Best Cities for Long Layovers
Don’t let delays and cancellations dampen your travel spirit — kill time with a mini excursion outside the airport. But which cities are worth the jaunt? Lawn Love ranked 128 U.S. cities served by the busiest airports to determine 2023’s Best and Worst Cities for Long Layovers. They looked at each city’s share of delayed and canceled flights and average departure delay time. They also searched for cities that are easy to navigate, especially from the airport, and offer plenty of fun things to see and do without breaking the bank.
New York, New York
Big, bustling cities reached high altitudes in the rankings, with New York topping the list. NYC has high delay rates, with the fifth-longest average departure delay. If you’re crunched for time, you might not make it all the way to Times Square from LaGuardia or JFK. But if you’re stuck for hours, it’s not hard to venture into the city for a Big Apple adventure. Stay the night in a former airport terminal at JFK Airport’s TWA Hotel, previously the TWA Flight Center. Admire 1960s-era architecture while enjoying modern amenities like the world’s largest hotel gym, an airplane-turned-cocktail lounge, and a rooftop infinity pool with a view of the runway.
Chicago has the most delayed departures and the third-highest share of canceled flights. O’Hare’s CTA Blue Line makes it easy to get out of the airport to explore the city. Devour a deep-dish pizza, or catch a comedy show if you have the time. If you’re stuck in the city for the night, you can get some rest at Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel.
Los Angeles, California
You can expect relatively more punctual flights in Los Angeles, but if you end up with a delay, you’ll have plenty of attractions to occupy your time. Keep LA’s notorious traffic in mind if you do decide to explore the city — a delay of at least 12 hours should make the detour worthwhile. Grab your dream and your cardigan, and get out of the airport for some fast food at In-N-Out Burger. If you want to get some sun and sand, Manhattan Beach isn’t far from LAX, and the FlyAway Bus service allows travelers to explore everything Downtown LA has to offer. If getting back to the airport in time isn’t worth the risk, LA has the second-highest number of airport lounges, which are a great option for travelers who need to stick around.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco was ranked the second best city for walking, as well as one of the top when it comes to number of attractions—that combination together makes it one of the best for a spontaneous excursion. Travelers coming through SFO airport can access the city via the BART transit system. Take a walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, try fresh Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, or hop on a cable car. For tourists with a shorter layover, passing extra time at SFO can be just as enjoyable as it has the third most airport lounges out of all cities ranked.
Miami tied with Chicago and Washington, DC as the easiest to explore on foot, but perhaps gets the edge over the other two with its exceptionally sunny and warm weather. Tourists can take a bus from the airport or even ride Metrorail's Orange Line to enjoy a quick trip to Miami Beach. Take in some sun with a walk down South Beach, or head to Little Havana, the center of Cuban culture in the US. No time to leave the airport? No problem—relax Miami International Airport's on-site spa or in the yoga room in Terminal H.
Another easy-to-walk city, the city center of Boston is quickly accessed via a short commute on the T's Silver Line. Take stroll through the North End to find delicious Italian food and baked goods, go shopping on Newberry Street, or walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail which takes visitors through 16 historical sites significant to the founding of America. For travelers with kids, a Boston Duck Tour or trip to the New England Aquarium will keep everyone in the family entertained.
Las Vegas, Nevada
You can hit the slot machines as soon as you land in Las Vegas at Harry Reid International Airport (formerly McCarran International Airport). Stretch your legs with a workout in the fitness center or on the Fly Fit walking paths marked throughout the airport. If you’re traveling with kids, they can get their energy out in the aviation-themed Kids Play Area. You can also see plenty of art or learn about the history of flight in the Aviation Museum.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
When it’s not packed for spring break, you can find a comfortable place to stay overnight in Myrtle Beach which has the most accommodations in Lawn Love's ranking. If you’re stranded in The Grand Strand, there are also plenty of attractions outside the airport if you don’t feel like lounging. Myrtle Beach State Park is not far from the airport and has a pier and boardwalk where you can stretch your legs and breathe in some ocean air. If you have several hours to spare, head to Broadway at the Beach, where you can shop, eat, catch a show, or get an adrenaline rush at the theme park.
