Places in the USA That Take Christmas to a Whole New Level

The Bellagio Hotel Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas will put you in the holiday spirit
The Bellagio Hotel Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas will put you in the holiday spirit | © Yaacov Dagan / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elizabeth Nicholas
8 November 2021

Spend any time in the USA around the Christmas holiday, and you’ll quickly see that Americans love their holiday lights and decorations. However, if you’re looking for places in the country where the decor gets especially festive, visit these towns and cities representing the best of Christmas.

New York City, New York

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is one of many holiday highlights in NYC | © Elias Andres-Jose / Unsplash

While almost every season lets New York City shine in its own right, Christmas time in the Big Apple is spectacular. From the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which can measure up to 100ft (30m), to the light-festooned promenades of Brooklyn, the City That Never Sleeps glitters particularly brightly during the holidays.

Want to see a white Christmas in NYC? Book a stay in one of these excellent hotels near the Rockefeller Center, or search for the city hotel of your dreams.

Chicago, Illinois

The Christkindlmarket Chicago offers an array of items, including vibrant Christmas ornaments | © Stephen Chung / Alamy Stock Photo

While Chicago pulls out all the usual big-city stops for the holidays, decking buildings in tinsel and lights, its Christkindlmarket is what makes it extra special. Held in Daley Plaza and modeled after legendary German Christmas fairs, the market sells everything from sausages to Christmas ornaments and receives more than 1m visitors per year.

See the festive lights from the comfort of your room at one of these hotels with a view, or search for the best hotels in Chicago yourself.

San Antonio, Texas

The San Antonio River Walk becomes even more festive during the Christmas season with lights lining the area | © Kim Karpeles / Alamy Stock Photo

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes Christmas decorations. Each December, colorful and exuberant displays line the river that runs through the city. Other attractions also get in on the festive spirit, with SeaWorld San Antonio stringing up 9m lights alone.

Stay close to the action with a stay at one of these hotels near the river, or search the best offerings in San Antonio.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Gaylord Opryland is known for its sparkling Christmas decorations and lights | © Brian Jannsen / Alamy Stock Photo

The best Christmas displays in Nashville are at Gaylord Opryland – a hotel near the famed country music hall, the Grand Ole Opry – where more than 3m lights deck the halls. Head downtown to see the neon signs of honky-tonk bars mingle with the holiday trimmings.

Looking to treat your other half this Christmas? Check out these romantic hotels in Nashville, or do your own search through the best hotels in the city.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk takes on a festive glow during the holidays | © Pat & Chuck Blackley / Alamy Stock Photo

Virginia Beach is a unique Christmas locale in America; the city lines the boardwalk and beaches with Christmas lights and decorations. In winter, it’s also whale-watching season, so if you’re lucky, you might spot one along with your holiday light show.

Spend Christmas with the whales when you book a stay at one of our favorite hotels in Virginia Beach, or find your favorite with a filtered search.

Richmond, Virginia

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, gets in the Christmas spirit | © Jason Meyer / Alamy Stock Photo

If you think it’s hard to decorate for Christmas without veering into tacky territory, the town of Richmond, Virginia, is the place for you at the holidays. Every year, it has a Tacky Lights Tour, in which residents compete to outdo each other in garish Christmas light displays. Grab a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which provides a list of the top homes to drive by every year.

Book a quirky trip to Richmond with a stay at one of these excellent hotels, or simply find your own dream retreat.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

A Christmas tree glows in Plaza Don Luis in historic Old Town Albuquerque | © Efrain Padro / Alamy Stock Photo

The ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden pulls out all the stops for Christmas. With more than 12mi (19km) of extension cords and millions of bulbs, the gardens come to life in the River of Lights, with more than 600 sculptures. For something completely different, stroll through downtown, where streets are lined in traditional New Mexican holiday fashion, with votive candles inside paper bags.

Want to see the lights in Albuquerque? Check out our selection of the best hotels in the city, or search for your perfect place to stay.

Kansas City, Missouri

The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City lights up for the holidays beginning on Thanksgiving | © Jordi Elias Grassot / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for somewhere to kick off the festive holiday season, Kansas City is a safe bet. On Thanksgiving night, the Country Club Plaza holds a fireworks show before a switch is flipped, turning on the magnificent holiday lights. Also, helicopter tours are available to experience the magic of the lights from an entirely new perspective.

Search through our vast array of excellent Kansas City hotels, or take a look at our favorites.

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

Silver Dollar City is an amusement park near Branson, Missouri | © Dimitry Bobroff / Alamy Stock Photo

In the Ozark Mountains near Branson, Missouri, Silver Dollar City is an amusement park that hosts the lively Old Time Christmas festival each December. It has more than 1,000 decorated trees and 6.5m lights, along with parades every night.

Charmed by this unique amusement park? Book one of these hotels near Silver Dollar City, or search for accommodation in nearby Branson.

Las Vegas, Nevada

You’ll find Christmas lights all around the major Las Vegas hotspots, including the Linq | © Yaacov Dagan / Alamy Stock Photo

To get to the best Christmas lights in Las Vegas, you’ll need to leave the Strip and head down to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There, you’ll find Glittering Lights, a 2.5mi (4km) course you can drive through to see more than 600 holiday displays decked out with lights. Alternatively, of course, visit the over-the-top Bellagio Hotel & Casino for an over-the-top Christmas tree.

Neon lights aren’t new to Las Vegas, but the festive views from these hotels with balconies are something else. You can also check out our full selection of hotels in the city.

North Pole, Alaska

The Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, sells Christmas-related items and sweet treats year-round | © Richard Ellis / Alamy Stock Photo

As you might expect, the North Pole goes all out for Christmas. The small Alaska town hosts a Christmas in Ice festival every night for six weeks each winter, and almost everything is decorated to celebrate its most famous resident.

Book the ultimate Christmas retreat when you stay at one of our favorite Alaskan hotels, or search for your top pick from more than 100 options.

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