Best Historic Homes for Holiday Tours

By BT Editor / USAToday
December 18, 2023
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The Biltmore at Christmas by Stephanie Klepacki - Unsplash

Step back into time with these enchanting tours of historic homes and properties across the United States. With elaborately decorated Christmas trees, expertly-themed rooms, illuminated courtyards, and stunning candle-lit architecture, you might even get inspired to revamp your own home decor this time of year!

All of the homes below topped the list for this year's Best Historic Homes for Holiday Tours. Nominees for all categories were chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties.

#10. Biltmore (Asheville, North Carolina)

Christmas at the Biltmore in North Carolina by Stephanie Klepacki - Unsplash

On Christmas Eve of 1895, George Vanderbilt officially opened his 250-room French Renaissance chateau in Asheville, North Carolina, to family and friends. Today, it is the largest privately owned home in the country. Step back into America's Gilded Age at Christmastime for a daytime or evening tour. By day, the elegant rooms of Biltmore House shimmer, beautifully bedecked with Christmas trees, ribbons, garlands, and thousands of twinkling lights. In the evening, flickering candlelight, glowing fireplaces, and live music invite you to imagine yourself a guest at the first Vanderbilt family Christmas in 1895. Christmas tours are available through the day on January 7th.

#9. Filoli Historic House and Garden (Woodside, California)

Experience the magic of the season, both day and night, at Filoli through January 7th. Special "Santa Days," holiday teas, and firepit experiences are also held during the holiday season. Curators are available to guide tours inside the 1917 historic home, which was built for prominent San Franciscan William Bowers Bourn. The name "Filoli" was created by combining the first two letters from the keywords of Bourn's credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” During Holidays at Filoli, visitors can stroll the illuminated grounds by night or see the decorated home by day in a Gilded Guide tour with the curator.

#8. Trail End (Sheridan, Wyoming)

The John Kendrick Mansion, better known as Trail End, is an early 1900s Flemish Revival-style home showing off the life of Western cattle barons. During the winter, visitors can enjoy figgy pudding and decorations at the Holiday Open House or take an intimate tour by electric candlelight — complete with live actors — during Christmas with the Kendricks. On January 1st, there is also a special "First Day Hike" program that begins at Trail End at 10am. While not inside the home itself, this annual tour takes participants through the northwest corner of town that includes the Trail End grounds, the buffalo and elk pasture, the fairgrounds, and new and historic neighborhoods. Several short talks are presented along the way, full of well-researched history.

#7. Newport Mansions (Newport, Rhode Island)

The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island by Gwendolyn Kwong - Unsplash

Why tour one home, when you could see three? Holidays at the Newport Mansions includes the opportunity to see three, impeccably-decorated historic estates: The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms. Nearly 30 Christmas trees are exquisitely decorated to complement the décor and theme of each room, like Mr. Vanderbilt’s tree in The Breakers, ornamented with trains and top hats! Hundreds of poinsettias, garlands, wreaths and fresh floral arrangements add color, warmth and life. As always, the 15-foot-tall poinsettia tree in the Great Hall of The Breakers – made up of 150 poinsettia plants – provides a perfect holiday photo opportunity.

#6. Brucemore (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Learn about the Douglas Family and their home from 1906 to 1937, the Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa while taking in festive seasonal decor and beautiful mantle arrangements. Holiday tours allow visitors to explore the first, second, and third floors of the mansion at their own pace. Afterwards, guests can head outside and tour the the 26-acres of grounds and gardens at no additional cost. During the winter season, there are also "Holiday Nights" evening tours available in addition to the Christmas tours during the day.

#5. Glensheen Mansion (Duluth, Minnesota)

Duluth, Minnesota in the winter by ginger - Unsplash

Glensheen is a 20,000-square-foot, Jacobean-style mansion set on the shores of Lake Superior. Experience the magic of Christmas and be taken back to the early 1900s when Glensheen was built with a candlelight tour at Christmas: 27 trees, hundreds of feet of garland, and thousands of Christmas lights adorn the rooms and halls throughout the house. For those looking for extra fun or a family-friendly activity, there are also 25 elves hidden throughout the mansion to find as you take your tour.

