This year, I’m really getting an early start of getting into the holiday spirit! Why did I not know about Santa Claus, Indiana? Better question – why am I not there yet? I really love how Travel Channel/TravelChannel.com provides us with a list of “best” road trips, beaches, amusement parks, and now holiday attractions. I’d love to go to the Christkindlemarkt in Nuremberg, Germany and the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland! If you have been to any of these locations listed below, we’d love to hear about it – leave us a comment below and tell us all the juicy, jingle bells details!
TRAVELCHANNEL.COM NAMES THE TOP 10
‘TRAVEL’S BEST: HOLIDAY ATTRACTIONS’ OF 2014
CHEVY CHASE, MD (November 4, 2014) – TravelChannel.com names the “Travel’s Best: Holiday Attractions” of 2014 – the world’s top 10 attractions spreading holiday cheer and transforming neighborhoods into winter wonderlands. Children young and old can ring in the season by visiting these festive locales complete with synchronized light shows, over-the-top decorations, traditional dances, music and foods, and finally, many places to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus – no chimney necessary.
TravelChannel.com editors are celebrating the holiday season and have enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best holiday attractions for 2014, including: Samantha Brown (Travel Host and Expert), Mickela Mallozzi (TV Host and Producer, Bare Feet) and Amie O’Shaughnessy (Founder and Managing Editor, Ciao Bambino!).
The 2014 “Travel’s Best: Holiday Attractions” (in alphabetical order by location):
Dyker Heights Lights – Brooklyn, N.Y.
Every year, Travel Channel host Samantha Brown and her family head to a section of Brooklyn – that famously had its own starring role in Saturday Night Fever – to tour the extravagant light displays. “This neighborhood transforms into a holiday spectacle where you can see the most delightful, delirious and over-the-top Christmas decorations,” Brown says. With life-size ice skating figurines and 70-foot-high toy soldiers that move, the best times to experience the bright holiday lights are weekends in mid-December from 5 to 9 p.m.
12 Pubs of Christmas – Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, the Irish capital and a year-round festive city, knows how to celebrate especially when it comes to the holidays. “12 Pubs of Christmas” revelers make their rounds to 12 different pubs and guzzle a pint of a little more than just eggnog at each one. After a few pints, Irish step dancers in the crowd always break out into well-known reels and jigs, shaking the entire pub into a raucous frenzy. If you’re looking for a place to wear that tacky holiday sweater and onesie, look no further because attendees are encouraged to wear the usually embarrassing duds during the holiday festivities. Cheers to that!
Sponza Palace – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is one of the lesser-known holiday markets in Europe. Festooned with twinkling lights along the Adriatic Sea, the Christmas fair in the 1,000-year-old city becomes a scene right out of a storybook starting on St. Lucy’s Day on December 13. The Sponza Palace at the edge of Old Town’s walls transforms into a Christmas mecca – hosting local artisans, musical performances, a cappella singers and traditional dance performances by the renowned folk ensemble Lindjo. Croatia’s traditions are so strong, these holiday dances are over 300 years old!
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker – New York City
New York City is one of the best places on the planet to celebrate the holidays. Tourists and native New Yorkers alike can’t resist all the best seasonal attractions found in the city: Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree; Macy’s magical holiday window displays; Radio City’s Rockettes; and ice skating in Central Park. One of the most treasured holiday traditions is seeing the spectacular dancers of the New York City Ballet perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Guaranteed to entertain ages one to 92, this classic Christmas ballet is a must-see for any dance lover. The Nutcracker runs from the day after Thanksgiving to January 2.
North Pole, Alaska
There’s no denying that every parent has questioned the existence of the North Pole. Now, feel a little less guilty about fibbing to the little ones because there really is a North Pole, and believe it or not, three men named Santa Claus live there too. It truly embodies small-town America, where everybody knows everybody. The town’s biggest attraction, Santa Claus House, has been putting smiles on millions of faces since 1952. Grab the kids and take a trip to this Christmas-themed gift shop with tons of ornaments, a 42-foot-tall Santa Claus statue and real reindeer you can visit. Children can also receive a personal letter from Santa Claus, naughty or nice!
Christkindlesmarkt – Nuremberg, Germany
At the world-famous Christkindlesmarkt, over 180 decorated wooden stalls sell Christmas decorations and treats galore, including Nuremberg bratwurst, gingerbread and mulled wine. “I always imagine it being like walking through one of those model villages in department stores’ window displays,” says Travel Chanel host Samantha Brown. Try not to miss the trademark souvenir – Nuremberg Plum People, miniature figures made from prunes.
You couldn’t dream up a more magical place to spend the holidays than Reykjavik, with its vivid winter wonderland landscape and unique traditions. Visit the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjordur or Reykjavik’s main Christmas market in Ingólfstorg Square for traditional Nordic holiday gifts, mulled wine and Yuletide music. For the most spectacular light show, don’t miss the northern lights that illuminate the sky this time of year.
Santa Claus Village – Rovaniemi, Finland
Hear the sounds of holiday cheer and joyous laughter while visiting Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi, Santa Claus’ official town, is a very popular place in December where the story of Christmas comes to life. Meet Santa Claus in his office and visit wish-list central, his post office. Families can send letters to friends around the world with the assistance of Santa Claus’ official postal elves and, after you meet him, take a sleigh ride with traditional Sami reindeer.
Skating by the Sea – San Diego, Calif.
Ice-skating by the Pacific Ocean is one for the family holiday card. San Diego’s landmark Hotel del Coronado offers an ice rink on the lawn with breathtaking ocean views. Skating sessions are offered daily from Thanksgiving through January 4. San Diego’s mild weather makes it easy for families to pair holiday festivities with the area’s extensive list of kid-friendly attractions and activities.
Santa Claus, Ind.
Celebrate Christmas 365 days a year in “America’s Christmas Hometown,” Santa Claus, Ind. Family-owned since 1946, the town’s popular amusement park, Holiday World, gets more than one million patrons annually. Not hard to believe since it is able to claim itself as the first themed amusement park ever created and boasts three of the world’s top 10 wooden roller coasters.
For more details on the “Travel’s Best: Holiday Attractions” of 2014, go to: TravelChannel.com/bestholidayattractions
Source: ©2014 Travel Channel. All Rights Reserved.
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