The Most Magical Christmas Towns in Each State: Best Christmas Towns in the U.S.|
A street full of sweaty Santas speeding toward the finish line, Christmas tunes on every radio and enough lights to make you want to wear sunglasses at night—from small-town Main Streets to sandy beaches to charming ski towns, that’s Christmas across America.
Whether you’re in Alaska or Florida, there’s a jolly Christmas town nearby. Check out our list of the best Christmas towns in the U.S. by state, so you can experience it all!
It doesn’t snow often in Alabama, but it does in Candyland! Visit Christmas in Candyland in Andalusia for incredible lights, carriage rides and snow shows. Kiddos can also snow tube, ice skate and meet Santa and Elsa.
North Pole, Alaska
We just had to include Santa’s home on our list of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.! North Pole is most famously known for the Santa Claus House, complete with Christmas décor, a 42-foot Santa statue, toys, and of course, Santa! The city also hosts its annual Winter Festival with ice sculptures, fireworks, incredible food and more.
Bet you didn’t think you could experience a winter wonderland in The Grand Canyon State! Flagstaff is a mountain town that comes alive during the holiday season. Watch a spectacular light show, ride the Polar Express, go sledding, and even visit the North Pole.
If viewing Christmas lights is your favorite winter activity, you need to visit Fayetteville. The city’s annual Lights of the Ozarks event features more than 500,000 LED lights covering the Downtown Square. At the event, you’ll also be able to enjoy winter treats, festive music, and a chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Get ready for a Danish-style holiday celebration in Solvang. Julefest is a month-long event full of Danish traditions and holiday activities. Attend the annual tree lighting ceremony, Julefest Parade or a candlelight tour. Your kiddos can even deliver their Christmas list to Santa.
Breckenridge knows how to celebrate the holidays. Join the Race of the Santas (just don’t forget your beard or red hat), check out the Lighting of Breckenridge, Skate with Santa or attend the New Year’s Eve Disco Skate event. A variety of other outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are all popular winter sports in Breckenridge.
Did you know Santa travels by tugboat in Mystic? Bring your family to Mystic River Park in late November to watch Santa head into town on a tugboat. While celebrating Christmas in Mystic, you can also watch a lighted boat parade, experience the museum’s Lantern Light Tour and sing carols with the community.
If you’ve never experienced holidays in a colonial town, you have to visit Odessa. The Historic Odessa Foundation hosts a variety of events during the Christmas season, including candlelight tours, historic house tours and winter light shows. The foundation also transforms a historic house into an exhibit inspired by a children’s book every year.
Do you (or your kids) want to spend Christmas with Mickey Mouse? Or walk around Hogwarts lit up and decorated for the holidays? If the answer is yes, Orlando is the place to be this Christmas. Many of the theme parks in the city offer special holiday events like parades, dazzling lights and tasty food. However, there is much more to do in Orlando even after you leave the theme parks. Don’t forget to check out the Festival of Trees, holiday concerts and parades during Christmas time!
Albany is one of the best spots to catch Christmas lights during the holiday season. Head to Downtown Albany in early December to see some spectacular lights, listen to live entertainment and watch a parade. Or, go to the Chehaw Park and Zoo in December for the Festival of Lights. Drive through the park and check out amazing light displays, drink some hot chocolate and even stop to roast a marshmallow or two.
If you want to spend the holidays sitting in the sand and soaking up the sun, Honolulu is the perfect place. Enjoy a beautiful and relaxing holiday in Hawaii. Don’t forget to catch The Honolulu City Lights Festival, which usually runs during the month of December. PSA: Santa wears shorts in Hawaii!
Rupert knows how to kick off the holiday season. The Rupert Christmas Festival is held in Rupert City Square, and normally begins at the end of November. Some major events include the Christmas City Square Lighting, the Christmas Market and the Chili Feed. Santa will also make an appearance.