#4 Meadow Brook Hall (Michigan)

Meadow Brook at the holidays - courtesy of Visit Detroit

A National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook was built by Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge. Constructed in Rochester, Michigan between 1926 and 1929, the 110-room Tudor mansion is especially renowned for its superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale. The Holidays at Meadow Brook offer two dazzling ways to experience the estate. By day, the beloved annual Holiday Walk transports visitors through the historic mansion decked in shimmering splendor, with over 50 magnificent trees, trimmings and lights galore. In the evening, Winter Wonder Lights transforms the estate into a breathtaking light show featuring music, seasonal treats, bonfires, and holiday magic. Each event is its own self-guided experience. Tickets must be booked for a specific date and time and are available online only at

#3. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, Ohio)

Stan Hywet Hall is Akron, Ohio's first and largest National Historic Landmark and the nation's sixth-largest historic home open to the public. The Tudor mansion was built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber co-founder F.A. Seiberling between 1912 and 1915. During their Deck the Hall event, the estate is illuminated with 1.2 million holiday lights. In the Manor House, look for a sleigh ride date night for Santa and Mrs. Claus on the West Porch, the Reindeer Flight Academy in the Round Room and an underwater mermaid party in Irene's Room. Visits with Santa are available at Rudolph's Corral on select dates. Don't forget to enjoy cocoa and a *hot* gingerbread cookie or beer, wine and a pretzel from the new Molly's Courtyard Cafe.

#2. The Christmas Mansion, formerly Stetson Mansion (DeLand, Florida)

With a name like "The Christmas Mansion," it's no surprise this estate is near the top of the list! This grand, High Victorian property was built in 1886 for American hatmaker John B. Stetson as his winter retreat. Formerly known as Stetson Mansion, the home has festive holiday tours from early November until late January that take guests through its 10 rooms, each adorned with completely different decorations sourced from around the world. Both guided and self-guided tours are available.

#1. Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee)

Topping the rankings is Elvis Presley’s former estate in Memphis. Beginning in mid-November with a holiday lighting ceremony, visitors touring the home will encounter seasonal decor, traditional lights, a life-size nativity scene, Presley family Christmas artifacts on display, and Elvis' Santa. The mansion also puts on a Christmas holiday concert one weekend and guests can even take advantage of a special holiday package that includes hotel accommodations, a Christmas tour, and other fun holiday items.

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Head to Minnesota for a Snowy, Outdoor Adventure

