Updated: Aug 19
The holidays truly are "the most wonderful time of the year." What better time to take a trip than when the destination has put on its holiday best. Whether you are looking for a snowy, "cabin in the woods" location that allows you to enjoy a cozy afternoon by a cracking fireplace with giants fluffy snowflakes dancing outside your window or an energetic city with holiday carols playing on every street corner, people bustling about completing their shopping and holiday lights twinkling on every building, these seven havens could infuse Scrooge with holiday spirit. I have visited six of these 7 cities. Quebec City has been on my travel "to-do" for several years., I am holding out for a holiday season visit. Walt Disney World and Prague are on my "repeat in December" list.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There is not a city that loves a party more than New Orleans and they pull out all the stops for the holidays. Twinkling lights, festive decorations and delicious meals all await you when you visit New Orleans in December. Of course there is music, parades, and live performances. Check out neworleans.com for all the events happening during your visit. The French Quarter puts on its most jolly face during the holidays. Just a stroll around this historic section of New Orleans will infuse the holiday spirit into even the meanest Grinch. Don't forget to stop in at Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 for a Rum Rum Reindeer or a Parrot in a Pear Tree, Christmas themed cocktails.
From Nov. 25th to Jan 2nd, New Orleans' City Park is aglow with holiday spirit. More than one million lights, including 32,800 feet of rope lights festoon Oak Trees and create spectacular light displays along the 2.25 mile Driving Tour through City Park. It takes about 45 minutes to complete this ride through the holiday light displays. Tickets can be purchased at celebrationintheoaks.com. New Orleans Hotels definitely "Deck the Halls" when it comes to Holiday Decorations. These festooned lobbies are a jolly welcome to their visitors and guests. Two of my favorites are the Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street, and the Roosevelt Hotel, one block from Canal Street on Roosevelt Way.
Reveillon Dinners are a tradition that comes from some of the first inhabitants of New Orleans, the Creoles. In the early 1800's a feast was served at 2:00am, after midnight mass on Christmas Eve to celebrate the end of the Christmas Eve fast. For more information on restaurants offering Reveillon menus check out NewOrleans.com. While the Creoles in New Orleans were feasting after Midnight Mass, the Cajuns up river were sharing food and drink with their neighbors and family by the bonfires they built along the Mississippi River. Folklore says these fires were built to light the way for Papa Noel, as Cajuns call Santa Claus. For information, visit the Festival of the Bonfires website.
River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is dotted with Plantation Houses. These are the remains of Louisiana's agriculture and colonial history. They are beautifully decorated for the holidays and many of their restaurants offer Reveillon Dinners in the month of December. Throughout the city, you will find beautiful holiday displays reflecting the history, spirit and joyfulness that is New Orleans. That is why New Orleans is always on the lists of best place to visit in the United States in December.
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Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to New Orleans
Logistics: Uber is available in New Orleans as are Taxis although the waits can be very long. Here are two airport transfer options that will considerably reduce your wait times, New Orleans Transportation Service or Private Transfer New Orleans to New Orleans MSY.
