It's December already, the holiday season is upon us and the festive spirit is once again in the air. Christmas trees, decorations and lights are going up and, for some of us, snow is falling on the ground. Have the urge to travel before the year is out? These are our favorite Christmassy towns, which appear to have been lifted straight from a movie set.
You won’t be the first visitor fooled into believing that they’ve entered a vortex and landed in a scene from the Sound of Music upon arrival in Leavenworth. Alpine-style buildings line the streets of this quaint Bavaria-inspired town and the pine covered hillsides of the Cascade Mountain create a perfect backdrop. Bartenders and shopkeepers dress in lederhosen to keep to the German theme. Come Christmas, the aromas of fruity glühwien (mulled wine), hot chocolate and roasted nuts flow out from the cafés and restaurants.
Find out what to see and do here: Leavenworth
McAdenville, North Carolina
Any town that bills itself as Christmas Town USA should be on the bucket list for Christmas fanatics. McAdevnville has put on one of the country’s most impressive light displays every December since 1956. Nowadays, almost half a million lights decorate the towns lake, trees and over 150 homes. Come for the Yule Log Parade, when children drag a festive sled through the town center and locals gather to sing carols while sipping on hot chocolate.
See a complete list of the town’s Christmas events here: McAdenville Christmas Town
Seneca Falls, New York
In the Finger Lakes region in the state of New York is the town many believe to be the fictional setting for Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Walk the streets and you’ll soon feel like James Stewart’s character George Bailey wandering around Bedford Falls on Christmas Eve. The It’s a Wonderful Life Festival honors the town’s Hollywood links during December. Shops sell movie-themed souvenirs and restaurants even create menus with the same food as eaten by the movie’s characters.
Seneca Falls Christmas events: The Real Bedford Falls
Hygge, the Danish feeling of coziness, contentment and kinship, is on-trend. But if you can’t get to Denmark then experience it in the storybook Californian town of Solvang. The authentic replicas of Danish churches, windmills and half-timbered and thatched-roof houses are straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Throughout December, storeowners decorate their boutiques and bakeries offer aebleskiver pastries and glögg mulled wine. The Solvang Julefest festival features a nativity pageant. All that’s missing is the snow.
Check out the town’s Christmas events here: Solvang USA
St. Augustine, Florida
Landing in the oldest continually settled town in the U.S. at any time of the year is like stepping back in time to a centuries-old Spanish village. You can ride a trolley along cobblestone streets, dine by candlelight and soak up the European traditions. But come for the Nights of Lights festival to truly appreciate the magical charm, when millions of lights illuminate landmarks, parks, shops, squares and the waterfront. The festive fun begins after Thanksgiving and continues until early-February.
Discover what to see and do here: Visit St. Augustine
Snow falls on the elegant New England-style mansions of Woodstock and evokes images of the quintessential holiday season postcard. As you are sizing up the perfect photograph, your attention will be distracted by the sound of bells jingling from horse-drawn sleighs. Ponies parade decked out in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, sleigh drivers resemble characters from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and carolers fill the air with joyful songs. This all takes place during the 3-day Wassail Weekend.
Check out what else is going in town: Welcome to Woodstock