You might be more likely to get caught up in a snowstorm in northern cities like Portland, Maine, which had second-highest share of canceled departures. The airport is fairly close to the city center, so if the winter weather isn’t too bad, you can easily take a short drive to check out this charming city. Grab a beer and relax at a local brewery or winery. If you have enough time, take a trolley tour to explore the city, or hop on a ferry and cruise around the coast.
Burlington, Vermont had the highest shares of canceled departures (likely due to the snowy weather that often impacts Portland, Maine). Of all places to be stranded, this town can be a pleasant surprise addition to your travels. Explore Church Street Marketplace, the city’s historic pedestrian mall, which has plenty of options if you’re hungry or itching to shop. If you need to move around after a long flight, you can bike or walk along Lake Champlain on the Burlington Greenway — keep an eye out for Champ, the mysterious lake monster.
— For the full list of rankings, visit LawnLove.com.
Smoking cigars in a home bar with the turntable playing classic jazz is cool, but you know what's cooler? Taking a puff of the Davidoff or Padron on an open-deck cruise ship as you sit back watching the evening slip away over the ocean waves. If you like sailing and smoking cigars, you will want to consider these cruise lines with cigar bars and lounges for your next adventure. The cigar lounges on this list with their dark hues, wooden panels and classic leather seats are reminiscent of gentlemen's clubs in the golden age. Some say cigar bars are a dying trend with a few cruise lines phasing them out – but these lounges are a glimpse into the past life of sailors and their adventures. There is a conversation in every puff and sometimes a bond formed in every cigar with a stranger. 1. Tabac Blonde Cigar Lounge (Costa) Get ready to smoke some fine Italian cigars and soak in the Mediterranean breeze while cruising on Costa Deliziosa. The ship's exclusive Tabac Blonde cigar lounge can be found inside the casino to let you rewind after a day of buzzling action at the Roulette table or a bad luck at the slot machines. The interiors with the black leather sofa against the bright red light sets the mood to lit up and pass the vibe check. Costa Cruises – Where to smoke: Costa Deliziosa; cigar lounges also available on Costa Fascinosa, Costa Favolosa, Costa Luminosa, Costa Pacifica, Costa Magica, Costa Fortuna, Costa neoRomantica, Costa neoRiviera 2. Churchill’s Cigar Lounge (Cunard) Cunard Cigar Lounge - courtesy of allthingscruise.com The Commodores club inspired by Cunard Commodores is the home to Churchill’s Cigar Lounge. This beautiful bar with a huge observation window provides the perfect atmosphere to savor a cocktail and smoke some premium cigars. Guests can embrace the allure of this enchanted, dazzling bar and its breathtaking views of the horizon. Especially, when the sky is painted with purple and orange streaks during the golden hour. This is just the bar for a cigar aficionado who enjoys sunsets or the sundown. Cunard – Where to smoke: Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne 3. Meridian Lounge (Disney Cruise Line) Disney's Meridian Lounge - courtesy of allthingscruise.com The Meridian lounge sits at the stern of the ship – offering a killing view of the ocean. Its decor, inspired by the yesteryears of voyages, includes a sextant navigation instrument embedded on the floor, the walls feature leather maps adorned with passport stamps from all around the world and an overhead constellation chart which glitters with the stars and other celestial symbols. This lounge is exclusive for adult guests with a large option of beers, wine and cocktails along with strong cigars! Guess Disney has something for the adults as well as the kids. Disney Cruise Line – Where to smoke: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy 4. Oak Room (Holland America Line) Noordam of Holland America Line gets its striking moniker from the northern compass point, is decorated with museum quality art and huge staterooms but that's not the only unique thing about this cruise. Noordam's cigar room, named Oak