These are the best places to celebrate the holidays in 2019


In anticipation of what Andy Williams crooned “the most wonderful time of the year,” 10Best set out to find North America’s best seasonal events – light shows, holiday parades, Christmas markets and festive hotels – and we asked our readers to help. For the past four weeks, you’ve been voting for your holiday favorites, and the results are in.

Click on each category below to see the full list of winners.

Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights: A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

a close up of a flower garden: Winning garden puts up half a million lights

During A Longwood Christmas, Longwood Gardens celebrates the shapes of the season. The outdoor gardens are sheer magic with more than half a million lights by way of illuminated trees to glowing orbs to dancing fountains. Outdoor fire pits and carolers add a note of holiday cheer.

Inside, the celebration continues with elegantly adorned spaces and towering trees inspired by the contours of ribbons to confectionery to snowflakes.

Full list of winners: Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights »

Best Holiday Historic Home Tour: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee

a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: This is the second straight win for Elvis's home

Graceland is one of the most-visited private homes in the nation. Every year, more than 600,000 people go to Elvis Presley’s former estate in Memphis.

The Christmas season at Graceland kicks off with a lighting ceremony mid-November, after which visitors can tour the home decorated for the season with traditional lights, a live-size nativity scene and Santa. Presley family Christmas artifacts are on display during this special time of year.

Full list of winners: Best Holiday Historic Home Tour »

Best Holiday Market: Carmel Christkindlmarkt in Carmel, Indiana

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A festival highlight is the 33-foot Glühwein Pyramid

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt brings a bit of Saxony, Germany to Indiana during this annual festive event. The market features the only Glühwein Pyramid in the U.S., standing 33 feet tall with more than 3,000 lights.

Full list of winners: Best Holiday Market »

Best Holiday Parade: America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit

a group of people on a city street: Detroit parade also won in 2018

Detroit has been hosting America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van since 1924. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest and most popular parades in the country, complete with marching bands, helium balloons and colorful, larger-than-life floats making their way down historic Woodward Avenue each Thanksgiving morning.

Full list of winners: Best Holiday Parade »

Best Hotel for the Holidays: The Roosevelt New Orleans

a fountain in front of a flower: Winning hotel decks their halls with more than 100,000 lights

During the holidays, the lobby at The Roosevelt New Orleans gets adorned with 135,572 lights, 1,004 feet of garland, 698 hand-tied bows and 2,200 glass ornaments decorating 44 Christmas trees and 3,328 feet of winter white branches.

Full list of winners: Best Hotel for the Holidays »

Best Public Holiday Lights Display: Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” in Duluth, Minnesota

a harbor filled with lots of colorful lights: Winning event is nation's largest free walk-through holiday event

Bentleyville “Tour of Lights,” America’s largest free walk-through lights display, invites visitors to walk amid more than 5 million lights spread across a 20-acre park on the shores of Lake Superior. Guests can get their photo taken with Rudolph, visit with Santa and enjoy free cocoa, cookies, roasted marshmallows and popcorn.

Full list of winners: Best Public Holiday Lights Display »

Best Theme Park Holiday Event: An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri

a view of a christmas tree: This is the fourth win for Silver Dollar City in this category

Branson’s Silver Dollar City gets decked in 6.5 million colorful, twinkling lights during its annual holiday celebration, An Old Time Christmas.

It’s bigger and brighter than ever in 2019, with festivities centered on an 8-story-tall special effects Christmas tree, with 1,000 other decorated trees around the park, two Broadway-style holiday productions and an illuminated parade featuring Rudolph and his reindeer friends.

Full list of winners: Best Theme Park Holiday Event »

Best Zoo Lights: PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

a colorful cloudy sky over a body of water: PNC Festival of Lights also won in 2018

During the annual PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, some 3 million LED lights illuminate the night. Visitors can meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, watch a lights show on Swan Lake, drool over a gingerbread village, munch on s’mores or ride the Toyland Express train.

Full list of winners: Best Zoo Lights »

Congratulations to all our holiday winners.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

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