The wilds of Minnesota are a dream for nature lovers, but most especially for those who live for cold weather and snowy escapes. Using Minneapolis as a base, visitors can enjoy both the relaxation of the city and easy access to the thrills of several outdoor winter activities and cold-weather sports, such as ice fishing and skiing. This season, the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis continues a five-month-long celebration of winter. It makes the perfect place to stay for relaxation after an adventurous day; enjoy dining and shopping in the Nordic Village or a guided sauna experience at The Spa. Additionally, to keep guests warm and cozy throughout their activities of choice, the Hotel will be offering a selection of winter wear on loan from Canada Goose—so if you were worried about fitting all those jackets and gear on your carry-on, don't be. So go ahead and plan a trip filled with some of the incredible outdoor experiences below—everything is within 45 minutes from the city—but don't forget to schedule in some relaxation after all that action-packed fun. Ice fish on Lake Minnetonka Few things are as Northern as standing in the cold, waiting for the fish to bite. But, RĒL Fishing provides the glamping version of an ice-fishing adventure. Located on Lake Minnetonka, this endearing village of ice houses is well-equipped with everything one needs to catch fish in comfort and style. Explore magical, wintry trails Nordic skiing in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Offering a healthy workout and unique access to winter nature, cross-country skiing is a popular Minnesota sport for all ages. The trails at Theodore Wirth Park – headquarters of The Loppet Foundation – are world class; Olympic gold medalist and Minnesota native Jessie Diggins has skied here, and the park will host the COOP FIS Cross-Country World Cup in February. A snowshoe excursion along the trails of Fort Snelling State Park allows guests an opportunity to revel in the quiet beauty of winter, take in the tranquil scenery and access the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers – a sacred place that marks the origin of the Dakota tribe. Finally, visitors can explore the natural landscape just north of the Twin Cities while enjoying the great outdoors – and a bit of adventure. Snowmobiles can cover a large amount of varied terrain, from lakes to park reserves to unique Minnesota towns. Snowmobiling in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Try curling at Frogtown Curling Club The Twin Cities are home to more curlers than anywhere else in the country, and they play this unique sport as much for the strategy and skill as the post-game socializing. Visitors will spot signatures from former US team skipper Debbie McCormick and John Landsteiner, member of the 2018 Olympic team, on the Frogtown Wall of Fame. Ice skate outdoors Ice skating in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis At 110,000 square feet, the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL is the largest refrigerated outdoor rink in North America. Whether figure skating, speed skating or playing pond hockey – a Minnesota tradition – the evergreen-lined loop welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities. Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansenhave skated the loop. Alternatively, head to Centennial Lakes Park. Nestled in the tiny suburb Edina, this charming 24-acre park features a large pond. Offering a warming house and skate rentals, popular restaurants sit just steps away for post-skate refreshments. Snow tube at Buck Hill Located just beyond the Twin Cities, Buck Hill has been the training ground for Olympic skiers like Lindsey Vonn, Tasha Nelson McCrank and Kristina Koznick. While visitors can take to the steep ski hills, tubing is a family-friendly way for the young and young at heart to satisfy a need for speed. Relax in luxury at the Four Seasons Nordic Village at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Get the best of both worlds by returning to the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis after a long day spent adventuring outdoors in the cold. A collection of cedar cabins on the hotel's fourth floor alfresco space, Nordic Village is open for dinners, private events and buyouts Wednesdays through Sundays through March 31, 2024, and local shopping on winter weekends through January 28, 2024. Minnesota's own MartinPatrick3, an internationally recognized boutique dedicated to building a one-of-a-kind experience, designed and decorated the cabins, while area curator Mich Berthiaume facilities the markets. Those who dine in Nordic Village unlock seasonal savings on an overnight stay – and suites include a bottle of Dom Pérignon. Reservations become available one month at a time on Tock. Just beyond Nordic Village, The Spa is offering a guided sauna experience as part of its commitment to nourishment through nature. This 75-minute service is curated for each guest with their unique wellness goals in mind. Appointments for one to eight people may be made online. Finally, if you're looking for a special dining experience, try the hotel's Mediterranean-inspired establishment, Mara. Seasonal events include two meals on Christmas Eve (December 24), all-day dining on Christmas Day (December 25), four courses on New Year's Eve (December 31), a new prix-fixe menu for New Year's Day (January 1) and a signature event – A Winter's Table (February 1) – during The Great Northern Festival. Reservations are available on Tock.


