It's "the most wonderful time of the year," and to celebrate, we asked our readers to help us find the best seasonal holiday attractions and activities across the United States – light shows, holiday markets, festive hotels, holiday parades, theme park events and holiday home tour. After four weeks of voting, the results are in!
Click on each category below to see the full winners list:
Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights: A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
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
"You don’t have to love Elvis to spend an afternoon in his grand house," says 10Best contributor Melanie Reffes. 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 life-size nativity scene and Santa. Presley family Christmas artifacts are on display during this special time of year.
Best Holiday Market: Carmel Christkindlmarkt in Carmel, Indiana
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt brings a bit of Saxony, Germany to Indiana during this annual festive event. The market features the only Glühwein Pyramid in the U.S., standing 33 feet tall with more than 3,000 lights.
Best Holiday Parade: America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit has been hosting America’s Thanksgiving Parade (presented by Gardner-White) since 1924. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest and most popular parades in the country, complete with marching bands, helium balloons and colorful, larger-than-life floats making their way down historic Woodward Avenue each Thanksgiving morning.
Best Hotel for the Holidays: The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado
The historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs is transformed for the holidays into an elegant winter getaway and an excellent base for winter sports and adventure. At an elevation of 6,230 feet, the century-old "Grand Dame of the Rockies" matches impeccable service with stunning Christmas decorations worthy of its AAA Five Diamond status. Several restaurants are located in the main hotel buildings, along with a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and shops.
Best Public Holiday Lights Display: Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” in Duluth, Minnesota
Bentlleyville "Tour of Lights," the largest free walk-through lights display in the U.S., invites visitors to walk amid more than five million lights spread across a 20-acre park on the shores of Lake Superior. Guests can get their photo taken with Rudolph, visit with Santa and enjoy free cocoa, cookies, roasted marshmallows and popcorn.
Best Theme Park Holiday Event: SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration at Multiple Locations
The Best Theme Park Holiday Event? Check out SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration — Photo courtesy of SeaWorld Orlando
Visitors are invited to visit with Santa, shop at a Christmas market, sample holiday treats, snap a photo with Rudolph or enjoy a Countdown to Christmas with sea lion celebrities Clyde and Seamore. "The park is transformed into your own winter wonderland...you'll enjoy heartwarming shows, meet-and-greets with Santa and all his holiday friends, seasonal treats, a chance to watch twinkling lights and so much more," shares theme park Expert NikkyJ.
Best Zoo Lights: PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio
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 of the winners! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in our Readers' Choice contests.