Room, the only one in Holland America sets it apart from the other ships. The marble floor of the lounge compliments the brown oak walls and ceiling very well with the whole ambience of the place being relaxing and welcoming. It's just the right mood to puff a cigar or two after a drink at the Crow’s Nest Bar next door. Holland America Line – Where to smoke: MS Noordam 5. Cigar Room (MSC Cruises) MSC's Cigar Lounge - courtesy of priceline.com There's more to the MSC Cruises than meets the eye – the cruise line serves its travelers with a range of luxury leisure spots and has a hidden gem. The cigar bar which is built with a pleasant but elegant atmosphere. It offers a wide variety of premium Italian, Dominican and Cuban cigars. Smoking in this lounge is an experience that deliberately and intensely engages all senses. MSC Cruises – Where to smoke: MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Magnifica and MSC Orchestra 6. Humidor Cigar Lounge (Norwegian Cruise Line) Norwegian has something for every type of guest onboard - an array of specialty restaurants, live entertainment, renowned deck parties and something even for the cigar aficionados. The NCL's Humidor Cigar Lounge is for those guests who enjoy cigars in laid back environment. Walk in to lounge with your favorite whiskey cocktails from Maltings, a popular bar on NCL and pair it with the best smokes. The intentional design and leather seats make you comfortable to catch up with old friends or make new ones. Norwegian Cruise Line Where to smoke: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva 7. The Cigar Lounge (PONANT) PONANT's Cigar Lounge - courtesy of allthingscruise.com The first luxury electric hybrid polar expedition ship, Le Commandant Charcot wears all its exclusive adventure indulgences like a star. The ship's cigar bar is stand-out magnificent with its vibrant interior and a wide range of cigar collections displayed on the wall. The lounge is filled to the brim with finest cigars and spirits that can make your visit comfortable through the polar weather outside. The best spot to sink in to relaxation after a busy day of ice fishing or dog sledding in the Arctic. PONANT – Where to smoke: Le Commandant Charcot 8. Churchill’s Cigar Lounge (Princess Cruises) Churchill's Cigar Lounge - courtesy of allthingscruise.com The namesake of the man who loved cigars – the Churchill’s Cigar Lounge on a Princess Cruises ship is luxury at its finest. The lounge reminds us of the old English pubs complete with green walls filled to the brim with wall hangings. Churchill’s is located next to the casino is decked with humidors and offers a wide range of premium cigars. It is a cozy room with comfy leather chairs for patrons to unwind with a drink and preferred cigar. Princess Cruises – Where to smoke: Caribbean Princess, Diamond Princess, Discovery Princess, Enchanted, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Sky Princess, Sapphire Princess and Sky Princess. 9. Connoisseur Club (Regent Seven Seas) The Connoisseur Club is where luxury meets classic. The lounge gets its good old-fashioned ambience courtesy of the deep blue walls and the incredibly comfortable leather armchairs. Walk in the club after one of your unlimited shore excursions and pair your fine cigar with a wide selection of cognac on sale – not to forget the impeccable bartender service onboard. Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Where to smoke: Seven Seas Grandeur, Seven Seas Splendor, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner 10. Connoisseur’s Corner (Silversea) The ultra-luxury and adventure cruise line which is the crown jewel of the Royal Caribbean Group, Silversea Cruises gets praised for its cruise with luxury theme – the Connoisseur's Corner, a cigar lounge, is one such amenity. Its earth-toned interiors, buttery-soft leather chairs and marble-topped tables add an elegant touch to the lounge. The roomy and bright ambience of the lounge will certainly warm your heart if you value the finer things in life. Silversea Cruises – Where to smoke: Fleetwide except Silver Nova, Silver Origin and Silver Ray — Read more about these lounges and other cruises at AllThingsCruise.com.