Enchanting Light Displays to Visit this Holiday Season

When the days get shorter, every small town and big city break out the lights for park trees and main streets. One of the best pastimes of the season is taking in the magical scenes of classic, neighborhood displays as well as special installations at local landmarks and businesses. Take a look at the list below for inspiration on where to go for some of the most enchanting sights of the season this year across the US. Head underground to this sparkling cavern Lights under Louisville - courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism When the temperature goes down, the cheer and warmth of Louisville, Kentucky welcomes visitors to experience the holiday spirit through captivating light displays and decorations. Downtown Louisville brightens up the state with millions of sparkling lights, but none more exciting than the annual Lights Under Louisville at the Louisville Mega Cavern, happening from November 10th to January 1st. Drive through the MEGA Cavern to witness the world's only underground holiday light show, featuring 40 themed displays, over 900 lit characters, and more than 6.5 million points of light. It's a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience! See New York City landmarks at their brightest Grand Central station in New York at Christmastime by Johnell Panell - Unsplash New York City's holiday season is a spectacle of lights, cheer, and joy, and Like A Local Tours invites visitors and locals alike to experience this wonder firsthand with their exclusive Private Fifth Avenue Lights & Sights Holiday Walking Tour. This 3-hour tour is an invitation to experience the holiday magic of Manhattan like never before. Starting at the iconic New York Public Library, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, guests will embark on a 1.5-mile walk, guided by an experienced, local guide. This tour is an intimate exploration of the city's festive heart, perfect for families starting new traditions, friends seeking adventure, or those welcoming out-of-town guests. Tour highlights Include: Iconic Landmarks: Marvel at the majestic Rockefeller Center, home to the famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink.Holiday Markets and Treats: Explore the Bryant Park Winter Village and Columbus Circle Holiday Market, featuring unique gifts and treat yourself to one of NYC's most Instagrammable doughnuts and warm up with mulled wine or hot cocoa.Spectacular Window Displays: Fifth Avenue's renowned store windows are a must-see, showcasing creative and awe-inspiring holiday designs.St. Patrick's Cathedral's Holiday Spirit: Visit the stunning St. Patrick's Cathedral, beautifully decorated for the holiday season, and take a moment for reflection.Educational and Entertaining Stories: Learn about the history and traditions of New York City's holiday season. The Private Fifth Avenue Lights & Sights Holiday Walking Tour is more than a sightseeing experience; it's a journey into the heart of New York City's holiday spirit. Create cherished memories and enjoy the essence of the holidays in one of the world's jolliest cities this time of the year. Reservations for the tour are now open. Experience the magic of New York City's holiday season and make this year's festivities unforgettable. Marvel at the spirited sights of horse country Southern Lights at Kentucky Horse Park - courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism In Lexington, Kentucky, visitors can enjoy a drive through light display in the heart of horse country. Celebrating its 30th year at the Kentucky Horse Park, Southern Lights Holiday Festival is one of the top light shows in the Southeast. From November 24th - December 31st, Lexington showcases the best of Kentucky’s famed horse country with a holiday influence in this elaborate three-mile seasonal display. At the end of the route, the Kentucky Horse park invites visitors to park and explore the Holiday Village (included in admission) where guests can enjoy a petting zoo, train ride and meet-and-greet with Santa. Explore Rock City's enchanted garden Venture through the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennesee. Christmas spirit shines bright at Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights. From November 17th to January 6th, journey through magical realms of winter wonder as over one million LED lights illuminate Lookout Mountain's most iconic attraction. Grab a picture with Santa at the North Pole Village thru Dec. 23 and decorate Christmas cookies with Mrs. Claus. Hot chocolate and other delicious treats including fudge and fried cookie dough make the nights even sweeter. Pets are welcome. A portion of ticket proceeds benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga. Experience magic at Hogwarts Castle Hogwarts Castle lit up during the holiday season - courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort Head to Orlando, Florida to Universal Studios for truly fantastic lights and decor. Holiday magic fills The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as the streets of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade transform into a wizarding holiday wonderland overflowing with festively themed décor, lights, garland and more. The nighttime spectacle, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” returns to Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure bringing to life a stunning projection show highlighting Christmas moments and holiday spirit inspired by the beloved characters and stories of the “Harry Potter” films. The Frog Choir, comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant croaking frogs also returns to Hogsmeade with a special holiday-themed performance, plus guests can groove to the music of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensation, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, in Diagon Alley. Take it slow through the Bristol Speedway The Speedway in Lights is a breathtaking holiday spectacle that illuminates the Bristol Motor Speedway near the Virginia and Tennessee border, transforming it into a mesmerizing winter wonderland. As visitors drive through the speedway's grounds, they are greeted by a dazzling array of more than two million twinkling lights, forming intricate displays and enchanting scenes that capture the spirit of the season. The meticulously crafted light displays range from vibrant holiday-themed exhibits to whimsical depictions of popular characters, creating a captivating journey that evokes wonder and joy. In addition to the enchanting light displays, Bristol's Speedway in Lights often features special themed nights, live entertainment and opportunities for visitors to engage in festive activities, making it a must-visit destination during the winter holiday season.Marvel at a coastal wonderlandLights in Gulfport, Mississippi - courtesy of Play Coastal Mississippi Experience the 9th Annual Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, named the 'Most Magical Show in Mississippi,' on the coast of Mississippi through December 31st, from 5:30 – 10:30 pm. The celebration includes new light shows, rides, live entertainment, and more. Closed Christmas Eve, Open Christmas Day.


