2023's Best Cities for Kid-friendly Vacations
Family vacations are perfect for reconnecting and building lifelong memories together. But which cities are optimal for keeping the kiddos entertained? To find out, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Kid-Friendly Vacations.
They compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities, looking for plenty of family-friendly accommodations, attractions, and restaurants. They also considered transportation options, affordability, and safety, among 23 total metrics. Catch up with the kids, and use these rankings to help plan your next spring break or summer vacation.
Dreams Come True in these Florida Cities
The Sunshine State in general is great for outdoor fun. You don’t need to go camping to have nature at your fingertips in Orlando (No. 2), Miami (No. 3), Tampa (No. 6), or Fort Lauderdale (No. 15). These cities offer plenty of kid-friendly outdoor activities. Not only can you head to the beach to spot crabs and dolphins, but Tampa and Miami also tie for the most zoos.
Make your kids’ dreams come true with a family trip to our No. 2 city, Orlando, Florida. Orlando shines with the most family-friendly accommodations and the most water parks to cool down when you’re in the hot Florida sun. Home to Disney World and Universal Studios, it’s no surprise that the City Beautiful also comes in second for its number of both kid-friendly attractions and theme parks.
Miami is also great for families who like to feast. It’s Lawn Love's top city for sweet tooths and has the most kid-friendly restaurants per square mile in the rankings.
- In Orlando: Immerse yourself in ocean life in a 360-degree ocean tunnel at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium. For a more down-to-earth day, head to Gatorland, the perfect place to learn about today’s reptilian giants in the Alligator Capital of the World.
- In Miami: Soak up the sun while you admire Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum featuring incredible street art. Need a break from the sunshine? Check out Miami Children’s Museum, Perez Art Museum, or the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
- In Tampa: A trip to Busch Gardens is always a blast. Tampa also hosts more than 8,000 creatures at The Florida Aquarium and is home to the interactive and imaginative Glazer Children’s Museum.
Vegas is Always a Good Idea (Surprisingly)
Sin City might not be everyone’s first idea for a family vacation, but Las Vegas (No. 4) hits the jackpot as a kid-friendly travel destination. As the Entertainment Capital of the World, there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas for kids big and small. In fact, Vegas ties with Orlando for having the second-highest number of amusement and theme parks.
There are also abundant kid-friendly attractions, zoos, and water parks, as well as kid-friendly dining options to keep their stomachs from grumbling. Skip the casino to race around in go-karts, see the circus, or indulge at Hershey’s Chocolate World Las Vegas.
Sleepy Southern Cities
Small cities in the South aren’t so exciting for families with kids. Places like Columbus, Georgia (No. 199), Fayetteville, North Carolina (No. 198), and Montgomery, Alabama (No. 196), landed at the bottom next to Clarksville, Tennessee, in last place. These cities are budget-friendly, but low safety scores and a lack of child-friendly activities and accommodations sent them to the very end of our ranking.
That isn’t to say they don’t offer anything fun for families. Each of these cities has natural spaces and historic spots to explore, as well as museums and performing arts centers. But if your child isn’t old enough to be interested in history or nature walks, their experience might not be so memorable.
- In Columbus, Georgia: Get some fresh air by taking a walk on the Chattahoochee RiverWalk. Make it an educational trip and stop by the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, National Infantry Museum, and National Civil War Naval Museum.
- In Fayetteville, North Carolina: Spend time outside at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden or River Trail. Let your kid’s imagination run wild at the hands-on Fascinate-U Children’s Museum.
- In Montgomery, Alabama: As the birthplace of the civil rights movement, there are many educational spots throughout the city, including The Legacy Museum, Rosa Parks Museum, and Dexter Parsonage Museum, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thrifty Texas Towns
Everything is bigger in Texas, including vacations. Texas is one of the fastest-growing states, so it makes sense that there’s plenty to do in major cities like Houston (No. 8), San Antonio (No. 10), and Dallas (No. 11). Houston has numerous amusement parks, Dallas has several water parks, and San Antonio boasts plenty of both. These three cities also have zoos and aquariums for animal-loving kids.
There will be even more for families with young kids to do when visiting the Lone Star State once Universal opens its new theme park in Frisco.
