Top Christmas Towns

Across the nation, cities celebrate the season. Take a look at their favorite traditions.

  • sea-002-christmas-decorations

    Chicago, Illinois

    Christkindlmarket is a German-themed holiday market at Daley Plaza.

  • sea-001-christmas-lights

    Chicago, Illinois

    Marshall Field's department store offers one of downtown's holiday highlights.

  • sea-003-christmas-tree

    Chicago, Illinois

    Holiday decorations at Daley Plaza provide a backdrop for Picasso's famous sculpture.

  • Large-Christmas-Tree-1

    Houston, Texas

    The Galleria is one of Houston's most festive shopping destinations during the holidays.

  • Ballet-Nutcracker

    Houston, Texas

    Houston Ballet's timeless and dreamy production of the classic holiday tale The Nutcracker is performed annually at Wortham Theater. Families can join Clara as she marvels at flying cooks, the Sugar Plum Fairy and an unforgettable journey in the Kingdom of Sweets.

  • Nutcracker-Market

    Houston, Texas

    Nutcracker Market is an annual shopping extravaganza with 300 national and international merchants, offering unique items for the entire family, including home decor, gourmet food, apparel, accessories, toys, garden items and much more — just in time for holiday shopping!

  • Moody-Gardens-Festival-Of-Lights

    Houston, Texas

    In one of the largest presentations of Christmas lights in southeast Texas, guests will journey through Moody Gardens to see Santa's Workshop, a recreation of the Nativity, a gingerbread house and more.

  • Post-Oak-Blvd-christmas-lights

    Houston, Texas

    More than half a million lights twinkle along Post Oak Boulevard during the holiday season following the Uptown Holiday Lighting on Thanksgiving night.

  • Christmas-Decorated-House-2

    Houston, Texas

    The historic homes clustered in downtown's Sam Houston Park open their doors for the Heritage Society's Annual Candlelight Tour. Centuries-old seasonal decorations and costumed carolers take revelers back in time to celebrate the season.

  • Holiday-Circle-Fest-ice-sculpture

    Cleveland, Ohio

    Children pose for photos with the ice sculptures at Holiday CircleFest, now in its sixteenth year. This annual holiday event features music, shopping and other activities at Cleveland's University Circle.

  • Stan-Hywet-Hall

    Cleveland, Ohio

    Stan Hywet Hall, one of Cleveland's architectural treasures, presents an annual \"Deck the Hall\" event throughout the month of December.

  • University-Circle-Ice-Rink

    Cleveland, Ohio

    University Circle maintains a Cleveland tradition with a modern outdoor ice-skating rink, bringing families, neighbors and visitors together throughout the holiday season.

  • Clydesdales-in-Parade

    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Holiday activities in the mountain getaway of Gatlinburg include a festively lit downtown and fireworks display. Visitors enjoy a holiday parade along the main thoroughfare in downtown Gatlinburg.

  • Rocking-Horse-Light-Display

    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Gatlinburg attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and the town's holiday celebrations include a must-see display of colorful lights and favorite winter scenes.

  • Parkway-blue-christmas-lights

    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Gatlinburg's Winter Magic decorations are on display from November through February. The festive lighting uses an eco-friendly LED light system.

  • International-Airport-Christmas-Lights

    San Francisco, California

    San Francisco's International Airport gets decked out for the holidays. The facility offers a number of activities during the holidays including musical performances.

  • Boats-on-water

    San Francisco, California

    Fisherman's Wharf sponsors a holiday boat parade in December. More than 100 boats festooned with lights and holiday decorations cruise along the city's waterfront.

  • Holiday-Peanut-on-stage

    San Francisco, California

    The Nutcracker, set against a backdrop of contemporary San Francisco, returns to the city's Opera House for 31 performances.

  • fourmis-theatrical-production

    San Francisco, California

    OVO, the newest offering from Cirque du Soleil, will be making its American debut this November in San Francisco — just in time for the holidays.

  • Leavenworth, Washington

    The buildings along Leavenworth's beautiful downtown Front Street get framed in lights for the Christmas season.

  • Woodstock, Vermont

    Middle Bridge in Woodstock, Vermont, is a 139-foot-long covered bridge that carries Union Street over the Ottaquechee River.

  • Woodstock, Vermont

    Visitors to Woodstock's Billings Farm and Museum enjoy a holiday sleigh ride.

  • Woodstock, Vermont

    The entire town of Woodstock decorates with traditional wreaths, pine garlands and twinkle lights. Celebrations are based on medieval traditions, with outdoor gatherings taking place around a Yule fire and in the town's village green.

  • Mackinac Island, Michigan

    One of the many working horses in Mackinac. The island community, a 20-minute ferry ride from the northern tip of Michigan, is locked in time. The town banned automobiles more than 100 years ago — because they scare the horses. The island has never lifted the ban.

  • Durango, Colorado

    Durango's Polar Express ride is a special excursion on a real steam locomotive. Destination: the North Pole.

  • San Antonio, Texas

    The famous River Walk through downtown San Antonio is always beautiful, but in December it's transformed into a fantasy land of light.

  • San Antonio, Texas

    The Christmas tree at Alamo Plaza gets lit every year on November 26.

  • Alexandria, Virginia

    Boat owners prepare their watercraft for the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights held every December.

  • Alexandria, Virginia

    With the U.S. Capitol in the distance, the Holiday Boat Parade makes for a holiday spectacle along the Potomac River.

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