The Top Must-See Holiday Cities
Ho ho ho, Merry Traveling!
This holiday season, groups can get the ultimate dose of seasonal magic in these cities that take winter festivities almost as seriously as Santa Claus takes his naughty and nice list.
Home to the largest Christmas store in the world, Frankenmuth is a holiday dream. Groups can surround themselves with Bavarian-style architecture and peruse the snow-covered streets in search of the perfect gift (aka a bottle of wine or three) at one of the many shops along Main Street, such as the popular Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. Be sure to get your hard-to-find ornaments and nostalgic lawn decorations at the world famous Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland—open 361 days a year. Grab some chicken at the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder's and wash it all down with drinks at Frankenmuth Brewery.
Celebrate the most joyous time of year like a local in Chicago, by ice skating under the stars at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park before heading over to admire the dazzling animated light displays during ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. Historic State Street is home to Macy's, which always outdoes itself with gorgeously decorated window displays. If groups feel like doing some eating after their gift shopping, they can chow in The Walnut Room inside the department store, located near the decorated Great Tree, which celebrates its 111th lighting in 2018.
Winter is prime celebration time in Williamsburg! Groups can catch a glimpse of Christmas in the 17th century at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, see the dazzling lights of Christmas Town at Busch Gardens while sipping a signature peppermint hot fudge chocolate, and unwind after all the excitement with a glass of wine by a roaring fire. Colonial Williamsburg has over 400 seasonal programs, for groups of practically every taste and interest.
New York, New York
The quintessential holiday celebration destination, New York City does Christmas in a big way. Groups can stroll through the streets of the Big Apple before making their way to Rockefeller Center to admire the massive tree, all lit and trimmed to the nines. They can even lace up their skates to glide around the iconic ice rink right next to it. A performance by the world-famous Radio City Rockettes is one definitely not to miss, in addition to The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center and the mesmerizing laser show at Grand Central Station.
Santa Claus, Indiana
In a town that receives thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus each year, it's not hard to see why Santa Claus, Indiana, should be on groups' radar. I mean, the town is named after good ol' Saint Nick, after all! Groups who have always dreamed of roasting chestnuts over an open fire can now do just that, in addition to visiting the Santa Claus Museum & Village. You never know where you'll run into the jolly man of the hour while visiting!
This historic railroad town has good reason to celebrate their heritage around the holidays and does it in style. Almost every evening from Thanksgiving until Christmas, kids in pajamas flood the historic train depot to board the Polar Express. Yes, the actual Polar Express inspired by the award-winning book! This real train pulled by a real steam locomotive gives families and groups a chance to sip hot cocoa, visit Santa, and sing festive carols along the journey.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Gilmore.