Posts Tagged ‘Christmas holiday travel’

2017 Best Places for Christmas Celebrations

December 20, 2017
Holidays in New York

New York City is one of the top-ranked places for Christmas Celebrations by WalletHub © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With Christmas being the most popular holiday in the U.S. and one of the most expensive – Americans plan to spend up to $682 billion over the holiday season this year – the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.

To help Americans celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 29 key metrics. The data set ranges from Christmas events per capita to average price per Christmas party ticket to shopping centers and outlets per capita.

Best Cities for Christmas Celebrations  
1 Chicago, IL   11 St. Louis, MO
2 San Francisco, CA   12 Dallas, TX
3 Pittsburgh, PA   13 Cincinnati, OH
4 New York, NY   14 Los Angeles, CA
5 Seattle, WA   15 Denver, CO
6 Orlando, FL   16 Birmingham, AL
7 Atlanta, GA   17 San Diego, CA
8 Washington, DC   18 Houston, TX
9 Las Vegas, NV   19 Oklahoma City, OK
10 Portland, OR   20 Miami, FL
           

Key Stats

  • Durham, North Carolina, has the lowest average price for a Christmas party ticket, $8.27, which is six times lower than in Las Vegas, the city with the highest at $49.99.
  • San Francisco has the most Christmas events (per square root of the population), 0.038, which is 38 times more than in Tucson, Arizona, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.024, which is 24 times more than in Fort Worth, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • San Francisco, California, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.209, which is 104.5 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.002.
  • New York has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.145, which is 72.5 times more than in Detroit, the city with the fewest at 0.002.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-for-christmas/41924/

More from WalletHub

See also:

Nighttime Stroll of New York City’s Holiday Lights

 

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Snow Resorts are Magical Places for Winter Holidays

December 8, 2017
Whistler-Blackcomb-Mitchell-Winton e2

Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada (© Mitchell Winton)

Snow-covered mountain resorts are particularly magical at the holidays, and they go all out.

“The quintessential holiday vacation is a ski trip in the mountains,” says CMO at Ski.com and industry veteran, Dan Sherman. “From elaborate light displays in quaint mountain villages and Santa races to holiday markets and torchlight parades, mountain destinations offer the epitome of an idyllic holiday atmosphere.”

Here are just a few examples:

Stowe, Vermont An idyllic New England town, Stowe is a winter wonderland. The streets of historic downtown come to life during the holidays with a local artisan market. From candy cane-making demos to the annual winter-themed ice carving, there is plenty to do off the mountain. Catch a holiday concert at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or take the kids to a community screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Ring in the New Year with Stowe’s on-mountain Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show over Spruce Peak.

Vail, Colorado: Vail’s Holidays are held from November 29th through December 31st. The festivities kick off with the annual Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor market featuring 34 local and regional Colorado vendors, where travelers can pick up unique last minute gifts. On the evening of December 17th, join the Mayor and take in the Town of Vail Tree Lighting by the Covered Bridge, while the Vail Children’s Choir sings. On December 22nd, Vail Winterfest Ice Theater hosts their Grand Opening Celebration. Ice Sculptor Paul Wertin creates oversized ice chairs where travelers can kick back and relax while enjoying film projects, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, ski instructors and locals form a glowing train down the mountain, while fireworks bring in the new year, lighting up Vail’s iconic setting. Other activities include ice skating, lantern making, holiday sweater runs to burn off some extra calories and children’s cookies and tea parties.

