17 Most Romantic Christmas Towns in America
Find your very own Hallmark movie moment.
Whether or not you're currently coupled up, there's no getting past the desire to cuddle in close to a special someone during the coldest stretch of the year. In fact, it almost seems as though the harsh winds of winter have the power to spark a wish for wintry, romantic escapes—particularly to an idyllic town that can provide the perfect backdrop to the next installment in your story.
So, this year, head to one of the country's most romantic Christmas towns for a chance to steal away from the crowds and experience the warmth of holiday cheer alongside the warmth of a significant other. And for more breathtaking winter destinations, check out these 23 Most Gorgeous Places in America to Experience a White Christmas.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Where to fly: Albuquerque International Sunport
During the holiday season, Santa Fe, New Mexico, comes alive with plenty of ambiance in the form of rustic pueblo-style buildings adorned with lights and Christmas decorations. If you're not an admirer of architecture, the city offers many other options for a romantic evening—like the Farolito Walk on Christmas Eve, where small, sand-filled paper bags are illuminated with votive candles and visitors can walk around singing Christmas carols and sipping cider. After the holiday stroll, head to downtown Santa Fe to take your pick from the various art galleries and candlelit restaurants that will surely impress your date.
Pro tip: In the case of Restaurant Martin, it makes sense that this welcoming establishment, created and curated by a couple, Chef Marti Rios and his wife, Jennifer, would provide the perfect backdrop, with its sense of community and amazing cuisine, to a truly unforgettable evening with your special someone.
And for more amazing cities with impressive followings, check out these 30 American Cities You Had No Idea Were Amazing Getaways.
Santa Barbara, California
Where to fly: Los Angeles International Airport
With the arrival of the holiday season, this coastal beach town in California comes alive with carolers, parades, and plenty of lights to inspire a carefree night of romantic celebration of the season. If what you're seeking is a treasure trove of holiday lights, take a ride on the Santa Barbara Trolley of Lights to catch a glimpse of the most decorated establishments around town (and be sure to visit The Miracle on East Quinientos Street, a private residence with the best lights in the city). After this venture, grab a hot chocolate and head to the Santa Barbara Parade of Lights on December 9th, where boats are dressed up in lights and decorations—you can even view the accompanying firework display from any number of intimate bars and restaurants on the City Pier.
Pro tip: Stay in the heart of Santa Barbara by booking your room at the Hotel Santa Barbara, with its own jewelry shop and Starbucks available on-site—a truly romantic combination. Plus, the hotel is within walking distance to Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail, which could provide another excellent date night opportunity.
Asheville, North Carolina
Where to fly: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
Asheville, North Carolina, is brimming with romantic opportunities to share with your partner—no matter what interests or hobbies you may share. Even if you've been to the famed Biltmore Estate (America's largest estate, built by George Vanderbilt) once before, the whole estate is completely transformed during the holiday season, warranting a thorough tour of its grounds and winery. Be sure to opt for the candlelit tour at night, when the illuminated grounds feel even more magical. If you happen to be in Asheville during the first weekend of December, The Big Crafty, a locally beloved craft fair with more than 170 local artists, food, and beer, can be a great way to spend your time getting to know the city.
Pro Tip: Just a 20-minute drive from Greenville, the Bakers Bluff Cabin in Fairview, with its raised wrap-around porch, gives lodgers a breathtaking view of the mountains and endless wilderness stretching from their private, idyllic retreat.
And for more antique castles worth a visit in America, check out these 23 Castles So Jaw-Dropping You Won't Believe They're in the U.S.
San Antonio, Texas
Where to fly: San Antonio International Airport
As any local would tell you, a trip to San Antonio during the holiday season would be incomplete without a trip to SeaWorld. That's right, this warmer weather haven dresses itself up in the brightest lights and cheery fixtures to welcome guests from all over the country. With the numerous characters and shopping available at SeaWorld during this time of the year, visitors can easily spend an entire day enamored with the feeling of Christmas all around. For an unforgettable date night, head to the city's Riverwalk, where you can climb aboard a river taxi to explore all of the restaurants, shops, and cultural icons that line this special piece of San Antonio's history.
Pro tip: Finally, the city allows you to have that dinner and dancing date that you've always dreamt about, courtesy of Jazz, TX, a jazz club with more sizzle and spirit than any other place where you've enjoyed a late night cocktail.
Key West, Florida
Where to fly: Miami International Airport
This season, head to balmy Key West for an equally charming take on the holidays. Your first stop should be a guided tour of the city's historic inns, which play a big part in the area's unique architecture and flavor. For just two nights, on the first and second Friday of December, visitors can receive a guided tour of these inns, brimming with lights, holiday decorations, and unique tales of the city. After your jaunt around town, celebrate the holiday season in a less traditional way (and decidedly more heart-pounding way) with an Ultimate Christmas Adventure by Fury Water Adventures, where you'll spend your day trying your hand at different water sports and indulging in a traditional holiday meal on board a state-of-the-art catamaran.
