10 Totally Charming Places for the Holidays

  • Rue du Petit-Champlain at Christmas

    Quebec City, Quebec

    Come December, Old Quebec transforms into a real life Christmas village with enough lights, snow and festive trappings to charm your socks off. Christmas markets throughout the city offer last-minute shopping opportunities, while the Quebec City Lights Festival sets the whole city aglow.

    Photo courtesy of Vladone/iStock

  • Santa Fe Plaza at Christmas

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Christmas in Santa Fe looks a bit different than in the rest of the country. In this southwest state capital, twinkling lights are joined by rows of luminarias, brown paper bags that glow from the flame of a tea light set on a bed of sand within. These traditional holiday lights, sometimes called farolitos, line Santa Fe Plaza and Canyon Road come Christmas Eve.

    Photo courtesy of Larry Lamsa

  • Zermatt under the shadow of the Matterhorn

    Zermatt, Switzerland

    Zermatt, a car-free alpine town at the base of Matterhorn Mountain, seems made for Christmas. When you're not strolling or sledding through the snow-covered town, you can hit the mountain for some spectacular holiday skiing or snowboarding.

    Photo courtesy of swiss-image.ch/Christof Sonderegger

  • Town of Banff in winter

    Banff, Alberta

    There's something magical about Christmas in the Canadian Rockies, nowhere more so than in the charming town of Banff. Besides being visually stunning during the winter season, Banff keeps a full calender of holiday-themed events designed with the whole family in mind.

    Photo courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka

  • Edinburgh, Scotland

    Edinburgh, one of Scotland's most beautiful cities, is even more eye-popping when decked out in lights for the holiday season. Christmas markets dot the city, and the downtown area is filled with seasonal rides and attractions, like the Big Wheel that offers bird's eye views of all the city's Christmas splendor.

    Photo courtesy of William McKelvie/iStock

  • Central Park in winter

    New York City, New York

    What's not to love about the Big Apple at Christmas? There's iconic skating at Rockefeller Center, shopping at Christmas markets, seasonal window displays on Fifth Avenue, carriage rides through snowy Central Park, Santaland at Macy's and the high-kicking Rockettes performing their always-anticipated Christmas Spectacular.

    Photo courtesy of Songquan Deng/iStock

  • Santa Day at Whistler Blackcomb

    Whistler, British Columbia

    If you're looking for a near guaranteed white Christmas, head to Whistler. This Canadian winter sports paradise offers skiing and boarding on Christmas day, as well as a full menu of family-friendly holiday activities, like ice skating, tubing, caroling and festive sleigh rides.

    Photo courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb

  • Prague, Czech Republic

    In Prague, some of Europe's best Christmas markets sit beneath the shadows of snow-dusted Gothic and baroque architectural wonders, lending the city the feel of a true winter wonderland. Sample sweets and spiced wine as you shop in Old Town or Wenceslas Square.

    Photo courtesy of io_nia/iStock

  • Downtown Leavenworth at Christmas

    Leavenworth, Washington

    For the Bavarian Christmas experience without flying to Europe, try Leavenworth, Washington. Over half a million twinkling lights go up all over the postcard-perfect German-style village. Even after Christmas has come and gone, Leavenworth continues to celebrate with its annual Bavarian Icefest in January.

    Photo courtesy of Donna Carlson/iStock

  • Aspen village during Christmas

    Aspen, Colorado

    The snow-centric town of Aspen takes the holiday season very seriously, hosting a variety of free events, like ice skating, caroling and visits with Santa as part of its annual 12 Days of Aspen celebration. With some of Colorado's best snow conditions, you can be sure of a white Christmas as well.

    Photo courtesy of Jeremy Swanson

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