Christmas day has passed but for those still wanting to immerse themselves into the holidays, there’s still time to visit a few places that makes sure to bring the holiday cheer every year.
If you love Christmas for family time and well-worn traditions or the bright lights and festive atmosphere, it can be argued the best places to get your holiday fix aren’t big cities like New York and the nation’s capital.
It is the smaller communities that really go all out, the ‘Christmas Cities’ that should be at the top of the travel list either for the remainder of this season or on the radar for next year, according to a list by timeout.com,
The article lists 15 of the best Christmas cities that go all out for the holidays in the United States. Louisiana was represented on the list at No. 5 with Natchitoches.
Natchitoches is a festive place to spend Christmas, offering more than 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces celebrating the history of the city—the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory.
Held for six weeks, from mid-November to early January, the 96th annual Natchitoches Christmas includes live music, parades, fireworks over Cane River Lake, and plenty of good food, like BBQ shrimp and cornbread dressing.
Here are the other 14 best Christmas cities in. the USA
The quaint Pennsylvania town is known for getting dressed to the nines each holiday season. Bethlehem’s annual Christkindlmarkt is a heartwarming holiday event with live Christmas music and artisan vendors.
The nearby Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts the annual Winter Light Spectacular, which features more than 1.2 million shining bulbs.
North Pole, AK
The Alaska town has Christmas spirit all year round with the Santa Claus House, the world’s largest Santa, which stands nearly 50 feet tall, live reindeer, candy cane-striped lamp posts, and fun street names like Kris Kringle Drive and Snowman Lane.
The annual Dickens of a Christmas fills the streets with characters from A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist as well as merry-making dancers and musicians. Franklin also hosts a Christmas parade, tree-lighting ceremony and festival of lights.
Newport Beach, CA
The city holds the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade—the largest at-sea holiday celebration in the country—and the waterfront light display, the Ring of Lights. More than 100 boats ranging in size from yachts to canoes light up and sail 14 miles around Newport Harbor for five consecutive nights.
Other festivities include Nights of 1000 Lights at Sherman Library and Gardens.
Duluth has a lot to offer Christmas lovers, including a winter village where local small businesses sell unique goods and there are hot drinks and firepits to warm you up, and a scenic holiday train ride around Lake Superior, but the big draw is Bentleyville, a massive walk-through light display.
Santa Claus, IN
Dubbed America’s Christmas Hometown, the city celebrates the holiday with local festivities including a candy castle, a traditional chestnut roasting, live reindeer exhibits, and Santa’s Land of Lights, a 1.2-mile drive-through holiday light show.
From December to February, Leavenworth’s Village of Lights: Christmastown celebrates the holiday with over half a million lights, live entertainment, carolers, roasting chestnuts, and photo ops with Santa.
At Christmas Williamsburg pulls out all the stops, offering a roster of historical celebrations in addition to an ice pavilion, a Christmas market, and the chance to have cookies with Santa. Don’t miss the charming window displays in Merchants Square, and, for something more out of this century, check out the Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration.
Local businesses display over 700 colorful evergreens and creative trees made from go-kart tires, wine bottles, library books, and more.
Other must-see experiences include a scenic Polar Express train ride through the Ozark Mountains and An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City Amusement park, which features 6.5 million lights, 1,000 decorated trees, and Broadway-style shows.
What began in 1956 is now an impressive downtown display that features 265 evergreen trees covered in 500,000 lights and 160 decorated houses, and includes annual traditions such as a tree-lighting ceremony. There’s also the 73-year-old Yule Log Parade and a three-mile fun run through holiday lights.
Big Spring, TX
The city offers a Christmas parade and multiple events over Christmas time. Enjoy more than one million colorful lights from the warm comfort of your car at the Comanche Trail Festival of Lights or take the kids to experience a magical Christmas Tree Forest at the Heritage Museum,
The town transforms its historic steam train, the Durango & Silverton, into a holiday attraction. Board the Polar Express-inspired trip for a scenic ride through snowy mountains where kids will see Santa Claus in his workshop, meet two of his reindeer, and interact with characters from the book. For some time on the slopes, head to the nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area.
St. Augustine, FL
Line up for the city’s Christmas parade, see boats all lit up in the Holiday Regatta of Lights and hop aboard Old Town Trolley’s Nights of Lights Tour, where you’ll see over three million twinkling lights stretching across nearly 20 blocks.
Throughout December, Christmas in Newport, a 52-year-old tradition, offers concerts, tree lighting, craft fairs, candlelight house tours, and more.