St. Charles, Illinois
Spend Christmas in St. Charles! Kick off Holiday Homecoming by visiting the Holiday Tree Trail. Walk down the street and check out beautiful trees decorated by local organizations and businesses. Don’t miss the Electric Christmas Parade and be sure to let your kiddos visit with Santa.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Obviously, you should check out a town named “Santa Claus” during the holidays. Where else can you take a picture with a 22-foot-tall Santa, watch a choreographed light show in Kringle Place Shopping Center, write a letter to Santa, visit the Santa Claus Museum and Village, and have a bite to eat in St. Nick’s Restaurant at Santa’s Lodge?
Valley Junction, Iowa
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland in Iowa, head to Valley Junction. The Jingle in the Junction festival offers horse-drawn trolley rides, ice carvings, carolers and Santa (of course)! If you still have Christmas shopping to do, wander around the shops in town to find the perfect holiday gifts.
The tree lighting ceremony in WaKeeney started back in 1950. It is held every Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it illuminates the night sky with thousands of bright lights and festive decorations. The event wouldn’t be complete without some delicious food, horse-drawn wagon rides, reindeer and more.
Christmas ‘Round Bardstown only happens once a year, and you don’t want to miss it! In late November, watch the official Christmas tree lighting and enjoy live music, holiday treats and hot cider. In the month of December, you’ll also be able to take historic Candlelight Tours, visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, meet Santa and experience a Christmas-themed show by the Bardstown Community Theatre.
Before we tell you why Natchitoches is one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S., you should know how to pronounce it. Officially it’s, “Nack-a-tish,” but you may hear a few variants depending on where you are. No matter how you say it, you have to visit during the holiday season. Participate in one of the oldest community-based holiday celebrations around and check out The Natchitoches Christmas Festival! The celebration lasts for six weeks and includes fireworks, music, galas and a parade.
Waterville sets up a small Christmas village in the town square every holiday season. “Kringleville” is home to Santa’s cabin, where kiddos can meet Santa or drop off their wish lists. The town also hosts The Parade of Lights, including more than 35 floats designed and built by businesses and members of the community.
St. Michaels, Maryland
Do you know where Santa eats breakfast? In St. Michaels! Head over to this small town in Maryland and share a meal with Santa and his elves. St. Michaels hosts a weekend Christmas celebration in December that includes parades, a drive-by light tour and even a Santa Dash.
You may recognize Stockbridge even if you’ve never visited before. This Massachusetts town is the setting of Norman Rockwell’s painting, Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. The whole town celebrates the season with wreaths and lights, historic property tours, a concert and even a recreation of Rockwell’s painting.
Greenfield Village, Michigan
To experience bold fireworks, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping and Supper with Santa, head over to Greenfield Village. Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village runs in the month of December and offers an abundance of holiday entertainment.
Head to Duluth for some incredible holiday cheer! The town kickstarts the season with the Christmas City of the North Parade during the end of November. Other festivities include the Bentleyville Tour of Lights and the Christmas City Express. If you have holiday shopping to do, stop at Fitger’s shopping complex or the Duluth Winter Village.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year in Natchez! Don’t miss out on the annual tree lighting ceremony, complete with elves, reindeer, food and local vendors. In the month of December, Natchez also hosts a magical Christmas parade and caroling in the park.
St. Charles, Missouri
St. Charles hosts holiday events and attractions galore. Experience A Christmas Carol Stroll—a.k.a. a walk around town with different scenes of the play performed at different stops along the tour. Or, watch the Santa Parade, visit Santa’s Cottage, eat roasted chestnuts and spend some time with Krampus. The festivities usually start at the end of November and extend through Christmas Eve.
The Bozeman Christmas Stroll is a big deal. It’s the ultimate holiday celebration in one day! Ride on horse-drawn wagons, take a picture with Santa, check out a gingerbread house display, get your holiday shopping out of the way or even enjoy tasty seasonal treats! You can also hit the slopes, or catch Montana Ballet Works’ performance of The Nutcracker Ballet and Montana TheatreWorks’ production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
You could call the residents of Minden Christmas light experts—their first Christmas light show was over a century ago! The city decorates the courthouse and town square with more than 12,000 colorful lights every year. Minden also hosts a parade, Christmas City 5k Fun Run and a Little Elves Half-Mile Run.
