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Best Towns to Visit During the Holiday Season

November 3, 2023


Team LIY

I can almost smell the fireplace and the evergreen candle burning…🌲 The Living In Yellow team and community have combined forces to share our favorite towns to visit during the holiday season! AKA our own little Hallmark movie guide for the LIY Community to all enjoy 💫 [p.s. From gift guides, to recipes, to holiday decor, to our wishlists, we’ve got you covered in our holiday shop here!] So get your suitcase packed and get ready to cozy up with a cup of cocoa and feel like you’ve been transported into to your favorite holiday movie! Sharing all of the magical details here…🪄

More favorite towns to visit this season that you’ve shared this way!


Leavenworth, WA

photo credit: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

The Leavenworth Village of lights turn on at Thanksgiving and will stay lit through Valentine’s Day! This is a magical town during the holiday season. An LIY follower shared her perfect day in Leavenworth! “Grab a stein of beer and a Big Bog Bratwurst with all kinds of specialty mustards! Then, make your way to the fire tables and meet some new friends! Listen to the live accordion player dressed in lederhosen while you enjoy a giant pretzel and cheese and check out Schweinshaxe or Schnitzel for dinner. See the amazing Christmas lights, walk the shops, have a cold beer or mulled spiced wine, listen to the carolers, and take the kids to the ski hill. See the Reindeer and get a picture with Santa. Get some old time photos at and wear some Bavarian outfits. Ride in a horse drawn carriage and admire the Christmas lights in town [no reservations needed]!”

Holland, MI

photo credit: HILLERY MCALPINE

Holland, Michigan is a must stop during the Holiday season! Heated sidewalks and outdoor fire-pits make your outdoor stroll nice & cozy! Grab a pint at New Holland brewery and still downtown taking in the shops and sights!

“Brighten your holidays with a visit to downtown Holland Michigan! Holland’s beautiful downtown comes alive with festive and beautiful holiday decor and a multitude of exciting holiday events in November and December. Historic downtown Holland provides the perfect backdrop for our holiday fun, which kicks off with a holiday open house complete with strolling carolers and roasting chestnuts.  The fun continues with seasonal shopping deals, photo opportunities with Santa Claus, and even a petting corral with reindeer! Enjoy the creatively lit floats in the Parade of Lights. Stroll through the “Kerstmarkt,” a European open-air Christmas market and visit with Sinterklaas, the Dutch Saint Nicholas, at Magic at the Mill. There are holiday theatre and musical performances, a greens sale, home tour, Victorian Christmas teas, special exhibits, and even an annual tree-lighting ceremony! Holland’s warmed cobblestone sidewalks, unique shops and galleries, specialty import shops and open-air market provide one-of-a-kind holiday shopping throughout the festival.” [holland.org]

Portsmouth, NH

photo credit: Will Zimmermann, Miniature Media

A few of us on the LIY team have visited this magical town, but never during the Holidays [but sounds like a dream!]. “For all the beauty Portsmouth offers during the summer, the holiday season just may be its finest time of year. The Christmas spirit you find here isn’t garish or overblown. It’s tasteful and subtle, more vintage than big-box store.” — Yankee Magazine

Carmel, IN

Katy here from the LIY team! My husband and I used to live in Indianapolis and visiting Carmel [an Indianapolis suburb] during the holiday season was always a MUST! The Christkindlmarkt is so magical and the downtown shops are straight out of a story book!

“The most wonderful time of the year is exceptionally special in Carmel. Experience the holidays as they look in the movies with a visit to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, a walk down the Magnificent Monon and an ice-skating date at The Ice at Carter Green. Find the perfect gifts for loved ones in local shops along Main Street and at City Center. Prepare to visit with Santa during his tour through Carmel neighborhoods.” [camel.in.gov]

Ellicott City, MD

LIY community member Lauri shared, “Main Street is beyond adorable and so resilient, having survived two major destructive floods within a short period of time and then the pandemic. Google it and you will see the resiliency and spirit of this amazing town!”.

Geneva, IL

photo credit: patch.com

LIY community member Amy shared, “Geneva, IL is so cute and quaint with little unique shops! There are amazing restaurants, so many wine stops, Grahams chocolates is divine for ice cream and all the chocolate you can eat. An amazing little Harvey’s tales book store in town, places to see live music at the end of the day, the Herrington Inn right on the river and a spa to relax the next day! Our little town is the best! We have had movies set here because it is picture perfect. You can then wander to the town to the north St Charles or the town south Batavia for more fun!” Don’t forget to tour do the holiday house tour and annual Christmas walk!

Bethlehem, PA

photo credit: https://sayremansion.com/

There’s a reason this town got the nickname “Christmas City”! “Throughout the Christmas season, Historic Bethlehem hosts a variety of festive family activities including holiday tree tours, lights displays downtown, carriage rides, seasonal music, or pictures with Santa, there’s something for everyone!” [historicbethlehem.com]

Valparaiso, IN

photo credit: valparaisoevents.com

LIY Ambassador, Lisa, calls Valparaiso home and can’t sing its praises enough! “Get in the spirit and revel in the holiday season throughout downtown. Be sure to make time for holiday shopping and dinner at your favorite downtown shops and restaurants.” [valparasioevents.com] This AirBnb is a great option to stay right downtown!

Alpharetta, GA

Get the scoop from an Alpharetta native! “It’s like living in a Hallmark movie during the Holiday season! At the avalon tree lighting be sure to also stop at Santa’s house and see a reindeer! Stop in at the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Pop Up at Sis and Moon’s Boutique!”

Blue Ridge, GA

Blue Ridge is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays in small town charm! Go out for a hike [weather permitting!], visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and take a Christmas-themed ride aboard the train along the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! Don’t forget: check out the window decorating contest downtown.

Quebec City, Canada

photo credit: https://www.quebec-cite.com/en

An LIY community member shared, “I highly recommend the Christmas day feast at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Just walking down the streets you feel like you are in a Norman Rockwall painting. You would swear you were in a European city! The cobblestone streets lead you down charming paths to incredible shops and restaurants and you will most definitely run across carolers and nativity scenes during the holidays. It is sooooo magical!!!”

Quebec-cite.com describes the town as, “In winter, Old Québec is like a fairyland Christmas village of lights, decorations, snow, and enchanting European architecture. From the Place D’Youville skating rink to the quaint Petit-Champlain, take advantage of the winter landscapes and walk your own path through 400 years of history!”


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