Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Light Up the Night in Natchitoches, Louisiana
If you're looking to extend those holiday vibes well into the new year, look no further than Natchitoches, Louisiana. This charming Southern town along the Cane River holds the title for the oldest Christmas festival in the state, with festivities that extend from November all the way until January 6th.
The highlight is the incredible Festival of Lights that illuminates downtown Natchitoches and the riverbank. Over 300,000 twinkling lights transform the historic district into a magical winter wonderland. Historic homes and businesses are decked out in multi-colored lights. Larger-than-life Christmas displays and over 100 set pieces representing classic scenes from Christmas movies and stories further add to the festive atmosphere.
Wandering the streets underneath the canopy of lights is like stepping into a Hallmark movie or a Thomas Kinkade painting. Horse-drawn carriages clip-clop down the cobblestone streets while carolers serenade and costumed performers greet visitors. The aromas of roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate, and fresh beignets fill the air.
Beyond the lights, there's plenty of other festive happenings to enjoy. You can catch live performances from choirs, dance troupes, and theater groups. Special events include a Christmas parade, bonfires along the riverbank, candlelit tours of historic homes, and breakfasts with Santa. The shops and restaurants join in the celebrations by hosting open houses, specials, and holiday decor contests.
Visitors rave about the friendly, festive atmosphere and stunning light displays that capture the magic of Christmas. Many say the lights and holiday cheer transport them back to the nostalgia of childhood. Families enjoy strolling at a leisurely pace to soak it all in, finding new wonders around each corner.
What else is in this post?
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Light Up the Night in Natchitoches, Louisiana
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - St. Augustine's Nights of Lights Shine Bright
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - California Dreaming of a White Christmas in Julian
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Christmas Town USA Lives Up to Its Name in McAdenville, North Carolina
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Frankenmuth's Christmas Magic Continues Through January
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Branson's Ozark Mountain Christmas Lasts For Months
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - A Month of Christmas Cheer in Santa Claus, Indiana
- Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Leavenworth's Christmas Lighting Ceremony Spans Two Months
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - St. Augustine's Nights of Lights Shine Bright
Ready to bask in some serious holiday glow? Look no further than St. Augustine, Florida for a truly luminous experience. From mid-November through late January, the city's historic district sparkles with over 3 million lights during the annual Nights of Lights festival.
Twinkling white lights adorn the buildings and trees, while colored lights illuminate the Bridge of Lions and other iconic structures. The mesmerizing lights reflect off the waters of Matanzas Bay, creating a magical scene throughout the city's narrow cobblestone streets.
The dazzling light displays transform St. Augustine into a hallmark holiday card come to life. You'll feel like you stepped into a Thomas Kinkade painting, with the soft glow casting a dreamlike spell. The lights evoke a sense of childlike wonder, transporting you back to the nostalgia of the season.
Beyond the visual splendor, there's plenty of merry happenings to enjoy. Nightly holiday parades, concerts, and shows entertain visitors. Festive foods like hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, and sugar cookies add to the cheery atmosphere. Horse-drawn carriages offer cozy rides underneath the shimmering lights.
But the main event is simply strolling the streets and taking in the captivating scenes. The creative light displays on historic buildings like the Spanish Military Hospital and the businesses of St. George Street never cease to delight.
Looking for the best views? Head to the seawall along Matanzas Bay or to Castillo de San Marcos. At the national monument, the lights reflecting over the water and fort walls create a striking panorama. You'll snap Instagram-worthy shots at every turn.
Visitors consistently rave about the charm and holiday spirit of Nights of Lights. The stellar light displays and festive ambiance exceed expectations. The relaxing pace lets you leisurely soak up the cheer without crowds or hassles.