One thing that isn’t bigger when it comes to Texas is trip costs. Staying, eating, and being entertained in these cities won’t hurt your wallet as much as a trip to New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles would.
- In Houston: Engage in 90,000 square feet of fun (and education) at Children’s Museum Houston. If you have a science buff in your family, be sure to stop by Space Center Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
- In San Antonio: Take the family strolling or kayaking along Texas’ top attraction, the River Walk. Other parts of the city boast fun amusement parks like Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first inclusive and accessible theme park.
- In Dallas: Spot your favorite animals at the Dallas Zoo, the oldest zoo in Texas. Explore the ocean and distant parts of the world such as South Africa, Mundo Maya, and Borneo at The Dallas World Aquarium.
The best of the best: New York, New York
The top city, New York, has it all, including the highest number of kid-friendly attractions out of all the cities we ranked.
Grab a slice before going for a stroll in one of the city’s many museums, zoos, or parks. If walking around doesn’t blow off some steam, you can let the kids play at one of the more than 1,900 playgrounds in the city. When they’re old enough to sit still for a couple of hours, bring your children to see an unforgettable Broadway show. There are many highly acclaimed children’s theaters producing fantastic shows throughout the city, such as The New Victory Theater and New York City Children’s Theater.
If you want to take on the town past the kids’ bedtime, NYC also has the most babysitters for hire.
— For the complete rankings, visit LawnLove.com.
The Cheapest NYC Trip Ever
New York is in the middle of its annual New York Hotel Week, where visitors can take advantage of a 23% discount on over 140 hotels in the city. Before you feel a tinge of disappointment at being too late, don’t worry – Hotel Week is actually over a month long, and you can grab the discounts until February 12th. There’s a wide range of hotels taking part, located in almost every area of the city, so make sure to shop around and find a unique property for your Big Apple adventure. InterContinental Times Square (Midtown West) InterContinental Times Square - courtesy of nycgo.com With a chic Manhattan residential feel encompassing natural elements, the 36-story InterContinental Times Square features 607 guest rooms, including 29 suites and a 2,700-square-foot duplex penthouse. Get inspired and celebrate in 14,000 square feet of flexible event and banquet space, including the elegant Gotham Ballroom. The Stinger is currently open daily for breakfast. The Hoxton (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) The Hoxton, Williamsburg, Brooklyn - courtesy of nycgo.com The Hoxton Williamsburg is located in Brooklyn with 175 bedrooms spread across four categories: Cosy, Cosy with a Brooklyn View, Cosy with a Manhattan View, and Roomy. Each room features a king-sized bed with bed linens by local Brooklyn designer, Dusen Dusen, walk-in shower, and desk, along with the usual Hox perks: free coffee, tea and water, WiFi, one hour of free calls and a mini-fridge to stock with items from the Hox Shop. Guests enjoy vibrant public spaces, a coffee bar, and a brand-new rooftop restaurant—chef Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook's Laser Wolf. ModernHaus (Soho) Set against the backdrop of Soho’s iconic cast-iron buildings and cobblestone streets, ModernHaus is a gathering place for urban travelers—and a thoughtfully designed extension of the neighborhood’s creative and dynamic spirit. Artworks from some of the most influential figures of the past century, such as George Condo, Harland Miller, Jean Dubuffet and KAWS, grace the walls. It’s ModernHaus’ homage to the neighborhood’s artistic past and an inspiring canvas for a thoroughly modern stay. Hotel Belleclaire (Upper West Side) Hotel Belleclaire - courtesy of nycgo.com Located on Manhattan's Upper West Side near Central Park, the