The Top 20 Most Popular Places to Celebrate Christmas
1. New York City, USA
Spending Christmas in New York City is nothing short of magical. The city transforms into a winter wonderland, adorned with twinkling lights, grand decorations, and a palpable sense of holiday cheer that permeates the bustling streets. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to the elaborate window displays at Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, the Big Apple goes all out to celebrate the festive season.
Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center or in Central Park is a quintessential New York Christmas experience. As you glide across the ice, surrounded by the city’s towering skyscrapers and twinkling lights, you can’t help but feel the spirit of the season. And if you’re not one for skating, simply watching the joy on people’s faces as they whirl around the rink is a treat in itself.
For entertainment, Broadway offers a variety of festive shows during the holiday season. Whether it’s a classic like “A Christmas Carol” or a fun-filled musical like “Elf,” there’s something for everyone. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the world-famous Rockettes, is another must-see performance that has been a beloved New York tradition since 1933.
Venturing down to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is another highlight of a New York Christmas. This neighborhood is famed for its extravagant Christmas light displays, with residents trying to outdo each other with their ornate decorations. Walking through the brightly lit streets, you’ll see houses decked out with everything from giant inflatables to intricate light shows synced with music.
Of course, no Christmas in New York would be complete without some holiday shopping. The city’s Christmas markets, such as the ones at Union Square and Bryant Park, offer a wide range of unique gifts, artisan crafts, and delicious food. Wrapped up warm with a hot chocolate in hand, browsing the stalls under the glow of fairy lights, you’re sure to find that perfect gift and maybe even a little something for yourself. A Christmas in New York City truly is a magical experience that brings to life the festive spirit of the season.
2. Paris, France
Celebrating Christmas in Paris, the City of Lights, is an unforgettable experience. The city is beautifully adorned with festive lights and decorations, transforming it into a real-life winter wonderland. Dazzling illuminations light up the city’s most famous landmarks, from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the majestic Champs-Élysées. The sight of these landmarks, twinkling against the night sky, truly encapsulates the magic of a Parisian Christmas.
Paris is world-renowned for its culinary delights and Christmas is no exception. The city’s patisseries and boulangeries are filled with traditional holiday treats like bûche de Noël (a yule log-shaped cake), gingerbread, and spiced wine. Christmas markets scattered around the city offer an array of artisanal goods, unique gifts, and delicious food. The aroma of roasting chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air, adding to the festive atmosphere.
A visit to Notre Dame Cathedral during Christmas is a must for anyone in Paris over the holiday season. The cathedral’s grandeur is amplified by the beautiful nativity scenes displayed during this time. Attending a Christmas Eve mass here, under the glow of the stained glass windows, is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
Ice skating is another popular activity during Christmas in Paris. Temporary rinks are set up at various locations throughout the city, including the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a complete beginner, there’s nothing quite like skating under the Parisian sky with the city’s historic architecture as your backdrop.
To top off a Parisian Christmas, one can’t miss the window displays of Paris’s grand department stores, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. These stores create elaborate holiday-themed displays that are a spectacle in their own right. Often featuring moving parts and interactive elements, they draw crowds of all ages, locals and tourists alike. A Christmas in Paris is a unique blend of tradition and elegance, making it a truly enchanting experience.
3. London, England
Spending Christmas in London is a truly magical experience. The city comes alive with festive cheer as streets and buildings are adorned with twinkling lights and beautiful decorations. Iconic landmarks such as the Tower Bridge and the London Eye are illuminated, casting a warm glow over the city. The holiday spirit is palpable, especially when walking down Oxford Street or Regent Street, where spectacular light displays hang above the bustling crowds of shoppers.
One of the highlights of a London Christmas is the multitude of markets that pop up across the city. From the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to the Southbank Centre Winter Market, these festive gatherings offer everything from unique gifts to delicious food and drink. You can sip on mulled wine or hot chocolate to keep warm as you browse through stalls selling crafts, trinkets, and a variety of international cuisines.
