The most festive place in every state over the holidays

CrackerClips Stock Media/ShutterstockIf you visit Solvang, California, over the holidays, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a quaint European town.
  • Some towns and cities in the US simply do the holidays better than everyone else.
  • Frankenmuth, Michigan, is a Bavarian-inspired town that goes all out with Christmas decorations.
  • You won’t find any snow in Hawaii, but you can celebrate with holiday-themed sand sculptures at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

From festivals of light to giant Christmas trees, there are plenty of ways for towns all over the US to celebrate the holidays.

Many holiday events nationwide have been cancelled, postponed, or changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However many events — like drive-thru visits with Santa or socially distanced light displays — are going ahead.

Whether you’re in New England or on the West Coast, there’s no wrong way to get in the holiday spirit.

Keep reading for the most festive place in every state to see if your town or city made the list.


Huntsville, Alabama, is a Southern town that’s beautiful all year long, although you can’t miss it during the holiday season.

Katssoup/ShutterstockTinsel Trail in Downtown Huntsville.

Check out the Huntsville Botanical Garden for stunning foliage and thousands of beautiful Christmas lights or the annual Tinsel Trail in Big Spring Park in Downtown Huntsville.


North Pole, Alaska, is decked out in Christmas decorations year-round, although it’s an especially festive place to be during the holiday season.

Kit Leong/ShutterstockNorth Pole, Alaska.

North Pole’s post office is one of the most popular attractions in town it reportedly receives over 400,000 letters addressed to Santa Claus every year.


Arizona’s Lake Havasu City is better known for being a summer vacation destination, although it’s also the perfect place to celebrate the holidays.

Maria Rita Meli/ShutterstockLondon Bridge in Lake Havasu City.

The city’s London Bridge and English Village are decked out in Christmas lights from Thanksgiving until New Year’s for the annual Festival of Lights. The lights’ reflections on the lake make the holiday season even more festive.


In Arkansas, there are plenty of places to see Christmas lights all over Little Rock, but there’s no better place than the Arkansas State Capitol building.

VMPICS/ShutterstockChristmas decorations at State Capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The entire building is covered in lights during the holiday season, and it’s also the site of many of the city’s holiday celebrations.


If you visit Solvang, California, over the holidays, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a quaint European town.

CrackerClips Stock Media/ShutterstockSolvang, California.

From windmills to horse-drawn carriages, Solvang is one of the state’s most festive towns once the holidays roll around.

Every year, the European-inspired town hosts Julefest, a holiday celebration complete with a Christmas tree lighting, plenty of holiday shopping, and Danish treats.


Aspen, Colorado, is a charming, picturebook ski town with beautiful scenery and holiday decorations.

Shutterstock.comAspen, Colorado.

If you love winter sports, Colorado is the place to be for the holiday season.

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or cozying up in the ski lodge, spending the holidays in Aspen will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland.


Mystic, a coastal town in eastern Connecticut, is most famous for being the setting of the classic movie “Mystic Pizza,” although it’s also a beautiful place to spend the holidays.

Carol Ann Mossa/ShutterstockMystic Seaport.

Stroll around the town’s harbour to catch a glance at the elaborately decorated boats, complete with Christmas lights and Santa statues.


The Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur, Delaware, has some of the best holiday decorations in the state.

myLoupe/Universal Images Group/Getty ImagesWinterthur Museum.

The historic estate is spectacularly decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and poinsettias, all of which will put your neighbourhood’s decorations to shame.


There’s nothing quite like spending Christmas at the most magical place on Earth at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Gerardo Mora/Getty ImagesChristmas in Disney World.

From the beautiful Disney-themed decorations to seasonal treats, Disney World is a blast for all ages during the holidays.


Helen is a charming, colourful small town in northern Georgia.

Vadim Fedotov/ShutterstockHelen, Georgia.

The Bavarian-inspired alpine village is a sight worth seeing all year, but it’s even more adorable once it’s decorated for the holidays.

The town also offers a Christmas market and parade featuring costumed characters, floats, and Santa Claus himself.


