The Most Festive US Christmas Destinations to Visit
Forget the North Pole. When it comes to Christmas, nobody does it bigger or better than the USA
Yes, we know. Last year’s leftover turkey has barely gone cold yet somehow, here we are again. The start of that infamous Slade song echoes hauntingly on the car radio. It's Chriiistmas... Panic mode, activated. What are you going to get for gifts and presents? Is it your turn to host this year? Will the freezer have enough space for the food if you get the shop done in early December? When do the kids break up from school? It doesn’t have to be like this, though. Why not get rid of all this hassle and stress by trusting the experts (that’s us). We recommend you forget all about hosting Christmas and take a little holiday to the US. Because nobody does Christmas better than the States, despite what the folks up in Lapland may tell you. Here at Plum Guide we’ve got everything covered for you when it comes to what to do and where to stay, so you barely have to lift a finger in preparation (you're welcome). Read on for more on some of the very best US Christmas destinations to visit this year.
New York, New York. The jewel in the crown of US Christmas destinations. Speaking of jewels, where better place to do your Christmas shopping than 5th Avenue? Don’t forget the Christmas markets at Union Square whilst you’re at it. If one thing’s guaranteed, it’s that NYC can make a nice dent in your wallet. Oops. The chances of a white Christmas here are genuinely quite good, too. Take a stroll through Central Park whilst it’s snowing and be transported to your very own winter wonderland. Then warm yourself back up with a hot chocolate at Bluestone Lane Upper East Side Café afterwards.
Of course, a Christmas trip to New York is not complete without a visit to the Rockefeller Christmas tree and ice skating rink - an iconic part of Christmas in the Big Apple. Did you know there’s also an alternative? At Bryant Park, there’s a 17,000ft ice rink (plenty of space for you to do your worst impression of Bambi), as well as 170 shopping and food stalls. Spend your evening enjoying one of the many iconic Broadway musicals before lapping up the unforgettable views of the New York City skyline from the Empire State Building. NYC at Christmas is pure magic and you’d be silly to miss out.
If, like an anti-Grinch, you’re absolutely hellbent on having a guaranteed wonderfully white Christmas, look no further than Breckenridge, Colorado. In December, the town has a whole festival dedicated to the Norse God of Snow (yes, really). Ullr (rhymes with cooler) Fest takes over the whole town with parades, bonfires, food stalls, snow sport competitions and much more. Snow sports, you say? Yep. Breckenridge is one the very best places to ski and snowboard in all of the US. If you were looking for a fun, action-packed festive holiday on the slopes, this is the one.
After a wild day of churning up the powder, you can head back into town and get cosy at one of the many wonderful bars and restaurants. At this time of year you’ll find plenty of Christmas market stalls too. Breckenridge is renowned for its arts and crafts as well as its craft beer. Between the local boutiques and many breweries, there’s something for everyone. It’s a lot like walking into your very own snow globe.
All that talk of snow and ice got you feeling a little cold? Perhaps you were thinking about something a little bit warmer? How about LA, California? Here, the sun rarely stops shining and December is no exception. That doesn’t mean it’s not festive though. It’s the city of angels, afterall. You’ll be pleasantly surprised (or not) to find that there are still ice rinks out here at places such as The Queen Mary (a great place for fine dining, too) and the worryingly named ‘Perishing Square Ice Rink’.
Of course, this being Hollywood, it would be sacrilege not to enjoy a festive hit on the big screen at one of the many iconic drive thru cinemas, or any number of indoor movie theatres. Alternatively, explore with your tastebuds and bank card at the original farmers market - a sprawling historic market featuring a range of trendy shops, restaurants & gourmet grocery purveyors that gets especially festive at this time of year. All of this being said, we know that really, if you’re coming to LA for Christmas, you’re here for one thing. The beach. Kick back and relax on the endless stretch of golden coastline where fears of an undercooked turkey and granddad’s alarming political views after one-too-many glasses of wine are a distant memory. Talking of wine, there is of course some fantastic wine country just up the coast too.
A few hours drive from Breckenridge, Aspen is perhaps the most iconic prime ski destination in all of continental North America. That’s no easy feat. As you’d expect then, there are world-class slopes to be found in every direction you look. As if the risk of breaking your leg wasn’t high enough already, there are of course - yes, you guessed it - more ice rinks. Naturally, with all the snow around, you’ll find plenty of other opportunities including sledding, ice tubing and more.
If all-out action in the mountains isn’t quite your thing (you just wanted a nice winter landscape and bottle of wine didn’t you?), there’s plenty of things in town to keep you busy. During December, there’s the annual festive celebration ‘12 days of Aspen’. Throughout the 12 days you’ll find something for everyone including art projects, cookie decorating, free hot chocolates on the Cooper Street Mall, live jazz sessions in bars, après ski drink specials and Victorian carol singing. Between this and the many restaurants and bars (plenty of local breweries here), you’re all set for the perfect holiday in one of the very best US Christmas destinations.