Pro tip: Spend at least one embarking on a truly romantic adventure in the Mangroves, where nighttime kayaking or paddle boarding, with their see-through floors, can expose you to various types of fish, all while experiencing the beautiful and colorful mangrove forests.
And for more colorful getaways in your own backyard, check out these 50 Destinations So Magical You Won't Believe They're in the U.S.
Newport, Rhode Island
Where to fly: T.F. Green Airport
Dazzle your significant other with a trip to historic Newport, Rhode Island, where each celebration of the Christmas season seems like a glimpse into the area's past. To truly get a sense of history's place in current holiday celebrations in the city, pay a visit to any of the three Newport mansions (The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House) decorated from floor to ceiling in glittering displays of the season—perfect for a day-long romantic excursion. Once you've experienced the cheer of Newport's historic buildings, head downtown to revel in the month-long cheer that focuses on local businesses, artists, and musicians and how they bring a sense of the season to the city.
Pro tip: Despite the chilly weather, a walk through Newport's famed Cliff Walk, with its rocky shores, bustling wildlife, and old mansions, can provide the perfect backdrop for an adventurously romantic evening.
Estes Park, Colorado
Where to fly: Denver International Airport
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest, Estes Park, Colorado, is a wildlife oasis. During the winter season, visitors can strap on a pair of snowshoes and become one with the elk and birds that roam the endless miles of this wild country. For more unparalleled outdoor excitement, grab your partner and sleigh ride, ice skate, or ski your way around town.
Pro tip: Escape from the winter crowds and head to Boulder Brook on Fall River—a truly romantic oasis that allows you both some time to unplug from reality. Along with its prime location right next to the river, you'll be able to view stunning vistas from your own private balcony, as well as soak in your own private jetted bathtub.
Charleston, South Carolina
Where to fly: Charleston International Airport
Without a doubt, Charleston is a city that takes the holiday season very seriously. From antique Christmas displays to impressive displays of lights, the city truly comes alive at this time of year. To experience this revelry yourself, simply embark on a holiday walking tour of the historic buildings in Charleston, each adorned with decorations that were likely used in an earlier time. And, after you've gotten a taste of the antique grandeur of the area, head to "America's First Theatre," Dock Street Theatre, to see a classic retelling of "A Christmas Carol."
Pro tip: No matter the season, a romantic picnic under the famous 400-year-old Angel Oak Tree on John's Island also proves to be a truly spectacular experience.
Where to fly: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
In this dreamy southern city—which is steeped in history and features unique shops, restaurants, and attractions around every corner—it's no wonder that this city is one of the most romantic destinations in the country. To truly get a sense of Savannah's unique culture, your first activity should be to board a period-style trolley with an expert tour guide to show you around the city. Then, celebrate the holiday season with your significant other at the Davenport House, built in 1820 and marking the beginning of the city's move to preserve historic homes and businesses throughout the downtown historical district. During the holiday season, tours of the home include music and skilled interpreters who take visitors on a tour of the decidedly romantic home.
Pro tip: For the best of both worlds (beautiful Georgia greenery and impressive light displays), take a stroll through the picturesque Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, located at the Historic Bamboo Farm. You never know—a moonlit stroll through Savannah may have the power to ignite the flame in your relationship once again.
Where to fly: Albany International Airport
For the more artistic pairs in search of a romantic holiday getaway, look no further than the Berkshires for a weekend full of love, laughter, and art-in-motion. To get a taste of the artistic side of this Massachusetts oasis, head to Stockbridge, a town that that was made famous for painter Norman Rockwell's depiction of the are during the holidays. In celebration of this accomplishment, the town works to step back in time to recreate this painting every year—complete with the particular vintage cars that appeared in the painting in 1967. Aside from this Rockwell-inspired venture, revel in the season along with 100 carolers as they make the journey through luminous walkways to the First Congregational Church where they often perform to a full house.
Pro tip: Take advantage of the romantic specials available at the Hampton Terrace Bed & Breakfast Inn, a gilded age mansion that has been turned into a popular retreat for couples in the Berkshires.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Where to fly: Portland International Airport
A trip to Cannon Beach during the holiday season can be a great way to escape from the trials of everyday life and into a natural oasis. For a truly relaxing day in the wild, visit nearby Ecola State Park to spot whales with your naked eye, as an estimated 18,000 whales migrate along the Oregon coast in December and January. After your outdoor adventure, be sure to take a stroll through downtown Cannon Beach to visit the surprising array of shops and restaurants that look forward to providing an intimate ambiance for yourself and your significant other.
