Christmas holidays: what to do in the USA

This December, there’s only one person who can cross the skies and head to the USA without a plane ticket or an ESTA. You know who it is: such a freedom can only belong to Father Christmas.

For the rest of us, without the ability to travel via sleigh led by reindeer, first of all we’ll need a return ticket to the USA if we are travelling as a tourist. As for travel authorisation, suffice to make an ESTA authorisation request for a stay of up to 90 days.

Once all the administrative steps are taken care of, you’ll see that heading to the USA for the Christmas holidays is an unforgettable experience: the snow, the parades and the lights give the streets an incomparable charm. Here we’ll take a look at some of the cities that celebrate the occasion with pure magic.

Orlando: during the holiday period, Disney becomes more magical than ever. Mickey and his friends in the Magic Kingdom organise an enormous Christmas party that includes a parade, snow and fireworks.

New York: cult Christmas films have shown us time and time again, the Big Apple is THE American city where Christmas is almost an institution. Don’t miss a visit to the Rockefeller Centre, which lights up the city with its giant Christmas tree and its angels. Make the most of it, and go ice-skating on the most celebrated rink in the world: Winter Village, in Bryant Park.

New Orleans: for over half a century Jackson Square has been welcoming hundreds of locals and tourists, embraced with the Christmas spirit. Why? So that they can sing traditional Christmas carols together by candlelight. It’s simply magical. In 2014, this musical reunion will take place on 21 December at 7pm. Go past the Saint-Louis cathedral to hear some Christmas concerts from professional choirs – participation is free.

Paradise: this is indeed a paradise for Christmas fans. This Pennsylvania city is not only Amish territory, but also that of Father Christmas and his elves. The National Christmas Centre tells the story of this family holiday through thousands of objects from across the world.

Woodstock: in this Vermont city, they celebrate Wassail Weekend, a parade of more than 50 horses dressed in the tradition of 19th Century England. This city, surrounded by conifers and covered in snow, is really worth seeing during the Christmas season. This year the parade will take place between 12 and 14 December. Just so you know, wassail is a kind of spiced cider.

Over to you to decide on your favourite Christmas destination, where you can wait (patiently) for Father Christmas to arrive!

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.

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