The Best Christmas Tree in Every State
No matter where you are, you'll find a Rock Center-worthy zenith.
No matter where you are in the country, when December rolls around, one thing becomes the centerpiece of town practically overnight: a Christmas tree.
Whether it’s creative homage to the holiday (like Maine’s 100-percent lobster-trap “tree”) or the cornerstone of a grand celebration (like New York’s… well, you’ve heard of it), there’s something to love in every corner of the country.
So, without further ado, these are the most dazzling Christmas trees from sea to shining sea.
Alabama: Capitol Christmas Tree (Montgomery)
Every year, the grandest Christmas tree in the state is placed on the steps of the Alabama Capitol Building in Montgomery. This year, the tree lighting ceremony took place on November 27, which included the addition of 67 stars, one representing each county in Alabama. After the tree lighting ceremony, guests can always look forward to live music, pictures with Santa Claus, and holiday refreshments.
Alaska: Downtown Christmas Tree (Anchorage)
During the month of December, Anchorage’s Town Square Park lights up its Christmas tree with holiday music and performances, plus free hot chocolate and baked goods, as well the opportunity to take advantage of the city’s Small Business Saturday: a celebration of the local businesses in the area.
Arizona: CityScape Christmas Tree (Phoenix)
Located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona’s most breathtaking Christmas tree display is right in the center of CitySkate, an ice skating rink and outdoor events space. Prior to the tree lighting ceremony, guests will have the chance to see professional figure skating routines and shop the Alternative Black Friday Vintage Market for holiday gifts. After the ceremony, guests will be able to skate freely around the decorated tree, looming over the rink.
Arkansas: Lights of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)
In the stunning local display, Lights of the Ozarks, more than 400,000 lights are used to decorate the trees in Fayetteville. Nearly every night in December, the lights are accompanied by pony rides, hot chocolate, and holiday music makes Fayetteville the most magical display of cheer in the entire state.
California: Christmas Tree Lane (Fresno)
Dating back 95 years, this Fresno tradition turns North Van Ness Boulevard in Fig Garden into a Christmas wonderland with hundreds of trees and homes lighting the way. Until Christmas, visitors can drive this two-mile stretch of road, called Christmas Tree Lane, to admire the stunning display of decorated trees.
Colorado: Cut Your Own Christmas Trees (Rocky Mountain Region)
Though it may not technically be one single decorated tree, the National Forest Service allows visitors to the Rocky Mountains region of the state to cut down their own Christmas trees. So, not only will you have a chance to trek around in some of the most beautiful terrain in the country, but, according to the National Forest Service, visitors actually help manage the forest by cutting down trees.
Connecticut: Lake Compounce Tree (Bristol)
Located at Connecticut’s amusement and water park Lake Compounce, the Christmas tree, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of other lights strewn across the park, looms above the land. Through December 23rd, visitors have the opportunity to see a light show every half hour, set to popular holiday music, along with a visit from Santa and a selection of amusement park rides.
Delaware: Christmas Tree (Rehoboth)
The iconic beach town of Rehoboth, Delaware, celebrates the holiday season with this impressive Christmas tree, lighting up the bandstand and boardwalk along the water. Santa makes an appearance along the boardwalk during the tree lighting ceremony, and is even known to play a game of skee-ball with a few lucky participants.
Florida: Sand Tree (West Palm Beach)
The city of Palm Beach, Florida, celebrates the arrival of the holiday season with this 35-feet-long Christmas “tree,” sculpted out of sand and often also depicting a mermaid or other sea elements included in the Christmas-themed design. Along with this warmer weather-inspired tree, visitors to Sandi Land in West Palm Beach can also enjoy mini golf and a trek through the whimsical display of lights at Snowieville.
Georgia: Barnsley Resort Christmas Trees (Adairsville)
Remaining one of the most impressive displays of Christmas lights in the state, the Barnsley Resort, located in Adairsville, uses more than one million lights to decorate the surrounding trees and manor. Guests of the resort have a chance to revel in the Christmas cheer, which will remain on display through December.