London’s royal parks also offer a wonderful way to spend a Christmas day. You can take a leisurely stroll through the frost-tipped trees in Hyde Park, or perhaps enjoy a family picnic in the serene surroundings of Richmond Park. If you’re lucky, you might even witness a white Christmas, transforming these green spaces into stunning winter wonderlands.
No Christmas in London would be complete without taking in a panto. This uniquely British tradition is a fun-filled theatrical experience that combines comedy, music, and audience participation. Venues all over the city, from the grand West End theatres to smaller community stages, put on these festive performances that are sure to entertain the whole family.
Finally, for a truly memorable Christmas experience, attend the Christmas Day service at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral. These historic churches, with their awe-inspiring architecture and beautiful choirs, offer a peaceful and reflective way to celebrate the holiday. Whether you’re a Londoner or a visitor, spending Christmas in this vibrant city is an experience filled with joy, wonder, and unforgettable memories.
4. Rome, Italy
Experiencing Christmas in Rome, the Eternal City, is an enchanting experience. As the city prepares for the holiday season, streets and squares are adorned with sparkling lights and beautiful decorations, creating a festive atmosphere that blends Rome’s ancient history with modern celebrations. The magnificent Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia and the life-sized nativity scene at St. Peter’s Square are just some of the sights that add to the city’s festive charm.
One of the highlights of spending Christmas in Rome is visiting the city’s vibrant Christmas markets. Piazza Navona hosts one of the most beloved markets where you can find traditional decorations, handmade gifts, and delicious food and sweets. As you stroll through the market, the aroma of roasted chestnuts and freshly made pastries fills the air, adding to the holiday cheer.
Rome is renowned for its culinary excellence and Christmas is a time when this reputation shines. Traditional holiday dishes like “capon” (roasted fowl) and “panettone” (a sweet bread loaf) are ubiquitous during this time. Many Romans also observe the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve, a meal that features seven different seafood dishes. Experiencing these culinary traditions is a delight for any food lover.
Attending Midnight Mass at the Vatican is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The mass, led by the Pope, takes place in St. Peter’s Basilica, an architectural masterpiece. Whether you’re religious or not, the combination of the grand setting, the beautiful choir, and the sense of communal celebration makes this a truly special event.
Finally, the holiday season is a great time to explore Rome’s iconic landmarks. From the Colosseum to the Roman Forum, these ancient sites take on a different aura under the winter sky. Many museums and attractions also host special Christmas events and exhibitions. Spending Christmas in Rome offers a unique blend of tradition, history, and festive celebration that makes it an unforgettable experience.
5. Sydney, Australia
Spending Christmas in Sydney offers a unique and vibrant holiday experience. As the city is located in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas falls during the summer season. This means you can enjoy all the traditional festive activities with an added twist of sunshine and warm temperatures. The city sparkles with Christmas lights and decorations, with the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge serving as stunning backdrops to the festive displays.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Sydney is the variety of outdoor events and activities that take advantage of the summer weather. The city hosts numerous Christmas markets, such as the popular ones at The Rocks and Darling Harbour. These markets offer a wide range of unique gifts, artisan crafts, and delicious food. The warm evenings are perfect for strolling through these markets, sipping on a cool drink, and soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Sydney’s beaches become a central part of the Christmas celebrations. Bondi Beach, one of the city’s most famous beaches, is a popular spot for a Christmas Day barbecue. Locals and tourists alike flock to the beach to soak up the sun, surf the waves, and enjoy a festive feast. It’s a unique way to spend the holiday and one that perfectly captures the laid-back Australian spirit.
The city also hosts a variety of Christmas concerts and performances. Carols in the Domain is one of the most loved events, where thousands gather in the open-air to sing along to their favourite Christmas carols. Other venues like the Sydney Opera House hold special Christmas performances, offering everything from classical music to contemporary shows.
