Solvang, California (#1 in the US and the world)
Also known as the “Danish Capital of America,” Solvang, California, is a cozy little village in the Saint Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara. Every year, the village celebrates the holidays with Julefest (pronounced Yule-fest), which features a delightful combination of events and ceremonies including: holiday-themed candlelight tours, Santa’s village, a city-wide hunt for the Nisse (a mythical creature from Nordic folklore), tree lighting and burning ceremonies, a wine and stein stroll, a light show, and plenty more Danish-themed holiday festivities.
Franklin, Tennessee (#2 in the US, #3 in the world)
2019 will be the city’s 35th annual Dickens of a Christmas festival, the largest Christmas festival in middle Tennessee, and one of the most epic Christmas parties in the world. It’s a Victorian Christmas celebration held in downtown Franklin, where participants can go on horse-drawn carriage rides, greet carolers in holiday garb, and interact with Charles Dickens characters like Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
Williamsburg, Virginia (#3 in the US, #5 in the world)
Colonial Williamsburg is internationally known as one of the best places in the world to celebrate the Yuletide. The entire town is a lively scene of 18th century decorations and historical seasonal events. When you visit, you can be sure to find costumed performers beating drums and taking visitors back to the colonial times to celebrate like the Virginians of yore. Don’t miss out on fantastic fireworks, theatrical shows, and themed holiday dining. In addition, Busch Gardens’s Christmas Town has a holiday show boasting more than 10 million lights for visitors to enjoy.
Alexandria, Virginia (#4 in the US, #7 in the world)
There must be something in that Virginia snow because right behind colonial Williamsburg is Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Here, George Washington’s Mount Vernon property is decked out in fabulous Christmas decorations for visitors to browse. While you’re there, you can also learn about how chocolate was made in the 18th century, look at a gingerbread model of the estate, and take dancing lessons, too. Off the presidential property, holiday-goers can enjoy the Scottish Christmas Walk complete with bagpipes and kilts. Don’t forget the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, where dozens of ribbon and garland-clad boats light up the Potomac River with their dazzling displays.
Santa Claus, Indiana (#5 in the US, #9 in the world)
Last but not least is Santa Claus, Indiana. While the town celebrates Santa all year round, they put a special emphasis on their Santa Claus Christmas Celebration each December. Visitors who write letters to Santa early are guaranteed a reply by Christmas. You can also pose with a 1935 statue of the jolly old fellow in front of the Santa Claus post office. Children can chat with an elf on the North Pole Network, families can enjoy the vast and exciting holiday light displays, and everyone can attend the Das Nickolausfest and eat fire-roasted chestnuts all weekend long.