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada Dress like Santa and Ms. Claus and ski for free on the annual Santa Ski Day, this December in Whistler. The first 75 guests to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company dressed in holiday garb will be awarded a free lift ticket. The iconic Fire & Ice shows light up the town every Sunday evening as skiers and snowboarders hit a big air jump through a ring of fire. The 34th annual Christmas Eve Carol Service takes place at the Westin Resort and Spa, bringing to life the story of the birth of Christ along with traditional carols and music. In addition, children can ice skate with Santa throughout the holiday season at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Vorderstadt Kitzb¸hel

Kitzbühel, Austria (© Markus Mitterer)

Kitzbuhel, Austria An ultimate holiday destination for skiing and festivities, the town of Kitzbuhel transforms into a Christmas market and winter wonderland from November 30th through December 26th. Featuring traditional Tyrolean crafts, food and traditions, the market celebrates the holidays with a variety of musical acts featuring local choirs and musicians, Christmas readings, petting zoos and pony rides for the children. On January 1st, thousands of locals and visitors ring in the New Year with a torch skiing and flame jumping show, complete with the 64th annual fireworks show put on by fireworks champion, Armin Lukasser.

Squaw Valley, California: The holidays kick off in Squaw and Alpine Meadows on December 16th with the Opening Ceremonies. The Ceremonies include a glow stick parade, lead by the one and only Santa. The parade meanders through Squaw’s “Ye Olde Christmas Village” and the “Merry Wonderland” (a transformed Olympic Village Lodge). Check out the Ice Garden and performances by the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus. Participants will also enjoy the “Taste of Squaw,” where local dining establishments provide free bites of signature items. Santa continues his visits throughout the week, stopping at the Merry Wonderland, the Ice Garden, Village at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. On December 21st, visitors can enjoy a concert put on by the Squaw Valley Institute featuring blues-infused covers of classics by likes of BB King, Kat King Cole, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton and more. Other festivities include Ugly Sweater parties, brunch with Santa and skiing with Santa on December 25th.

Innsbruck, Austria: From mid-November through early January, the capitol of Tyrol is awash with Christmas festivities. The neighborhood of Alstadt features popular Medieval houses on the narrow Kiebachgasse street. Brothers Grimm characters peer down from the widows and tickle the imagination of children and the young at heart. Vendor booths are laden with festive goods like gingerbread, wooden toys and hand-blown ornaments. Every day at dusk, trumpeters perform traditional carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Don’t miss Kiachln, a traditional Advent doughnut served with hot cranberry sauce. Take a ride up the funicular to Hafelekar, located just outside of Innsbruck to enjoy the twinkling city below.

Sun Valley-Kevin-Syms e2

Sun Valley, Idaho (© Kevin Syms)

Sun Valley, Idaho The birthplace of skiing in the U.S., Sun Valley, Idaho is a small town with five-star amenities, but without the crowds. Christmas festivities start early with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 16th. Santa will be present, as well as the Sun Valley Carolers, an ice carving demo and free cookies and hot chocolate. Carolers perform daily performances throughout the Sun Valley Village and at various Sun Valley restaurants through the holidays. A European-style open-air market on the Sun Valley Lawn features vendors and holiday goodies. On Christmas Eve, enjoy the Winter Wonderland Ice Show while warming up with free hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies at the Lodge. Don’t miss Christmas Eve fireworks and a sky-illuminating torchlight parade down Dollar Mountain. Take sleigh rides to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner or amble down Main Street in Ketchum, lit up with a festive holiday gallery walk and festive decorations on all of the beautiful lodges.

Aspen, Colorado: The 12 Days of Aspen usher in the holidays in Aspen, Colorado. On December 20th, kids can make their parents a special gift at the St. Regis, while LeAnn Rimes will perform at the Belly Up that evening. The following day, Santa will be at the Winer Wonderland with his live reindeer. Come meet St. Nick and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies while getting your picture taken. Santa will also be conducting sleigh rides throughout the 12 Days through town with Mrs. Claus; visitors can reserve spots in advance to take a ride. During the afternoons the spirited Hotel Jerome will be hosting carolers for visitors and locals alike. On the 23rd, everyone’s favorite characters from Peanuts come to life at the Wheeler Opera House with a presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. And finally, on the 31st, ring in the New Year with an astounding fireworks show over Aspen Mountain. The Infamous Stringdusters will cap off the evening with a performance at the Wheeler Opera House.

