When it comes to the holidays, every family has their own tradition. Some put elves on shelves, others go caroling, and we’d be remiss to forget the hanging of stockings. For those looking to spice up their season away from home, we’ve compiled a list of some of America’s most festive cities. Take a trip across the states this holiday season for experiences as entertaining as they are unique.
SAN ANTONIO, TX
If you find yourself in Texas, make your way to San Antonio for a sight you won’t soon forget. The Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias is a serene trail of over 6,000 paper lanterns that follow the famous River Walk. Warmly glowing candles line the walkways, symbolically lighting the way for the Holy Family. You can catch this centuries-old tradition at dusk on the weekends.
BATON ROUGE, LA
There’s no shortage of imaginative traditions in Louisiana, and a holiday tradition called Bonfire Cajuns dates back to the earliest Cajun settlers of the region. Depending on who you ask, the traditional bonfires set atop the levee shared by New Orleans and Baton Rouge burn to light the way for Cajun Santa Claus Papa Noël, or to guide Catholics to Midnight Mass. Either way, they are one of the most famous traditions in America. The Bonfire Cajuns would be the perfect start to your holiday season, not to mention a trip to the Baton Rouge Sullivan’s Steakhouse for a truly unforgettable night.
NORTH POLE, AL
This community of 2,200 residents keeps the holiday spirit alive all year long. Streets like “Santa Claus Lane” and “Kris Kringle Drive” greet visitors and spectators of the annual North Pole Christmas in Ice Contest. Ice sculptors from around the world come to create ice mazes, slides, and sculptures. The North Pole Post office (appropriately located on South Santa Claus Lane) even does its best to respond to the hundreds of thousands of letters mailed to Santa. Although out of the way, the celebration in North Pole is one not to be missed.
Combine American history with holiday spirit and take a trip to Monticello in Charlottesville. On the historic Holiday Evening Tours, visitors are treated to the rare opportunity of seeing Thomas Jefferson’s home after dark and learning how his family spent the holidays. Wreath and gingerbread house workshops also let you embrace your inner architect as you journey through the history of one of our nation’s founding fathers.
SANTA FE, NM
There’s nothing quite like Santa Fe during the holidays. You’re greeted with scents of piñón wood in the clear night air as the temperature settles into the single digits. The city’s charm is evident in the silvery lights that hang from each and every tree, and luminarias line every adobe building along the plaza. If you’re looking for a picturesque place to spend your holidays, look no further.
As you begin planning your holiday, remember that America is beautiful, diverse, and full of places for fans of holiday spirit with a hint wanderlust. Make this season one to remember as you pack your bag and take a festive trip across the country.
Do you visit anywhere special during the holiday season? We’d love to hear about it.