Hawaii: Hale Christmas Tree (Honolulu)
Located at Honolulu Hale in downtown Honolulu, the lighting of this tree takes place right before the Electric Light Parade at Aala Park.
Idaho: Capitol Christmas Tree (Boise)
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Boise Capitol Building in Idaho, this 45-foot Blue Spruce Christmas tree is lit with more 12,000 lights. After the ceremonial lighting each year, revelers can look forward to free books, an army band, and complimentary hot chocolate and cider.
Illinois: Millennium Park Christmas Tree (Chicago)
Since 1913, Chicago’s 60-foot Norway Spruce Christmas tree, now located in Millennium Park near Michigan Avenue, complements the large skyscrapers and hustle of the city. At the tree lighting ceremony in the middle of November, guests often have the chance to witness celebrities in attendance—like Miguel Cervantes, who played Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton, and appeared at the 2018 tree lighting ceremony.
Indiana: Circle of Lights Tree (Indianapolis)
Every Friday after Thanksgiving, Indianapolis’ Monument Circle Christmas tree is lit by one lucky child chosen from the Carson’s Coloring Contest. Along with fireworks, meetings with Santa Claus, and toy soldier decorations honoring the nearby Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, this celebration is one that the residents of Indiana never miss.
Iowa: Capitol Building Christmas Tree (Des Moines)
On display in front of the stately Des Moines Capitol Building, this looming tree is lit by the state’s governor each year, often accompanied by traditional holiday music performed by Victory choir from Des Moines Christian School.
Kansas: Crown Center Christmas Tree (Kansas City)
This 100-foot Mayor’s Christmas Tree is one of the tallest in the country, and has become a centerpiece for the state’s holiday celebrations. Every year, the tree lighting ceremony is accompanied by local celebrities and choruses singing traditional holiday songs.
Kentucky: Jefferson Square Park Christmas Tree (Louisville)
Located at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville, the lighting of this Christmas tree is part of the city’s elaborate celebration of the holiday which includes the Lots of Lights Parade, featuring live music, carolers, holiday floats, children’s groups, and a celebration of civic organizations.
Louisiana: French Quarter Christmas Tree (New Orleans)
New Orleans’ French Market is over 200 years old and now serves as the resting place of the city’s annual Christmas tree, and, in the city’s tradition, jazz and gospel music play as the tree is lit in front of thousands of spectators each year. Not only that, but after the ceremony has commenced, spectators can follow a brass band to Jackson Square, where they can sing along to the traditional holiday music.
Maine: Lobster Trap Christmas Tree (Rockland)
Maine celebrates the holiday in their own tradition: with a Christmas tree made of none other than a collection of lobster traps. This 30-foot-high tree in Rockland (home of the Maine Lobster Festival) is made with more 150 lobster traps, and then decorated with lights during the annual lighting ceremony.
Maryland: Grand Illumination Christmas Tree (Annapolis)
Gracing the Alfred A. Hopkins Plaza in downtown Annapolis, Maryland’s brightest Christmas tree is lit in a celebration called the Grand Illumination, with ballet and choir performances take place after the lighting of the tree.
Massachusetts: Boston Common Christmas Tree (Boston)
Since 1971, every Christmas tree erected in downtown Boston has hailed from Nova Scotia, which gives a tree each year to the city to honor Boston’s involvement in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, when they responded to a maritime disaster experienced by the city. So, to honor the memory of that act of kindness, a tree is first sent to Halifax for a brief ceremony, then shipped 750 miles down south to Boston.
Michigan: Campus Martius Christmas Tree (Detroit)
Located in downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius, this annual tree lighting is followed by professional ice skating performances, hot chocolate and coffee, and a walk through the downtown area which sparkles with the lights of the season.
Minnesota: Rice Park Christmas Tree (Saint Paul)
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, those looking for an impressive Christmas lights display should look no further than that available in Rice Park, located alongside the Wells Fargo WinterSkate. Minnesotans boast that this tree is “as tall and bright as the iconic Rockefeller Center tree in New York City”—but with that special Midwestern charm.
