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Skaneateles
Address: Skaneateles, NY
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New York State
Most people know Vail, Colorado as one of the top ski resorts in the country, but while seasonal travelers come for the slopes, this town has something a bit more exciting in-store every holiday season.
Vail transforms into a winter wonderland once the snowy season arrives. The ski slopes open, and Vail Village at the foot of the mountain showcases its festival spirit.
The entire town features European-style homes decorated with a spectacular display of lights. Everything dawns its finest lighting and Christmas decorations from the trees lining the main road to the shops.
The Christmas spirit in Vail only adds to the town’s appeal, where visitors have plenty to do during the holidays.
Spend the day out on the slopes before returning to town in the evening to warm up by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate. It has daily events, sleigh rides through town, and lots of shops where you’ll find the perfect gifts for everyone on your nice list.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Vail
Address: Vail, CO
It seems unlikely that you’ll find the Christmas spirit in a hot climate, but you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you visit St. Augustine, Florida, during the holiday season.
The northern Florida city is one of the best Christmas towns in the USA that will truly brighten up your holiday season.
St. Augustine is famous for its incredible light displays. There are a few different places to see them in their full glory. For example, Night of Lights is one of the most popular events where the over three million lights illuminate 20 blocks of the Historic District.
Next, head over to the banks of Matanzas Bay on the second Saturday of December for a parade of boats floating along the bay decorated in a brilliant display of lights called the Holiday Regatta of Lights. Or visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse for a unique lighting display and a chance encounter with Santa Claus during his annual visit.
Accommodation: Where to stay in St. Augustine
Address: St. Augustine, FL
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Florida
If you thought the opulent, Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, were impressive during the summer, wait till you see them during the holidays.
You’ll feel like you’re invited to an exclusive party only reserved for the super-wealthy as you get a taste of a Gilded Age Christmas.
Newport is one of the best US towns for Christmas, where holiday magic meets wealth. Visitors can tour the famous Newport mansions to see one of the best house Christmas decorations you’ve ever seen.
The Breakers, the Elms, the Blithewold Mansion, and others are open during the holidays for visitors to tour inside.
These opulent mansions take you around their hundreds of rooms to see unique themes and creative designs. Every year is something different, so you never know what to expect when you enter their doors.
Celebrate with the Christmas in Newport Festival that runs two weeks leading to Christmas filled with tree lighting ceremonies, concerts, train rides, and other events.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Newport
Address: Newport, RI
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Rhode Island
Christmas time turns Mystic from a quiet seaside village into a bustling town full of Christmas joy. Tourists come from all over to experience the unique New England Christmas with a bit of sea fanfare.
The cold weather of Connecticut makes Mystic the perfect holiday retreat to cozy up in bed and breakfast stay and enjoy all of the local activities that will make anyone's Christmas feel special.
Mystic kicks off the Christmas season with the opening of the Yetter Tree Farm, where it’s tradition to get a tree. The Lantern Light Village is one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. Located at the Mystic Seaport Museum, it recreates a 19th-Century village with dozens of Christmas trees and other displays.
Next, head downtown for the Holiday Stroll. Walk the snowy streets of downtown while a live choir provides the soundtrack to a beautiful evening beneath the Christmas lights.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Mystic
Address: Mystic, CT
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Connecticut
Get ready to check off items from your Christmas bucket list when you visit Kennebunkport, Maine. Famous for its Christmas Prelude, this 11-day festival will give you plenty of excitement to keep your Christmas joy going all month.
Kennebunkport is located on coastal Maine that recently emerged as one of the top best US towns for Christmas. The annual Christmas Prelude introduces a full itinerary of events for the holiday season.
Christmas Prelude has many traditional Christmas activities, such as a tree-lighting ceremony in dock Square, singing Christmas carols by candlelight, or participating in the Christmas parade.
See Santa testing out his latest ride as he arrives via lobster boat—something you will only see in New England. Lastly, do some last-minute shopping at the outdoor Christmas Market to find unique gifts.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Kennebunkport
Address: Kennebunkport, ME
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Maine
Visiting Duluth, Minnesota, can be one of the most fun places to go for a Christmas vacation in the USA as long as you dress warm because it can get extremely cold.
But don't worry, the cold weather is not enough to keep the locals and visitors alike from enjoying the many exciting activities happening in this midwestern Christmas town.
Duluth is located along Lake Superior that gives a perfect opportunity for ice skating! Spirit Mountain is an alternative for outdoor recreation if you prefer skiing.
Climb aboard the Christmas City Express to go for a scenic ride along the coast of Lake Superior. The ride starts at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, where adults and kids can enjoy amazing views while listening to Christmas music.
