15 of the most festive small towns in the United States

15 of the most festive small towns in the United States
  • From Christmas markets to light displays, small towns across the US get into the holiday spirit.

  • Helen, Georgia, is a recreation of a Bavarian alpine village that goes all-out for Christmas.

  • Santa Claus arrives by boat during Nantucket, Massachusetts' annual Christmas Stroll.

From festivals of light to giant Christmas trees, there are plenty of ways for small towns all over the US to celebrate the holidays.

Whether you're celebrating the holiday season in New England or on the West Coast, there's no wrong way to get in the holiday spirit.

Keep reading to see if your small town made our list of most festive places.

North Pole, Alaska, is decked out in Christmas decorations year round, although it's an especially festive place to be during the holiday season.

A festive building in North Pole, Alaska.
North Pole, Alaska.Kit Leong/Shutterstock

It's only fitting that there's a town called North Pole in Alaska. The small town, which has a population of just 2,285 people, keeps the holiday spirit alive all year long. However, the North Pole is especially festive around the holidays.

The North Pole's post office is a famous local attraction that reportedly receives over 400,000 letters addressed to Santa Claus every year, Travel Alaska reported.

If you visit Solvang, California, over the holidays, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a quaint European town.

A horse and carriage ride through Solvang, California.
A horse and carriage in Solvang, California.CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock

Solvang, California, is an adorable Danish-inspired village located in the Santa Ynez Valley, up the coast from Santa Barbara.

The town feels festive all year round, although Solvang stands out during the holiday season. Every year, the European-inspired town hosts Julefest, a holiday celebration complete with a Christmas-tree lighting, plenty of holiday shopping, and Danish treats.

Mystic, a coastal town in eastern Connecticut, is a beautiful place to spend the holidays.

Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.
Mystic Seaport.Carol Ann Mossa/Shutterstock

Visitors can stroll around the town's harbor to catch a glance at the elaborately decorated boats, watch Santa Claus arrive by tugboat, or grab a slice at the town's most famous restaurant, Mystic Pizza.

The downtown of Helen, Georgia, is a recreation of a Bavarian alpine village and it only gets more adorable once it's decorated for the holidays.

Holiday decorations in Helen, Georgia.
Holiday decorations in Helen, Georgia.Vadim Fedotov/Shutterstock

While the town is famous for its Oktoberfest celebration, Helen also comes alive around the holidays.

The town has a Christmas market and parade featuring costumed characters, floats, and Santa Claus himself, plus festive lights, a breakfast with Santa, and the opportunity to buy your gifts at Helen's own Christmas Shoppe.

Frankenmuth, Michigan, is also known as Little Bavaria.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth.
Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.Molly Riley/Reuters

Frankenmuth, also known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, is one of the coziest places to spend the holidays. The town's architecture will make you feel as if you've been transported to Europe — and it's even better when it's covered in snow.

The town is also home to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, which, at 320,000 square feet, calls itself the world's largest Christmas store.

Silverton is a tiny town in Oregon, although it's arguably the most festive place in the state during the holiday season.

The lit-up Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.
The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.Bob Pool/Shutterstock

Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden is a popular event around the holidays in Silverton, in which the gardens are lit up with festive light displays.

Many people only associate the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, with summer vacations, although the town is filled with holiday charm in the offseason.

holiday wreath nantucket mass
Nantucket's annual Christmas Stroll offers festive energy to visitors.Shackleford-Photography/Getty Images

You may not want to swim in the frigid Atlantic Ocean but the beach is just as charming in the winter thanks to its beautifully decorated lighthouses.

Nantucket also holds an annual Christmas Stroll festival where visitors can shop at discounted prices from many of the island's shops and watch Santa arrive by boat into Nantucket Harbor.

It's nearly impossible to avoid holiday cheer in Sun Valley, Idaho.

The snowy mountains in Sun valley, idaho.
Sun Valley, Idaho.CSNafzger/Shutterstock

The charming ski town goes all out  its celebrations include Christmas light displays, tree lightings, and visits from Santa Claus.

Santa Claus, Indiana, receives thousands of letters to Santa every year, and its post office is always decorated.

The town post office at Santa Claus, Indiana.
The town post office at Santa Claus, Indiana.Kevin Pang/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

What better place to spend the holidays than a town called Santa Claus? The Indiana town is well-known for its post office, appropriately located on Kringle Place, where thousands of children mail their letters to Santa every year.

Branson is a go-to spot for Missourians looking to get into the holiday spirit.

Christmas tree in Branson, Missouri.
Christmas tree in Branson, Missouri.Corey Mathery/Shutterstock

From live shows to holiday lights and shopping, Branson has everything you could ask for in a festive night out.

People in McAdenville, North Carolina, love to deck out their homes in beautiful holiday lights.

A lit-up street in McAdenville, North Carolina.
McAdenville, North Carolina.Elizabeth W. Kearley/Getty Images

McAdenville, North Carolina, located outside of Charlotte, also goes by "Christmas Town, USA" during the holiday season.

The name is fitting since it's one of the best places to view holiday lights and decorations in the country. Beginning December 1 — and sometimes, even earlier — homes and buildings all over town are aglow in lights and decorations until the day after Christmas.

Woodstock, Vermont, goes all-out for the holiday season.

woodstock in vermont
The Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont.James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Woodstock, Vermont, is widely regarded as one of the most quintessentially New England towns in the country. Gorgeous in both the fall and the dead of winter, Woodstock has a number of festive attractions and activities the whole family will love.

If you're planning to stay in town over the holidays or the winter season, try to book a room at the cozy and festive Woodstock Inn. Each guest suite has its own fireplace perfect for cuddling up next to with a cup of hot cocoa and a copy of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas."

Stowe, Vermont, is also home to many festive outdoor activities, including ice skating and other outdoor sports.

stowe vermont
Stowe, Vermont.Don Landwehrle/Shutterstock

People love to visit Stowe, Vermont, in the wintertime for skiing and other outdoor activities, but the town especially comes alive during the holiday season.

Stowe not only offers a beautiful winter landscape, but the town also hosts an annual tree lighting, a holiday bazaar, and ice skating.

Leavenworth, Washington, is a small Bavarian-inspired town with amazing Christmas lights.

leavenworth washington
Festive lights in Leavenworth.Checubus/Shutterstock

Every year, Leavenworth's downtown is decorated in lights and the town's annual Christmas market keeps the holiday festivities going all season long.

Jackson, Wyoming, is a ski town with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming.Felix Lipov/Shutterstock

The town is famous for its arches made of elk antlers, which are covered in Christmas lights during the holiday season.

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