Special Report

The Most Festive Christmas Cities in the US

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Park City, Utah

Park City is known as one of the best skiing destinations in the country. It becomes a lot more than that around Christmas as holiday lights go up all over the city. Even Santa comes to visit on his sleigh covered with Christmas lights. Join him later for the annual Traditional Torchlight Parade, where about 100 people ski down the mountain with flares. The city’s Snowfest, which runs between Dec. 20 and Jan. 5, offers a lot more fun and entertainment.

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Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock often makes the lists of the most beautiful towns in the country. Locals may feel they have a reputation to uphold this time of the year because the town turns into a place straight out of a postcard, with the state’s famous winter landscapes as a backdrop. Woodstock is known for its annual Wassail Weekend. It’s a weekend full of fun events like parades, concerts, craft fairs, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a family-style Wassail Feast.

Alexandria, Virginia

The historic town of Alexandria has several unique holiday traditions. Its parade of water-skiing Santa and other Christmas characters is among the most popular. The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, which celebrates Alexandria’s heritage, has been around for nearly half a century. Other attractions include fireworks choreographed to holiday music and a meeting with Aladdin, the Christmas Camel, at Mount Vernon.

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Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth’s Christmas Lighting Festival offers live musical performances, a meet and greet with St. Nickolaus, a Christmas characters march, tubing and sleigh rides, and more fun. More than 500,000 twinkling lights decorate the Bavarian-style town center. The city’s location, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains, makes it a playground heaven.

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Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson is a ski destination; it’s home to three ski areas. (Its most famous attraction is perhaps the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.) So it’s no surprise to see the city turn into a snowy wonderland — a white Christmas is pretty much guaranteed — decorated with holiday lights everywhere. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge or go on a winter wildlife safari in famous Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks.