The 10 Most Festive Cities for the Holidays

Winter Day


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Christmas night in Quebec City

Straight Outta Hallmark

Dreaming of a Christmas that feels like a Hallmark movie? (C'mon, you know you've watched one or two this season.) If holiday cheer is on your wishlist, read on — LawnStarter compiled the most festive cities this year. It looked at the amount of holiday festivals and markets, as well as snowfall for setting the scene. The holiday spirit is high in these top ten cities. 

Rockefeller Center Skating Rink

New York

Score: 82.99

With its plethora of holiday activities, it's not a surprise New York is number one. While the holiday shopping, eating, and festivals are enough on their own to celebrate, traditions including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, and the Times Square Ball Drop only happen here.

Cactus Christmas
Joshua Routh/istockphoto

Las Vegas

Score: 50.66

Vegas is pretty much a holiday celebration all year round, but it gets the 2nd place slot for merrymaking — again, not a surprise, as what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. The city also gets second place for most shopping centers and department stores.

Christmas decorations on Rodeo Drive, CA, USA

Los Angeles

Score: 49.96

Despite an absence of a winter wonderland of snow, Los Angeles ranks third place. Maybe having the second highest amount holiday shops is the reason, or coming in second place for most holiday festivals. Either way, the city doesn't let warm weather stop the Christmas vibe.

Beautiful winter night in Chicago.


Score: 49.18

Chicago seems to be the setting for many classic holiday movies (think "Home Alone," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation") and rightfully so — the city is packed with holiday festiveness. Chicago ranks  second place for entertaining, which includes the amount of holiday decorating shops and Christmas tree vendors.  

Holiday Lights in Denver Colorado USA


Score: 39.87

If you're looking for a true white Christmas, you just may find it in Denver. While the city doesn't have the highest snowfall of all (that award goes to Syracuse, New York), it comes in second place for amount of holiday markets, and fifth place for merrymaking, which includes attractions like ice skating rinks.

Blurry background Xmas and New Year celebration lighting in America


Score: 37.25

Visit Houston if you're looking for frolicking fun — the city comes in third place for that category, which measures walkability regarding holiday-related activities. It also comes in fifth for having the most holiday decoration shops.

Arch Bridge

San Antonio

Score: 35.66

Trailing Houston is San Antonio, which comes in fifth for frolicking. The city is also packed with holiday present shopping opportunities, coming in 4th place for shopping.

Christmas decorated San Diego city skyline, cityscape, harbor, reflections, night

San Diego

Score: 33.88

San Diego comes in eighth place as one of the most festive cities. The city is number six for frolicking, meaning strolling through holiday events is part of the fun.

Charlotte, NC Christmas Lights

Charlotte, North Carolina

Score: 33.53

Charlotte is packed with holiday entertaining shops and tree vendors (it comes in sixth in that category). The city is tied for second place with Los Angeles and Las Vegas for having the most holiday festivals, only beaten by New York.

Christmas Tree in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia


Score: 32.69

Rounding out the top 10 festive cities is the City of Brotherly Love. Spend time in Philadelphia if you love ice staking during the holiday season — the city has the fouth highest number of skating rinks. Philadelphia also comes in sixth place in the merrymaking category — which includes amount of aforementioned rinks, as well as festivals, attractions, and music venues.