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Top 5 Best US States to Visit at Christmas Time

Best US States to Visit at Christmas Time

Best US States to Visit at Christmas Time

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to embrace the season’s festivities and enjoy all that it has to offer. This can be a magical time of year, with sparkling lights, beautiful decorations, and festive events everywhere you look. Embracing the holiday season can help you wind down, take stock of the past year, and enjoy spending some solo downtime or time with family and friends.

One way to make your Christmas feel extra special is to spend it exploring somewhere new, particularly somewhere that has a truly festive atmosphere. Whether you are looking for a place to build the ultimate snowman or prefer to avoid the chilly weather altogether, there’s a perfect location for everyone.

From wandering some of America’s best Christmas markets to experiencing an authentic white Christmas, keep reading to discover our five favorite states to visit at this special time of year.

1. New York

The ‘Big Apple’ is a year-round favorite for visitors, but it can feel particularly special at Christmas. With storefronts lined with shimmering lights and decorations everywhere you look, the city of New York is incredibly festive. What’s more, is that it is also home to a variety of Christmas markets including Bryant Park’s Winter Village, which is noted as one of the best markets in the world.

If you plan on visiting New York during the festive season, it’s important to be prepared for the chilly weather. You can expect low temperatures and plenty of snow. While this might sound perfect for those looking to embrace the winter season, it might not be for everyone; so make sure to come prepared with plenty of warm clothes.

New York - the best US States tp visit in Christmas
Credit: Andre Benz

You should also make sure you build in plenty of time while visiting New York during the Christmas season, as New York sees an increase in tourists during this period, and events sell out. Instead of coming armed with a packed itinerary and stressing about making your reservations, take the opportunity to explore at a more leisurely pace, enjoying the best the season has to offer.

2. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to several cities that are well-known for their Christmas celebrations, but perhaps the most spectacular has to be Philadelphia. At Christmas time, Philadelphia is home to its own Christmas Village, encompassing everything festive that you can imagine.

The magical village is German-themed, offering a variety of different market stalls, eateries, and cosy outdoor bars selling hot drinks. International vendors create beautiful stall displays, and you can easily spend hours just wandering around admiring all the beautiful items. Make sure to purchase a warm mug of mulled wine or perhaps some gingerbread, waffles, or other sweet treats to nibble on as you shop. Not only will this keep you fueled for your shopping endeavors, but it will help you get into the festive spirit. 

Outside of the village, there are plenty of other attractions to visit as well, such as ice-skating rinks, Christmas light shows, and fantastic festive performances.

3. Missouri

The Ozark mountain town of Branson in Missouri truly pulls out all of the stops at Christmas time. Known as ‘the Christmas Tree City,’ Branson is home to a magical festival that encompasses an incredible 1,000 Christmas trees, alongside its striking eight-story tree with built-in special effects.

Missouri is also home to several smaller towns that give off a rustic and comforting atmosphere, presenting the perfect opportunity to take a casual stroll and do your Christmas shopping. These towns come to life in the festive season, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone without Christmas decorations adorning the front of their home.

4. Utah

If you’ve had your fill of Christmas shopping and want a more active way to enjoy the season, head to Utah – specifically, Park City. Known for its world-class skiing, this location is perfect for those wanting to make the most of the wintery weather before curling up in their chalet with a mug of hot chocolate.

Fancy a break from the slopes but want to stay outdoors? Why not try something new – there’s snow biking, dog sledding, snowshoeing, tubing, and ice skating. Or, if you’d prefer a bit of a less intense activity, explore the countryside on horseback, taking in the stunning scenery at a more leisurely pace.

Traveling with children? Make sure to book a spot on the North Pole Express train. Not only will you get to see the sparkling winter landscape, but you’ll be able to enjoy hot cocoa and cookies as you wait your turn to meet Santa.

5. Florida

A somewhat unexpected addition to our Christmas list, Florida is actually a great place to spend the holidays if you aren’t into the colder weather. You can experience the sunshine state in relative peace, as tourist numbers are far lower than they usually would be in peak times.

Despite the warmer climate, Christmas isn’t forgotten here. Make sure to visit the city of St Augustine to see the displays made up of three million white lights, check out the theme parks with their seasonal decorations, or explore Santa’s enchanted forest in Miami – complete with festive karaoke.

If you’re in the Cocoa Beach area on Christmas Eve, keep your eyes peeled for a truly magical sight. Each year, the Surfing Santas hit the waves on Christmas Eve morning, spreading festive cheer, ideally combining the Florida lifestyle with the joys of the season. Get there early to spot the famous man in red before he sets off on his delivery rounds for the year.

Get in the Festive Mood

Here in the US, we tend to make the Christmas season one of our biggest highlights, so if you’re looking to experience anything and everything festive, it’s an excellent time to visit. These are just five of the most festive states, but you’re sure to find a touch of Christmas spirit wherever you choose to visit. And no matter where you choose for your Christmas time expedition, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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