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Best Holiday Historic Home Tour (2020)

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Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us. Contact individual home for the latest updates.

  • Graceland

    Graceland
    Memphis

    "You don’t have to love Elvis to spend an afternoon in his grand house," says 10Best contributor Melanie Reffes. "Make time to peruse the gift shop." Every year, more than 600,000 people go to Elvis Presley’s former estate in Memphis. The Christmas season at Graceland kicks off with a lighting ceremony mid-November, after which visitors can tour the home decorated for the season with traditional lights, a live-size nativity scene and Santa. Presley family Christmas artifacts are on display during this special time of year.
    Photo courtesy of Graceland

  • Wildwood Manor House

    Wildwood Manor House
    Toledo, Ohio

    This historic Georgian Colonial home, once owned by Toledo philanthropist R.A. Stranahan, is now a public park in Toledo. A team of volunteers decorate the 30,000-square-foot estate during Holidays in the Manor House. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the house and Shipman Garden where they’ll find 32 seasonal displays.
    Photo courtesy of Wildwood Manor House

  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

    Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
    Akron, Ohio

    Stan Hywet Hall, Akron, Ohio's first and largest National Historic Landmark, is 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. In 1957 the Seiberling children gifted Stan Hywet to Akron. On select days throughout the holiday season, Deck the Hall showcases the first floor of the manor house and grounds adorned with nostalgic decorations and more than a million holiday lights.
    Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

  • Crane House and Historic YWCA

    Crane House and Historic YWCA
    Montclair, New Jersey

    Israel Crane built Crane House and Historic YWCA for his wife in 1796. After a century as the Crane family home, the estate was purchased and transformed into headquarters for the African American YWCA. Visitors can experience the period decorations (designed by the Garden Club of Montclair) and learn about the holidays from the 1700s to the 20th century during a candlelight tour. Visitors can also register for a private tour or see the house on a virtual tour.
    Photo courtesy of Crane House and Historic YWCA

  • Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

    Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
    Norwalk, Connecticut

    The historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum opens this holiday season with an exhibit celebrating antique toys, dolls and trees. Christmas Playtime at the Mansion will recreate what the holiday season was like for children during the Victorian era.
    Photo courtesy of Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Alex Rosenfeld Photography

  • Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour

    Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour
    New Orleans

    This year is the 45th anniversary of the Preservation Resource Center’s Holiday Home Tour. The tour will feature six historic New Orleans homes, including the homes of political commentator James Carville and actor Bryan Batt. You don’t have to be in NOLA to tour these homes either. The 2020 event will take place through a virtual video series. "Take advantage of the rare opportunity to see beautiful Garden District homes festively decorated," suggests 10Best contributor Gerrish Lopez.
    Photo courtesy of Preservation Resource Center

  • Meadow Brook Hall

    Meadow Brook Hall
    Rochester, Michigan

    A National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook was built by Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge. Constructed in Rochester, Mich. between 1926 and 1929, the 110-room Tudor mansion houses original family art and furnishings. During the Winter Wonder Lights celebration, guests can take a self-guided tour of the illuminated historic grounds. An optional part of the tour winds through the main floor of the estate, fully decorated for the holidays.
    Photo courtesy of Meadow Brook Hall

  • George Washington's Mount Vernon

    George Washington's Mount Vernon
    Mount Vernon, Virginia

    George Washington's Mount Vernon was built in 1735 by his father Augustine. George acquired it in 1754 and spent the next 45 years remodeling it into the magnificent 21-room mansion it is today. Open 365 days a year, the iconic estate draws as many as one million visitors annually. Holiday celebrations kick off in late November with Thanksgiving Eve dinner, followed by a host of family-friendly activities – fireworks, fireside caroling, candlelight tours and visits with Aladdin the Christmas camel – scheduled throughout the holiday season.
    Photo courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon

  • Filoli Historic House and Garden

    Filoli Historic House and Garden
    Woodside, California

    Filoli was built for prominent San Franciscan William Bowers Bourn and his wife in Woodside, Calif. in 1917. The unusual name was created by combining the first two letters from the key words of Bourn's credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” The iconic mansion houses 17th and 18th century English antiques in a rich setting. During Holidays at Filoli visitors can stroll the illuminated grounds by night or see the decorated home by day. Take a socially distanced selfie with Santa on select Saturdays.
    Photo courtesy of Patricia Dennis / Filoli Historic House and Garden

  • The Breakers & The Elms

    The Breakers & The Elms
    Newport, Rhode Island

    Holidays at the Newport Mansions offers the chance for visitors to see two historic estates – The Breakers and The Elms – decked in holiday splendor. The 2020 season will add a new outdoor experience at The Breakers, illuminating the historic grounds in thousands of lights. "One of New England's most breathtaking and memorable holiday experiences, a must for history and architecture buffs," says 10Best contributor Eric Grossman.
    Photo courtesy of Newport Mansions

Ever wondered how Thomas Jefferson spent his holidays or what a Gilded Age Christmas tree might have looked like? These historic houses – voted the best in the U.S. by 10Best readers – pull out all the stops for their holiday tours.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Holiday Historic Home Tour are as follows:

  1. Graceland - Memphis
  2. Wildwood Manor House - Toledo, Ohio
  3. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens - Akron, Ohio
  4. Crane House and Historic YWCA - Montclair, New Jersey
  5. Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum - Norwalk, Connecticut
  6. Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour - New Orleans
  7. Meadow Brook Hall - Rochester, Michigan
  8. George Washington's Mount Vernon - Mount Vernon, Virginia
  9. Filoli Historic House and Garden - Woodside, California
  10. The Breakers & The Elms - Newport, Rhode Island

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning home tours!

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AlertThe Experts

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes
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