Top-rated New Orleans tours and experiences:
☆New Orleans French Quarter Food Adventure (perfect for foodies)
☆New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery (great for people who are visiting with limited time)
☆Adults Only New Orleans Ghost, True Crime, Voodoo and Vampire Walking Tour (perfect for mystery lovers)
☆The National WWII Museum Admission + Campaigns of Courage Guided Tour Ticket (essential to avoid lines)
Top places to stay in New Orleans: Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury *** Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy*** Royal Sonesta, French Quarter - Best Location Luxury***Place d'Armes - Best Location Budget Friendly***Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations
My favorite Guidebook for New Orleans: DK Press New Orleans
My favorite New Orleans Foodie Book: Hungry Town
Looking for a Holiday Themed Tour in New Orleans New Orleans Holiday Bus Tour: Jingling Through the Crescent City Christmas NOLA Style Walking Tour Jingle Bells New Orleans History and Beer Walking Tour Looking for More Information on Visiting New Orleans, check out these Blog Posts The Best Restaurants in New Orleans, Where I have Never Eaten 19 Photos to Inspire You to Plan a trip to New Orleans Don't Miss Sazerac House in New Orleans 11 Quotes to Inspire You to Plan a Trip 9 Reasons to Add the Audubon Zoo to Your New Orleans Itinerary Are you ready to book your trip to New Orleans? Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations We found some delightful places to stay through them. Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury Royal Sonesta, French Quarter - Best Location Luxury Place d'Armes - Best Location Budget Friendly
New York City
New York City puts on a festive spectacle for for holidays. The displays are bigger and the lights are brighter than another time of year. Start your New York holiday immersion with a visit to Rockefeller Center with its 82 ft tree, decorated with 50,000 sparkling lights. It majestically towers over the ice skating rink. Continue on to 5th Ave and enjoy the multiple media light show at Saks Fifth Ave. Wandering north from there, you will see Cartier festooned thousands of diamond like lights and the glittering windows at Bergdof Goodman.
Continue on to Central Park where you can enjoy a carriage ride or skate on Wollman Rink. If you head south on 5th Ave, you will be greeted by the windows at Bloomingdales and Macy's. Just around the corner from Bloomingdales awaits the Bryant Park Winter Village and New York's best Holiday Market. You can finish your holiday shopping with beautiful handcrafted products, warm up with a Hot Chocolate or a Hot Toddy. Throughout the city, the air is filled with the scent of chestnuts roasting and the sounds of carolers.
You will not want to miss holiday themed live entertainment. The Rockettes are a "must see" at Radio City Music Hall. There are also Holiday Concerts, Nutcracker Performances, Holiday themed Broadway Shows and Plays. All this is right in Mid Town Manhattan. Visit NYC.com for more information on live performance and holiday must sees.
Looking for a Holiday Themed Tours in New Yor k City
Evening Harlem Jazz Tour Are you ready to book your trip to New York City? Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations We found some delightful places to stay through them. The Pierre Hotel - Splurge Worthy The Plaza - Historic Luxury Hilton Mid Town - Best Location Fairfield Inn & Suites Central Park - Best Location Budget Friendly
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is on the western side of the Rockies, which means there is significant snowfall in the winter, perfect for skiers as well as all winter sport enthusiasts. Steamboat Springs is larger than many ski villages, with a distinctive western vibe. It's downtown is dotted with outstanding restaurants. Whether you are interested in casual yet tasty dining or fine dining, there are many options. The downtown area also has fun gift shops and art galleries, so you can spend some time finishing your holiday shopping.
Just outside of town are the hot springs, for which the town was named. They are open to the public and offer a relaxing way to unwind. There is also Fish Creek Falls which often freezes in the winter. It is quite a sight to see. Hot air balloon trips, sleigh rides and dog sled trips are available in December. There is a mid-sized ski village offering "ski in ski out" accommodations at the base of the mountain with more accommodations in town. Besides skiing there is snow tubing, snow bike rentals, ice skating and snow shoe trails for winter sports lovers. For anyone looking for a White Christmas with a western vibe, Steamboat Springs is guaranteed to delight.
Ready to visit this winter wonderland, check out the low rates on Booking.com.
Looking for more snow inspiration, visit these blog posts:
The Smokey Mountains are the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains, which traverse from Georgia to Maine. At the edge of Great Smokey Mountain National Park sits Gatlinburg with a kitchy, alpine village feel. At the holidays, the entire village is dressed in its yuletide best. The gondola to Gatlinburg Skylift Park takes you over this twinkling display. When you reach the top of Ober Mountain, you can ice skate and snow tube. If there is snow, skiing and snowboarding are available. The nature emersion amusement park, Anakesta is open daily and has evening hours allowing you to enjoy their enchanted holiday light display. As part of Anakesta, you can visit Astre Lummina, an international light experience that allows you to see the beauty of nature through a festive light display.
