Sure, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but sometimes it’s nice to take a trip to somewhere especially festive. If you’re traveling this year—or wish you were and need some Christmasy wanderlust—check out 8 of our favorite places to get into the holiday spirit.
1. North Pole, Alaska
While you may not be able to go to the actual North Pole, look no further than North Pole, Alaska. With candy-cane striped buildings and streetlights, year-round Christmas decorations, giant Christmas stores and, of course, reindeer, it’s the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit. It’s also near Fairbanks, so if you’re already traveling to Alaska, it’s easy to make a pit stop here.
2. Cologne, Germany
While you could easily make an entire list of amazing Christmas-y towns and markets to visit in Europe, Cologne is one of the most famous—and festive—European towns. And no one does Christmas markets quite like Germany. With that being said, you can visit the famous market in front of the Cologne Cathedral or one of almost a dozen others throughout the city. Wherever you go, you can expect the whole city to be filled with festive decorations and Christmas charm!
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Germany isn’t the only place with top-notch Christmas markets. Prague is also home to several amazing Christmas markets, the two most popular being held in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The markets are open for over a month (from Nov 30th to January 6th), so even if you’re not in town right at Christmas, you can still enjoy all the festivities and events!
4. Montreal, Canada
Want a taste of France without flying all the way across the ocean? With lights, snow and old-town charm, Montreal has plenty of holiday charm to help you ring in the holiday season. Enjoy free parades, shows and other events with Christmas in the Park and Merry Montreal, visit one of the local Christmas markets and drink some of Montreal’s famous hot chocolate, or just stroll around the city and enjoy the season.
5. Vienna, Austria
Few places bring as much Christmas magic as Vienna, Austria. The entire city will be decked out with lights and decorations, making it feel even more like a fairy-tale than usual. Visit Christmas markets, watch an advent parade and enjoy the smell of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine as you walk through the city. The nearby (2.5 hours by train) Salzburg also brings plenty of festive magic this time of year. Hit both cities while you’re there and get a double dose of holiday cheer.
6. New York, New York
For a holiday season straight out of a movie—literally—where better than New York? See a show like the Nutcracker or the Rockettes, go ice skating in Rockefeller Center, attend a tree lighting, and of course, don’t miss out on a visit to the Bryant Park Winter Village! If you have time to stick around, it’s an amazing place to spend New Year’s Eve as well, counting down to the new year with millions of others and watching the ball drop in Times Square.
7. Tokyo, Japan
While Tokyo might not be your first thought for Christmas festivities, you should definitely add it to your list! When you’re here in December, it can feel like the whole city is decorated with incredible light displays! From the lights at Tokyo Dome to Yoyogi Park to the Roppongi Hills’ Christmas extravaganza, Tokyo truly transforms into a winter wonderland. Not to mention, you’ll get to experience a huge mix of Christmas traditions
8. Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style town in Washington, so if you’re ready for a trip to Germany but your bank account is only ready for a trip across town, head to Leavenworth! There’s plenty of Christmas markets, Christmas tree lightings and German food, plus sleigh rides, sledding, skiing and more. No matter where you go in Leavenworth, there’s plenty of festive celebrations to enjoy.
8. Sydney, Australia
Of course, if you’ve had enough of the snow and cold weather, a warm, sunny Christmas is also totally possible! Just head to the Land Down Under for a Christmas that’ll be totally unique! You can enjoy some Australian Christmas traditions, like parades (the Adelaide Christmas Pageant is one of the largest in the world!), enjoying an outdoor picnic for Christmas dinner, and hanging out and surfing on the beach while wearing Santa hats.
Ready to head out for a winter adventure? Check out our cheap flights and get in the holiday spirit!