If you still have no idea where to visit this Christmas season, you should spend the holidays in Ely! Take a fantastical trip to the North Pole on Santa’s Reindeer Flyer (it’s a train, not really a reindeer), watch a tree lighting ceremony, catch a crafting festival and enjoy the city’s annual parade!
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Would you like to test your Gingerbread construction skills? Head over to Portsmouth and compete in the annual Gingerbread House Contest. The Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth celebration also offers parades, festive eats and spectacular light shows.
Clinton, New Jersey
If you’re eager to attend a spectacular Christmas parade, Clinton is the place to be. Check out the bands, floats, costumes and more—just make sure to bundle up, it might be chilly outside! Visit during the end of November to experience Dickens’ Days, when the town transforms into a Victorian village with carolers, carriage rides and Victorian characters.
Carlsbad, New Mexico
Want to start a new tradition this holiday season? Visit Carlsbad for Christmas on the Pecos. Take a boat ride on the Pecos River and see the beautiful, festive light displays along the shore. Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance so you don’t miss the celebration.
New York, New York
New York is your go-to for a big-city Christmas. Whether you’d like to show your skills on the ice rink, wander around a holiday market, visit Santa, or gaze up at the Rockefeller Christmas tree—New York is a Christmas destination you’ll never forget.
McAdenville, North Carolina
McAdenville, also known as “Christmas Town U.S.A.,” is a must-visit on our list of the best Christmas towns in America. They take the season seriously, complete with a big switch (like the button in The Grinch), that illuminates the town Christmas tree. There’s also a Yule Log Parade, Christmas 5k and a light display. Embrace and enjoy the holiday season in this charming Christmas town!
Minot, North Dakota
Want the ultimate Christmas shopping experience? Visit Downtown Minot at the end of November for their Holiday Open House! Numerous businesses in the downtown area will be decked out in holiday décor, offering special sales and deals. Your shopping visit will be enhanced with colorful lights lining the streets, beautiful wreaths and a huge Christmas tree that shines at the tree lighting ceremony. Don’t forget to check out the Scandinavian Heritage Park for more spectacular lights.
The Christmas Ranch in Morrow is a one-of-a-kind experience. As seen on HGTV and Good Morning America, this incredible holiday attraction offers a light show with more than one million Christmas lights synchronized to festive music. You’ll also find Christmas shops, train and wagon rides, and meet and greets with Santa. (Sounds like THE place to be this season!)
From ice skates to holiday lights to the hot chocolate trail—Tulsa is a Christmas town you just can’t miss. The Downtown Days of Wonder in Tulsa include Arvest Winterfest, holiday shopping opportunities, festive dining and stunning performances.
Take a road trip to Ashland for a spectacular, small-town Christmas! The Festival of Light Celebration is typically held in mid- to late-November, covering the town with dazzling Christmas lights and decorations. You can also go ice skating, watch a theater performance or visit with Santa. Kiddos can even participate in an elf scavenger-hunt.
Philadelphia truly shines during the holiday season. Get on the ice at Blue Cross RiverRink or Dilworth Park, catch the Macy’s Christmas Light Show, check out the vibrant lights at Franklin Square or take a look at the tree in front of City Hall. Drive down the 1600 block of South 13th Street to view some incredible and unique holiday lights, and after all that, don’t forget to attend the Philadelphia Holiday Parade!
Newport, Rhode Island
Experience an enchanting and charming Christmas season in Newport! Check out the Newport Mansions decorated with extravagant holiday lights, trees, wreaths and other beautiful décor. Newport also hosts the Illuminated Boat Parade and the Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree Lighting.
Greenwood, South Carolina
There’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around in Greenwood! Attractions in Uptown Greenwood include Christmas at the Market (holiday food, arts and crafts), Mr. and Mrs. Claus visits, Christmas tree lighting, a Christmas parade and the famous Cookie Crawl!
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Visit Sioux Falls during the holiday season to experience a winter wonderland! The town lights up Falls Park with thousands of festive and colorful Christmas lights (more than 23 miles of light strings). For the best view, head up the five-story tower in the Visitor Information Center! The town also hosts the Annual Parade of Lights and a Christmas tree lighting.
