Top Ten Lists

Festive Holiday Attractions

What does a great holiday activity entail? An extravagant light display? Ice skating amongst a snowy mountain backdrop? Holiday shopping downtown? Everyone has their personal favorite holiday traditions. Listed below are 10 fun holiday activities across the US. These festive events and activities are sure to put you into the holiday spirit!
  • 1. Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
    Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
    2001 N Clark St, , 60614
    One of the most spectacular zoo light displays in the country is found in downtown Chicago. Lincoln Park Zoo's annual free event features over 2 million lights! In addition, you will also be treated to caroling performances, synchronized music and light shows, ice carving demonstrations, and special holiday events! Also, there is an ice skating rink and plenty of holiday treats to enjoy! If you are lucky you may see a few animals too. What's more - the fantastic location provides you with great views of Chicago.
  • 2. A Christmas Story Museum and House Tour
    A Christmas Story Museum and House Tour
    3159 W 11th St, , 44109
    Did you know that the actual house used for filming the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" now operates as a tour and museum? Fans of this 80's holiday film will enjoy the opportunity to walk around the house, which has been restored to resemble the exact setting in the film.

    An informative tour guide gives plenty of interesting tidbits about the cast and filming process. The on-site gift shop is a fan's dream; here you will find more "A Christmas Story" memorabilia than you could ever imagine!
  • 3. Christkindlmarket
    50 W Washington St, , 60602
    Visiting Chicago during the holiday season is sure to put anyone into the holiday spirit. The range of unique activities and events available are sure to quickly fill up your itinerary. One unique, festive place to shop for the holidays is Christkindlmarket, a German inspired shopping village. Be sure to pick up one (or several) of the beautiful, one-of-a-kind glass blown ornaments.
  • 4. Ice skating and sleigh rides at Nestlenook Farms
    Ice skating and sleigh rides at Nestlenook Farms
    66 Dinsmore Rd, , 03846
    Picture what it would be like to enter a winter snow globe...this is exactly what you get at Jackson, New Hampshire's Nestlenook Farms. Christmas is a magical time to visit the resort, which is overloaded with festive winter attractions including horse drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing trails, and a breathtakingly beautiful Victorian ice skating rink. Being surrounded by the snowy White Mountains will make you feel like you stepped right into a snow globe.
  • 5. Winterfest
    101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, , 19106
    Philly's premier holiday event is ice skating along the beautiful Delaware Riverfront. Not only is this rink super festive with lights, a big Christmas tree, cocoa stands, and cozy seating, but they put on a number of great events including a festive New Year's celebration. Best of all, the rink is located within walking distance of many notable Old City attractions including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
  • 6. Winter Sleigh Rides at the National Elk Refuge
    Winter Sleigh Rides at the National Elk Refuge
    675 E Broadway Ave, , 83001
    Each year thousands of elk migrate to Jackson Hole for the winter months. Tourists can take a festive winter sleigh ride, while also learning more about the refuge and seeing wildlife up close. The beautiful snowy mountains are just another reason to book your winter trip to Jackson.
  • 7. The Wollman Ice Rink
    The Wollman Ice Rink
    830 5th Ave, , 10065
    Nothing says that the Christmas season is right around the corner quite like ice skating in the city. The country's best winter rink can be found in New York's iconic Central Park. If you are a fan of the holiday classic Home Alone 2, then you are probably familiar with this rink. With festive music, gorgeous views of the city, and wonderful views of the park, there is no better place to enjoy a pre-holiday skating session.
  • 8. National Gingerbread Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn
    National Gingerbread Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn
    290 Macon Ave, , 28804
    This wonderful gingerbread competition is held each holiday season at the beautiful Omni property in Asheville, North Carolina. This resort is easily one of the most gorgeous in the South due to its' prime location amidst the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains. 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of this festive display which includes incredible entries from around the country. Talented creations are judged by a panel of experts in the food industry.

    Winning creations are on display throughout the holiday season. Public viewing is open although there is a hefty charge for parking. While at the resort, enjoy the delicious brunch buffet in the beautiful Blue Ridge Artisanal dining room.
  • 9. Holiday Window Displays at Macy's on State Street
    Holiday Window Displays at Macy's on State Street
    111 N State St, , 60602
    Macy's on State Street (formerly Marshall Field's) is home to Chicago's annual holiday window displays. No winter visit to the Windy City would be complete without paying a visit, both to see the iconic windows and to do a little bit of holiday shopping (7 floors worth!). Be sure to plan a meal at The Walnut Room, where you will be treated to a special holiday menu in the company of an extravagant 45 foot centerpiece Christmas tree.
  • 10. The Rockefeller Center tree & ice rink
    The Rockefeller Center tree & ice rink
    600 5th Avenue, , 10020
    America's grandest Christmas tree is located in New York's iconic Rockefeller Center. Numerous holiday classics have featured the iconic tree, including Home Alone 2 in the famous scene where Kevin wishes his family back. The tree is quite a sight to see in person, although you must prepare for massive crowds. No matter when you visit, there is bound to be thousands upon thousands of people - it is not the quiet romantic affair shown in movies.

    And, if you are up for a bit of a splurge, enjoy a festive ice skating session on the famous rink. With the beautiful tree, music, and fun people watching, it's one of the most enjoyable holiday experiences, albeit a pricey one!