Discover USA: North Dakota
Join Budget Travel as we continue our series Discover USA. Discover USA explores states, counties, cities, and everything in between. Each week we will explore a new US destination to help you find things to do, itinerary ideas, and plan where to go next. This week, we invite you to Discover what North Dakota has to offer. North Dakota is known as a destination for avid outdoorsmen with stunning lakes and rivers, abundant wildlife, and excellent walleye fishing. The state is also home to numerous cultural centers and and museums, with a particular focus on its Native and early American history. Culinary Pitchfork Steak Fondue - courtesy of medorand.com North Dakota leaves no point on the culinary spectrum untouched. Foodies will find award-winning fine dining, breweries, wineries, cultural cuisine, locally owned restaurants serving comfort food classics, and aromatic coffee shops. Follow the culinary trail across North Dakota and sample authentic German and Norwegian dishes, funky and local fare, and refined farm-to-table entrees – just remember to leave room for dessert. Farm to Table: Chefs across North Dakota are creating dishes and experiences that reflect the freshest unique ingredients and cultural traditions in their local areas.Local Fare: From western steakhouses to family comfort food, the local favorite dining spots in each community offer a window into some of North Dakota’s hidden gem eateries.Culinary Trail: For a greatest hits list of North Dakota’s dining spots this culinary trail hits all the high notes, from fine dining and cultural cuisine, to breweries, wineries and distilleries.Good Eats North Dakota Style: From Pitchfork Steak Fondue (closed for the season opens spring 2023) in Medora to Rosewild in Fargo, the list of notable restaurants across the state is extensive. Arts & Culture North Dakota is home to several important Native American sites - Courtesy of ndtourism.com Native American History and Culture: From Sitting Bull to Sakakawea, North Dakota is rich in Native American history — and with approximately 30,000 enrolled tribal members sharing geography with North Dakota, there are many opportunities to explore and experience Native American culture. Visitors can attend a powwow, with most held from late June through early September. The celebrations are multi-day festivals centered around traditional song and dance performances, and traditional foods , as well as vendors selling arts and crafts. The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site preserves and protects the Northern Plains Native American Heritage. A state-of-the-art museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes is located at the visitor center. The Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site was the largest fur trading post on the upper Missouri River from 1828-1867. The site includes a reconstructed Bourgeois House with museum exhibits, and replica trade goods are available for purchase in the reconstructed Indian Trade House. The new MHA Interpretive Center near New Town uses living history programs to tell the story of the great MHA Nation and has a large display of museum quality and interactive kiosk of the culture. Archaeology and Paleontology: It's said North Dakota once was a tropical paradise complete with giant lakes and the giant fish that used to swim in them. There is proof that other giants used to roam North Dakota in prehistoric times and they are being uncovered all the time. Dinosaurs literally left their footprints all over this state and their skeletons now figure prominently in many museums. Discover North Dakota's prehistoric past with these fun fossil sites, and dinosaur attractions. Lewis and Clark Trail: Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery were some of the first non-Native visitors to North Dakota. Most people know the story of Lewis and Clark and Sakakawea — the explorers came through North Dakota, wintered here and met a young Native American girl who would become vital to the success of the Corps of Discovery. Today, you can see where and how they lived during their stay at Fort Mandan and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center has artifacts and comprehensive details on the journey. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum - Courtesy of ndtourism.com Art and History Museums: Artists have long found inspiration in North Dakota’s sweeping landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck is a one-stop source for the arts, culture and history of North Dakota. In the heart of downtown Fargo, The Plains Art Museum occupies a renovated turn-of-the-century warehouse and is the largest and only accredited art museum in North Dakota. The permanent collection features modern, post-modern and contemporary pieces, as well as traditional Native American and African pieces. The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks is a preeminent collection of contemporary regional, national and international art in all media, and includes a survey collection of contemporary Native American art. The museum is recognized nationally for its commissioning of landmark works of art depicting the landscape, history and culture of the Northern Plains. The cowboy is a prominent figure in North Dakota culture, and the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora seamlessly blends the history of ranching, rodeo and Native American photos, displays, and videos to bring the cowboy to life. Recent census data shows that 30 percent of North Dakotans trace their ancestry to Norway, and this culture is on display and celebrated at the Scandinavian Heritage Museum in Minot, which pays homage to the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.While not a traditional museum, North Dakota’s