See this year's dreamy destinations that define Christmas in the South.
Everything is Merrier in Texas
With destination cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Fredericksburg, it’s not hard to find Christmas events in the Lone Star State. The hard part is choosing which ones to attend.
Walkin’ in a Downtown Dallas Wanderland; downtowndallas.com Experience the 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum; dallasarboretum.org See the glittering displays at the Austin Trail of Lights; austintrailoflights.org Cozy up in quaint Fredericksburg Hill Country; visitfredericksburgtx.com/holiday
Crescent City Christmas
Escape the cold and migrate south to New Orleans to experience the holiday in The Big Easy—and trust us, few do it better. Here are some of our favorite spots around town:
Explore all 25 acres of City Park during the annual Celebration in the Oaks; neworleanscitypark.com The twinkling lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel (order a gin fizz from the Sazerac Bar); waldorfastoria.hilton.com Sip a classic New Orleans cocktail at newly-opened Henry Howard Hotel in the Garden District; henryhowardhotel.com Put you pinky up at the Windsor Court’s lavish Holiday Tea in Le Salon; windsorcourthotel.com
The South’s Big-City Celebration
There’s plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas in Atlanta that make braving the holiday traffic worth it.
Do some Christmas shopping at merry Ponce City Market; poncecitymarket.com Swing by Macy’s Great Tree display in Lennox Square; ajc.com Get a dose of holiday humor with satiric writer David Sedaris’s comedy The Santaland Diaries; horizontheatre.com Work off your holiday indulgences at the Ugly Sweater Run; theuglysweaterrun.com
Christmas in the Capital
The spectacular holiday displays and events in Washington, D.C. are only fitting for our nation's capital—and certainly worth seeing (at least) once in your lifetime.
Make a patriotic pilgrimage to the 2016’s National Christmas Tree: A Shining Salute to America; thenationaltree.org Celebrate with the animals at Smithsonian Zoolights; nationalzoo.si.edu See the city sparkle at Georgetown GLOW; georgetowndc.com See Santa Waterski at the country’s longest-running water ski Christmas show; waterskiingsanta.com
Winter on the Water
Why should Christmas parades be relegated to land? If you’re near the water, catch one of the South’s festive Christmas parades by boat, instead.
Annual Holiday Parade of Boats, Charleston, South Carolina; christmasincharleston.com Santa by Oysterboat, Apalachicola, Florida; apalachicolabay.org 31st Annual Christmas on the Water Boat Parade, Biloxi, Mississippi; gulfcoast.org Swansboro Flotilla Boat Parade, Swansboro, North Carolina; swansborofestivals.com
Country Music Merriment
For all of those readers who anxiously await the release of their favorite country stars’ holiday albums, here’s where you should head:
Experience the Grinch Musical, Dinner Shows, and over 2 million twinkling lights when Opryland decks itself out for A Country Christmas; marriot.com Soak up over 100 years of Christmas celebrations at Belle Meade Plantation; bellemeadeplantation.com See the annual Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park; thedancinglightsofchristmas.com
Forgo the cold; head to one of these tropical, beachy Florida Christmas events.
Celebrate the country’s oldest Christmas celebration in our nation’s oldest city—St. Augustine. The destination city is celebrating its 60th Annual Christmas Parade; floridashistoriccoast.com Enjoy home tours and performances in Downtown Pensacola at Pensacola Winterfest; pensacolawinterfest.org Wander around 20,000 square feet of hand-carved ice sculptures and an ice slide at the Charlie Brown-themed show, ICE! At Gaylord Palms; marriot.com
An Otherworldly Holiday
These Southern destinations may make you forget that you’re still in the present-day South.
Spend the holidays in historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia; colonialwilliamsburg.com/holidays Celebrate with the King at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee; graceland.com/holidays Visit the enchanting Victorian Christmas Festival in Thomasville, Georgia; thomasvillega.com Buckle down in this tiny Bavarian town in Helen, Georgia; helenga.org
Knock-Your-Stockings-Off Theme Parks
These Southern theme parks are as festive as they are fun. From roller coasters to sleigh rides, these three parks are perfect for thrill-seeking holiday adventurers.
Celebrate the holidays around the world at Disneyworld’s Epcot; disneyworld.com Tube down a snow-covered hill at Stone Mountain Park, right outside of Atlanta, Georgia; stonemountainpark.com Visit the world’s largest Christmas-themed park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami, Florida; santasenchantedforest.com
Quaint Carolina Christmas
The small-town celebrations in North Carolina keep calling us back, every year.
Wander through McAdenville, the town worthy of the title Christmastown U.S.A.; mcadenville-christmastown.com Break tradition (or return to traditions of old) and celebrate Old Christmas on January 5 at Rodanthe on Hatteras Island; outerbanks.com/rodanthe
Sweet Home for the Holidays
Because Southern Living calls Birmingham home, we all look forward to celebrating Christmas in the Magic City—and across the state. Here’s where we’ll be, this year:
Ice Skating at Railroad Park in Birmingham; railroadpark.org Browsing through the Junior League of Birmingham’s Annual Market Noel; marketnoel.com Exploring Santa’s Village in Hunstville, Alabama; facebook.com/santasvillageHSV