Couples enjoy romantic, hand-in-hand strolls with stunning backdrops. Families revel in the nostalgia and wonder, capturing memorable moments. It's an ideal setting to get into the holiday mood or celebrate the season with loved ones.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - California Dreaming of a White Christmas in Julian
Tired of sunny California Christmases with no snow in sight? Trade palm trees for snow-capped peaks in the charming mountain town of Julian, just a short drive from San Diego. Known for its apple orchards, pies, and cider, Julian transforms into a magical winter wonderland come the holiday season. With snow on the ground and Victorian charm all around, it's easy to get into the Christmas spirit here.
Winter visits to Julian are like stepping into a snow globe or Christmas card scene. The town is decked out in twinkling lights, wreaths, bows, and other festive decor. Charming historic buildings downtown sport frosty window scenes and vintage holiday displays. Cottage-style inns emit a warm glow, their porches adorned with evergreen boughs and red bows. The fresh mountain air carries notes of cinnamon and spices.
Julian comes alive with holiday happenings from November through January. Parades, musical performances, craft shows, and other events add to the cheer. Sip hot cider or cocoa and nibble on gingerbread cookies as you browse the specialty shops and boutiques. Photos with Santa, ornament making, and holiday meals at cozy restaurants further evoke nostalgia.
The main draw is the snow, which commonly arrives in December. Sledding, snowman building, snowball fights, and cozying up by a fire pit are favorite activities. Pan for gold, go ice skating, or try a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Local outfitters offer snowshoeing and cross-country ski adventures through snow-draped forests.
At night, bundle up for wagon rides through shimmering woods draped in a million holiday lights. It's enough to make even the grinchiest Grinch exclaim with glee. Kids' eyes will sparkle as brightly as the lights, especially when flakes are falling.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Christmas Town USA Lives Up to Its Name in McAdenville, North Carolina
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...everywhere you turn in McAdenville, North Carolina. This small town near Charlotte transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland from early December through New Year’s, fully earning its designation as “Christmas Town USA.”
Wandering McAdenville’s streets lined with hundreds of thousands of twinkling red, green, and white lights feels like stepping into the North Pole itself. The festive decor and small town charm captivate visitors, filling them with nostalgia and reminding them of the true meaning of the season.
Every corner of this Southern town gets decked out for the holidays. Main Street features larger-than-life light displays like aSplash Mountain-style train and carousel. Downtown, the quaint shops and restaurants compete in a decorating contest, their historic facades adorn with wreaths, lights, and Christmas scenes.
In cozy, dimly-lit Pharr Mill Park, you’ll find over 375 illuminated trees. Take a leisurely stroll down candy cane lane as you admire the dancing lights synchronized to holiday music. Gaze in wonder at the focal point, a brilliant 85-foot tall Christmas tree glittering with over 85,000 lights.
Beyond the stellar lights, there are activities like Christmas concerts, holiday movie showings, visits with Santa, and horse-drawn carriage rides. You can admire model train displays, craft ornaments, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. It all adds to the nostalgic, festive feel.
Visitors say the charm and small town vibes make it easy to lose yourself in the magic of Christmas here. The scale is perfect for families, unlike crowded big city light shows. Kids’ eyes gleam brighter than the lights as they take in each new wonder. Parents relish the precious memories it helps create.
Couples enjoy romantic strolls hand-in-hand, exchanging sweet kisses under the mistletoe. For many, it’s an annual tradition they cherish. Residents take great pride in creating a memorable experience full of joy and giving.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Frankenmuth's Christmas Magic Continues Through January
The picture-perfect Bavarian-style town of Frankenmuth, Michigan exudes storybook charm all year round. But from late November through January, this little slice of Germany in the Midwest positively dazzles with Christmas spirit.
Frankenmuth kicks off the holiday season in style with a Christkindlemarkt and lighting festival extravaganza. On Main Street, the lamp posts and buildings get draped in illuminated garlands. Shops extend their hours and deck their halls to the nines. Twinkling lights dangle from every eave, while wreaths, ribbons, and bows adorn every door and window. Inside, you’ll find specialty shops brimming with handcrafted European ornaments and decorations.
