I absolutely love traveling during the holidays. I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes it seem so much more fun and exciting….but it is. Maybe its knowing that everyone else on the road or in the airport is on their way to visit family and friends for Christmas so, for that brief period of time, we have that one commonality that brings us together.
When I was a kid, we always went to Grandma’s house for the holidays. My dad worked a lot so we didn’t really have the time to go anywhere else. We still had a great time but I always held onto a dream of going somewhere grand and gorgeous! If you too are wanting to go somewhere grand and gorgeous, here are a few suggestions you may want to consider.
Las Vegas, Nevada
So there are probably at least of few of you thinking “Las Vegas? Really?” I respond back with a resounding yes. A lot of you already know Las Vegas has a lot more to offer than a gambler’s paradise and, when it is all dressed up in its Christmas best, it is quite beautiful. Stop by any of the hotels and you will see what I mean.
Go ice skating at Winter’s Village December 22nd to January 6th. Go to either Red Rock or Green Valley Ranch to enjoy music, ice skating, holiday foods, and an adult beverage or two. They even offer hotel packages so you can stay a while and really enjoy it.
If you want to add a little excitement to your holiday stay, you may want to rent an allegedly haunted room at Bally’s, the Luxor, or the Flamingo. Bally’s was the scene of a tragic fire in 1980 that killed 87 people. Since then guests have reported sights, sounds, and smells from that horrific event. During the construction of the Luxor, it is reported that at least two construction workers died in accidents onsite. Last…..the Flamingo is said to be haunted by Bugsy Siegel. While he did not die at the hotel, guests have reported seeing him. His suite was on the grounds of the hotel however it is long gone. Take one of the ghost tours in town and you will hear the stories just as I did.
Until January 6th, you can drive through a ton of light displays at the Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For $20 Monday - Thursday, and $30 Friday - Saturday per car, you can see millions of lights on display. You can also take a ride on the Santa Tram (which has an additional fee). On the Santa Tram, you just sit back and let someone else drive while you enjoy the lights.
Go to Austria and you will undoubtedly be thrilled to enjoy beautiful and unbelievably festive Christmas markets. A cherished tradition, the Christmas market is held in front of City Hall and can be traced back to the late 1200’s. And since there are multiple markets, there are plenty of tours to take you around to them. A very popular walking tour through Viator can be found here.
In Vienna, Christmas Eve is actually the day of celebration rather than Christmas Day. Sometime during the day of the 24th, the children will be taken someplace away from home to be kept busy while the parents and other family members decorate the tree. When the tree has been completely decorated, a bell is rung to let everyone know the Christkind has visited and has brought gifts.
Holiday food was traditionally carp (seriously odd but interesting!) but things are changing and poultry and pork are more common now. After the main meal, enjoy some delicious pastries and warm mulled wine. Mulled wine is a red wine that is spiced and sometimes has raisins in it. To learn more about Austrian traditions, click here.
If you can’t take a trip overseas right now, you CAN see something here in the United States that will be a stateside representative of a Bavarian village.
Ever go snowshoeing? The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has FREE guided tours until January 26th. You will need to make a reservation and equipment will be available for you. I don’t know about you but, being the Southern girl that I am, I would do that just for the photo ops! Click here for more information.
If you enjoy adult beverages, you will want to check out Blue Spirits Distilling for a mixology class. Drop in and learn how to make festive holiday beverages. Each Friday in December, you have a couple of opportunities left to check it out!
Key West, Florida
If you leave now, you still have time to make it to Key West Holiday Fest, the Key West Artisan Market, and Conch Tour Train Holiday Lights Tour. At the Key West Holiday Fest you can enjoy Historic Inn Tours and a boat parade with in which watercraft are beautifully decorated with festive holiday lights. The Key West Artisan Market gives you the opportunity where to peruse vendors offering jewelry, culinary delights, textile goods, while enjoying live music, beer, wine and and holiday yummies.
One of the favorite activities in Key West is going on a tour of the Little White House. The former home of President Harry S. Truman, you can mingle with others while enjoying a holiday beverage in an elegant setting. If you prefer to be out and about, you don’t want to miss out on the Annual Lighted Boat Parade or the Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights Tour. Either way, you can’t miss!
If you are paranormally inclined, be sure to stay in one of many allegedly haunted hotels in the area. The Chelsea Hotel, the Banyan Resort, and the Marrero Guest Mansion are only a few of the ones that I have am aware of and available to you for your stay. For more information about what Key West has to offer….click here.
First thing you should know--especially if you don’t already live in a cold climate--is that the weather in Estonia during the winter can easily be subzero. Being a girl from Texas, that got my attention! Weather aside though, there is much to be enjoyed in Estonia.
While not a Christmas attraction, check out the Town Hall Pharmacy to see what a pharmacy might have had between the 17th and 20th centuries. Operating since at least 1422, the range of curiosities is astounding and you can buy items that would have been available back in the day. Definitely worth a stop!
If you are looking for something a little more traditional, stop by the Tallin Christmas Market for artisanal products, unique knickknacks, and holiday food. Held in Town Hall Square since the 1400’s, you can take in a little history while shopping. And don’t miss out on some warm mulled wine!
No matter where you decide to go this holiday season, be sure to have some fun and be kind to others. 2018 is wrapping up so cram as much fun as you can into these last two weeks! Remember to make this beautiful day count!