Finally, no Christmas in Sydney would be complete without a visit to the city’s stunning botanical gardens. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney hosts a ‘Lights for the Wild’ event, where visitors can walk through a trail of interactive light installations. It’s an enchanting experience that brings together nature and festive cheer. Whether you’re a Sydney local or a visitor, spending Christmas in this vibrant city is a unique and memorable experience.
6. Tokyo, Japan
Spending Christmas in Tokyo, Japan provides a unique blend of western and Japanese traditions. The city is beautifully decorated with illuminations, creating a magical atmosphere. Streets like Omotesando and neighborhoods like Roppongi are adorned with spectacular light displays that attract locals and tourists alike. The spectacle of these lights reflecting off Tokyo’s modern skyscrapers and historic temples adds a special charm to the holiday season.
Tokyo’s Christmas markets are a must-visit experience. These markets, inspired by their European counterparts, offer an array of gifts, decorations, and food. The Tokyo Christmas Market in Hibiya Park and the Roppongi Hills Christmas Market are among the most popular ones. You can enjoy traditional German food and mulled wine while shopping for unique Christmas ornaments and handmade crafts.
In Tokyo, Christmas is also a time for romantic celebration, akin to Valentine’s Day in Western countries. Many couples take this opportunity to have a special date, often at one of Tokyo’s many high-end restaurants. Popular activities include walking under the beautiful illuminations or having a romantic dinner cruise on the Sumida River.
While Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, several festive events are still held throughout Tokyo. Christmas concerts are common, with performances ranging from classical music to J-Pop. Theme parks like Disneyland Tokyo and Universal Studios Japan host special Christmas events featuring parades, shows, and seasonal decorations.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Tokyo’s Christmas celebrations are followed by the traditional Japanese New Year’s festivities. This means you can enjoy the best of both Western and Japanese celebrations during your visit. From the Christmas illuminations to the ringing of temple bells at New Year’s, spending the holiday season in Tokyo offers a unique and memorable cultural experience.
7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Spending Christmas in Dubai offers a unique blend of traditional festivities and luxurious modern celebrations. Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, the United Arab Emirates embraces the holiday season with a remarkable spirit of inclusivity. Dubai, known for its glamorous lifestyle and skyscrapers, transforms into a winter wonderland with beautifully decorated malls, hotels, and streets.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Dubai is the city’s extravagant decorations. Iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and the Palm Jumeirah are adorned with festive lights, creating a stunning visual spectacle. Malls such as the Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall go all out with their Christmas decor, featuring gigantic Christmas trees, Santa’s grottos, and even indoor snowfalls.
Dubai’s Christmas markets are a must-visit during the holiday season. These markets, located at places like Madinat Jumeirah and Times Square Center, offer a wide range of activities, gifts, and food. You can find everything from handmade crafts to gourmet treats, making it the perfect place for last-minute Christmas shopping.
In terms of culinary experiences, Dubai offers a wealth of options for Christmas feasts. The city’s diverse dining scene caters to all tastes, with restaurants offering traditional Christmas dinners, festive brunches, and everything in between. Many hotels also host special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day buffets, featuring a variety of international cuisines.
Finally, no Christmas in Dubai would be complete without the city’s range of festive events and entertainment. From Christmas-themed performances at Dubai Opera to festive beach parties, there’s something for everyone. For families, attractions like Ski Dubai offer fun winter activities, while resorts such as Atlantis, The Palm host special Christmas events for their guests. All in all, spending Christmas in Dubai is a unique experience that combines the city’s luxurious lifestyle with festive cheer.
8. Barcelona, Spain
Spending Christmas in Barcelona, Spain, offers a unique blend of traditional Catalan customs and festive celebrations. The city is beautifully adorned with lights and decorations, transforming its iconic streets and squares into a Christmas wonderland. From the Gothic Quarter to the bustling Las Ramblas, the holiday spirit is palpable everywhere.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Barcelona is the Fira de Santa Llúcia, the city’s oldest Christmas market. Dating back to 1786, this market fills the square in front of the Barcelona Cathedral with stalls selling Christmas trees, decorations, and traditional Catalan nativity figures. It’s an excellent place to soak up the festive atmosphere and find unique Christmas gifts.