At night when the lights glow their brightest, horse-drawn carriages clip clop down the snowy lanes for storybook rides. The aromas of roasted nuts, fresh pastries, and savory wursts fill the frosty air. And locals and visitors alike come together to sing carols, visit with Santa, and revel in the holiday magic.
Frankenmuth takes Yuletide traditions seriously. One highlight is listening to the high school choir’s Christmas concerts at the local Lutheran church; the soaring vaulted ceilings make the music positively angelic. Kids love writing letters to Santa through JingleBell Express, a miniature post office run by 'elves.' For a dose of nostalgia, catch a Christmas classic flick or holiday concert at the local dinner theater.
This Bavarian-style town pulls out all the stops with decorative flair. Wander through the whimsical Wonderland walk-through Christmas tree display. At Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, billed as the World's Largest Christmas Store, you'll find just about any decoration imaginable spread across 50,000 square feet of twinkling, glittering holiday heaven.
With kids in tow, make time for Sankt Nikolaus Christkindlmarkt at Heritage Park. Old Saint Nick holds court in Santa Haus for photos. Kids can ride ponies, pet reindeer, and zoom down an ice slide too. And adults will find German crafts, beer, glühwein, and meats aplenty at the outdoor stalls.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Branson's Ozark Mountain Christmas Lasts For Months
Immerse yourself in miles of twinkling lights, festive shows, and good old-fashioned holiday cheer during an Ozark Mountain Christmas celebration in Branson, Missouri. This wholesome Midwest vacation spot pulls out all the stops for the season, with celebrations that last from early November all the way through New Year's Day.
Wandering downtown Branson this time of year feels like walking through a holiday card scene. More than 175 acres are illuminated by over 6.5 million lights, transforming the entertainment district into a magical winter wonderland after dark. Glittering icicle lights arc over the streets while animated displays like dancing snowflakes and gigantic LED Christmas trees add to the festive ambiance. At the Fountain Park, you can sit fireside and admire over 700 decorated trees throughout the park amidst the glow.
Beyond admiring the dazzling lights, live shows are the cornerstone of an Ozark Mountain Christmas. Branson's entertainment lineup features beloved Christmas classics along with new, original productions to put you in the holiday spirit. Catch a Christmas jubilee-style show with nostalgic tunes, dazzling dancers, and dynamic production numbers. Or take in a holiday-themed Cirque adventure, Christmas on the Titanic musical production, or comic variety show complete with Santa and his mischievous elves.
For family fun, Silver Dollar City theme park is brilliantly illuminated with over 6.5 million lights. Enjoy thrilling rollercoasters and festive shows along with visiting with Santa, gingerbread decorating, and Christmas culinary crafts. You can even ride the lighted Frisco Sing-Along Steam Train or warm up beside roaring bonfires. Kids' eyes will light up brighter than the lights.
The Magic of Christmas festival at Shepherd of the Hills immerses you in the holiday spirit with activities straight from the pages of cherished Christmas stories. Adults and kids alike marvel at the interactive light displays and holiday vignettes. Meet storybook characters like Tiny Tim and Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol”. Snap pics with Santa among imaginative North Pole scenes before his big flight. Afterwards, catch a performance of the beloved holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol” live onstage.
Beyond the lights, Silver Dollar City and Shepherd of the Hills offer crafts, carolers, holiday treats, and opportunities to give back. Various resorts host breakfasts with Santa, tree lightings, caroling, and other festive happenings too. However you choose to celebrate, the Ozarks serve up hospitality, nostalgia, and holiday ambiance by the sleighful.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - A Month of Christmas Cheer in Santa Claus, Indiana
Laughing all the way is easy in the tiny Midwest town of Santa Claus, Indiana, where St. Nick is the star of the show all December long. We’re talking full immersion into the merriment, magic, and nostalgia of the season from late November through Christmas.