Where can you find an Elf on the Shelf Adventure Scavenger Hunt, Peppermint Trail and a Christmas Drive-Through Light Show? In Knoxville! The city also offers a holiday market, light shows, zoo lights, WIVK Christmas Parade and more.
The Christmas Capital of Texas is most definitely one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S. Millions of lights, larger than life decorations, festive train rides, a hot chocolate bar, Christmas market and 5k run are just some of the activities you’ll find in Grapevine.
Park City, Utah
Searching for a white Christmas? If you head to Park City, chances are pretty good you’ll get one, because Park City was named one of the best places in America for a white Christmas! Take a ride on the North Pole Express, enjoy the lights, parades and festivities, participate in the holiday sing-along, and of course, don’t forget to ski, snowboard or snowshoe all season long.
This charming, quaint mountain town truly embraces the spirit of the season. Join the Manchester community as they gather around to light the Christmas tree (usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving), sing carols and eat cookies. Make sure you don’t miss the Lighted Tractor Parade!
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is the ultimate coastal city for your winter getaway. Explore the Virginia Beach Boardwalk decked with holiday displays, check out Holi-Rays at the Virginia Aquarium, watch a parade and run a few miles! (The Surf-n-Santa 5-Miler is a must!)
Leavenworth is well-known for its holiday extravaganza. This Bavarian-style village keeps festive, colorful lights blazing from December to February. You’ll be enchanted by the beautiful lights, decorations, snow and holiday cheer all around in Leavenworth. Enjoy music and entertainment, carolers and contests in this classic Christmas town.
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
You don’t want to miss the traditional and historic Olde Tyme Christmas in Harpers Ferry. Both Harpers Ferry and its neighbor Bolivar co-host this celebration during the first two weekends of December. Go holiday shopping, listen to live music and visit with Santa in Harpers Ferry this Christmas!
Did you know? Milwaukee is more than just cheese curds and beer (even though these iconic foods are incredible). The city also hosts awesome holiday celebrations: Holiday Lights Festival (with the city’s largest switch-flipping ceremony), spectacular fireworks, breathtaking performances, the Festival of Trees and local holiday shopping.
The last Christmas town on our list is just as epic as the first. Take a trip to Casper and get ready for some holiday fun! Kick off the season by attending the tree lighting ceremony, then stick around to watch the Downtown Christmas Parade on Saturday after Thanksgiving Drink some hot chocolate and embrace the holiday spirit, cowboy style.
FAQs: The Best Christmas Towns in the US
Q: Do Hallmark Christmas towns exist?
A: Hallmark movies depict beautiful, picturesque small-towns with a tight-knit community. Some places that remind us of Hallmark Christmas towns are Jackson, WY; Telluride, CO; Park City, UT; Ligonier, PA and Taos, NM.
Q: What is the most Christmassy town in the United States?
A: Even though the towns listed above could be considered the best Christmas towns in the U.S., many think Leavenworth, Washington, is the most Christmassy town in America.
Q: What state has a town called Santa Claus?
A: Indiana has a town called Santa Claus. It is located in southwestern Indiana in Spencer County.
Q: Which states have a town called Christmas?
A: There are a number of towns that have names related to Christmas and the holiday season, like Christmas, FL; Santa Claus, GA; Christmas, MI; Snowflake, AZ; and North Pole, AK.
Q: Is there a Christmas town in the United States?
A: Yes! All of the towns listed above are some of the best Christmas towns in the U.S., but McAdenville has officially claimed the name, “Christmas Town U.S.A.”
Wrapping up the Season: The Best Christmas Towns in the U.S.
Are you ready to take a road trip to one of the best Christmas towns in the U.S.? No matter what you’re looking forward to this holiday season—parades, lights, or racing Santas—hopefully this list has inspired you to explore the best Christmas towns in the U.S.!
Were we right about the top Christmas town in your state? Let us know in the comments below!
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Sarah Dirks is a Content Writer for Store Space who enjoys watching movies, being active and cheering for the Boston Red Sox.