Barcelona’s culinary scene also comes alive during the Christmas season. Traditional Catalan Christmas foods like ‘turrón’ (a type of nougat) and ‘neules’ (wafer biscuits) are a must-try. Many restaurants also offer special Christmas menus featuring local dishes like ‘escudella i carn d’olla’, a hearty meat and vegetable stew.
The city also hosts a variety of festive events and performances. One of the most loved traditions is ‘Els Pastorets’, a play about the nativity story that is performed in theatres across Barcelona. Music lovers can enjoy Christmas concerts at venues like the Palau de la Música Catalana, one of the city’s most beautiful concert halls.
Finally, Barcelona’s Christmas celebrations extend beyond December 25th. The holiday season culminates with the Three Kings Parade on January 5th, a grand procession that marks the arrival of the Three Wise Men. This event, filled with music, floats, and candy thrown into the crowd, is a magical experience for children and adults alike. Whether you’re drawn by the food, the markets, or the cultural traditions, spending Christmas in Barcelona offers a unique and memorable holiday experience.
9. Toronto, Canada
Spending Christmas in Toronto, Canada, is a magical experience that combines traditional holiday festivities with the charm of a winter wonderland. As Canada’s largest city, Toronto pulls out all the stops for the holiday season. The cityscape is adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, transforming it into a dazzling spectacle. Iconic landmarks like the CN Tower and Nathan Phillips Square become focal points of festive activities, attracting both locals and tourists alike.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Toronto is the Toronto Christmas Market, held in the historic Distillery District. This annual event brings together an impressive array of vendors selling unique gifts, crafts, and holiday treats. With its cobblestone streets lined with twinkling lights, wooden cabins, and a giant Christmas tree, the market offers a quintessential holiday experience.
Toronto’s culinary scene also shines during the Christmas season. Many restaurants offer special holiday menus featuring traditional Canadian Christmas dishes and international fare. From cozy bistros to high-end dining establishments, there’s a festive feast to suit every palate. Be sure to try some local specialties like butter tarts or tourtière, a French-Canadian meat pie.
The city also hosts a variety of holiday-themed events and performances. The National Ballet of Canada’s annual performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ is a longstanding tradition, while the Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers a series of Christmas concerts. For families, the Santa Claus Parade and the Cavalcade of Lights are must-see events, filled with floats, music, and fireworks.
Finally, no Christmas in Toronto would be complete without enjoying some winter activities. The city offers numerous outdoor ice-skating rinks, with the one at Nathan Phillips Square being the most popular. There’s also the opportunity to go sledding in one of the city parks or take a scenic winter walk along the waterfront. Whether you’re drawn by the shopping, the food, or the festive events, spending Christmas in Toronto provides a delightful and memorable holiday experience.
10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Spending Christmas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offers a unique and vibrant holiday experience. The city, known for its stunning beaches, iconic landmarks, and lively culture, celebrates Christmas with a tropical twist. Despite the summer heat, the festive spirit is palpable throughout the city, with beautifully decorated streets, shopping centers, and homes.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Rio is the world-renowned Floating Christmas Tree. This enormous structure, adorned with millions of lights, is set up on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and is one of the largest Christmas trees in the world. Its lighting ceremony is a major event, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the Rio skyline.
The culinary scene in Rio also comes alive during the Christmas season. Traditional Brazilian Christmas dishes like bacalhau (salted cod), farofa (toasted cassava flour mixture), and rabanada (Brazilian French toast) are a must-try. Many restaurants offer special Christmas menus, featuring a blend of Brazilian and international cuisines.
Rio de Janeiro is also known for its lively entertainment scene, and Christmas is no exception. Various concerts and performances take place throughout the city, featuring everything from samba to classical music. One of the most popular events is the Christmas Choir Concert at the Municipal Theater, where local choirs perform a selection of traditional Christmas carols.