You’ll witness one of the biggest Christmas trees at Bayfront Park for the Bentleyville “Tour of Lights.” Its centerpiece tree towers 128-feet tall above immersive Christmas scenes that visitors can walk through and take photos of.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Duluth
Address: Duluth, MN
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Minnesota
Treat yourself to a Western-inspired holiday with a visit to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the winter activities and wildlife run in abundance. But, don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of snow to give you a truly white Christmas experience.
The holiday atmosphere in Jackson Hole centers around the town square, where you’ll discover lots of events in the days approaching Christmas.
From the tree lighting ceremony to rides on a horse-drawn carriage along the Jackson Hole Mountain ridge, this Old Western-style town becomes a winter wonderland complete with lights and Christmas spirit.
Visit the famous Elk Antler Arch after light snow to see the stunning Christmas lights twinkling off its fresh coat of snow. Don't be surprised if you have to line up for pictures underneath the arch.
If the Christmas season for you means lots of outdoor activities, you’ll feel right at home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with skiing, snowmobile tours, and sledding.
Address: Jackson Hole, WY
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Wyoming
Christmas is always a special time in Williamsburg when this quaint colonial village becomes one of the most beautiful places to visit at Christmas in the USA. Get ready to witness a record-breaking light display and plenty of heart-pumping rides.
Williamsburg boasts a charming 18th Century colonial appearance that still preserves traditional English customs like leaving a candle in the window of homes. Candles aren’t hard to find in Williamsburg since it’s the home of Yankee Candles.
Visit the factory to discover the Yankee Candle Village, a model Christmas town complete with a train, animated shows, lights, and lots of candle scents that remind you of the holidays.
A trip to Busch Gardens will be the most exciting part about visiting Williamsburg, as you’ll get to experience the holiday spirit of this popular theme park.
It features North America’s largest Christmas light displays as you navigate the park to attractions like roller coasters, a Christmas tree maze, or a live holiday show.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Williamsburg
Address: Williamsburg, VA
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Williamsburg
Christmas happens all year round in Frankenmuth, where it isn’t just a holiday but a way of life. Frankenmuth is a little Bavarian town settled by Germans who maintained their rich holiday customs throughout the entire village.
You can’t mention Franekmuth without noting Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, its most famous attractions.
This retail shop is considered the largest Christmas store in the world. And with over 96,000 square feet of everything Christmas, you’re lucky if you don’t have Christmas songs stuck in your head for the next few days.
Browse Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland to see nearly 350 fully decorated trees, 150 different nutcrackers, and a Christmas light display of more than 100,000 lights extending for a half-mile.
While Bronner’s keeps Frankenmuth in the Christmas spirit all year, the holidays are even more magical as you can ride down Main street in a horse-drawn carriage admiring the Christmas light displays and go shopping for gifts in the seasonal Christmas market.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Frankenmuth
Address: Frankenmuth, MI
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Michigan
It may seem like a mirage when you find a town as full of Christmas cheer as Taos in the middle of the desert, but this is one illusion that you’ll just have to believe. Taos is one of the magical Christmas towns in the United States that celebrates Native American heritage.
The Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting Festival have started off the local Christmas season for over three decades.
Visitors can sip hot chocolate while singing carols around the large tree. There will even be appearances by Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch.
Taos continues the celebration with light ceremonies and bonfires scheduled on Ledous Street and Bent Street.
Celebrating the rich Taos culture is a highlight of visiting Taos. You’ll get to see traditional ceremonial dances from the Native American tribe and find handicrafts made by Taos artists at the local arts and crafts fair.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Taos
Address: Taos, NM
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New Mexico
There are a lot of amazing Christmassy towns in the US, but one that always stands out is North Pole, Alaska. Every year, the North Pole hosts a big celebration on Santa Claus Lane with live music, food, and of course, plenty of Christmas spirit.
Here are some of the best small towns in the USA for Christmas:
1. Woodstock, Vermont - This quaint New England town is straight out of a postcard with its covered bridges and snow-capped mountains.
2. Frankenmuth, Michigan - This German-themed town is known for its Christkindlmarkt, an outdoor market with traditional German food, drinks and gifts.
Some of the United States towns where you can get into the holiday spirit no matter what time of year include Santa Claus, Indiana; North Pole, Alaska; Frankenmuth, Michigan; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The holidays are a regular part of life for the residents of these Christmas towns. No wonder why you’ll meet so many jolly locals while exploring the best Christmas towns in the USA. All across the country, you’ll see the unique ways people celebrate Christmas. For these 30 towns, one day is much too short, and some even go as far as making Christmas a permanent part of their town identity. Travelers planning Christmas vacations in the USA will not be disappointed with these Christmas towns. Find the nearest town to you and see what makes it feel like Christmas all year long.