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New York City, Chicago, Colorado

New York City, Chicago, Colorado

While many Americans prefer to stay at home during Christmas time there is still a growing number of U.S. residents who view this period of time as a great opportunity to travel. As a rule, during late December-early January most people can take some time off of work. In addition, Christmas holidays offer the families who live in different parts of the country the chance to get together in a fun location. Some people refrain from traveling on Christmas because of high cost of air flights at this time of the year, but Christmas travel can be affordable if you take advantage of great travel deals.

Below we offer the list of the hottest U.S. destinations for Christmas travel. Along with quite traditional places to visit on Christmas and New Year, like New York City or Chicago it also includes some unusual spots that might surprise you. If you are planning your Christmas vacation we hope that this information will come in handy.

New York City

A visit to New York City at Christmas is a must, at least once in your lifetime. New York City tops our list as it is definitely one of the most beautiful and spectacular places in the whole world at this time. With all the festive lights and the snow, the city creates a perfect setting for your winter dream come true vacation.

New York boasts incredible shopping scene so you can find there everything on your wish list as well as unique gifts for your family and friends. New York City has many holiday traditions that draw to the city thousands of visitors each winter. In addition to the numerous holiday-themed window displays of the city's department stores New York is also famous for the huge pine Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Each year the lighting of this tree is marked with festive celebrations and musical shows. Another event worth visiting during the holidays is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a Broadway-style show performed by the renowned Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The ever popular "The Nutcracker" performed by the New York City Ballet is always a hit. And make sure you come to greet the 'real Santa' at the Plaza Hotel.

Chicago

If you plan to visit the Windy City during the winter holidays be prepared for not just a snowy Christmas, but also a very cold one. But Christmas in Chicago offers tons of spectacular big-city activities, such as watching the millions of lights on the Magnificent Mile and visiting Christkindlmarkt, a German Christmas market where you can celebrate the city's German heritage by savoring delicious German foods and drinks. Plus at Christkindlmarkt you will find a variety of German national holiday crafts and toys. Make sure you see the lighting of Chicago's giant Christmas tree in Daley Plaza, the event celebrated with much fanfare. The local Museum of Science and Industry offers the Annual Christmas Around the World Exhibit worth visiting as well.

Florida, Alaska, Puerto Rico

Florida, Alaska, Puerto Rico

Colorado

If you love skiing then celebrating Christmas and New Year hitting snowy slopes and sipping hot drinks in a cozy chalet is probably what you need this year. Within the U.S. Colorado is the hottest destination to go for skiing, with an abundance of luxury resort in Aspen, Vail, and Steamboat Springs. To experience a truly Victorian Christmas consider staying at the Breckenridge ski resort. By the way, NORAD, the governmental agency that tracks Santa's gift giving course on Christmas Eve is located in Colorado. If skiing is not your passion consider celebrating Christmas in Denver where you can see the Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo, get the kids ride the Holiday Carousel, and enjoy tea at the Brown Palace.

Florida

Traditionally sunny Florida has been a popular getaway for those who prefer white sand Christmas rather than a snowy one. The state's mild climate makes Florida a perfect beach vacation destination, plus families can visit Walt Disney World, offering tons of fun and adventure for kids of all ages. Make sure you and your kids attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and see Epcot's Candlelight Processional.

Christmas in Miami has a peculiar Latin flavor. Before Christmas many cities feature boat parades and light displays, like the Night of Lights in St. Augustine.

Or consider visiting Christmas, a town located not far from Orlando, where you can get your holiday mail postmarked.

Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico will delight you with hot weather and give you a nice tan. In addition, Puerto Rico has unique set of Christmas traditions that include decorations, storytelling and gourmet food. Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, is the biggest holiday of the year in Puerto Rico, although Christmas season there begins in November and ends in February.

Alaska

Many people head to Alaska on Christmas. This is the place where Santa Claus House is situated in North Pole, Alaska (near Fairbanks). In winter travelers can view a breathtaking natural phenomenon - the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. If you love snow and don't mind cold weather Alaska is a great place for your winter vacation. There you can participate in various Christmas festivals and events, such as Christmas-themed ice art sculptures and others. And the riskier can even try dog sledding.