Finally, despite being a summer Christmas destination, Rio does offer some traditional holiday activities. Many neighborhoods host their own Christmas markets, selling a variety of crafts, gifts, and food. There’s also the opportunity to visit one of the city’s many churches for a Christmas mass. Whether you’re drawn by the beach, the food, or the festive celebrations, spending Christmas in Rio de Janeiro offers a memorable holiday experience with a Brazilian flair.
11. Vienna, Austria
Spending Christmas in Vienna, Austria, is like stepping into a living holiday postcard. The city’s grand architecture, dusted with snow, provides a picturesque backdrop to the festive celebrations. As the capital of a country known for its Christmas traditions, Vienna transforms into a winter wonderland filled with twinkling lights, holiday markets, and the sweet scent of seasonal treats.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Vienna is its world-famous Christmas markets, or ‘Christkindlmärkte’. The largest and most visited is the Vienna Christmas World at Rathausplatz, which features over 150 stalls selling everything from crafts, decorations, to unique gifts. With a giant ice-skating rink and the beautifully lit Rathaus (City Hall) as a backdrop, it’s a place of enchantment for visitors of all ages.
Vienna’s culinary scene also shines during the Christmas season. Traditional Austrian Christmas foods like ‘Lebkuchen’ (gingerbread), ‘Vanillekipferl’ (vanilla crescents), and ‘Glühwein’ (mulled wine) are a must-try. Many restaurants offer special Christmas menus featuring hearty Austrian dishes that are perfect for the chilly weather.
The city also hosts a variety of holiday-themed events and performances. Vienna is renowned for its classical music, and Christmas is a wonderful time to enjoy a concert or opera in one of the city’s historic venues. The Vienna Boys’ Choir Christmas concerts and the New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic are particularly popular.
Finally, Vienna’s Christmas celebrations extend beyond December 25th. The holiday season culminates with Silvesterpfad, a New Year’s Eve trail through the city center filled with live music, entertainment, and fireworks. Whether you’re drawn by the markets, the food, or the cultural traditions, spending Christmas in Vienna offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
12. Hong Kong, China
Spending Christmas in Hong Kong provides a unique blend of Eastern and Western traditions. Known for its skyline filled with skyscrapers, vibrant street markets, and rich culture, Hong Kong embraces the holiday season with a mix of traditional festivities and local customs. The city is illuminated with spectacular light displays, and the malls and shopping districts are adorned with extravagant decorations.
A highlight of Christmas in Hong Kong is the WinterFest, an annual event organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It features a massive Christmas tree in Statue Square, special shopping promotions, and a variety of festive events across the city. Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City, one of Asia’s largest shopping malls, is also renowned for its elaborate Christmas displays and themed decorations.
Hong Kong’s culinary scene offers a diverse range of options during the holiday season. While traditional Christmas foods are available in many western restaurants, local eateries also serve special holiday versions of Cantonese dishes. This is a great opportunity to try some Hong Kong classics with a festive twist.
The city also hosts a variety of holiday-themed performances and events. The Hong Kong Ballet’s annual performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ is a popular tradition. Other events include Christmas concerts, charity runs, and festive workshops. For families, a visit to Disneyland Hong Kong is a must, as it transforms into a winter wonderland complete with a Christmas parade and snowfall.
Finally, Christmas in Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the iconic Symphony of Lights. This multimedia show involves more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour and includes a special Christmas edition during the holiday season. Whether you’re drawn by the shopping, the food, or the festive celebrations, spending Christmas in Hong Kong offers a memorable holiday experience with a unique cultural blend.
13. Berlin, Germany
Spending Christmas in Berlin, Germany, is a magical experience. The city, known for its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant nightlife, takes on a different charm during the festive season. The streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and the air is filled with the aroma of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Berlin is its famous Christmas markets. The city hosts over 60 markets each year, with the most popular ones located at Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz, and Charlottenburg Palace. These markets are filled with beautifully decorated stalls selling handmade crafts, traditional German Christmas treats, and hot Glühwein (mulled wine).
