Get us in your inbox

Christmas in Chicago
Photograph: Shutterstock/Chansak Joe

The top U.S. destinations for Christmas in every state

Cloudwards knows where people want to travel this time of year

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

Each state offers something different for how it celebrates the holidays, putting its own regional flair on traditions you associate with the place—like ice skating in New York City or visiting the Cleveland house used in A Christmas Story. Thrillist looks at the most popular holiday destinations, broken down by state, based on a study by Cloudwards about where people want to travel this time of year.

Internationally, that destination is hands-down London (New York comes in third and is the only U.S. city in the top 13), and if we look at just where Americans want to travel internationally, that #1 spot is Vienna, followed by Quebec City and then Paris. But if we focus our attention strictly on U.S. destinations, we learn a lot about where we all want to go. Disclaimer: this survey doesn’t include data from South or North Dakota. We know you have great ways of celebrating, too!

For starters, the number one place is Branson, Missouri. Home to an Adoration Parade (living nativity), an Ozark Mountain Christmas Pass with live shows, lights, Christmas trees and more, plus a beautiful historic downtown, Branson has a lot to show the holiday traveler.

Second on the list (well, actually a tie with Branson) is Chicago for that wintry, big-city Christmas with candy lanes aglow. The Christkindl Market along with many light displays make this a great destination.

Third is Leavenworth, WA, which shows up on our list of US cities that make you think you’re in Europe. Its German feel gets a boost at the holidays with its Christmastown festival.

Fourth is Helen, Georgia, which also has a German vibe. Its Decemberfest and Christkindlmarkt give an old-world flair to the south.

In fifth place is Boston, with its Snowport at the Seaport event with holiday tree lighting and a Menorah Lighting celebrations. And don’t forget the Miracle at Marlowe pop-up bar.

The rest of the list includes:

6. New York, NY (to be fair, NYC, Boston and Helen all tied scorewise!)

7. Las Vegas, NV

8. Philadelphia, PA

9. Gatlinburg, TN

10. St. Louis, MO

11. Kansas City, MO

12. Nashville, TN

13. Williamsburg, VA

14. Solvang, CA

15. Bethlehem, PA

16. Myrtle Beach, SC

17. Frankenmuth, MI

18. Portland, OR

19. Denver, CO

Cloudwards christmas map
Photograph: Courtesy Cloudwards

Want more listage on the best Christmas vacations? Here’s another take on it.

You may also like
You may also like