wide-open vistas are the perfect setting for some of the country’s most impressive roadside art. Gorgeous, colorful murals can be found in nearly every city and town across the state, many of them depicting scenes, symbols or graphics that are meaningful and connected to the local community. Along the Enchanted Highway, visitors can drive the famous 30-mile stretch that’s dotted with roadside sculptures including the world’s largest metal sculpture, Geese in Flight by Gary Greff. And you won’t want to miss the world’s largest buffalo Dakota Thunder, an impressive 60-ton concrete monument in Jamestown. A sculpture garden in Wahpeton has a rotating menagerie of dinosaurs, bears and more. Smaller scale sculptures punctuate manicured gardens at the Rainbow Garden and Sculpture Walk in Mayville, a perfect scale and speed for families with young children. Explore the Outdoors Bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Courtesy of ndtourism.com Theodore Roosevelt National Park: North Dakota’s only national park is in the western part of the state and offers majestic Badlands scenery, abundant wildlife, and all kinds of outdoor adventures. The park has three units: the North and South Units (both distinctly different) and the Elkhorn Ranch. In the South Unit, the Badlands have been shaped by millions of years of wind, rain, erosion, fire and the meandering Little Missouri River. The main access to the South Unit is through the historic town of Medora. The North Unit, accessible just south of Watford City, has deeper gorges and is heavily forested in places. The beauty and allure of the North Unit draws visitors year-round for sweeping vistas of this designated wilderness. Visitors to both units can view a natural setting much like the one that greeted Theodore Roosevelt over a century ago. The 36-mile scenic loop drive in the South Unit and the 14-mile drive in the North Unit provide easy access to popular vistas and wildlife viewing. You will always see buffalo herds and prairie dog towns, and you may catch a glimpse of feral horses, mule deer, elk and maybe even a coyote. The International Peace Garden: This 2,339-acre botanical garden commemorating peace between the United States and Canada stretches along the world’s longest unfortified border. It blooms annually with more than 150,000 varieties of flowers and showcases the Peace Chapel. Explore the two pristine freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, and a large variety of North American birds and animals. Fishing: North Dakota is a top destination for serious walleye anglers from far and wide. The state has more than 400 lakes and rivers—such as the Missouri River system, Lake Oahe, and Lake Sakakawea, and Devils Lake—offering exciting action for walleye, northern pike, perch and other game fish with seasons for most species open year-round. When rivers and lakes throughout North Dakota ice over, avid anglers drill a hole and keep on fishing. Ice fishing practices in North Dakota run the gamut, from a bucket on the ice to elaborate icehouse setups that include televised football games and tasty foods, while others may prefer testing their skills with darkhouse spearfishing. Mountain Biking: The state offers plenty of space, a variety of trails for all skill levels and no crowds. The crown jewel of North Dakota mountain biking is the Maah Daah Hey Trail, a 144-mile singletrack that slices through a million acres of national grassland in western North Dakota. Mountain Bike Magazine has featured the Maah Daah Hey on their list of best rides, and the Maah Daah Hey Trail received a 2022 Bicycling Travel Award as Best Hidden Gem in the U.S. The Trail is a true test of skills and endurance on a variety of terrains, through an area that is more remote than most people have ever experienced. But the trail is not exclusively for elite cyclists, some of the best highlights and scenic beauty of the trail can be taken in as segment or spur trail rides accessed through nearly a dozen trailheads that can be enjoyed by mountain bikers of all abilities. Golf: Great golf courses, each featuring their own signature landscapes and challenges, can be found throughout North Dakota. There is the Lewis and Clark Golf Trail, a series of 18- and nine-hole courses along the same route Lewis and Clark took through central North Dakota. The Triple Golf Challenge includes discounted rounds at three of the state's — and nation's — top-rated golf courses: The Links of North Dakota near Ray, Hawktree Golf Club in Bismarck, and Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora. All three are ranked 1, 2 or 3 in state rankings by Golf Digest, GOLF and Golfweek. Golfweek's top 100 U.S. best ranked public-access courses in 2022 includes the The Links of North Dakota at #42, and Hawktree Golf Club at #72 in the nation. In the Red River Valley, Fargo Country Club and Grand Forks' King's Walk are two highly-rated links, as is the Vardon Golf Club in Minot. Downhill Skiing, Tubing, and Snowboarding: North Dakota's four downhill ski areas are popular with snow lovers of all ages. Slalom through fresh powder, ride a rail at the terrain park or feel the exhilaration of tubing down the slope. Huff Hills near Mandan has a 450-foot vertical drop with 16 runs and four lifts. The runs overlook the Missouri River and the Missouri River Valley. Bottineau Winter Park in the Turtle Mountains has eight runs and six lifts and a tubing area with handle lift. Frost Fire Park near Walhalla is tucked neatly into the Pembina Gorge area near the U.S.-Canada border. The area has a tubing run in addition to enhanced ski and snowboard areas. Thrill Hills at Fort Ransom is open for skiing, snowboarding and excellent tubing in the Sheyenne River Valley. (Note: Frost Fire Park is closed for 2022/23 winter season.)
