The Best Places to Visit in December for Holiday-Themed Fun

The last month of the year is probably our most festive, as we immerse ourselves in the holiday season (time to dust off those ugly Christmas sweaters!). In addition to fun holiday-themed stuff, there are plenty of other things going on in December, including festivals, art fairs, and winter adventures. Here are some ideas for things to do and places to visit this December. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year!

The last month of the year is probably our most festive, as we immerse ourselves in the holiday season. Here are some ideas for things to do and places to visit this December.

Miami, Florida

Thanks to its tropical weather, Miami is already one of the best places to visit in December, but the presence of Art Basel: Miami Beach just kicks it up a notch. More than 250 art galleries participate in this renowned art fair that takes place from Dec. 5 through 8. In addition to exhibitions, the four-day event is famous for its celebrity-filled parties.BOOK NOW

Houston, Texas

If you’re a fan of tamales, head to Houston for the Tamale Festival on Dec. 7. Come hungry, because you’ll want to try all the different types of tamales, including ones filled with seasoned pork, plus cheese and vegan options. You’ll also find other treats like Texas barbecue, live music, and even a tamale-eating contest at this 0ne-day event.BOOK NOW

Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery Art’s Sculpture Garden in D.C. is transformed into an ice skating rink (open mid-November) surrounded by sculptures from the likes of Sol LeWitt and Roy Lichtenstein. You can also check out the beautifully lit National Christmas Tree and the thousands of LED holiday light installations called ZooLights at the National Zoo.BOOK NOW

Boston, Massachusetts

You can ice skate in Frog Pond in Boston Common, which becomes a rink in late November. When you need to warm up against those frigid New England temperatures, have a hot cocoa at the Pond Cottage. Also, throughout the month of December, the renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra performs its family-friendly Holiday Pops.


Chicago, Illinois

In Chicago from mid-November through Dec. 24, the city’s famed Christkindlmarket Chicago takes place. This holiday market, inspired by the Christmas markets in Germany, is located in Daley Plaza in the Loop. Listen to live music, sip hot spiced wine, snack on treats like strudel, and shop for high-quality crafts and gifts.BOOK NOW

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri, hosts the Ozark Mountain Christmas, a family-friendly festival that runs from the beginning of November through New Year’s Day. Expect plenty of parades, holiday music, Christmas shows, concerts, and spectacular Christmas light displays, including Silver Dollar City, an area featuring millions of twinkling lights.BOOK NOW

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

When the cold weather hits, it’s time to hit the slopes — and one of the best places to do that is Jackson Hole. In addition to world-class skiing, other outdoor activities include snowmobiling, dog sledding, and wildlife tours in Grand Teton National Park. Plus, Jackson’s town square is magically lit up throughout December.BOOK NOW

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, which bills itself as “Christmas City USA,” really gets into the holiday spirit, making it a top place to visit in December. One of its most popular events is Christkindlmarkt (on multiple days in November and December), where you can buy hand-blown glass ornaments, nutcrackers, paintings, jewelry, and other gift items.BOOK NOW

Las Vegas, Nevada

There’s always something happening in Las Vegas, and during the holiday season, the lights on the Strip and elsewhere get even brighter. Throughout the month of December, you can attend the annual Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a dazzling 2.5-mile drive-through light display featuring hundreds of animated displays.BOOK NOW

Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, Florida


Christmas Boat Parades are big in warm-weather destinations, especially in Florida. One of the oldest and largest is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, which takes place on Dec. 15 from Fort Lauderdale to Pompano Beach. See hundreds of boats on the Intracoastal Waterway, beautifully lit up with holiday lights.BOOK NOW

Seattle, Washington

Starting on Nov. 22 and going through Thanksgiving and Christmas (until Dec. 29) is Enchant, a Christmas extravaganza that takes places at Seattle’s SafeCo Field, home of the Mariners. This event, fun for the whole family, includes a Christmas light maze, an artisan market, festive food and drinks, and even an appearance by Santa himself!BOOK NOW

New York, New York

Of course, New York is known throughout the world for its magical Christmas celebrations, including the Rockefeller Center Tree (this year’s lighting takes place on Dec. 4), the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (with the Rockettes!), and the over-the-top Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. And after Christmas, the excitement continues with the dropping of the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve!BOOK NOW

Lake Tahoe, California

Ring in the new year at the SnowGlobe Music Festival (Dec. 29 through Jan. 1) in an outdoor venue surrounded by snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Aside from electronic and hip hop acts, expect Big Air snowboard demonstrations, fireworks, and late-night after parties. Last year’s lineup featured Dillon Francis, Travis Scott, and Zedd.

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