Honolulu, Hawaii, proves you don’t need snowmen when you can have sandmen.

Theodore Trimmer/ShutterstockSheraton Waikiki sand sculptures.

There may not be any snow in Hawaii for Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday season. Every year, the Sheraton Waikiki and Sandsational Sand Sculpting create beautifully lifelike sand sculptures during the holiday season.


It’s nearly impossible to avoid holiday cheer in Sun Valley, Idaho.

CSNafzger/ShutterstockSun Valley, Idaho.

The charming ski town goes all out its celebrations include Christmas light displays, tree lightings, and visits from Santa Claus.


If you’re in Chicago, Illinois, you can’t miss the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights holiday celebration.

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesZooLights in Chicago.

The free attraction has plenty of sparkling lights and 3D displays for guests to walk through at a safe distance.


As far as names go, Santa Claus, Indiana, is probably one of the most Christmassy places in the country.

Kevin Pang/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty ImagesThe town post office at Santa Claus, Indiana.

As you might expect, the town’s post office, which is decorated year-round, receives thousands of letters to Santa each year. Plus, there’s a theme park in Santa Claus called Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, so you can enjoy holiday fun all year long. Though the park is closed for the 2020 season, 2021 passes are already on sale.


Historic Valley Junction, a shopping district in West Des Moines, Iowa, is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit.

Mark S./YelpHistoric Valley Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa.

From the holiday lights to extended holiday hours, it’s the ultimate place to do all your holiday shopping.


You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Sweden when you visit Lindsborg, Kansas, especially during the holiday season.

Stephanie L Bishop/ShutterstockLindsborg, Kansas.

From the town’s beautiful decorations to local activities celebrating Swedish culture, there are plenty of unique ways to celebrate the holidays in Lindsborg.


Downtown Bardstown, Kentucky, turns into a stunning Christmas town during the holidays, complete with a giant tree and lights galore.

The Old Talbott Tavern/YelpBardstown, Kentucky.

From festive events at the Kentucky Railway Museum to performances of “A Christmas Carol” while touring a historic home, you can’t escape the holiday cheer in Bardstown.

Bardstown is also home to the oldest hotel in the state, the Old Talbott Tavern, which was built in 1779.


Natchitoches is the place to be if you’re looking to see Christmas lights in Louisiana.

C.M. White/ShutterstockNatchitoches, Louisiana.

The town hosts a Christmas festival every year that includes live entertainment, an arts & crafts show, and fireworks.


Portland, Maine, is a charming New England city all year round, although it really comes alive during the holiday season.

DenisTangneyJr/Getty ImagesChristmas tree in downtown Portland, Maine.

Whether you walk around the downtown to enjoy the Christmas lights or escape the cold in a local pub, it’s hard to avoid the holiday cheer in Portland.


The Miracle on 34th Street Christmas light display is the best way to celebrate the holiday season if you’re in Baltimore, Maryland.

AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyThe Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, Maryland.

A section of 34th Street is covered in festive lights during the month of December, making it the perfect place to visit to get in the Christmas spirit.

Apparently, it all started around two decades ago, when a teen living on 34th Street placed a string of lights in the tree in his front yard, only to have all his neighbours mimic the tradition.


Many people only associate the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, with summer vacations, although the town is filled with holiday charm in the offseason.

Shackleford Photography/ShutterstockNantucket, Massachusetts.

You may not be able to go swimming in the ocean, but the beach is just as charming in the winter thanks to its beautifully decorated lighthouses.


Frankenmuth, Michigan, is also known as Little Bavaria.

ehrlif/ShutterstockChristmas display at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

The charming European-inspired town will make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time.

The town is also home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, which, at 320,000 square feet, calls itself the world’s largest Christmas store. With thousands of gifts, you’ll be sure to find the perfect thing for everyone on your list.


Red Wing, Minnesota, starts the holiday season early with its annual Holiday Stroll in November.

Sam Wagner/ShutterstockRed Wing, Minnesota.

Throughout the holiday season, the town is covered in decorations. There are also drive-thry visits with Santa and holiday window displays.


Winter really is the most wonderful time of the year in Jackson, Mississippi.