Budget Friendly Ski Slopes for 2023
Where are the best ski resorts in North America? From Park City to Panorama, HomeToGo has researched the price of skiing across the continent, taking into account the latest prices and search trends for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Their Ski Report compares the price of skiing in Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Vermont, New York, and more! They’ve included 50 of the ultimate ski havens from 15 states across the USA and Canada, so that you can carve out your winter travel plans without getting buried by debt. Scaling mountains of data and research, this year's report compares the affordability of lift tickets* and overnight accommodations, as well as the search trends of skiers planning their vacations. Ski resorts provided their latest pricing data for lift tickets during peak season periods and HomeToGo data was used to find the average price per person to stay in a 6-person vacation rental. See the top 3 most affordable resorts this winter.#3 Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Kicking Horse Mountain Resort 2021.22 Season - Courtesy of kickinghorseresort.com Located in Golden, British Columbia, Kicking Horse can be both a fun, family excursion or a challenging endeavor. With 120 trails across nearly 3,500 acres of terrain, there are opportunities to shred gnarly powder or glide along gentle slopes. In fact, it is known as the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada due to its ridges and bowls which are constantly stashed with deep snow. For thrill seekers, Kicking Horse is home to a 1,300-meter vertical drop, the sixth largest vertical drop of any North American ski resort. Meanwhile, beginners are welcome to explore the gentle glades for an incredible on-snow experience and lovely mountain views. Adult Lift Ticket Price: $105.82 Median Accommodation Price: $23.77/person Total: $129.59#2 Kimberley Alpine Resort Kimberly Ski Resort - Courtesy of skikimberley.com Kimberley, British Columbia prides itself on its small-town charm and real mountain experiences. The region receives an average of 13 feet of snowfall each season. It features 80 named runs, 1,800 acres of terrain and a variety of ski-in or ski-out accommodations. The Purcell Range of the Canadian Rockies offers stunning scenery and a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the powdery snow, regardless of experience level. Skiing is not Kimberley’s only activity either, guests are welcome to try dog sledding, snowshoeing and snowboarding. Adult Lift Ticket Price: $84.00 Median Accommodation Price: $40.61/person Total: $124.61#1 Mission Ridge Ski Area Mission Ridge - Courtesy of missionridge.com Sitting 12 miles from Wenatchee, Washington, this ski area is built into a 2,000-acre basin on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. With 300 days annually of sunshine, it sits higher and drier than other mountains in the area. It’s known for its light, dry powder, which provides a smooth ride for the whole family. Mission Ridge has more than 36 designated runs with trails, chutes, screamers, bowls and even a 2,250-foot vertical drop. Whether you shred the slopes or explore the backcountry, Mission Ridge provides family fun and amazing mountain views. Adult Lift Ticket Price: $97.00 Median Accommodation Price: $18.13/person Total: $115.13 To see the full report and methodology click here.
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.