7 Holiday-Themed Destinations in the U.S. to Take Your Kids to This Year
Your goal: To find a clever way to commemorate Christmas as a family before your kids are old enough to roll their eyes. These seven holiday destinations around the U.S. will put everyone in the holiday spirit—and provide some pretty Instagram-worthy moments along the way.
The Polar Express Train Ride (Multiple Locations)
Whether you live in Portland, Maine, or Sacramento, California, there are 45 locations (and counting) where you and your kids can ride the rails and bring the fantasy laid out in Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 book (about a disbelieving boy who boards a magical train ride on Christmas Eve) to life.
‘A Christmas Story’ House (Cleveland, Ohio)
It’s the very same spot where Ralphie got this close to shooting his eye out in the 1983 film that is a must-watch every Christmas. Not only can you and your family book a tour, but you can also stay overnight. There’s even a museum directly across the street that houses tons of original costumes and memorabilia from the film. (Leggy lampshade included, of course.)
The Ice Castles (Multiple Locations)
It’s basically your kid’s Frozen fantasy realized. Made using the “dribble” method (aka drip pipes are employed to form the icicle base of the castles), the sculptors then get to work forming the glacial paths and caverns that allow your family to traipse (carefully) around. FYI, the later in the season you visit, the more fairy tale-like the castle shape since it’s all about giving the water-based stalagmites more time to develop. (Pssst…it’s also worth peeping the event calendar to see if you can time your visit with a chance to spot Elsa, who’s been known to drop by.)
The North Pole Experience (Flagstaff, Arizona)
Take your kids inside Santa’s actual workshop, where your kids will get to work side by side with the elves, building toys and learning all of their “secrets” (like how the heck they cover so much ground on Christmas Eve). The tour also includes cookies and snowman soup with Mrs. Claus and a chance to check out Santa’s top-secret “Area 47” Sleigh Hangar before meeting the man himself. A pretty epic place to lock down those annual pics with Santa for your holiday card.
Christmas Candylane at Hershey Park (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
The family-friendly theme park goes all out come the holiday season with over four million twinkling lights dotting the grounds, Christmas parades galore and a chance to meet Santa and pay a visit to Rudolph in the reindeer stables. (PSA: Holiday candy will be served.)
Dyker Heights Holiday Lights (Brooklyn, New York)
Even older kids won’t be able to resist oohing and ahhing over the zillions of Christmas lights on display in this predominantly Italian Brooklyn neighborhood. A holiday tradition of ten years and counting, over 100,000 people flock here annually to peep the displays, hot cocoa in hand. You can book a tour or opt for a self-guided one. Either way, once you’re within a few blocks, you won’t be able to miss the yuletide glow given off by all the lights.
Disney World (Orlando, Florida)
It may feel like an odd time to visit Mickey and Minnie, but trust us: Your kids haven’t lived until they’ve seen Cinderella’s castle dripping in icicle lights.