Best Christmas Cities Around the World

If you can celebrate the holidays with someone you love, wherever you are is the best Christmas city. But if you’d like more options, we’ve got destination ideas – and links to fun things to do when you get there.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney has ways to save on holiday flights.

Best Christmas Cities

  • Click the city name, to find the cheapest flights.

Are these the very best cities? Debatable, of course, but people we spoke to cited the following cities as holiday favorites. If yours didn’t make the list, let us know.

Denver: The Mile High City offers gorgeous views of snow-capped Rockies and nearby runs will captivate expert and not-so-expert skiers and snow boarders. Then tour the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown (where you may glimpse Santa), visit the German Christmas Market, go skating downtown or hang around for excellent New Year’s Eve fireworks. Learn more here.

London: Maybe it’s the Charles Dickens factor, but no city seems to embody the spirit of the season quite like London. Its charming Christmas fairs and markets such as Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland which offer unique gifts, ice sculptures, rides and festive food (don’t forget the mulled wine). Or see a traditional pantomime show, take the children to see Father Christmas and savor the beautiful light displays of Bond Street, Covent Garden and Oxford Street. Learn more here.

New York: The city shines at Christmas from the glittering tree at Rockefeller Center to the always-imaginative decorations in department store windows. Go ice skating, see a Nutcracker ballet (there are several), do something touristy like catching the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall before choosing from 20,000+ restaurants featuring cuisines of the world. Plenty of fun things to do for Hanukkah, too. Learn more here.

Orlando: Yes, Universal, Disney World and other theme parks are open 365 days a year but the city also boasts light shows, parades and festive fireworks. Even Orlando International gets into the spirit with several live music shows at the airport (including strolling carolers) through Dec. 22. Learn more here.

Prague: The brilliant lights of Prague’s Christmas markets draw visitors from around the world; Old Town and Wenceslas Square markets are cherished for exquisite handicrafts like ceramics, jewelry and glassware but try the local beer and try the local sausages. Then watch a ballet or go to the opera or tour more spectacular light displays. Learn more here.

Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico: These beautiful New Mexico towns are 70 miles apart and it’s a drive worth taking. Santa Fe, founded in 1607, is an exuberant city that blends old and new where Christmas means thousands of lights, seasonal music programs, art exhibits and lively nightlife. Try the posole chili stew for your holiday meal or the traditional tamales. Learn more about Santa Fe here. In Taos, the Pueblo community celebrates Christmas Eve in an outdoor ceremony that locals say combines Catholicism with ancient Indian beliefs; spectators gather at sunset to watch it unfold against the dramatic background of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Learn more about Taos here.

Sydney: Watch the Town Hall façade erupt in color during the traditional light projections, or go to a concert featuring music ranging from Christmas carols to rock n’ roll. Tip: The dazzling Christmas Light Forest at the Pitt Street Mall is just a stroll away from the cities iconic opera house. Learn more here.

Vancouver: When you’re tired of world-class skiing at Whistler (about a 2 hour drive on the shuttle), enjoy the popular Christmas Market in Queen Elizabeth Plaza  and other holiday attractions: light displays, festive music and theater shows children and adults. As always, the city’s restaurant scene is a favorite of discriminating diners year-round. Learn more here.


Updated: December 8, 2014