Heat Things Up at These Romantic, Warm-Weather Winter Destinations

Looking to heat things up this winter? It may be a long way until summer is here, but there's plenty of sunshine and fun to be had at the southern destinations below. If you're looking for the perfect honeymoon spot or couples getaway, there's something for every type of traveler at the destinations below: from a tropical island paradise and beachside adventures, to a unique desert oasis and a vibrant city center. Book a romantic getaway to St. Barts The Christopher Hotel in St. Barthelemy by Shanna Camilleri - Unsplash Located in the French West Indies, St. Barts invites couples of all interests to relax and experience true romantic bliss with the island’s vast selection of excellent accommodations and numerous hotel honeymoon offerings - ensuring a true lover’s paradise. With some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, there is no spot more romantic to enjoy with a loved one. See below for details on each of these St. Barts hotels, their romantic packages, experiences and why they are prime destinations for the dreamiest honeymoons. For dreamy and indulgent experiences, stay at Cheval Blanc — Discover one of the most beautiful bays of the Caribbean - Colombier Bay - aboard your choice of a private yacht, a sailing boat or a catamaran. The sunrise to sunset "Great Blue' sea experience, offers guests of Cheval Blanc St Barth the privacy of the ocean and its most pristine, quiet beaches while in the hands of the Maison's team of 'Ambassadeurs' to cater to every need. The day starts with a snorkeling experience among sea turtles and exploring all the underwater sights of the island, before dropping anchor near the pristine white beach of Colombier Bay, where an elaborate picnic display of French-Caribbean delicacies and Champagne awaits. At sunset, sip a last cocktail accompanied by delicious amuse-bouche facing the sublime white sandbank of Colombier. Sail back along the coastline before returning to your room or to enjoy the tranquility of the Maison’s tropical gardens with a Guerlain spa treatment in the Tropical Pavilion. For the eco-minded and adventurous, try Le Barthelemy — Nestled on a quiet bay, set back from the island buzz, Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, is the quintessential milieu for honeymooners. The conscious wellness-minded couple will love it here, with private yoga sessions overlooking the Natures Reserve, ethically-sourced cuisine and zero-waste cooking classes with the head chef at AMIS St. Barth, ancient water healing experiences like Janzu, Nordic water therapy and aquatic sound therapy and sailing and snorkeling trips around the island on the resort’s private boat. Le Barthelemy’s long-standing partnership with Coral Restoration St. Barth not only supports the regeneration of the surrounding natural reef but creates a special undersea adventure for couples to snorkel and dive to replant coral and leave their mark in St. Barts forever. The hotel’s butler-style service creates an elevated sense of personalization, including everything from monogramming bathrobes to delivering champagne to the suite with a touch of a button--literally there is a ‘champagne please’ button on the room phone.Foodies will love a trip to Rosewood Le Guanahani — Epicurean couples can embark on a romantic culinary journey imbued with the flavors of the Mediterranean with the resort’s bespoke dining experience. In this one-of-a-kind offering, Chef Ollivault and his team will create a custom menu for couples to enjoy in their preferred venue, from aboard the resort’s pontoon boat overlooking Margot Bay to the beach with their feet in the sand. The resort’s culinary master classes welcome couples to join the world-class culinary team