For assistance making travel arrangements, visit Ski.com (you can do an on-line chat with a specialist) or call 800-908-5000 or 970-429-3099.

 

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Capital Christmas: A December Vacation in Washington, DC Checks Every Box on a Holiday Wish List

December 5, 2017
Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

December is an enchanting time to visit Washington DC. Destination DC can help plan a visit © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Washington, DC) –- Destination DC (DDC), the official marketing organization for Washington, DC is primed to help travelers plan unforgettable December holidays in the nation’s capital. Washington.org is packed with seasonal inspiration on a holiday landing page including hotel packages and deals, festive menus, ice skating rinks, Christmas markets, can’t-miss events and more. Scroll instant inspiration on DDC’s Instagram and Facebook accounts or speak with a travel concierge (1-800-422-8644), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm EST.

“Whether your ideal December getaway includes a family photo with the National Christmas tree and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre or a morning at the MLK Memorial, an afternoon of ice skating at the National Gallery of Art’s rink and a Michelin-star dinner, we can help you plan an unforgettable holiday in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of DDC.

Among special packages and events:

SEASONAL HOTEL PACKAGES

Between Nov. 28-Dec. 20, the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC displays lavish holiday décor from 20 area designers. The luxury Georgetown hotel treats travelers with 30% off suites, Dec. 4-31, 2017.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Deck the Halls offer includes Santa’s milk and cookies at turn-down and an in-suite holiday tree. The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC welcomes guests to Savor the Season with a 30-foot gingerbread Washington Monument and a $50 food and beverage credit.
Winter packages at the Willard InterContinental include a delicious welcome amenity and the official 2017 White House Christmas ornament thru Dec. 31.

ICE SKATING RINKS

Twirl around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink thru March 11, 2018. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café and visit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry in the West Building thru Jan. 21, 2018. FREE
New: The Potomac-side rink at The Wharf in SW DC joins the party of neighborhood rinks in Georgetown and Capitol Riverfront.
New: Glide on iceless”rinks at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and the Watergate Hotel.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND TOURS

ZooLights animates the National Zoo with more than 500,000 LED lights, snowless tubing and concerts between 5-9pm until Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31). FREE

George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers character-guided candlelit tours, 18th century dancing and fireside caroling, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 17.
Holiday in the Park illuminates Six Flags America with lights, rides and s’mores Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23, 26- Jan. 1.
Tour America’s roadside attractions in miniature at Seasons Greenings: National Parks and Historic Parks at the U.S. Botanic Gardens thru Jan. 2. FREE
The National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse is attended by 56 decorated trees, Santa’s Workshop and musical performances thru Dec. 31. FREE
The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 12 at 4pm, the American Friends of Lubavitch celebrates with dreidels and donuts. FREE

SHOPPING

Find only-in-DC gifts at Made in DC, a new store in Dupont Circle and Steadfast Supply in Capitol Riverfront. Pop-up Christmas markets: Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter and Union Market’s Brief Assembly run thru Dec. 23.
CityCenterDC, the Penn Quarter’s luxury shopping and restaurant destination, dresses up with a giant reindeer, a sky-high tree for the season. Between Dec. 1-3, a 12-foot-high igloo adds to the Instagram fun.
Georgetown Glow, an outdoor exhibition of light-art installations dots the historic shopping district between 5-10pm, Dec. 8, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. FREE

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS

New: Digital gallery Artechouse welcomes The Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018.
The Kennedy Center hosts seasonal shows including Merry Tubachristmas! (Dec. 11, FREE), Second City’s Twist Your Dickens (Dec. 5-31) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14-17).
The Washington Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker (thru Dec. 24) swaps George Washington for the Nutcracker Prince at Warner Theatre.
A richly dressed A Christmas Carol (thru Dec. 31) takes over Ford’s Theatre.
New: Christmas Illuminated is one of many exhibits at the Museum of the Bible.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