Just down the road from Gatlinburg is Dollywood and Dolly Parton's Smokey Mountain Christmas. There are 6 million lights twinkling throughout the park. Children of all ages will love the holiday themed rides, fireworks and seasonal music presentations. Gatlinburg offers a full agenda of holiday based activities or you can just sit by a fireplace, sip a hot toddy and watch the snow fall.
Ready to visit this winter wonderland, check out the low rates on Booking.com.
For more information visiting the Smokey Mountains go to my posts
Disney World, Orlando Florida
The happiest place goes full on festive for the holiday season. The weather this time of year is beautiful with warm days and cool evenings. The closer you get to Christmas the more crowded it gets, so try to visit early in December. The Magic Kingdom adds holiday lights and music to many of their rides including Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway and Mad Hatter's Tea Party. You do not want to miss Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Parade or Minnie's Wonderful Christmas Fireworks. For an extra splurge get front row seats to the fireworks and character visits by adding the Wonderful Christmas Fireworks Dessert party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party to your itinerary.
All the other parks add thousands of lights to the displays and offer holiday themed rides and restaurant meals. Make time for the EPCOT World Showcase International Festival of the Holidays, where you can enjoy holiday traditions from nations around the world. Disney Springs is bursting with holiday gift ideas if you haven't finished your shopping. For more information on visiting Walt Disney World and schedules of all their holiday themed activities, head to the website disneyworld.disney.go.com .
Are you ready to book your trip to Walt Disney World? Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations
Prague, Czech Republic
Looking for the snow covered charm of the holidays in Central and Northern Europe, consider a trip to Prague during December. At the heart of Prague's holiday appeal is their Christmas Markets. These are the orginal "pop-up" shops, consisting of brightly decorated wooden huts, offering local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats. The largest market is the Old Town Square Market. These markets offer artisan holiday decor and gifts along with deliciousness like Trdelnik, a large donut like pastry, Svarak the Czech revision of mulled wine and homemade sausages grilled on open flame grills.
Take a walk along the Vltava River to enjoy the holiday lights or climb to to top of the Astrological Clock tower for sparkling, panoramic views of Prague. Experience the sounds of the season with a musical performance in one of the many historic venues. Check out all the offerings at pragueticketoffice.com. There is classical music and contemporary music as well as ballet performed in traditional concerts venues, informal locations and dinners with music. For more information on visiting Prague anytime off the year visit praguexperience.com.
Looking for a Holiday Themed Tour in Prague: Prague Advent Evening Food Tasting Tour, Taste The Best Of The Czech Christmas
SMALL GROUP: Tour 4 Magical Prague Markets with Locals Are you ready to book your trip to Prague? Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations
Quebec City Canada
Imagine a 400 year old city, oozing with old world charm, shining with holiday lights through the snow. That is exactly what you will experience with Quebec City in December. From classic European styled Christmas Markets to huge holiday light displays on historic buildings, Quebec City is sure to enchant. You will be wowed the lights on the Parliament Building and the Christmas trees at Chateau Frontenac in this predominantly French speaking city in eastern Canada. Hot Chocolate is raised to an art form and traditional Tortiere, a meat pie, are available in restaurants throughout the city.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts will enjoy ice skating, a traditional tobogan slide and snow shoeing just outside the city. A visit to Montmorency Falls is a must. This falls is taller than Niagara Falls and freezes in the winter creating a hill of frozen water perfect for sliding down. For moire information on visiting Quebec City at the holidays head over to quebec-cite.com.
Looking for a Holiday Themed Tour in Quebec City Christmas Magic in Old Quebec
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré Are you ready to book your trip to Quebec City? Check out booking.com for the lowest prices on Accommodations
From my family to your family,
We wish you a joyous holiday season and a very happy 2023.
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