2021’s Most Festive Cities in the U.S.A
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – many U.S. cities resemble a scene out of a Hallmark movie!
LawnStarter made a list of 2021’s Most Festive Cities and checked it twice to find out which among them will fill you with holiday cheer.
Highlights and Lowlights
New York, I Love You
There’s a reason the Big Apple is the central character in countless holiday-themed movies: Nobody does the holidays like New York, our No. 1 most festive city. In fact, New York earned more than double the points of our silver medalist, Chicago, and swept all but one category.
With so many timeless traditions like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Times Square Ball Drop, kids from 1 to 92 indeed will find it hard to sleep in The City That Never Sleeps. So if you want to witness a miracle on 34th Street this year, add New York to your holiday bucket list.
Skate on ice in Central Park, browse the holiday window displays of 5th Avenue department stores, or watch the tree lighting ceremony at the Rockefeller Center. When you’re ready to sit down, let the Radio City Rockettes dazzle you with their high-kicking Christmas Spectacular.
The Bigger, the Merrier
If frolicking, merrymaking, entertaining, eating, and shopping are all equally a top priority this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with big cities.
Cities like Chicago (No. 2), Boston (No. 3), Denver (No. 9), and Washington, D.C. (No. 10) have it all: parties, goodies, and shops galore — and, of course, snow. These cities are frequent tourist destinations, which means there’s never a shortage of holiday activities.
That’s not to say that small towns aren’t big on holiday fests — many of them just aren’t big enough to make our survey. Santa Claus, Indiana, for instance, is a year-round wonderland, while Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas. This year, Seneca Falls, New York, celebrated 75 years as the inspiration for “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Baby, It’s Warm Outside
Nothing says “winter wonderland” like Jack Frost nipping at your nose, but California cities like Los Angeles (No. 6 overall) and its suburbs can warm up your holiday spirit, too.
You won’t get much, if any, snow in most Golden State cities in our ranking, but if there’s one thing Californians know how to do well, it’s how to throw a smashing holiday party. California cities — the Los Angeles metro area in particular — occupy nearly every top 10 spot in the Entertaining category.
But if you absolutely need low temperatures to get in a festive mood and can’t leave the state, head to nippy San Francisco (No. 5 overall). If you missed the downsized return of Santacon SF, check out the Drive-Thru Great Dickens Christmas Fair.
The Grinch Stole Christmas — from Small Texas Cities
Not everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, it turns out.
Holidays appear to be less of a production in smaller Texas cities, most of which landed in the lower half of our ranking. Laredo, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Amarillo slipped to the bottom 10 and took the last spots in the Merrymaking category.
But bigger Texas cities know how to party, with Houston faring best at No. 26 overall. Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights, San Antonio’s Chanukah on the River, Austin’s Trail of Lights, and KwanzaaFest in Dallas are just some of the larger events in the state that stand to make your holiday wishes come true.
Christmas Markets Come to America
Christmas markets are more of a tradition across the pond, but they’re catching on here at home. In other words, you might be able to get a taste of this European experience in your own backyard — if you live close enough to one.
Modeled after the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, Chicago’s annual Christkindlmarket, for example, starts in mid-November and ends Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, the newer Savannah Christmas Market in Georgia offers a unique Southern twist on the Salzburg Christmas Market in Austria and lasts into the new year.
You can find others in smaller towns like Kerstmrkt in Holland, Michigan, and Julefest in Solvang, California. Grab an authentic bratwurst, savor some mulled wine, and be transported to another continent.