Mississippi: Christmas Tree (Natchez)
Located along the banks of the Mississippi River, the Natchez Christmas tree lighting ceremony, in true Mississippi style, is followed by a gumbo cook-off.
Missouri: Branson Landing Christmas Tree (Branson)
Despite the fact that 1,000 trees are decorated with lights during the holiday season in Branson Missouri’s Silver Dollar City, the one pictured above is the only one that towers high above the rest at five stories tall. Not only that, but Silver Dollar City proves to be a great place to bring the family for a day of holiday cheer, with rides and Christmas characters a-plenty.
Montana: Christmas Tree (Anaconda)
Nestled in a small town in Montana, this Christmas tree immediately becomes the city center, drawing large crowds for its lighting, which is followed by The Anaconda Christmas Stroll where visitors can admire the endless holiday lights strewn through the quaint town.
Nebraska: Town Square Christmas Tree (Minden)
Since 1915, the town of Minden has displayed an impressive amount of holiday cheer via thousands of twinkling strewn high above the city. Back in 1915, City Light Commissioner J.H. “Jack” Haws began this town square tradition when he used lights to celebrate the Grand Army of the Republic.
Nevada: Ethel M. Chocolate’s Christmas Trees (Las Vegas)
Expect a Nevada-style Christmas display at Ethel M. Chocolate’s annual Holiday Cactus Light Display, where a variation of cactuses and traditional trees are lit up every December. Along with plenty of chocolate and live music, visitors can take this 3-acre stroll every weekend of the season.
New Hampshire: Vintage Christmas Tree (Portsmouth)
The celebration of lights in Portsmouth is called “Vintage Christmas,” that includes a lighting of the traditionally styled tree and a stroll through the Strawberry Banke living history museum (the oldest 10-building district in town), as well as free vintage trolley rides around town.
New Jersey: Rotary Park Christmas Tree (Cape May)
Similar to New Hampshire, New Jersey celebrates a vintage Christmas, with the seaside town of Cape May paying an ode to Charles Dickens with a picturesque tree lighting, glowing gaslights, trolley rides, and caroling.
New Mexico: Plaza Don Luis Christmas Tree (Albuquerque)
A mere stroll through downtown Albuquerque’s Plaza Don Luis calls forth a sense of the state’s history, present in the history-themed celebrations and large Christmas tree that is actually just 130 smaller trees combined into one.
New York: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (New York)
If you’re looking to see the grandest tree of them all, be sure to make the trek to New York City where the nearly 100-foot-high Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has been proudly put on display in the plaza every year since 1933.
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate Christmas Tree (Asheville)
It makes sense that one of North Carolina’s most impressive displays of architectural genius would also be home to the state’s most breathtaking Christmas tree. With many Christmas trees located both outside and inside, Asheville’s Biltmore Estate truly stands out—even in the way in which they are transported to the premises, via horse-drawn carriage. If you’d like see more than just a few Christmas trees, the estate promises many other holiday activities, like a tour by candlelight through the grounds.
North Dakota: The North Dakota Council on the Arts Christmas Tree (Bismarck)
Every year, The North Dakota Council on the Arts transforms Bismarck’s Capitol Building into a Christmas wonderland, with the artificial tree standing proudly in the center of the building for any visitor to see.
Ohio: Public Square Christmas Tree (Cleveland)
In Cleveland’s Public Square, the lighting of this Christmas tree marks the beginning of Winterfest, where visitors to the area can go ice skating, take advantage of the free carriage rides, and even meet members of the Cavaliers.
Oklahoma: Territorial Christmas Celebrations Tree (Guthrie)
Harkening back to the time before Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the Territorial Christmas celebration in Guthrie is stuck in that period of time in the late 19th-century—though it’s safe to say that the tree doesn’t exactly follow along with this theme.
Oregon: Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas Tree (Portland)
Each year, the Stimson Lumber Company donates a 75-foot tree to the city of Portland, where it is proudly put on display in the city’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. During the tree lighting ceremony, it’s become customary for the entire town to sing traditional Christmas songs.