Under twinkling lights, the entire town gets decked out with wreaths, garland, and red-bowed evergreens. Shop windows frost over with paintings of Santa and his reindeer. Inside, kids pose for pics with the big guy himself as the aroma of fresh sugar cookies fills the air. At Santa’s Candy Castle, little hands press their noses to the glass watching Santa’s helpers craft delectable treats. Make sure to sample the artisan fudge and spiced cocoa before strolling on.
At Lake Rudolph Campground, the nights sparkle even brighter with a dazzling drive-through light display. Cruise through the woods aglow with over two million colorful lights choreographed to holiday tunes. Glimpse dazzling vignettes like the 12 Days of Christmas, Butterfly Forest, and Enchanted Deer Forest from the cozy confines of your car.
Don’t miss Santa’s Workshop where you can channel your inner elf while crafting keepsake ornaments with the kids. Write letters to Santa and tour his office where a collection of vintage toys and trinkets offer a glimpse into Christmas past. Outside, ride a toboggan down Cool Yule Hill or let the little ones burn off energy on Kringle’s Klimb climbing structure. Visiting hours guarantee ample time for photos with Santa in front of the larger-than-life sleigh.
On Christmas Eve, gather downtown for Santa’s Arrival Celebration where St. Nick disembarks from a glowing red trolley to switch on the town Christmas tree. Kids' eyes widen as the lights sparkle to life, officially launching the town’s holiday season. Carolers, hot cocoa, reindeer rides, and fireworks add to the festivities.
Throughout December, holiday concerts, cookie exchanges, Christmas plays, and Breakfasts with Santa further spread the cheer. And kids 10 and under can send their wish list to the big guy himself with the town’s special North Pole postmark.
Extend the Holiday Cheer: Visit These U.S. Towns Where Christmas Lasts Until February - Leavenworth's Christmas Lighting Ceremony Spans Two Months
Each holiday season, the picture-perfect Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington dazzles with Old World charm and shimmering lights. From late November through early January, the town's Christmas Lighting Ceremony enchants visitors with holiday magic that spans nearly two months.
As darkness falls each evening, over half a million twinkling lights illuminate Leavenworth in a warm, festive glow. The charming German-style architecture provides an ideal storybook backdrop. Every roofline, window, and streetlamp gets draped in white icicle lights that reflect a kaleidoscope of colors off the snow below. Meanwhile, splashes of red, green, and gold lights adorn the shops and restaurants, accenting wreaths, garlands, and ribbon bedecked street lamps.
Wander through town inhaling the aromas of roasted nuts, gingerbread, and savory wursts that fill the frosty air. Take in carolers, bell ringers, live music, and costumed performers adding to the holiday ambiance. Kids gaze in wonder at the elaborate storefront windows and larger-than-life displays. Snap selfies in front of the towering, glittering Christmas tree in the town square.
The celebratory mood is contagious. Locals exude pride at bringing the spirit of an old-fashioned German Christkindlmarkt to life. Visitors remark how the charm and nostalgia fill them with childlike wonder that only the magic of twinkling lights can evoke.
Each Saturday and Sunday evening, more lights fill the sky with a dazzling fireworks show choreographed to beloved carols. Make time for horse-drawn sleigh rides too. Bundled under cozy blankets, you'll clip-clop through the shimmering village as flakes softly fall. It's a romantic capsulization of holiday perfection.
Beyond the lights, Leavenworth offers ample opportunities for merrymaking. Catch a Christmas play or concert by lantern light at the quaint Gazebo Park bandshell. Write a letter to Santa and mail it from the oversized red mailbox downtown. Sample Christmas brews and local wines; you'll find tasting rooms aplenty.
At the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, kids can visit and even feed Santa's trusty team, along with furry alpacas, Arctic foxes, and elk. And at nearby Stevens Pass, hit the slopes or enjoy sleigh rides through snowy mountain scenery.