When the holiday season rolls around, the United States offers an abundance of destinations that cater to a variety of Christmas experiences. Whether you’re searching for a traditional white Christmas, a warm escape from winter, or a unique celebration you won’t find anywhere else, the U.S. has you covered. Here’s a curated list of the most delightful places to spend the holiday season.
Snowy Destinations for a White Christmas
Aspen has long been synonymous with a luxury winter experience. This iconic mountain town in Colorado transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas. Blanketed in snow, the city offers top-notch skiing opportunities, a lively downtown filled with shops, and a selection of winter activities that range from snowmobiling to horse-drawn sleigh rides. Aspen’s winter charm delivers a quintessential white Christmas from a storybook.
Another Colorado gem, Vail, offers a blend of American and European influences in its architecture, making it reminiscent of an Alpine village. The town’s streets are adorned with twinkling lights and charming decorations, while the surrounding mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop. Vail is ideal for those who love winter sports and activities but enjoy a cozy evening sipping hot cocoa by the fire.
Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
On the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a stunning destination with plenty of winter fun. The lake encircled by snow-capped mountains provides a picturesque setting for Christmas. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or simply strolling around the winter markets, Lake Tahoe is a haven for those seeking a snowy Christmas.
Park City, Utah
Smaller than Aspen and Vail but no less inviting, Park City in Utah offers a cozy, small-town feel. Known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival, it boasts excellent ski resorts and a charming downtown. Local boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants make it a snug locale for a white Christmas.
Stowe offers a northeastern alternative to the mountainous resorts of the West. Stowe has a reputation for some of the best skiing in the East and provides a postcard-perfect setting with colonial architecture and delightful local shops. It’s an excellent place to experience an East Coast white Christmas.
Warm Destinations for a Toasty Holiday
Key West, Florida
If you’re looking to escape the cold entirely, Key West in Florida offers a one-of-a-kind, warm Christmas experience. Picture a palm tree adorned with Christmas lights or carolers in shorts and flip-flops, and you have the unique allure of a Key West holiday.
Hawaii offers a Christmas experience that’s both familiar and refreshingly different. With its tropical climate, you can spend your day at the beach before enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner. Hawaii has unique holiday customs, too, like the “Mele Kalikimaka,” a Hawaiian Christmas song that captures the island’s unique holiday spirit.
San Diego, California
Southern California offers a mild, pleasant climate even during the winter months. In San Diego, you can visit the famous San Diego Zoo, enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, and take in the city’s lights and decorations.
Traditional Vibes for a Classic Christmas
New York City, New York
The Big Apple knows how to do Christmas in grand style. From the enormous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the city is bursting with iconic holiday experiences. Ice skating in Central Park or shopping at holiday markets adds to the charm that makes New York City a bucket-list Christmas destination.
For a step back in time, Colonial Williamsburg offers a classic, old-world Christmas complete with carolers in period costumes, fife and drum performances, and traditional decorations that transport you to Christmases past.
If you’re seeking the epitome of a traditional Christmas, look no further than Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Known as “Christmas City, USA,” Bethlehem offers an array of holiday events, including its famous Christmas market, Christkindlmarkt, and historical walking tours.
Unique Spots for an Unforgettable Christmas
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana, is named after the jolly old elf and goes all out for the holiday season. With festive events, parades, and the opportunity to receive a letter from Santa, it’s a magical place for families and children to celebrate.
This small town transforms into a Bavarian-style Christmas village, complete with a Nutcracker Museum and holiday lights illuminating the entire town.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Experience the Southwest’s unique take on Christmas with Albuquerque’s Luminaria Tour on Christmas Eve. This enchanting spectacle features thousands of paper lanterns lining the streets and walkways, creating a magical, serene environment.
If you’re up for a more adventurous Christmas, Anchorage in Alaska offers a guaranteed white Christmas and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. It’s a location for those who want a rustic, frontier-style holiday.
Disney World, Florida, or Disneyland, California
Disney theme parks provide an incredibly festive environment for families with young children or the young at heart. With parades, special shows, and decorations, a Disney Christmas is like stepping into a fairytale.
In summary, the United States offers a Christmas destination for everyone, no matter what kind of holiday experience you’re after. From snowy wonderlands to tropical paradises, traditional settings to unique locales, spending Christmas in any of these destinations will create memories that will last a lifetime.
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Photo Credit: [@HayDmitriy/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help peopl find the perfect vacation destination.