Berlin’s culinary scene also comes alive during the holiday season. Traditional German Christmas foods like Stollen (a fruity yeast bread), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Gebrannte Mandeln (candied almonds) are a must-try. Many restaurants offer special Christmas menus featuring hearty German dishes perfect for the winter chill.
The city also offers a variety of cultural and entertainment events during the holiday season. Berlin is renowned for its music scene, and Christmas is a wonderful time to enjoy a concert or opera in one of the city’s historic venues. The Christmas concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie and the Deutsche Oper Berlin are particularly popular.
Finally, Berlin’s Christmas celebrations extend beyond December 25th. The holiday season culminates with Silvester, New Year’s Eve, marked by spectacular fireworks that light up the Berlin skyline. Whether you’re drawn by the markets, the food, or the cultural traditions, spending Christmas in Berlin offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
14. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Spending Christmas in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a truly enchanting experience. Known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses with gabled facades, Amsterdam sparkles with festive cheer during the holiday season. The city’s beautiful architecture is adorned with twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates locals and visitors alike.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Amsterdam is its charming Christmas markets. From traditional Dutch crafts to unique gifts, these markets offer a variety of shopping options. The largest market is held at Museumplein, transformed into a winter wonderland named “Ice*Amsterdam” with an ice rink, food stalls, and festive decorations.
The culinary scene in Amsterdam during Christmas is another delightful experience. Traditional Dutch Christmas treats like ‘kerststol’ (a fruit loaf with almond paste) and ‘oliebollen’ (deep-fried dough balls) are a must-try. Many restaurants also offer special Christmas menus featuring Dutch classics and international dishes.
Amsterdam also hosts a variety of cultural events during the holiday season. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Christmas Matinee is a beloved tradition. Other events include holiday-themed performances at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet and the Amsterdam Light Festival, where artists from around the world create stunning light installations throughout the city.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is a grand celebration. The city comes alive with street parties, fireworks, and people toasting to the new year with ‘oliebollen’ and champagne. Whether you’re drawn by the festive markets, delicious food, or cultural traditions, spending Christmas in Amsterdam offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
15. Mexico City, Mexico
Spending Christmas in Mexico City offers a vibrant and colorful celebration. As the capital of Mexico and one of the most populous cities in the world, Mexico City is rich with history, culture, and tradition. During the holiday season, the city comes alive with festive decorations, lights, and nativity scenes.
One of the most significant traditions during Christmas in Mexico City is Las Posadas. This nine-day celebration, leading up to Christmas Eve, reenacts Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Each night, a procession winds through a neighborhood to a predetermined home, where the party begins with food, piñatas, and often fireworks.
The culinary experience in Mexico City during Christmas is another treat. Traditional dishes like bacalao (salted cod), romeritos (seaweed in mole sauce), and ponche (a warm fruit punch) are commonly served during the holiday season. For dessert, nothing beats buñuelos, thin and crispy fried dough sprinkled with sugar.
Mexico City also hosts a variety of events and festivals during the holiday season. The Zócalo, the city’s main square, becomes a massive winter wonderland featuring an ice-skating rink, a towering Christmas tree, and hundreds of vendors selling holiday treats and gifts. Other events include holiday-themed concerts, plays, and dance performances throughout the city.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Mexico City is a grand affair. The city center fills with people ready to ring in the new year with music, dancing, and a spectacular fireworks display. Whether you’re drawn by the unique traditions, the delicious food, or the festive celebrations, spending Christmas in Mexico City promises a memorable holiday experience.
16. Prague, Czech Republic
Spending Christmas in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is like stepping into a fairytale. Known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture, Prague transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The city’s cobblestone streets are lined with twinkling lights, and the air is filled with the sweet aroma of traditional Czech Christmas treats.