Beacon Theatre, Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History, Hotel Belleclaire boasts a blend of classic charm and modern comfort. All 240 guestrooms and suites are tastefully designed and feature luxurious Frette linen, deluxe C.O. Bigelow bath amenities and complimentary WiFi. The hotel is outfitted with a 24-hour fitness center, complimentary media lounge, meeting room and a French café, Mille-Feuille, located in the hotel lobby. The W (Union Square) Revel in the rhythm of the W - Union Square, located in the 1911 beaux arts-style Guardian Life building, with 270 guest rooms and suites, this is a contemporary spot to see and be seen. Have cocktails at Lilium, a seductive subterranean lounge, or grab a bite at Todd English’s restaurant, Olives. With glamorous shopping, electric music venues, and a dynamic art culture, here, the city is at your fingertips. And the savings don't stop with hotels... Dinner at Baar Baar - courtesy of nycgo.com Hotel Week is not the only way to save on a winter NYC trip. New York Restaurant Week, Broadway Week, and Must-See Week are also running until February 12th (together, they all make up the NYC Winter Outing). Restaurant Week sees some of the city’s best restaurants offering fixed-price menus for the duration of the event. Some of the establishments involved can typically have some eye-watering price tags, so it’s a rare opportunity to sample some world-class food without breaking the bank. Baar Baar (East Village) sets the bar high when it comes to modern Indian cuisine. Chef Sujan Sarkar’s deep-fried chicken nuggets come bathed in masala sauce and bordered by a tuft of lemony foam. The elevated street food on hte menu pairs well with a New Delhi sour cocktail made with bourbon, aromatic rose hip shrub, egg white and bitters. Other great small plates include Kashmiri lamb and tandoori octopus. The dark, roomy lounge and dining area is enhanced by a compelling fresco of an elaborately bejeweled woman. In Queens, a Forest Hills gastropub and barbecue joint, Queens Bully, pays homage to flavors around its home borough. Sandwiches reference the Greek food of Astoria, the Latin flavor of Corona and the Indian influence from Jackson Heights. The barbecue—pulled pork, brisket, even jackfruit—is all smoked in-house. Bar at Carmine's, Upper West Side - courtesy of nycgo.com For those looking for old-school Italian, the legendary family-style Southern Italian Carmine’s delivers everything but the red-checkered tablecloth. Sopranos fans will feel comfortable in both the Times Square and Upper West Side locations, where the portions are absurdly generous, bottles of Chianti abound and the river flows with red sauce. For a quintessential New York-diner experience, there's East Village Ukrainian eatery Veselka Restaurant. In business since 1954, it offers neighbors and visitors 24-hour comfort food in a diner-type atmosphere. The kids love the pierogis and potato pancakes; the adults love the borscht and sweet cheese blintzes. On the way out it’s hard to pass up the pastry counter with its pies, cupcakes, cookies and homemade muffins. Of course, plenty more options can found in just about every part of the city, with cuisine that will fit just about anyone's style. Broadway Shows, Museums, & More The Metropolitan Opera auditorium - courtesy of nycgo.com Broadway Week offers a simple buy-one-get-one offer on most Broadway shows and reduced-rate upgraded tickets. All put together, there’s no better time to visit New York. Just be prepared for the crowds! But the entertainment doesn't stop with Broadway—there's plenty to do with Must-See Week, which includes discounts for everything from attractions and tours, to museums and performing arts across all the five boroughs. Get iconic views of the Big Apple with a trip to the Empire State Building Observatory See a performance at The Metropolitan OperaVisit the Kings County Distillery for whiskey tours and tastingsEnjoy contemporary art at the Lower East Side's New Museum Get ready to plan your cheapest NYC trip ever with more ideas here!
Where to Have the Most Fun in 2023
Everyone’s personal brand of fun is different. Some people like trying new restaurants, traveling, going to bars and clubs or playing outdoor sports. Others enjoy riding roller coasters, going to the movies, or playing video games. But having fun can be expensive – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends over $3,500 on entertainment per year. To help Americans find the cities with the greatest number and variety of fun yet cost-effective options, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 65 key metrics. They range from fitness centers per capita to movie costs to average open hours of breweries. With such different preferences, what, then, makes a fun city? To help Americans find the cities with the greatest number and variety of fun yet cost-effective options, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 65 key metrics. Below are some of the best places to visit based on their different metrics. Best Cities for Foodies Little Havana in Miami - courtesy of marriott.com For those who love to try new cuisine and enjoy culinary experiences, five cities tied for most restaurants per capita. Foodies will have plenty to look forward to in Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Chicago. These cities are also known for great nightlife, entertainment, vibrant culture, and iconic landmarks—they make a great destination for almost any type of traveler! Looking for the best Cuban food? Head to Miami to sample this incredible cuisine. In Little Havana on Calle Ocho, visitors will find authentic vaca frita, croquetas, cortados, and much more. If Chinese food is more your style, San Francisco is home to the largest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia. Best Cities for Nature Lovers and Fitness Enthusiasts Diamond Head State Park - courtesy of loveoahu.org Prefer the outdoors? WalletHub found that Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Charlotte (NC) are the cities with the most park playgrounds per capita. Families with young kids, couples that enjoy a romantic evening walk, and those looking for a scenic morning run on their trip will appreciate these towns for their abundant park space alongside other fun amenities like great food, nightlife, and entertainment. For those seeking out more nature than the typical city park can offer, these towns boast the most parkland per capita: Anchorage, AK; Chesapeake, VA; Honolulu, HI; Jacksonville, FL; and Scottsdale, AZ. Each of these cities has a unique landscape and climate. Honolulu, in particular, boasts several different ways to explore the outdoors with wonderful beaches for surfing, swimming, and playing, as well as volcanic mountain escapes for hiking, exploring, and stargazing. In addition to the above towns, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Tempe, AZ; Huntington Beach, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Rochester, NY have the most fitness centers per capita—so no matter the weather, visitors will have a great chance of looking for other ways to stay active while traveling. Best Cities for Bar Hoppers and Nightlife Lovers OMNIA at Caesars - courtesy of vegas.com WalletHub ranked the top cities with the most accessible bars: Fort Lauderdale, FL; Rochester, NY; Providence, RI; Buffalo, NY; and Richmond, VA. Fort Lauderdale ranked number one in this category, but this Florida town has another going for it—with the most fitness centers per capita, bar hoppers that partied a little too hard the night before will have plenty of options to sweat it out the next day at the gym! Alternatively, those that like to dance the night away will find that San Francisco or Las Vegas will be more their style. These two cities tied for first when it came to the most dance clubs per capita, followed by Orlando, Houston, and New York City. Finally, for those looking for a particularly good deal, WalletHub found that the cheapest beers can be found in bars in Brownsville, TX; Las Cruces, NM; Gulfport, MS; Milwaukee, WI; and Missoula, MT. Best Cities for Entertainment Seekers Mardi Gras in New Orleans - courtesy of mardigrasneworleans.com It turns out that San Francisco doesn't just have great restaurants, and Honolulu isn't just for nature lovers—both these cities also top the rankings when it comes to festivals per capita. New Orleans, LA and Tampa, FL tied for the top spot as well. New Orleans is probably best know for their festival thanks to their incredible Mardis Gras celebrations. While it is an iconic celebrations, visitors will find many other opportunities throughout the year to see the streets come alive in New Orleans. Of course, if festivals aren't quite your thing or you're hoping to avoid a noisy crowd, take note of these towns for the cheapest movie tickets around: Port St. Lucie, FL; Montgomery, AL; Montgomery, AL; Jackson, MS; Akron, OH; and Corpus Christi, TX.
