When most people plan a vacation, they plan one during the summer, especially if they have kids. However, the warm weather isn’t the only time of year the kids have off school!
If you’re looking for a unique Christmas experience, and you want to avoid hosting everyone in your family, plan a vacation to one of these memorable destinations instead.
The best thing about finding cities that celebrate the Christmas season in style is that you don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to a major city if you don’t want to. If you live in the Midwest, make a plan to head to Branson, MO when Christmas approaches.
Not only will you find Silver Dollar City completely transformed into An Old Time Christmas, but you can also take the kids on the Branson Scenic Railway’s Polar Express Train Ride.
That’s not all. Branson is the best place to visit if you’re looking for world-class Christmas entertainment. A few shows you can find include:
- The Stampede Christmas Show
- Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner and Show
- Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show
- Showboat Branson Belle Dinner Cruise
New York City is a popular destination for Christmas, but Chicago is just as impressive. You’ll find a whopping 12-holiday lighting ceremony throughout the city, which includes the illumination of the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you want to catch all the beautiful lights throughout the city without walking, take the Chicago Holiday Lights Segway Tour.
Everyone truly gets into the holiday spirit in Chicago. Chi-Town decorates for the season, the Museum of Science creates special displays for Christmas Around the World, and the NavyPier hosts Winter WonderFest.
No holiday trip to Chicago is complete without a trip to Christkindlmarket. As the largest German market outside of Germany, it attracts a whopping one million visitors every year.
Elkhart Lake, WI
It’s true that cities like Branson and Chicago, when decked out for Christmas, can get you into the holiday spirit, but smaller towns in picturesque settings make for great holiday destinations too. Elkhart Lake, WI is one of those destinations.
Known the world over, the Old World Christmas Market attracts people from all over who want the European holiday market feel without having to hop on a plane and fly overseas. Not only can you complete your Christmas shopping at the market, but you can also take the family on a horse-drawn wagon ride, but the kids can also have breakfast with Santa, and you can enjoy some traditional German schnitzel while sipping on mulled wine.
Love Christmas tradition? Plan a trip to Greenbush’s Wade House Historic Site, which hosts a traditional 19th century Christmas celebration complete with horse-drawn jingle bell rides and a Victorian Santa Claus.
Nevada City, CA
Speaking of Victorian Christmases, you just have to visit Nevada City if you’re looking for the full experience. You’ll find vendors lining the streets in this historic Gold Rush Town, offering hand-made candy, beautiful jewelry, unique perfumes, children’s dolls, and pottery.
As you look for the perfect gift for that special someone, you’ll be entertained by wandering carolers dressed in Victorian garb. And of course, you’ll find delicious treats, carriage rides, and more. Traditional gas lamps and roasting chestnuts at the foothills of the Sierra mountains complete the intoxicating Christmas experience.
One of the best places in the United States to visit during the holiday season is McAdenville in North Carolina. It’s conveniently located just 20 miles outside the city of Charlotte, but you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world.
Dubbed Christmas Town USA, this small city covers over 250 evergreen trees in hundreds of thousands of holiday lights. As you wander through the city, you’ll find over 100 homes that are decorated for the occasion. The crown jewel is the lake at the center of the city that is surrounded by lighted spruce trees.
It’s a great experience for the whole family because the city is so beautiful this time of year, but also because you can come with a crowd without ruining your budget. The lights celebration is free of charge, with free hot chocolate and kettle corn handed out to the first round of attendees every night. No wonder this small town sees over 600,000 visitors every Christmas season!
Stay home and enjoy the Christmas season if tradition is important to your family, but if you’re looking to start a new tradition, take a vacation instead. This list proves you don’t have to go far to get into the Christmas spirit!