We know, we know; there’s no place like home for the holidays. 

We just can’t help wondering if that holds true if you’re travelling to a city where the holiday spirit truly knows no bounds.  

Whether you’re in search of a traditional city break, or some sun and sand, here are five of our top vacation destinations to escape to for a fun-filled holiday experience this year! 

5. Chicago, Illinois

The holiday season is undoubtably one of the best times of the year to visit Chicago.  

Yes, it’s cold during this time, but you can’t help but feel the magic of the holiday season in the city with the twinkling light displays and snow-dusted streets – not to mention the festive live shows, holiday exhibits, and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.  

Get into the holiday spirit by experiencing the magic of an authentic German Christmas market –Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, where you’re sure to find some traditional German crafts and treats, as well as some hot mulled wine to keep you warm.  

Don’t forget to lace up your skates and hit one of the many free outdoor ice rinks in the city. Our favorite? The scenic rink at Millennium Park – a cherished Chicago tradition! 

4. Aspen, Colorado 

Christmas in Aspen is the perfect escape for those seeking seasonal activities, and looking to celebrate the holidays in style. Few better options exist than this charming winter wonderland, which is why it had to be included in our list.  

Perhaps the most magical part about Christmas in Aspen is that you’re guaranteed a White Christmas. What’s better than waking up to a blanket of snow, ready for days filled with skiing and snowy activities. 

Enjoy holiday shows at The Wheeler Opera House, known for their holiday-themed performances during December, and then settle down with some s’mores and hot chocolate by the fire at one of the many festive ski resorts in town.  

You’re guaranteed to feel the holiday spirit as soon as you step foot into this mountain town, especially during the yearly “12 Days of Aspen” event where Aspen’s cozy downtown decks itself out in festive attire during the last 12 days of December.   

3. Quebec City, Canada

Want to enjoy the feel of Europe without leaving North America? Head to Quebec City.  

Each year the city transforms into a picturesque Christmas village, where the cobbled streets are dusted in snow and charming squares are illuminated by glittering lights and decorations.  

Experience the magic of an authentic Christmas market and enjoy delicious roasted chestnuts while watching one of many free festive shows the city has to offer.  

Check out the magical holiday decorations at Le Château Frontenac before going for a traditional toboggan run down the stunning snowy landscape of the hotel – it’s one of the oldest traditions of a Quebec Christmas!  

2. Waikiki, Hawaii 

If your idea of a winter wonderland includes sun, swinging palm trees and drinking tropical cocktails in the sand, then Waikiki is the place for you!  

Take a stroll through one of the many hotel lobbies on Waikiki Beach to see their Christmas decorations, or take a trip downtown to see the annual Honolulu City Lights ceremony which dates back to 1985. The event includes children’s games, a wreath contest, photos with Santa, and of course, colorful light displays and other festive decorations for all to enjoy.  

For some extra festive fun, book a stay at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu where Santa comes ashore in a canoe. You won’t want to miss it! 

1. New York City

There is no denying that New York shines extra bright during the holiday season.  

Very few cities transform quite like New York during Christmas and it’s an experience like no other. The city is famous for its extravagant decorations – from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, a tradition since 1931, to FAO Schwarz’s extravagant toy displays, and the fanciful window displays on Fifth Avenue such as Saks and Bergdorf. There are endless magical things to see in the city during the holidays.  

Across the street from the Rockefeller Center is Radio City where the annual Christmas Spectacular takes place starring the Rockettes – a must see when in the city! Looking for some outdoor fun? Head to the Winter Village at Bryant Park for a day of skating, cocktails, and festive markets to brighten your day.