Book a Winter Adventure at these Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches
There is no better place to spend time with your family than on a winter dude ranch vacation – away from the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded shopping malls and busy holiday season. If you are looking for a snowy adventure in the stunning Rocky Mountains look no further than these ranches listed below. Snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, relaxing by a crackling fire, enjoying wonderful food and cozy accommodations, and making memories to last forever is what you will find at these DRA member dude ranches. Keep reading to learn more and start planning your winter dude ranch vacation today! Western Pleasure Ranch – Sandpoint, Idaho Western Pleasure Ranch - courtesy of duderanch.org As a blanket of white transforms, the Western Pleasure Ranch into a winter wonderland, you and your family can enjoy scenic horse-drawn sleigh rides powered by one of their many draft teams. You will feel like a child again as they jingle through a 2-mile loop trail of dense forests in the foothills of the Cabinet Mountains with amazing views of the Selkirk Mountain Ranch. With a wide variety of horse-drawn sleighs, including a five-passenger, three twelve passengers, and a two-passenger, they have the right size sleigh to accommodate your family, friends, and even that special someone for the romantic two-passenger sleigh. Triangle X Ranch – Moose, Wyoming Triangle X trail ride and the Tetons - courtesy of duderanch.org Head to the iconic Jackson Hole, Wyoming for some incredible skiing and winter fun! Bask in the beauty of the snow-covered Teton Mountain Range and enjoy the comforts of Triangle X Ranch. The cabins are cozy, the food is divine, and the hot tub will make you never want to leave! Triangle X Ranch is located in the heart of Grand Teton National Park and is the only concession open to operate in the wintertime! They offer unsurpassed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, photography, and wildlife viewing right out your front door. After a full day, return to the comfortable lodge and relax western style with a warm fire and a large outdoor jacuzzi. Triangle X Ranch opens the day after Christmas for their winter season, so be sure to book soon! Bar W Guest Ranch – Whitefish, Montana Carriage ride on Bar W - courtesy of duderanch.org Are you dreaming of Montana? Many people are right now! Escape to the Big Sky State to enjoy all of the winter activities that Montana has to offer. At Bar W Guest Ranch you will find snow activities like sleigh rides, ski & stay packages, cross-country & nordic skiing, winter fat biking, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice skating, snowshoe tours and much more! Schedule the trip that makes you feel like you are in a holiday Hallmark movie at the Bar W Guest Ranch! Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, Colorado Sunset on Latigo Ranch - courtesy of duderanch.org Skiing and snowshoeing in the mountains of Colorado during winter vacations is probably one of the dreamiest vacations you can think of if you are an outdoor enthusiast. Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado has just what you are looking for. Cozy cabins, miles of trails for adventures, gourmet meals, stunning scenery, and good company are what you will find at Latigo. You will also find yaks! They are a fun addition to the ranch and a rarity at dude ranches. Find your perfect winter ski vacation away from the crowds at resorts and at a dude ranch. Sundance Trail Guest Ranch – Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Winter horseback riding, stargazing from the jacuzzi, storytelling in front of the crackling fire, hearty homecooked meals, and welcoming accommodations, what more could you ask for? Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Northern Colorado offers all of these great things listed before and more! When you are planning your holiday vacation, do not count out Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. They are easy to get to from Denver International Airport, offer a quiet, peaceful, and wonderful winter vacation for your group, and you can bring your pets! It really isn’t a true family vacation if the furry friends can’t come along, right? C Lazy U Ranch – Granby, Colorado C Lazy U Ranch - courtesy of duderanch.org Take a trip to Grand County this winter and enjoy all that C Lazy U Ranch has to offer for winter fun! Snowmobiling, snow tubing, ice hockey, ice skating, sleigh rides, skiing and so much more are offered at C Lazy U to keep everyone busy, enjoying the outdoors, and making memories together. Delicious hearty meals will keep you fueled throughout the day and comfortable cabins will leave you well-rested and ready for more action. Enjoy the holidays at C Lazy U Ranch or spend other time throughout the winter when things are a little slower. No matter when you visit, a great vacation is what you will receive at C Lazy U Ranch. Vista Verde Ranch – Steamboat Springs, Colorado Luxury, adventure, beauty, peacefulness, and a whole lot of fun and memory making is what you will find at Vista Verde Ranch in the wintertime. Activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow tubing, sleigh rides, skiing, and much more is offered at Vista Verde Ranch along with luxury accommodations, gourmet food, and scenery that will leave you breathless. Whether you are booking a holiday vacation or just a winter getaway, do not overlook Vista Verde Ranch outside of beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Best Holiday Celebrations at US Theme Parks
Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood Pigeon Forge, Tennessee - Nov. 5 - Jan 1, 2023 With several new lighting displays across its 160 acres, Dollywood theme park—the 14-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event—now boasts more than 6 million shining, shimmering lights as part of the popular Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana. "I believe each season in the Smokies is a precious gift from above, but I also know there is no better time than Christmas to experience the magic of this special place,” Dolly Parton explained. “Christmas is a time for new memories to be created, cherished family traditions to be celebrated and the love of the holidays to warm us all.” Guests will find hundreds of lighted trees throughout the park this year, as well as more new décor elements and eight different light zones to provide each area of Dollywood its own unique look and feel. Glacier Ridge fills Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass and Upper Craftsman’sValley with an expansive arctic experience sure to inspire and delight guests. Wilderness Pass serves as one of the highlights of Glacier Ridge thanks to the Wonderful Christmas! Plaza Tree Show, which features a 50-ft. tall animated tree sparkling to life to present a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show throughout the evening. Each show is capped by an immersive snow finale! Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas - Courtesy of dollywood.com Additionally, Dollywood features indoor and outdoor stages with special shows. The festival’s headliner, “Christmas in the Smokies,” has been a must-see for families every Christmas season since it began in 1990. Many other Dollywood Christmas classics return including “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “O’ Holy Night,” “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs,” “Heart of the Holidays,” “Candlelight Carolers,” “The Mistletones,” “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band,” “Holiday Wild Roots” and more. Returning this year on Friday and Saturday evenings is the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display, which provides a sparkling ending to the day. And for those looking to celebrate the holidays with the perfect family meal, Dollywood’s team of chefs have a menu full of culinary surprises sure to delight. From herb-roasted turkey breast and citrus-glazed carved ham to chicken pot pie in a bread cone, there are a number of savory items to satisfy every appetite. A number of unique items abound including eggnog cupcakes, gingerbread-dusted funnel cake, holiday limeade and more. An Olde Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City Christmas lights in Silver Dollar City - Courtesy of silverdollarcity.com Branson, Missouri - Nov. 5 - Dec. 30 Bright lights line streets, buildings, pathways and trees during Silver Dollar City's An Old Time Christmas. This season marks the debut of a new production show Coming Home For Christmas, along with over 6.5 million lights, an elaborate 8-story animated Christmas tree, a light parade, holiday foods and more. Throughout the streets of The City carolers sing and stroll, while the centerpiece of Joy On Town Square, an 8-story Christmas tree, and surrounding lights glow spectacularly. Even brighter is Christmas in Midtown with its remarkable display of light tunnels, wreath portals, flying angels and special effects 9-stories tall. For thrill seekers, rides soar under the Ozark Mountain starlight with all the Christmas lights visible below. Plus, craftsman in the Christmas spirit demonstrate glass-blowing wood carving and pottery, creating one-of-a-kind heirlooms. The City's stages offer more than 30 shows each day and night including the longtime favorite production, A Dickens' Christmas Carol. The all new show, Coming Home for Christmas, features a live band and a cast of 14 singers and dancers presenting holiday music, stories and family traditions. Other productions include The Living Nativity and the Saloon Frontier Fa-La-La Follies. Rudolph's Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade winds through The City each evening with lighted floats, characters, dancers and performers. To add to the festivities, menus offer a variety of seasonal treats such as a Holiday Dinner with smoked turkey, ham, prime rib and trimmings; specialty soups like potato leek; Silver Dollar City's Miner's Beef Stew; plus, a variety of sweets such as hot chocolate and wassail, s'mores or warm apple dumplings with homemade cinnamon ice cream. Tasting Passports let guests sample their way through The City. WinterFest at Kings Island WinterFest Wonderland Parade at Kings Island - Courtesy of visitkingsisland.com Mason, Ohio - Nov. 25 - Dec. 31 WinterFest is an unforgettable holiday experience where Kings Island transforms into 11 enchanting winter wonderlands. Voted in 2021 as one of the top Theme Park Holiday Events in the country by USA TODAY readers, the annual event features ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree, the WinterFest Wonderland Parade, more than five million lights and live entertainment throughout the park. Plus, experience up to 20 rides including Mystic Timbers and Kings Mills Antique Autos. Cincinnati’s premier holiday event is open select nights in November and December. Guests will be treated to a grandiose showcase of dazzling displays and extravagantly decorated floats with the WinterFest Wonderland Parade filled with classic holiday themes such as toy boxes, gingerbread houses, choo-choo trains, and more. This year, special live entertainment acts include the all-new Swingin’ Into Christmas, plus Tinker’s Toy Factory, Jingle Jazz, Cool Yule Christmas and so much more. Visitors can participate in holiday fun like skating on Snow Flake Lake, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus and getting a family photo with the big man in red himself! Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Courtesy of buschgardens.com Williamsburg, Virginia - Nov. 11 - Jan 8, 2023 The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park is once again transformed with over ten million twinkling lights, one of the largest holiday displays in North America. Enjoy heart-warming holiday shows and classics such as Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Town Express and ‘Twas that Night ice skating show. Over 20 rides and coasters pair thrilling moments with holiday cheer. During "Santa’s Fireside Feast" presented by Coca-Cola, guests gather around the majestic castle as Santa recounts a classic Christmas story while elves prepare a scrumptious all-you-care-to-eat meal and Mrs. Claus dazzles the dining room with holiday cheer. Visitors can also find a number of seasonal characters in the park's different sections, which are themed after various countries. In England's Kidsington Palace, families can snap a photo with Father Christmas and enjoy a drink in front of the fireplace. In Festa Italia, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Clarice can be found in Rudolph's Winter Wonderland, while Frosty the Snowman & Gingy the Gingerbread Man can be found in France. Families are invited to participate in an all-new holiday scavenger hunt celebrating traditions around the world including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Pick up a clue sheet in England to identify holiday symbols throughout the park and redeem a sweet treat at Emporium once all have been found. Throughout the park, festive treats, holiday shopping and special photo opportunities complete this holiday tradition for friends and families. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Christmas on Ice - Courtesy of buschgardens.comTampa, Florida - Nov. 14 - Jan. 9, 2023 Just like its Virginia counterpart, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay puts on its own spectacular Christmas festival. Visitors can experience the joy of the season up close with animal encounters, thrilling rides, holiday inspired culinary delights and festive shows. The park's longest running classic holiday show, Christmas on Ice, returns this year to the Moroccan Palace Theater. This inspiring skating production transforms the stage with incredible feats of skating athleticism for a truly unmissable show set to holiday classic songs. At night, enjoy classic holiday tunes and watch festive bursts of Christmas colors as they cover the sky in a dazzling fireworks and fountain display (offered on the Festival Field every Saturday and select nights of the event). Visitors can ride the Holly Jolly Express and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with favorite songs of the season and wild views of Busch Gardens' 65-acre veldt, home to giraffes, rhinos, zebras and more. In the Pantopia section, Rudolph's Winter Wonderland features the famous reindeer and all his friends. And, in Santa's North Pole Experience, jolly elves guide guests to see Santa in his workshop as he prepares for the holiday season. Great for Christmas photo opportunities, this fun and festive activity is perfect for making memories with your family and friends. Other memorable shows include Storytime with Mrs. Claus, Three Kings Journey, and Elmo's Christmas Wish. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom's Main Street at Walt Disney World - Courtesy of wdwnt.com Orlando, Florida - Nov. 8 - Dec. 22 Holiday cheer will fill the Magic Kingdom as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns this year on 24 select nights in November and December. A 65-foot-tall Christmas tree, adorned with dazzling lights and ornaments, welcomes guests to the park where they’ll discover favorite attractions featuring special holiday overlays, Disney characters dressed in the spirit of the season and seasonal entertainment, seasonal nighttime spectaculars, transformations of favorite attractions, special food and beverages and more. All the standard entertainment is back this year. First off, Mickey Mouse and his pals appear on the Cinderella Castle stage for the fifth year of the Christmas extravaganza “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.” The show features singers, dancers and surprises all choreographed to nostalgic and modern medleys of holiday music. And every night, Minnie Mouse orchestrates a sparkling nighttime spectacular with dazzling fireworks, castle projections and seasonal songs in “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks.” Of course, don’t miss Santa Claus as he joins Mickey Mouse and friends in the classic “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” As well, partygoers can indulge in complimentary cookies and hot cocoa at locations throughout Magic Kingdom. Select Magic Kingdom attractions will get a jolly holiday overlay with Jungle Cruise transforming into Jingle Cruise once again, and special holiday makeovers of Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Mad Tea Party returning for the first time since 2019! New sweet treats this year include Texas-sized Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue and Candied Pecans found at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café to go along with returning favorites like the Mickey-shaped Cinnamon Roll with White Icing and Holiday Sprinkles at Main Street Bakery.
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