Image Source: New Orleans CVB
There is a chill in the air and the department stores all have their best Christmas displays on show. It's officially the holiday season, a fun but sometimes stressful time of year for many people. This winter why not take a short break and see how other cities celebrate the holidays, including these three stars of the winter travel season.
The Crescent City may be on your radar around Mardi Gras, but it's also a great place to visit during the winter holidays. One of the most popular events of the season is the annual caroling in historic Jackson Square. On December 21, families can join in a New Orleans tradition by singing carols amongst a candlelit Jackson Square. Not only is this event free and open to the public but candles and song sheets are provided. New Orleans can't forget its festive spirit, so be sure to catch one of the French Market Holiday Marching Band parades. Some of the most famous brass bands in New Orleans march through the market sharing their jazz versions of holiday classics in so-called second-lines. Second-lines will take place December 11, 18 and 25. There's a lot to do in New Orleans this holiday season, all with a fun New Orleans twist.
For many people winter doesn't just mean wrapping presents, it also means shushing down some incredible slopes. One of the best places to experience the thrill of downhill skiing is in picturesque Park City, Utah. Throughout the month of December, the Historic Park City District hosts a number of special events to celebrate the holiday season and are appropriate for all ages. It's also a fantastic place to do some last minute shopping. Historic Main Street features more than 100 unique shops and boutiques featuring everything from Indian rugs to mountain apparel and even designer fashions. The resorts themselves also get into the spirit, like the Park City Mountain Resort where on Christmas Eve Santa skis around the mountain and then at night leads resort instructors on the resorts annual torchlight parade. Guests can watch the spectacle from the Resort Plaza where complimentary hot beverages and cookies are served.
Even though Washington can be brisk during the winter months, there are plenty of activities to attract thousands of visitors every year. The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace is illuminated daily at dusk until 10 p.m. Each night in December, musical groups from the Washington, DC area entertain visitors. Across the Potomac at the Gaylord National Resort is a different type of spectacle, ICE, made of 5,000 blocks of ice hand-sculpted by international artisans and kept at nine degrees Fahrenheit. With a new theme each year, this is a fun holiday attraction perfect for the whole family. There are also plenty of parades in and around DC, but one of the most popular is the Scottish Walk Weekend in Old Town Alexandria. Usually held the first weekend of December, join hundreds of Scottish clansmen dressed in full traditional dress, and listen to the pipers usher in the holiday season. The Saturday parade is the star of the weekend, but there are plenty of other events both days. Kilts are thankfully optional.
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A luxury adventure traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his experiences with thousands of readers every day through his travel blog, LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Matt is a Washington, DC based travel writer/photographer and has been featured on many other web sites and publications including BBC Travel, CNN GO, Huffington Post, AFAR Magazine and National Geographic Intelligent Travel. His work is also syndicated on the Flipboard and Pulse apps. Follow Matt on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.
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