The BEST places for Christmas Travel

Rockefeller Center christmas tree
Rockefeller Center christmas tree, Manhattan, New York

Pamela Douglas Webster talked yesterday about some best books for Christmas. That got me thinking about sharing some other bests. And while Pamela was talking about staying at home for Christmas, I have places to go and sights to see.

I recently received an e-mail from Hertz. They polled their customers about many different holiday habits (like road trips, of course!) If I were going on a road trip of Christmas travel, I would follow the Hertz guide to their favorite light shows.

Must-See Decorations and Light Shows

· Osborne Spectacle of Lights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Orlando, FL

· San Francisco Cable Cars; San Francisco, CA

· Rockefeller Christmas Tree; New York, NY

· Gingerbread House Display at the Sheraton in Seattle; Seattle, WA

· National Lawn in D.C.; Washington, D.C.

· The Festival of Lights at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Cincinnati, OH

· Community of Moon Valley in North Phoenix, AZ; Phoenix, AZ

· Country Club Plaza Lights in Kansas City, MO; Kansas City, MO

· Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach; Newport Beach, CA

· Bull Run Christmas Lights at Bull Run Regional Park; Centreville, VA

But I’d have to add one right here in Tucson: The Winterhaven neighborhood Festival of Lights.

Where is your favorite place to visit for Christmas decorations?

Best Hotel Lobby Holiday Displays

 Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, Sugar castle
Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, Sugar castle


If you are engaging in Christmas travel, you’ll need to book a hotel, right? Might as well be one that puts you in the spirit. On Facebook, Nancy Devor Garrett  of AZ Getaway Travel, asked for suggestions for favorite holiday hotel lobbies and then posted her own Best Hotel Lobby list. Here are some other suggestions people made to her:

Daniel J. Jones :The one at the Grand Floridian at Disney is always pretty spectacular. The mouse tends to go a little overboard on the holiday decorations.

Cacinda Maloney :Marriott Santiago Chile

Cat Gaa :El Tovar on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. My parents took my Spanish partner there last year right after Christmas, and the tree is dazzling, rustic and full of historic ornaments.

Christine Medina :The Fairmont Vancouver in B.C….they really know to deck the halls!

Sheila Scarborough : The Driskill in downtown Austin, TX.

Juls Blanc :  The Peabody Hotel in Memphis… where the famous ducks parade through the lobby. Stunning.

Vera Marie Badertscher:  Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, because it also has a pastry chef village that is spectacular. And it is one of the choices in this article at Hotel Chatter. Click over there and see the incredible ideas at hotels around the world.

Any others you have seen that deserve to be on this list for Christmas travel?



About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

3 thoughts on “The BEST places for Christmas Travel

  1. for lights: Zilker Park in Austin, Texas; downtown Nashville.

    for hotel: it’s not a spectacular display but rather a warm and welcoming one: Hyatt Riverside in Austin. Sheila Scarborough is right about The Driskill, too, a historic hotel with flair, especially at the holidays. The Omni Downtown in Austin, with lights reflecting and reflecting again, is nice, too.

    1. These all sound lovely, Kerry. Didn’t realize that Nashville went all out for Christmas decor. Do their little music broadcasts at cross walks change to Christmas music?

      1. Christmas music is everywhere — and though most people don’t think of Nashville in connection with classical music, it has the Nashville Symphony and Orchestra Nashville and the Nashville Ballet, all often having holiday programs on tap as well.

        Before the flood, the Opryland area and Opryland Hotel used to do a grand display of lights, and many Christmas programs — I imagine they are up to doing that again now. Well worth experiencing, though I still prefer the somewhat quieter scene of lights along Music Row and downtown.

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