The highlight of Christmas in Prague is undoubtedly its Christmas markets, with the largest and most famous ones located at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These markets are bustling with activity, featuring beautifully decorated stalls selling handmade crafts, traditional Czech Christmas decorations, and delicious food and drinks. The centerpiece of the market is a large Christmas tree, which is illuminated every evening in a grand ceremony.
The culinary scene in Prague during Christmas is a delight. Traditional Czech Christmas foods such as trdelník (a kind of spit cake), vánočka (braided bread), and fried carp are a must-try. The markets also serve svařák (hot mulled wine) and medovina (honey wine), perfect for keeping warm in the chilly weather.
Prague also offers a rich cultural experience during the holiday season. The city’s many theaters host Christmas concerts and ballet performances, including the popular Nutcracker ballet. The Church of St. Nicholas in the Old Town Square and the Prague Castle also hold special Christmas services, where you can enjoy beautiful choir performances in a historic setting.
Lastly, New Year’s Eve in Prague is a spectacular event. The city welcomes the new year with a magnificent fireworks display over the River Vltava. Whether you’re drawn to the festive markets, the delicious food, or the rich cultural traditions, spending Christmas in Prague offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
17. Las Vegas, USA
Spending Christmas in Las Vegas, Nevada, offers a holiday experience like no other. Known for its vibrant nightlife, entertainment shows, and casinos, Las Vegas goes all out during the holiday season. The city’s famous Strip is adorned with dazzling lights and extravagant decorations, creating a festive atmosphere that is uniquely Vegas.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Las Vegas is the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Transformed into a winter wonderland, the conservatory features a stunning display of holiday-themed botanical arrangements, a gigantic Christmas tree, and even a snowfall every 15 minutes. Another must-see is the Fountains of Bellagio, which put on special holiday-themed shows set to Christmas music.
The culinary scene in Las Vegas during Christmas is diverse and exciting. Many of the city’s world-renowned restaurants offer special holiday menus, featuring everything from traditional Christmas dishes to innovative culinary creations. And let’s not forget the city’s many buffets, which go above and beyond during the holiday season.
Las Vegas is also known for its entertainment, and Christmas is no exception. Many of the city’s shows incorporate a holiday theme, from Cirque du Soleil to the various magic and comedy shows. There’s also the ‘Holiday Magic’ Festival at Opportunity Village, which features millions of lights, nightly entertainment, and a visit from Santa himself.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas is a spectacle to behold. The entire Strip is closed to traffic and transformed into a massive block party. At midnight, casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display that lights up the sky. Whether you’re drawn to the festive displays, the gourmet food, or the world-class entertainment, spending Christmas in Las Vegas is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
18. Bangkok, Thailand
Spending Christmas in Bangkok, Thailand offers a unique blend of Western and Thai traditions. While Christmas is not a public holiday in Thailand, the city embraces the festive spirit with its own unique flair. From glitzy shopping malls adorned with extravagant decorations to streets lined with twinkling fairy lights, Bangkok transforms into a vibrant spectacle during the holiday season.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Bangkok is the dazzling light displays. The city’s major shopping districts like Siam and Sukhumvit are decked out in spectacular lights and decorations. CentralWorld, one of the largest shopping complexes in Southeast Asia, hosts a grand Christmas display each year, featuring a giant Christmas tree, Santa’s village, and even a snow machine.
The culinary scene in Bangkok during Christmas is a fusion of Thai and Western cuisines. Many hotels and restaurants offer special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, featuring traditional holiday dishes alongside Thai favorites. Street markets also join in the festivities, offering a variety of local snacks and desserts that incorporate a hint of Christmas flavor.
In terms of entertainment, Bangkok has a lot to offer during the holiday season. Many shopping malls host Christmas-themed events and performances, ranging from choir concerts to dance shows. For a more traditional Thai experience, you can attend a performance of the Royal Barge Procession, a spectacular water-borne festival that occurs around the Christmas period.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Bangkok is a grand affair. The city rings in the new year with a spectacular fireworks display along the Chao Phraya River. Whether you’re interested in the stunning light displays, the fusion of cuisines, or the blend of Western and Thai traditions, spending Christmas in Bangkok promises an unforgettable holiday experience.
