The Best Christmas Towns in the US
If there's anywhere that goes big on Christmas, it's the States. Get your Santa hat on and head to these festive towns.
Can you hear the Christmas bells jingling? We can, because this selection of Christmas towns in the US has us feeling all festive inside. If you’re looking for some of the most Christmassy spots in America to spend the holidays, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find sleigh bells, Christmas markets, real live reindeer and even Santa Claus himself in some of these locations in the run up to the big day. And of course, Plum Guide has beautiful properties in each and every one, to make your holiday a magical one. Here’s our guide to Christmas towns in the US.
Aspen is the best of the best, and you deserve the best. While many come here for the skiing (which is undeniably exceptional), those who are really in the know are aware that it’s Aspen’s reputation as one of the best Christmas towns in the US that prompts a visit.
It all kicks off with the yearly tree lighting ceremony, where Santa and his reindeer pay Aspen a visit to watch the big switch on, with carol singers providing the soundtrack and hot chocolate and warm cookies for everyone attending. Events then go up a gear with the 12 days of Aspen Christmas celebration. Experience everything from holiday-themed concerts, to seasonal theatre, to workshops where you can design your own Christmas ornament. If you’re peckish after all that, there are many special Christmas menus at Aspen’s many excellent restaurants, and lots of festive après ski specials at the bars.
There’s nowhere like New York at Christmas time. It's technically a city, but we couldn't not include it in on our list of Christmas towns in the US. While you can expect Manhattan to be busy with tourists, iconic sights such as the Rockefeller Plaza tree and the Empire State Building lit up in Christmas colours should be seen by everyone in their lifetime.
Once you’ve skated past that famous Norway spruce, head to Serendipity 3. This classic New York joint on the Upper East Side is famous for their Frrrozen hot chocolates, and counts both Oprah and Jackie Kennedy as fans (Jackie once reportedly called the restaurant to ask for the recipe). To squeeze as much magic out of your visit as possible, make sure to fit in a visit to Dyker Heights to see the neighbourhood’s beloved traditions of having an insane amount of over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations on every house.
If you want a US Christmas town so festive it looks like it's been dusted with powdered sugar, head to Durango. It’s been voted one of the top places in America to celebrate Christmas, and so many people can’t be wrong. Catch a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which in winter offers a Polar Express train ride. You and your lucky kiddos will take a round trip journey to the North Pole and back to visit Santa in his workshop. Just remember to take photos to use to embarrass them in front of future partners, as a long-term reward for giving them such a special Christmas treat.
The Christmas market in Durango is especially noteworthy, selling traditional festive foods such as gingerbread and mulled wine, with special events often held in the run up to the big day. And if you prefer hitting the slopes to hitting the gluhwein, the skiing around here is also very good.
The Music City is famous for one thing around Christmas time – you guessed it, music. While the city is of course very beautiful in its own right, it’s the musical talent of Nashville which draws people to it as one of the best Christmas towns in the US. There are shows, concerts and performances galore. The Gaylord Opryland puts on a special Christmas show each year that’s definitely worth a visit, with ice skating, festive films and light displays in addition to the main performance.
Another classic Nashville Christmas activity is taking the two-mile drive through Jingle Beat, a celebratory light show set to Christmas music. It’s sugary fun, but we’re pretty sure your inner Scrooge’s heart will melt when you see how festive it is. For a slightly more cultural diversion, the Nashville ballet puts on The Nutcracker every year, and it’s always worth attending to see the hottest up-and-coming-dancer finally get their moment in the sun (or the snow).