Pennsylvania: It’s a Wonderful Life Festival Christmas Tree (Indiana)
It’s no wonder that Jimmy Stewart’s birthplace and the Christmas Tree Capital of the World would have an impressive Christmas tree right in the town’s center. Not only that, but the town of Indiana holds an “It’s a Wonderful Life” festival each year where visitors can revel in the old-fashioned shopping experiences and model train exhibits, along with the tree lighting ceremony.
Rhode Island: Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree (Newport)
Making for a truly magical sight, Newport, Rhode Island’s Christmas tree is set against the cobblestone and historical buildings located on Bowen’s Wharf. Each year, spectators not only get to participate in a truly magical tree lighting, but they also get to do so surrounded by the sea.
South Carolina: Swan Lake Iris Gardens’ Christmas Trees (Sumter)
Sumter, North Carolina’s Swan Lake Iris Gardens have a more artistic vision of the Christmas tree—though theirs seems to be slowly winning over locals and tourists alike, with record numbers of visitors making the trek to see these floating Christmas trees in person. With over a million lights, this park has managed to remain one of the largest holiday destinations in the state for over 35 years.
South Dakota: Capitol Building Christmas Trees (Pierre)
The capital city of Pierre takes its Christmas celebration very seriously, with a collection of 100 trees donated from local businesses and schools, decorated in different colors and holiday accessories. This impressive display of holiday cheer is free and open to the public until Christmas Day.
Tennessee: State Capitol Building Christmas Tree (Nashville)
In a true Nashville fashion, the Christmas tree lighting takes place at a country music event at the Tennessee State Capitol building. After the mayor lights the 40-foot-tall Spruce tree, holiday revelers can enjoy plenty of live music and food trucks.
Texas: Zilker Park Christmas Tree (Austin)
While it may not be an actual tree, this 155-foot-tall display of lights in Austin’s Zilker Park is created by a moonlight tower with over 3,000 lights—a tradition that has taken place every year since 1967. The tree lighting is then followed by live musical performances and local cuisine.
Utah: Outlets at Traverse Mountain Christmas Tree (Lehi)
Lehi, Utah’s Santa Parade is followed by the lighting of the state’s tallest tree, which stands at over 75 feet tall in the town’s Outlets at Traverse Mountain.
Vermont: State House Christmas Tree (Montpelier)
Located outside of Vermont’s State House in Montpelier, this stately Christmas tree is lit by the governor before a large choir performs and free refreshments like hot chocolate and cookies.
Virginia: Town Center Christmas Tree (Reston)
Accompanied by a town sing-a-long version of “O Christmas Tree,” the Christmas tree lighting in Reston aims to bring the community together—under one artfully decorated tree.
Washington: Washington State Fair Christmas Tree (Puyallup)
Again, though this Washington State Fair Christmas tree is man-made it still bears all of the cheer of the holiday season, with 185 feet of lights that make this structure the tallest in the county—for at least a month and a half. Along with viewing the tree up close, visitors to the fairgrounds can visit Santa at the North Pole at the Fair.
West Virginia: Capitol Building Christmas Tree (Charleston)
Located at the State Capitol Building in Charleston, this impressive tree typically stands around 40 feet tall and remains as a beacon of the holidays throughout the New Year.
Wisconsin: Christmas Tree (Milwaukee)
Milwaukee’s Christmas tree is donated each year by a resident of the city who then gets to light the tree—which must be at least 40 feet tall.
Wyoming: Christmas Elk Antlers Arches (Jackson Hole)
Rather than decorating any traditional Christmas tree, the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, decorates four elk antler arches (from the antlers that male elk shed each year). Each arch, carefully put together by the local Boy Scouts, consists of around 2,000 antlers. And for more secrets behind your favorite holiday traditions, This Is Why Christmas Colors Are Red and Green.
Bonus: National Christmas Tree (Washington, D.C.)
Since 1923, when Calvin Coolidge began the tradition that would ensure that the capital’s Christmas tree would be the largest in the country. Now, the Christmas tree is known as the “National Christmas Tree,” and stands proudly in front of the White House throughout the holiday season. The lighting of the tree is traditionally attended by the president, and often features many musical performances.
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