of Beach House St. Barth to learn new skills, or sharpen existing ones, in a fun, interactive atmosphere centered around the art of island cuisine. This is an incredible opportunity for couples to live in the moment, sip a glass of wine or mocktail, and create a delightful dish of their choosing, all while surrounded by the island’s stunning natural beauty. Similarly, the team at Bar Mélangé offers mixology classes for couples to broaden their knowledge of cocktails and learn the art of mixology under the guidance of professionals. From the fundamentals of ingredients to the proper handling of utensils, this class imparts couples with new skills to share on their next adventure behind the bar.The ultimate in relaxation can be found at Hotel Christopher — Hotel Christopher offers the ultra-unique, ultra luxurious Journey for Two spa experience. Combining different massages, rituals and relaxation techniques, a romantic experience is guaranteed. The Sisley Spa has been elected Caribbean’s Best Hotel Spa and St. Barts Best Hotel Spa by the renowned World Spa Awards and offers a selection of different experiences sure to promise unparalleled relaxation. For more information regarding the romantic Journey for Two Package visit here. Splurge on a wilderness retreat in Death Valley, California The rolling, sandy hills of Death Valley, California by Nick Ricket - Unsplash Ancient waters bubble up from the ground to support an entire ecosystem at the Oasis at Death Valley, a secluded resort tucked into one of the world’s most dramatic desert settings, the 3.4-million-acre Death Valley National Park (the largest park in the Lower 48). This wondrous winter vacation destination in America’s great desert is just two hours from Las Vegas and a little more than four hours from Los Angeles. It offers spring-fed pools averaging a comfortable 87 degrees, the lowest USGA golf course on earth, cascading bougainvillea-adorned Xanadu Gardens, and spring-watered groves of stately date palms. It’s also a natural haven for wildlife: kit fox, desert cottontail, coyotes, roadrunners, and various species of birds all thrive on or near the oasis. Dating to 1927, the historic property encompasses two lodgings: the luxurious AAA Four-Diamond The Inn at Death Valley and the family-friendly The Ranch at Death Valley, both part of the recent $200 million renovations. The historically accurate restoration preserved the original design, materials and colors of the buildings, while updating the infrastructure to modern standards. Also, for the most budget-friendly option, try a stay at the property's third lodging option: the Fiddlers Campground. The result is a return to the elegance of Old Hollywood, when the Inn attracted likes of Marlon Brando, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard — and more recently, the cast and crew of Star Wars. Accommodations at the 66-room Inn marry classic decor with modern amenities. Fine-art color landscape photographs bring the splendor of Death Valley right into the rooms. Want total privacy? Stay in one of 22 new Inn casitas or 80 new Ranch cottages. In the evening, dine on classic fare regionally flavored with cactus, citrus, date, and even pomegranate from the garden, while gazing at the desert salt pans and majestic Panamint Mountains. Watch a glorious sunset from one of the stone patios or admire the Milky Way from the Stargazers Deck in this internationally recognized Gold Tier Dark Sky Park. And hoist a cold one at the Last Kind Words Saloon, a cowboy paraphernalia-festooned throwback to the Old West. No wonder basketball Hall of Famer and broadcaster Bill Walton has been a regular guest at the Inn for more than two decades. “It’s everything I love. I love nature, I love the changing light, I love the