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 businesses for the latest updates.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and that means we're in the middle of the holiday season. In celebration of what Andy Williams crooned "the most wonderful time of the year," we set out to find America's best seasonal events – light shows, Christmas markets and holiday home tours. Our readers had four weeks to vote for their favorites, and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:
Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights: A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
See more than half a million lights at this garden event — Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens
During A Longwood Christmas, Longwood Gardens celebrates the nostalgic traditions of the season. The outdoor gardens are sheer magic with more than half a million lights, by way of illuminated trees to glowing orbs to dancing fountains. Outdoor fire pits and music add a note of holiday cheer.
Inside, the celebration continues with elegantly adorned spaces featuring thousands of colorful poinsettias, living wreaths, and towering trees inspired by the horticultural grandeur of Longwood.
Best Holiday Historic Home Tour: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee
This is the third win for Graceland in this category — Photo courtesy of Graceland
"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.
Best Holiday Market: Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Winning market looks forward to returning in 2021 — Photo courtesy of iStock / VictorHuang
During the annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market, small businesses set up festive chalets throughout Market Square, while live performers take to a central stage to provide daly entertainment. The 2020 event had to be cut short due to community safety restrictions, but you can still support the local businesses involved by making purchases online.
Best Public Holiday Lights Display: Natchitoches Christmas Festival in Natchitoches, Louisiana
Enjoy some Cajun-accented holiday revelry at this Louisiana winner — Photo courtesy of Karen Hoyt / Natchitoches Christmas Festival
The 94th annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival returns in 2020 with a limited entry event featuring holiday lights, food vendors, fireworks and live music on Saturdays. Visitors can enjoy some 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces on display along the Riverbank.
"Louisianians come from all over the state to tiny Natchitoches – best known for its yummy meat pies – to enjoy Cajun-accented revelry," says 10Best contributor Gerrish Lopez.
Best Zoo Lights: PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio
This is the third win for Cincinnati Zoo's holiday event — Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
During the annual PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, some four million LED lights illuminate the night. Visitors can meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, watch a Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, drool over a gingerbread village, munch on s'mores or ride the North Polar Express train.
Congratulations to all our holiday winners! The 10Best Readers' Choice awards will return on January 4, 2021.