Break the habit of staying home during the season of yule by considering one of these getaways for a different kind of holiday.
The Lighting of the Ski Tree [Telluride, CO]
Made totally of community-donated used skis, Telluride’s Ski Tree is an upcycled holiday extravaganza. The lighting of the Ski Tree is part of Telluride’s December 17th Holiday Prelude, which includes ice-skating, hot cocoa, train rides, holiday movies and crafts, sledding, and more. In town for the entire holiday vacation week? On New Year’s Eve, you can watch ski instructors, boarders, and skiers zigzag their way down the dark mountain with crimson torchlights for the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks.
Napa Valley Wine Train’s Santa Train [Napa Valley, CA]
This holiday vacation, take your child to the North Pole and back, all without leaving California. A magical experience perfect for little ones and adults alike, the Santa Train is a one-hour ride through Napa Valley’s breathtaking countryside on your way to “Santa’s Workshop” in Yountville. Throughout the journey, kid-friendly snacks, hot chocolate, and adult beverages will be served, while magical wristbands light up periodically to spread holiday cheer. Don’t forget to snap a photo with Santa before the train departs!
SAM Lights [Seattle, WA]
Ordinary tree lightings just don’t cut it at this Seattle Art Museum holiday event. Instead, they invite you to walk Olympic Sculpture Park’s luminary-lined path, make art, listen to music, sip a hot beverage, nibble on a tasty snack, and take in the brilliantly illuminated museum. The museum encourages visitors to add to the atmosphere by throwing on their best “light-inspired ensemble” – your chance to light up the night in your own special way.
Renegade Craft Fair [Los Angeles, CA]
If you think of crocheted Kleenex covers when you think of craft fairs, it’s time to upgrade your experience by leaps and bounds. Renegade Craft Fair, a traveling marketplace that features hundreds of modern indie makers and artists, is one of the best holiday destinations in southern California. Held December 10th and 11th in Los Angeles’s Grand Park, this outdoor pop-up market is a bonanza for anyone who likes to avoid mass-produced goods. Stock up on chic handmade wares that will please everyone on your list without spending a single second battling the holiday crowds at the mall. That’s enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit.
The Annual Key West Holiday Fest [Florida Keys, FL]
Swap out the snow for sand, the eggnog for a margarita, and make your slice of pie key lime. Key West is festive year-round, but during Christmas, this eclectic island outdoes itself. From trimming palm trees to decorating Duval Street to the boats decked out in holiday regalia at the historic waterfront for the “Bight Before Christmas,” the Key West Holiday Fest will make you wonder why you ever thought Christmas required cold temperatures to be merry. With events that run from Thanksgiving until Christmas, don’t miss out on the Nautical Harbor Walk of Lights, the legendary Lighted Boat Parade, the Classic Car Show, or the holiday concerts. With Key West’s eccentric flair, this might be the most festive holiday you’ll ever encounter.