desert air here,” he says. “The spring that feeds this resort is just phenomenal. The quality of the water.” “They took paradise and they made it better,” he adds. “They’ve made the hotel even nicer while maintaining the culture and the tradition and the history, the architecture, and the stonework. “Every time I come here, it’s such a healing place, it’s such an inspiring place…a place of enlightenment and imagination and creativity. You’re just awestruck by the magnificence and the grandeur of nature in Death Valley.” Enjoy seasonal festivities in Mexico City, Mexico Christmas decor in Mexico City, Mexico - courtesy of Mexico City Tourism Board Secluded retreats into the wilderness or on an island may be a travel dream for many couples, but not for the most social pairs. If you're looking for a bustling and vibrant city to explore in the winter, look no further than Mexico City. This colorful metropolis will show off its best during the December season with more than 264 must-see events and activities for national and international tourists of all ages. Head to the "City that has it all" for some of the most exciting celebrations of the Christmas season. There will be posadas and pilgrimages in the 16 neighborhoods that make up Mexico City, at no charge from December 16th to 23rd, with traditional Mexican fruit punch and the symbolic 7-spike piñatas. On Paseo de la Reforma, the emblematic avenue of Mexico City, the Christmas Eve Flower Festival will take place, with the presence of flower farmers who will dress the city in red and offer unbeatable prices; Let us remember that 59% of the land in Mexico City is conservation. Also in Reforma, the Christmas Tourism Festival will take place from December 12th to 17th, with all 32 States of Mexico bringing their crafts and cuisines. At the Casitllo de Chapultepec, the Amalia Hernández Folkloric Ballet will perform, with the show titled “Christmas in Mexico.” The Christmas Craft Festival will be held at the Casa del Risco Museum; and the Coffee and Chocolate Festival, at the Palacio de Minería. In the heart of the Historic Center, visitors can enjoy the Verbena del Zócalo, with its Christmas fair and its spectacular and colorful Christmas lighting; live music and pastorelas, which will be free and will start mid-December and run until the first days of January 2024, from Monday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. To end the year, the countdown will be celebrated in Latin Times Square style, at the Ángel de la Independencia, with music, food, plus the must-see New Year's Eve concert. Santa Fe, Paseo de la Reforma, Chapultepec, Zócalo, the Monument to the Revolution, Coyoacán, San Ángel and the Basilica, as well as Xochimilco and Polanco, are some of the metropolitan areas with the greatest tourist attraction and have prepared recreational activities. Sports Tourism has been growing in Mexico City and will be represented with the “Santa Run” race, which will be attended in costumes and with a mascot. The Christmas Bazaar will also be held at the World Trade Center, an emblematic business location; and where the famous San Silvestre race will take place. Additionally, about six million parishioners are expected to attend on December 12th, to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe, in La Basílica, the second most visited Marano temple in the world. Six Flags, one of the busiest amusement parks and known by national and foreign visitors, began Christmas celebrations on November 24, 2023, and will be running until January 14, 2024. On Christmas Day, the amusement park with its stages, lighting and ornaments inspired by Christmas in which the music, songs and dances are enjoyed, as well as the Mexican traditions of the season – posadas and piñatas, included.


