25 holiday events every leisure traveler will love

Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing government restrictions; please check federal, state and local advisories before planning trips.

Does it annoy you when department stores fill their shelves with holiday products the day after Halloween? Not us! We believe that the sooner the holiday season begins, the better, and that’s because coast to coast the US is awash with holiday events; So much so that we’ve created a calendar of holiday events for travellers, one for each day leading up to Christmas in December.

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The eight nights of Hanukkah (November 28–December 5) begin early this year, and San Francisco once again celebrates the beloved Jewish holiday with its annual celebration. Bill Graham Menorah Projectthe daily lighting of his giant menorah in Union Square (also presented virtually).

If you thought the Griswolds went overboard decorating their home for the holidays, wait until you walk the streets of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Lights of the Ozarks (Nov. 20–Jan. 1) features more than 400,00 centerpiece lights, as well as holiday music and winter treats for all.

If you want wine-like moves to be the mainstay, head to charming Walla Walla, Washington. Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend! (December 3-5). Think three days of wine, art, food and music. Bonus: Annual Walla Walla Parade of Lights happening the same weekend!

Holly Folly’s Jingle Bell Run | Photo: Provincetown Business Guild

Instead of Christmas, as it were Holy shit (December 3–5) one in Provincetown, Massachusetts, featuring the Holly Folly Shop, Hop and Stroll, Jingle Bell Run and Champagne Brunch, and a holiday performance from the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.

All aboard! Sunny Tampa, Florida is going all this season thanks to her Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park (Nov. 19–Jan. 2), where visitors can order a holiday drink from Icicle Craft Kitchen, go ice skating with views of the Tampa Riverwalk, get gifts from Winter Village shops or ride the Curtis Hixon Choo Choo.

Skip the skiing and go skiing instead Christmas in the Gaylord Rockies! (November 19-January 2) Aurora, Colorado. This resort dazzles with its lofty lobby, snow tubing, gingerbread decorating corner and its multi-sensory experience. Mission. Save Christmas with Elf.

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The best ice skating place in the country… Honolulu, of course. Lace up Winter wishes (December 1 to 24) at the Hawaii Convention Center, which is getting a complete holiday makeover. Also check out Chinatown Winter Walk and: 37th Annual Honolulu City Lights.

The town of North Pole, Alaska (near Fairbanks) is best known for… wait for it… Christmas. Go to Santa’s house where visitors can shop at Santa’s Workshop, take photos with Santa on his sleigh and visit the Antler Academy, home to reindeer.

Talk about a holiday spirit. Country Christmas (Nov. 12-Jan. 2) Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort offers 3 million holiday lights, carriage rides, caroling, pictures with Santa, winter activities at Pinetop Village and the Oak Ridge Boys holiday show.

Can Disney’s Magic Kingdom become more magical? Yes, it can, thanks to the holiday good times (starting Nov. 12) at the Orlando park, including seasonal decor, limited-time treats, light projections and a new event featuring character sightings and fireworks. Get your prepaid tickets here and earn Orbucks Travel Dollars to boot!

You are brave, right? If so, put on some gay clothes (preferably a red Speedo) and hit the streets Santa Speedo Run, a one-mile run in metro Atlanta. If you’re even more daring, you can run in Chicago or Boston, where the event originated. Brrrrr

Brace yourself! Michigan has a year-round holiday store that’s 1.5 times the size of a football field. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland Frankenmuth is the largest of its kind and offers everything from indoor and outdoor decor to Christmas scenes, Santa costumes and more.

Photo by Jason Heidemann

A trip to Sin City for Christmas Veg– cation? If you need speed, go for it Bright lights (November 12-January 9) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This holiday spectacular features 3 million lights and 170 illuminated trees spread over a 2.5-mile track.

While the animals in Houston sleep, they walk through a 125-foot tunnel of light, sit on an ice throne and take socially distanced photos with Santa. Zoo lights (November 15–January 9), an annual tradition at the Houston Zoo.

‘Tis the season to work. Join Tulsa-based hosts Trinity the Tuck and Monét X Change for some gender-buzzing fun. A Drag Queen Christmas. Not in Oklahoma? (Oh, wait, that’s Oklahoma.) No problem. this show runs through the holiday season.

Even in sunny SoCal, it’s best to wear a sweater at night, especially when you’re watching the holiday-decorated yachts, boats, and kayaks along the harbor for 113.th per year Newport Beach Christmas Light Cruise (December 15-19), a beloved Orange County tradition.

How about a bird’s eye view of the holidays? After sipping wine and hors d’oeuvres at Strawbale Winery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sit down to a donut. Twilight Flights:, a helicopter ride over the city and Falls Park Winter Wonderland. Reservations are required.

Lots of cities have them, but who would say no? Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl In the capital of Blue Ridge Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina. Admission includes a festive cape, discounted drink prices, a digital map of the crawler and the Ugly Sweater After Party.

Head to Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street and join the city’s vibrant Latino community Las Posadas (December 16–24), a nine-night celebration of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem that includes bilingual carols, piñatas and live entertainment.

Need a skull ornament to top your tree or tooth-shaped earrings for that special someone? Over the head Blue Genie Art Bazaar (November 19–December 24) is an annual holiday event in Austin, Texas, and is home to all kinds of weird and wonderful products made by local artisans.

Definitely more naughty than nice is Allways Lounge & Theatre, a quirky cabaret space tucked away in New Orleans’ Marin neighborhood. Buckle up for one night only All I want on XXXmas is you. tribute to Mariah Carey (pull of course).

Have you ever dreamed of walking through the snow past thousands of wild oaks? Pack in layers The sled runs through the National Elk Refuge (Dec. 14-23 and through spring) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and wave to hundreds of grazing elk as well as coyotes, foxes, bison and more.

Shopping for last minute gifts? Look no further than Christkindlmarket (Nov. 19-Dec. 24), an annual Chicago tradition inspired by the city’s German immigrants and featuring grilled rice, mulled wine, holiday music and vendors from Germany hand-crafting Christmas ornaments.

I wonder if Santa is vacationing in Santa Fe? If you’re vacationing in New Mexico, head to the Spanish capital for the annual event Christmas Eve Stroll to Farolito where the gallery-lined Canyon Road is illuminated by thousands of Pharoliths, similarly lit lanterns.

Photo by Tishman Spier-Photographer Bart Barlow.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… in New York City. Head to Midtown to view the icons Rockefeller’s Christmas treewalk past the ornate windows of Bloomie’s, Macy’s and Sax, then take the subway to Brooklyn to explore the dazzling sights. Dyker Heights Holiday Lights.

Tagged: Alaska, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, California, Chicago, Chicago, Disney, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Michigan, Midwest, Nashville, New Mexico, New Orleans, New York, North Carolina, Orlando, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming

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