Sean Pavone/ShutterstockJackson, Mississippi.

The city celebrates the season with Christmas trees and lights galore that feel perfectly festive with or without a white Christmas.


Branson, Missouri, is a go-to spot for Missourians looking to get into the holiday spirit.

Corey Mathery/ShutterstockChristmas tree in Branson, Missouri.

From live shows to holiday lights and shopping, Branson has everything you could ask for in a festive night out.


Even if you don’t ski, there are plenty of things to do in Whitefish, Montana, to appreciate all that Christmastime has to offer.

Gail Benson/ShutterstockWhitefish, Montana.

Whether you enjoy holiday shopping in Whitefish’s downtown or take a sleigh ride through the snow at the Bar W Guest Ranch, this charming Montana ski town is the perfect place to enjoy the holiday season.


In Nebraska, check out the fun holiday events at The Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha.

AGCuesta/ShutterstockPoinsettia flowers.

Poinsettias are one of the most quintessential Christmas decorations – you can see over 5,000 of them at The Lauritzen Gardens’Holiday Poinsettia Show.


Virginia City, an old mining town in western Nevada, goes all out in vintage style when the holiday season rolls around.

Purplexsu/ShutterstockVirginia City, Nevada.

All of the shops on the town’s main drag are decorated in lights, tinsel, and candy canes. Plus, the town has a Christmas parade every year to celebrate the holiday season.


If you’re in New Hampshire for the holidays, there’s no better place to be than Portsmouth.

Allan Wood Photography/ShutterstockPortsmouth, New Hampshire.

The city kicks off the holiday season by lighting up a giant Christmas tree downtown. Check out Market Square for festive decorations and beautiful architecture that only get cuter when they’re covered in snow.


You’re probably more familiar with Cape May, New Jersey, as a hotspot for summertime vacations, although the coastal town is also the perfect holiday location.

James Kirkikis/ShutterstockChristmas lights and decorations on a small boutique in Cape May, New Jersey.

The charming town is full of decorations that are perfect for a cosy, East Coast Christmas.


Taos, New Mexico, is a town full of everything from arts and culture to skiing and other winter sports.

JHVEPhoto/ShutterstockTaos, New Mexico.

In other years, visitors could check out the town’s Christmas market during the holiday season for shopping, carolers, and visits with Santa. However, the event has been postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


If you travel to the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, you’ll find the city’s most outrageous Christmas lights.

Hollis JohnsonDyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York.

Wander through the neighbourhood to see beautiful lights and decorations that will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit.

And of course, from department store holiday windows to the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree, New York City is another hotspot for all things Christmas.


McAdenville, North Carolina, goes by the name “Christmas Town, USA” during the holiday season.

Jill Lang/ShutterstockMcAdenville, North Carolina, christmas lights.

There’s no surprise why, since homes all over town are completely decked out in lights and decorations throughout the month of December.


The Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota, brings the charm of Scandinavian countries to the US.

Yosoyana/ShutterstockScandinavian Heritage Park.

The beautiful park, which includes a stave church and a replica of a Norwegian storehouse, looks even more beautiful covered in snow during the holiday season.


You’ll feel as if you’ve gone back in time when you visit Historic Zoar Village, Ohio.

Atlantide Phototravel/Getty ImagesBlacksmith shop.

The German-inspired village has everything from bakeries to a blacksmith shop. Visit the historical town during the holiday season to enjoy self-guided tours and festive shopping.


The Chickasha Festival of Light is the place to be if you’re looking to enjoy some festive Christmas lights in Oklahoma.

EBThompson04/ShutterstockThe Chickasha Festival of Light.

The festival includes a variety of holiday-themed light displays, a Ferris wheel, food trucks, and more spread out over 43 acres.


Silverton is a tiny town in Oregon, although it’s arguably the most festive place to be in the state during the holiday season.

Bob Pool/ShutterstockThe Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.

Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden is a must-see around the holidays in Silverton. Festive lights, music, and vendors will be sure to fill you with the holiday spirit.


