Top 5 U.S. cities for an awesome holiday vacation

Every family has their own holiday traditions and routines, which help to create the perfect holiday experience, but sometimes it is nice to throw something new into the mix. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary – check out these different ways to spend your holiday vacation.


Anyone who wants a romantic getaway with his or her significant other should definitely consider spending the holidays in San Francisco.  Known for its great food, drinks, and accommodations, San Francisco is great for a vacation at any time of the year.  However, with the holiday feel in the air and spectacular lights on display, San Francisco is transformed into the perfect city for a romantic getaway. It is ideal for an arm-in-arm stroll through the streets of Nob Hill and/or Union Square to see the amazing Christmas displays put on by the area hotels and the lights in Huntington Park before cozying up by the fire.  Anyone staying through New Years should consider a cozy New Years Eve fireworks cruise, which provides an intimate and beautiful viewing experience of the city’s spectacular fireworks display over the Golden Gate Bridge.


If you are looking for a very traditional holiday experience, look no farther than New York City. After all, what is more traditional than a photo under the Rockefeller tree? From the beautiful lights and storefront displays on Fifth Avenue to the ice-skating and tree viewing at Rockefeller center, nowhere is more festive than New York.  From walking tours to bus tours (through multiple boroughs) to holiday sails and holiday markets, there is no shortage of ways to experience the true holiday spirit and fill your vacation with beautiful experiences.  Plus, nothing represents New Years Eve like the iconic ball drop and the hundreds of tons of confetti dumped into Times Square.

Family Friendly

Anyone traveling with a family during the holiday season should consider heading to Boston. The quaint cobble stone streets, quiet city feel, and manageable size make it charming all year round and unintimidating for a family with small kids.  When all of this is coupled with the entrancing holiday lights and warming holiday spirit, there are few better places to spend the holidays with a family. Boston will provide tons to do for all ages, whether its an outdoor tour of the holiday lights (be sure to check out the lights and tree at Faneuil Hall), a visit to the seasonal craft market, an outing to a historical landmarks or an escape from the cold into one of the city’s many museums. If everyone is staying for New Years Eve, make sure to bundle up and pack a thermos of hot chocolate to watch the spectacular fireworks displays over the water.


For those of you looking for an absolutely unforgettable holiday vacation – head to Key West, Florida. From the city-wide Santa-con bar crawl to the decorated sailboats and radio stations announcing Santa spotting’s on Christmas Eve, Key West has something for everyone during the holiday season. Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy some fruity cocktails on the beach and avoid the snow shoveling for a few days around the holidays?  Not to mention that Key West takes the cake for wildest New Years Eve celebration with three major midnight ‘drops’ – but don’t expect to find a traditional ball anywhere. On one end of Duval Street, a ruby slipper is lowered from a balcony with a beautiful drag queen inside, while on the other end of Duval a conch shell (the symbol of native Key West) is lowered from a rooftop. Finally, along the water, the pirate wench (dressed in full pirate garb) is lowered from the mast of her pirate ship.


Looking for the most relaxing holiday vacation that you’ve ever had? Look no farther than Charleston, South Carolina. With its traditional southern hospitality, Charleston is an extremely friendly city whose charm and elegance is only increased during the holidays.  The beautiful holiday lights in the historic/residential district are an absolute must.  While there are many ways to walk around and enjoy them, why not relax on a horse drawn carriage ride (the southern version of a sleigh ride) through the city? Look for the holiday specials to ride with Santa or a carriage with Christmas caroling, then pack a thermos of hot chocolate, relax, and enjoy the ride.  For a calm and elegant New Years, enjoy a dinner cruise out on the harbor. Let someone else do the cooking, while you just take in the sights and a beautiful, unobstructed view of the fireworks over the harbor.

About the Author

Meredith Lustberg writes for She loves horseback riding, paddle boarding, and doing anything where her dog, Jasper, can tag along.