Pro tip: No matter the season, relaxing by Cannon Beach's breathtaking coast can be a surefire way to rekindle the flame. Whether you're admiring the beach from your own private balcony or lounging in an indoor saltwater pool, the Tolovana Inn is the most idyllic place to stay on Cannon Beach.
Where to fly: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
If the vacation entertainment you're seeking is slightly more raucous in nature, then a trip to Sedona, Arizona, during the holiday season will check all of your merrymaking boxes. First, any trip to the Wild West would be incomplete without a dinner and a show—namely, The Blazin M Ranch Christmas Show, where delicious cuisine meets "holiday hootenanny." Even during Arizona's colder seasons, the wildlife and picturesque beauty of the canyons still shine through layers of frost and snow. To catch a glimpse of this scenery, simply board a train on the Verde Canyon Railroad, where historical ruins and mountain vistas greet every passenger on Arizona's longest-running nature show.
Pro tip: Practice self-care with your partner this holiday season by paying a visit to the Spa at Sedona Rouge, where they use "ancient Ayurvedic treatments to reflexology, herbal wraps, and indulgent massages."
Taos, New Mexico
Where to fly: Albuquerque International Airport
A trip to Taos during the holiday season is a chance to experience the town's emphasis on all artistic and individualistic endeavors of the mind, body, and spirit. To satisfy your mind, grab your partner and head to one of the many bonfires in downtown Taos, where farolitos (votive candles in lanterns), Aztec dancers, and carolers create a stunning backdrop for stimulating conversation. Then, challenge your body by joining other skiers in the town's Torchlight Parade, where you'll glide down the famous Taos Ski Valley with torch in hand to celebrate the holiday season. And finally, replenish your spirit by witnessing the history of the locals at the Taos Pueblo Deer or Matachinas Dance, where the people of Taos Pueblo perform an ancient Native American ceremonial dance honoring the "depths of winter."
Pro tip: Catch one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the country by simply driving ten miles south of downtown Taos to an area called The Overlook, where you'll be able to see the sun go down over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
Lake George, New York
Where to fly: Albany International Airport
A trip to Lake George in New York over the holiday season can feel as though you've stepped inside of a Hallmark Christmas card, with the picturesque surrounding mountains and cozy tidings of holiday cheer on display in every shop and restaurant in town. With that being said, your first holiday trek should be to the Adirondack Christkindlmarkt, where shoppers will have the opportunity to purchase handmade and personal gifts from the Adirondack region of New York. Keep the spirit of the season going with a trip to the town of Queensbury for their tree lighting and holiday festival, complete with live music refreshments.
Pro tip: Designed for "lingering over plates of locally sourced food," Bistro LeRoux in Lake George provides an intimate and cozy atmosphere perfect for a low-key date night.
Methow Valley, Washington
Where to fly: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Methow Valley proves to be another location devoid of tourists, though they are surely missing out on one of America's best Nordic skiing destinations. Because of this skiing celebrity, you must experience the lush winter landscape for yourself with a trip to Methow Trails, where 120 miles of trails are available for skiing newbies and professionals alike. After that venture, trade your skis in for a cowboy hat in the town of Winthrop, where one can visit a number of natural springs and local shops reminiscent of the Wild West.
Pro tip: Grab an authentic taste of Methow Valley with a trip to the Methow Valley Ciderhouse in Winthrop. Not only can you sip on some of the area's best cider, but you can also partake in the more laidback style of living in this area.
New York, New York
Where to fly: John F. Kennedy International Airport
Even if you're past the point of impressing your long-time partner, a walk through nearly any part of New York City during the holiday season has the power to reignite even the dullest of flames. At least during the holiday season, ice skating through Central Park (either via Wollman Rink or Lasker Rink) is about as romantic as it gets (and c'mon, nearly every rom-com set in the city has taken advantage of the rink's magic—and so should you). Though it may be difficult to top that date, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park proves to be a tough contender in its infinite splendor.
Pro tip: First immortalized in the film Serendipity, the restaurant Serendipity 3 is the most romantic spot in the city to share a cup of their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate with the object of your affection.
Lower Waterford, Vermont
Where to fly: Burlington International Airport
The small town of Lower Waterford, Vermont, is so enchanting during the holiday season that, back in 1959, a picture of the area actually won the prestigious Kodak Image of the Year award. Now, visitors can snowshoe through the White Mountain National Forest, an area teeming with pine trees and rustic charm. Or, if you'd rather admire the beauty of the town from your own cozy nook, head to the downtown area to explore the vast array of local craft brewers, cheese makers, and unique shopping opportunities.
Pro tip: Embrace the Hallmark card aesthetic of this town by booking your room at the Rabbit Hill Inn, boasting incredible views of the mountains, allow with cozy furnishings like fireplaces and private saunas.
And for more of the most charming Christmas towns in the country, check out The 23 Most Magical Christmas Towns in America.
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