Bethlehem is already a pretty Christmassy name, but the Pennsylvania town is known as Christmas City during the holiday season.

George Sheldon/ShutterstockShoppers at the Christkindlmarket.

A visit to Bethlehem isn’t complete without a trip to its Christkindlmarkt, a holiday market that sells festive foods, ornaments, nutcrackers, and other holiday items.


In Rhode Island, Newport’s historic mansions are the perfect locations for a festive night out.

Dan Hanscom/ShutterstockElms Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Elms Mansion and The Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, are popular tourist destinations all year long, although you can’t miss the estates’ gorgeous Christmas decorations. From Christmas trees to a dazzling outdoor light display, the Breakers is a must-see if you love holiday decor.


Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its charming colourful houses and festive decorations.

David AvRutick/ShutterstockChristmas decorations in Charleston, South Carolina.

During the holiday season, the charm of the stately Southern homes is only heightened by festive decorations.

Stroll around the city’s historic district and visit James Island County Park to enjoy the city’s Festival of Lights. The interactive lakeside lights and treats will make you realise that white Christmases are overrated.


In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a section of the city is transformed into a Christmas paradise during the holiday season.

Jacob Boomsma/ShutterstockChristmas Light Display at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Every year, the city holds a holiday festival called Winter Wonderland at Falls Park. The park is covered in over 355,000 LED lights, including ones that shine on the falls to make them appear red and green.


If you’re in Tennessee for the holidays, there’s no better place to be than Nashville.

Milaicki Studios/ShutterstockHorses in the Nashville Christmas parade.

Every year, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention centre presents “A Country Christmas,” which includes ice tubing, carriage rides, and holiday-themed performances.


Many cities all over the US decorate for the holidays with wreaths and Christmas trees, although Fredericksburg, Texas, takes it to another level.

ShengYing Lin/ShutterstockFredericksburg, Texas.

The quaint, German-inspired town celebrates the season not only with a giant Christmas tree, but also with a German Christmas pyramid, an ice-skating rink, and many festive events.


If you’re in Utah for the holidays, you can’t pass up the chance to check out Ogden’s Christmas Village.

David Martinez Moreno/ShutterstockChristmas Village in Ogden, Utah.

The city decks out its downtown in lights and decorations that make it feel like a winter wonderland.


Stowe, Vermont, is a popular vacation destination throughout the wintertime for skiers and snowboarders.

Don Landwehrle/ShutterstockStowe, Vermont.

Christmas, however, is the perfect time to visit Stowe because of the town’s festive celebrations and beautiful winter landscape.

Whether you take part in a holiday art auction or hit the slopes, you’ll be sure to find plenty of Christmas cheer if you visit Stowe during the holiday season.


A trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, will give you a taste of what it was like to celebrate Christmas in colonial times.

L. Toshio Kishiyama/Getty ImagesA carriage rides through Colonial Williamsburg.

If you love US history, you have to visit Colonial Williamsburg at some point in your life. The historical attraction is a great vacation destination at any time of year, although it’s an extra special experience during the holiday season.


Leavenworth is a small Bavarian-inspired town in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.

Checubus/ShutterstockLeavenworth, Washington.

Every year, Leavenworth’s downtown is decorated in lights and the town’s Christmas market keeps the holiday festivities going all season long. While the market and Christmas light ceremony are both cancelled for this year, you can check back in 2021 to take part in the festive events.


The Greenbrier is a beautiful historic resort in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Andriy Blokhin/ShutterstockThe Greenbrier resort.

The entire property is covered and lights and the resort’s interior is similarly festive.

From holiday wine tastings to a Gingerbread Ball, there’s no shortage of festive ways to spend Christmas at the Greenbrier.


Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, is a charming town with tons of natural beauty, although it is a particularly special place to spend the holidays.

StellaMc/ShutterstockElkhart Lake Station.

The Osthoff Resort usually holds an annual Christmas market, but it’s been postponed until 2021.


Jackson, Wyoming, is a ski town with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Felix Lipov/ShutterstockJackson, Wyoming.

The town is famous for arches made of elk antlers, which are covered in Christmas lights during the holiday season.

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