Christmas is primarily a time spent with families, preparing stuffing meals and sharing presents with our loved ones. However, with Christmas comes the Christmas break – a couple of weeks which most of us are waiting for the entire year, as we finally get some free time from work and studies to spend as we like it. Many Americans spend the holidays abroad, going on a long cruise or a trip to a more tropical country, where they won’t have to worry about bad weather and snow. While spending your Christmas holidays on a beach in Bali sounds like fun, such an escapade can often be extremely expensive, with the flight tickets alone costing up to a thousand dollars, and that is one-way, as the prices skyrocket before the New Year. However, you don’t have to look far for winter attractions, as there are plenty of great destinations within the United States to choose from when looking for a place to spend your Christmas break in. To bring you some of the best choices, we have prepared this list of Top 10 Tips for Great Christmas Break, which will hopefully help you with deciding on how to spend this year’s Christmas.
For one of the most spectacular American towns which shine during the Christmas season, we recommend visiting the small city of Woodstock in Vermont, which during the Christmas break looks as if taken straight from a holiday postcard. The town is filled with old-fashioned wooden bridges and thick pine forests, all covered with a thin layer of snow which is common in all of Vermont. Woodstock also hosts an amazing winter festival, the roots of which can be traced to the 19th century. The festival celebrates some of the Norse holiday traditions, which includes a huge parade with horses and colorful costumes, along with dozens of attractions for adults and kids alike. We also recommend visiting the New England Falconry, where you can get to know more about America's most recognized air predator.
Christmas in New York is an experience unlike anything else, as the whole city transforms into a huge Christmas village with tons of decorations and attractions at every corner. Christmas markets are set up all around the city and you can find tons of souvenirs and Christmas foods in there. The markets are also great places to visit if you're looking for a present for a special somebody. However, one of the most popular attractions in New York during the Christmas break are the numerous shows, such as the Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular, or the famous rendition of Nutcracker. If you’re looking for an affordable place to skate, we recommend Bryant Park ice rink – it’s free, but there is also a rental place if you don’t have your own ice skates.
In North Carolina, there is a town called McAdenville throughout most of the year. However, during the Christmas holidays, McAdenville transforms into Christmas Town – decorated with almost 400 trees, all of which become adorned with holiday decorations during the season. Besides the lights and trees, you find tons of attractions in Christmas Town, ranging from rollercoaster ride to a pine tree maze. There is also a huge Christmas market in town during the Christmas break, where you may find foods and curiosities carefully crafted by the locals, which make for nice souvenirs. You can find all sorts of goods at the Christmas market, including handmade leather accessories, woolen clothes, and even tiny sculptures made out of wood or gingerbread!
While the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. is famous all across the United States, there are actually tons of other attractions in the city to explore during the Christmas season. There are tons of Christmas decorations and lights displays all over the city, as neighborhoods compete at who can make the best Christmas house. Some neighborhoods even organize official competitions, during which a winner is selected to bear the title of the Best-Decorated Christmas House in the district. We also recommend seeing the Gaylord National Resort, which hosts one of the largest ice sculpture festivals in the country. The resort changes the theme for the festival each year, which means you will get to see something new every time, even if you’ve been there before!
While Chicago may not be one of the most popular spots for tourists during Christmas, there are still tons of things to see if you choose to visit the city during your Christmas break. The Millennium park hosts a huge ice rink which can be enjoyed for free, and even if you don't own any skates – you can use the rental place located just next to the park. There is also a special Christmas train that cruises through Chicago during holidays, which is decorated with lights and decals of Santa Claus, snowmen, and tiny elves. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a ride with the famous train, but you can never know for certain which one it will be! The streets are also filled with hot chocolate stands and street food carts, perfect if you get hungry or thirsty while enjoying the city.
During the entire year, Orlando is best known for its amazing theme parks, filled with thrilling rollercoasters and gorgeous scenography, which makes you feel as if you’ve walked into another world. During the holidays, the theme parks of Orlando get re-decorated to better reflect the spirit of Christmas, and many of those parks get new seasonal attractions. Moreover, if Disney World turns out not to be enough for you, there are other attractions in the city. There is LEGOLAND Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando, and more. We also recommend seeing the Lake Eola Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, during which a huge 72-foot high Christmas tree becomes lit with festive decorations.
With hotel banners and casino lights taking over the city, Las Vegas is brighter during the night all year than most cities are during Christmas. However, that does not mean that Las Vegas doesn’t celebrate Christmas. On the contrary, there is actually a whole arrangement of attractions and events, actually making Las Vegas one of the most crowded cities in the United States during Christmas. Almost every shop, casino, club, or restaurant stays open during Christmas in Las Vegas, leaving you with plenty of options to choose from when brainstorming on how to spend your time. Always remember to make reservations, as the city is quite crowded and everybody is looking for a place to spend their Christmas break.
What better place to spend the Christmas than the North Pole itself? Well, maybe not the real North Pole, but the city of North Pole in Alaska, which turns into the village of Santa Claus during the Christmas break. There is a replica of the North Pole Sign, which is a must-see landmark, as well as an ice sculpture contest that features some of the best creations in all of the United States. You can also find the House of Santa Clause, which holds one of the largest collections of Christmas ornaments you can find, along with exotic candies, Christmas apparel, and more!
Nantucket features a huge holiday event every year, as the city transforms into a Christmas paradise during the annual Christmas Stroll. The tradition of Christmas Stroll began in the late 20th century, when the organizers of the original Nantucket Christmas Stroll held it to keep the locals from escaping to Cape Cod for holidays. Even though the stroll began only with extending the time that local shops stay open for by merely three hours, the tradition caught on and now Nantucket creates a huge event out of it every year. You can see dozens of carolers singing Christmas songs in colorful costumes, as well as other live entertainment and performances, including the famous Nantucket Town Crier, which leads the parade and starts the Stroll.
If you haven't heard of the Elkhart Lake before, you definitely have not visited it during Christmas, when it changes from an average midwestern town into a snow-covered Christmas village, decorated with seasonal ornaments and thousands of colorful lights everywhere. Elkhart Lake also hosts one of the biggest Christmas markets in the country, the Old World Christmas Market. The market takes place between the 4th and 13th of December, open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. You can find handmade ornaments, such as blown-glass ornaments from the Czech Republic or traditional Russian nesting dolls and nutcrackers.