19. Cairo, Egypt
Spending Christmas in Cairo, Egypt presents a unique cultural experience unlike any other. Although Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country, Cairo, its sprawling metropolis, is home to a sizable Christian community that celebrates the holiday with enthusiasm. The city subtly transforms during the holiday season, with twinkling lights adorning houses and churches, and the festive spirit is palpable.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Cairo is the Coptic Christmas, celebrated by the Coptic Orthodox Church on January 7th. The Hanging Church, also known as Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, is one of the most famous venues for this celebration. Here, locals and tourists alike can attend the midnight mass and witness the vibrant religious ceremonies first-hand.
The culinary scene in Cairo during Christmas is a delightful blend of traditional Egyptian and festive cuisines. Many hotels and restaurants offer special Christmas menus featuring classic Egyptian dishes alongside traditional Christmas fare. Kahk, a type of Egyptian cookie often filled with honey and nuts, is a staple during the holiday season and a must-try for anyone visiting Cairo at this time.
In terms of entertainment, Cairo offers a variety of options during the Christmas season. The Cairo Opera House hosts a range of performances, from classical music concerts to ballets. For those interested in shopping, the famous Khan El Khalili Bazaar is a must-visit. Here, you can find everything from traditional Egyptian crafts to unique Christmas gifts.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Cairo is a grand celebration. The city welcomes the new year with fireworks over the Nile River, and many hotels and clubs host extravagant parties. Whether you’re drawn to the religious ceremonies, the unique blend of cuisines, or the vibrant culture and history, spending Christmas in Cairo offers an unforgettable holiday experience.
20. Cape Town, South Africa
Spending Christmas in Cape Town, South Africa presents an exciting twist on traditional holiday celebrations. Nestled between mountains and sea, this vibrant city embraces the festive season with a uniquely South African flare. With the Southern Hemisphere summer in full swing, Christmas in Cape Town is a sun-drenched affair, offering a mix of outdoor adventures and festive cheer.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Cape Town is the festive markets. These bustling bazaars are filled with local crafts, delicious food, and live music, offering a taste of South African culture during the holiday season. The Kirstenbosch Craft Market and the Cape Gift Market are among the most popular, featuring a wide array of handmade goods and gifts.
The culinary scene in Cape Town during Christmas is a delightful fusion of traditional South African and Christmas cuisines. Many restaurants and hotels offer special Christmas menus, featuring classic dishes like roast turkey and Christmas pudding, alongside South African favorites like boerewors and malva pudding. And let’s not forget about braai, the South African barbecue, which is a popular choice for Christmas lunch.
In terms of entertainment, Cape Town offers a variety of options during the Christmas season. The city’s beautiful beaches are a major draw, offering a chance to soak up the sun and enjoy water sports. For a more traditional holiday experience, you can attend the Christmas Eve carol service at St. George’s Cathedral, or enjoy a festive concert at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Cape Town is a spectacular affair. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront hosts a grand celebration, featuring live music, street performers, and a stunning fireworks display at midnight. Whether you’re drawn to the festive markets, the unique blend of cuisines, or the sun-soaked beaches, spending Christmas in Cape Town is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
In Conclusion: The Top 20 most popular places to celebrate Christmas
The Top 20 most popular destinations to celebrate Christmas each offer their own unique take on holiday traditions. From the snow-covered streets of Europe’s historic cities to the sun-drenched beaches of Cape Town, these destinations provide a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler’s preference. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant Christmas markets, the stunning light displays, the fusion of global cuisines, or the blend of cultural traditions, these destinations promise an unforgettable holiday experience. Each location brings its own special charm to the holiday season, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Ultimately, the best destination for you depends on your personal tastes and what you value most in a holiday getaway.