Toasts the season at Drink Company’s Miracle on Seventh Street, a trio of over-the-top pop-up bars thru Dec. 31.
Find lavish holiday teas in the Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC and Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington DC. The St. Regis Washington D.C. celebrates 12 days of Champagne (Dec. 12-24).
Among the city’s New Year’s Eve delights, Michelin-starred chef José Andrés offers tasting menus at China Chilcano, Jaleo and Oyamel.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

Visit washington.org.
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Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort

November 19, 2013
The Gaylord National Resort is the "capital of Christmas" with its "Christmas on the Potomac" festival, featuring nightly fountain shows and a new edition of ICE! © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Gaylord National Resort is the “capital of Christmas” with its “Christmas on the Potomac” festival, featuring nightly fountain shows and a new edition of ICE! © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From indoor snowfalls to a 60-foot-tall glass Christmas tree to 12 miles of dazzling lights, every year Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is transformed into the Washington, D.C. region’s “Capital of Christmas.” The sixth annual Christmas on the Potomac is a 52-day celebration running from November 15 through January 5 at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland (just eight miles south of Washington, D.C.).

Marvel at the hotel’s largest, award-winning indoor attraction, ICE! featuring a brand-new theme, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Hand-carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice (all kept at a frigid 9 degrees), Clement Moore’s classic American holiday poem is brought to life in an icy wonderland. The attraction includes beloved scenes such as Ma in her kerchief, Pa in his cap, visions of Sugar Plums, and Saint Nick with his eight reindeer – all hand-carved into life-size ice sculptures. Children and adults alike thrill going down the 20-foot-tall ice slides. New this year: “Christmas in New York City,” bringing to life the iconic sights and sounds of the Big Apple at Christmastime, and featuring the tallest ice sculptures ever created at ICE!

ICE! is open daily and can be accessed at its new location, connected to the resort and entered from inside the hotel’s 19-story atrium. Tickets start at $27 for adults ages 12 and older, $19 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for kids ages 2 and younger.

For the ultimate ICE! experience, overnight guests at the hotel who book the “Christmas on the Potomac” Hotel Package receive unlimited admission to the attraction available at any time during daily operating hours throughout their stay. The package also includes one-night accommodations, a souvenir photo and $100 resort credit that can be used on-site toward dining, seasonal spa treatments, Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating and additional activities. The package is available for select dates from November 15 through January 5 and starts at $269** for two guests. To make a reservation, call 301-965-4000 or book online at www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com.

Additional hotel offerings include: Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, Brunch with Santa, DreamWorks’ Madagascar Crack’ A Lackin’ Cook-in Character Breakfast, a new Gourmet Holiday Cake Pop Experience, PEEPS & COMPANY Potomac Express Train Rides, Photos with Santa Claus, Tree of Light and Nightly Tree Lighting Show; and DreamWorks Themed Scavenger Hunt and Seasonal Spa Treatments at Reláche Spa

Also, each night, from 5 to 9 pm, there are four free Holiday Fountain Shows and Nightly Indoor Snowfalls. These feature a narration of the classic Christmas story during the Brightest Star Fountain Show, or both modern and classical Christmas carols during the Sounds & Songs of Christmas Show. Each show also features an indoor snowfall within the 72 degree atrium.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is the largest, non-gaming hotel and convention center on the Eastern Coast, located along the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, Maryland. Opened in April 2008 and only eight miles from Washington, D.C., the AAA-Four Diamond resort offers 2,000 rooms including 110 suites; a 19-story atrium; 470,000 square-feet of convention space; acclaimed restaurants including Old Hickory Steakhouse; a modern resort spa, Relache Spa and Salon; and Pose Rooftop Lounge.

For additional information on Christmas on the Potomac and its offerings, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com or call 301-965-4000.

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