5 Things to Add to Your Winter Break Bucket List

Winter break is just around the corner! No matter what you celebrate, where you live, or whether you're traveling or staying close to home, there are plenty of ways to enjoy time off from school and work. If you're looking to book a last-minute day of fun (or simply need ways to get out of the house before everyone gets bored of each other) try some of the activities below. With a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, they're all well-suited for family outings, romantic dates, and fun get-togethers with old friends. See a light show Holiday lights in Columbus Commons - courtesy of Experience Columbus The days are short—but nearly everyone has decorate their house or business with lights! No matter where you live, there's sure to be a festively-decorated neighborhood or main street in town; many places offer guided light tours. Botanical gardens, museums, zoos, and public parks put on fantastic light displays and shows throughout this time of year. Columbus, Ohio is an especially great place to see light shows—the city was named one of the best in the country for holiday light displays by Best Life. Utilize the Experience Columbus Holiday Lights Pass for discounted admission to some of these bright attractions. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens hosts its annual Conservatory Aglow through January 7, enhancing the gardens' year-round beauty with immersive light displays, outdoor games, a lively dance celebration, festive igloos and a life-size gingerbread house. Finally, one of the Midwest's favorite family holiday traditions, Wildlights, returns to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for its 35th year. Happening now through January 7th, the yuletide season comes alive with millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, performances by local bands and choirs and visits from Santa and his reindeer. Downtown, the free Columbus Commons Holiday Lights powered by the AEP Foundation features more than 400,000 LED lights aglow through New Year's Day. Visit a small town The Miss Beehaven storefront in Georgetown, Kentucky - courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism There's nothing quite like a quaint town's main street all decorated for the Christmas season, with small family-owned shops, hidden-gem restaurants, and friendly locals. If you live in a big city, try heading out of town to find a great small community to support while doing holiday shopping. You might even feel like you're in your own Hallmark movie! Georgetown, Kentucky is a great option if you're nearby. Georgetown pulls out all the stops to celebrate the holidays. In this picturesque and walkable Victorian-style downtown, visitors are whisked away into a quaint and joyful Christmas town. Shoppers can check off every item on their holiday lists at the one-of-a-kind locally-owned shops and boutiques lining Main Street: Georgetown Antique Mall; Heirlooms & Gretchen’s stained-glass studio; Birdsong Quilting, Embroidery and Crafts; Hockensmith's Fine Art Editions Gallery and Press – featuring the works of world-famous equine photographer John Stephen Hockensmith – and so many more. The local businesses celebrate all season long with festive decorations and holiday specials. Go ice skating in a city park An aerial view of The Rink at Campus Martius Park - courtesy of Visit Detroit This time of year, many cities open up an ice skating rink in a park. It's a lot more magical than a typical indoor rink; there's nothing quite like gliding around in the chilly air as the sun sets and glistens against skyscrapers. In Detroit, Michigan, visitors and locals can enjoy The Rink at Campus Martius Park. Michigan's premier family-friendly outdoor ice rink located right in the heart of Downtown welcomes nearly 100,000 people annually. Following its festive opening weekend, The Rink will be open daily, including holidays, through March 3, 2024. Skating with Santa, ugly sweater parties, and learn to play clinics will be held throughout the season as well. “Winter in Detroit is a magical experience for both residents and our millions of visitors,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “That is why Visit Detroit is proud to continue collaborating with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to support The Rink at Campus Martius Park. Nothing epitomizes the enchantment of Detroit during this season more than skating outside with family and friends.” Have a tea party An afternoon tea setup by Sebastian Coman Photography - Unsplash Cozy up indoors for a festive drinks and treats with an afternoon tea at a local restaurant. It's a great excuse to wear fancy holiday attire one more time, and can be an especially fun activity for young kids. Pair it with a matinee or evening performance of The Nutcracker or other local holiday shows. In Colorado, the Trinidad History Museum hosts "The Nutcracker" Tea Party with Trinidad Tea Company teas, as well as Victorian Christmas Tea Party events offering traditional and themed tea foods promising a historic holiday experience for all. Spend the day at an amusement park Christmas decorations adorn a theme park food stand by Arthur Edelmans - Unsplash This time of year, theme parks go all out with special decor, events, food and treats, and more. In Tennessee, Dollywood goes all out for the season with their Smoky Mountain Christmas. The spirit of Christmas shines merry and bright during at Dollywood from November to January, and the new Joyful drone show adds even more holiday fun for guests to enjoy. The 15-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event boasts more than six million shining, shimmering lights throughout the park, but the newest ones will fly above the park each evening as part of a stunning holiday drone show. This larger-than-life display embraces the season with hundreds of drones soaring in the air and displaying festive reds, greens and whites in a captivating show sure to delight every guest. Smoky Mountain Christmas captivates visitors with the rich essence of the holiday season thanks to its gleaming holiday lights, award-winning stage productions, Christmas culinary masterpieces and warm family customs that have enriched the festival for more than three decades.