2021’s Most Festive Cities

Sleigh bells are ringing, snow is glistening, and Mariah Carey is serenading shoppers at every Target and Macy’s — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But which of the 200 biggest U.S. cities most resemble a scene out of a Hallmark movie?

LawnStarter made a list of 2021’s Most Festive Cities and checked it twice to find out which among them will fill you with holiday cheer.

We looked for cities packed with holiday events, Euro-style Christmas markets, delicious goodies, and other fun things to do and see.

Of course, no winter wonderland is complete without snow, so we also measured the average snowfall in each city to find the most Instagram-worthy backdrops.

See which 10 cities will fill (or drain) your holiday spirit below, followed by highlights and lowlights from our report.


2021’s Most Festive Cities
Rank City
1 New York, NY
2 Chicago, IL
3 Boston, MA
4 Philadelphia, PA
5 San Francisco, CA
6 Los Angeles, CA
7 Jersey City, NJ
8 Newark, NJ
9 Denver, CO
10 Washington, DC


2021’s Least Festive Cities

Rank City
191 Montgomery, AL
192 Amarillo, TX
193 Sunrise Manor, NV
194 Cape Coral, FL
195 Shreveport, LA
196 Brownsville, TX
197 Corpus Christi, TX
198 Laredo, TX
199 Port St. Lucie, FL
200 Enterprise, NV


Highlights and Lowlights:

We 🎅 NY: There’s a reason the Big Apple is the central character in countless holiday-themed movies: Nobody does the holidays like New York, our No. 1 most festive city. In fact, New York earned more than double the points of our silver medalist, Chicago, and swept all but one category.

With so many timeless traditions like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Times Square Ball Drop, kids from 1 to 92 indeed will find it hard to sleep in The City That Never Sleeps. So add New York to your holiday bucket list if you want to witness your own miracle on 34th Street this year.

Baby, It’s Warm Outside: Nothing says “winter wonderland” like Jack Frost nipping at your nose, but California cities like Los Angeles (No. 6 overall) and its suburbs will warm your holiday spirit.

You won’t get much, if any, snow in most Golden State cities in our ranking, but if there’s one thing Californians know how to do well, it’s how to throw a smashing holiday party. California cities — the Los Angeles metro area in particular — occupy nearly every top 10 spot in the Entertaining category.

The Grinch Stole Christmas — from Small Texas Cities: Not everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, it turns out. Holidays appear to be less of a production in smaller Texas cities, most of which landed in the lower half of our ranking. Laredo, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Amarillo slipped to the bottom 10 and took the last spots in the Merrymaking category.

But bigger Texas cities know how to party, with Houston faring best at No. 26 overall. Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights, San Antonio’s Chanukah on the River, Austin’s Trail of Lights, and KwanzaaFest in Dallas are just some of the larger events in the state that stand to make your holiday wishes come true.

Christmas Markets Come to America: Christmas markets are more of a tradition across the pond, but they’re catching on here at home. In other words, you might be able to get a taste of this European experience in your own backyard — if you live close enough to one.

Modeled after the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, Chicago’s annual Christkindlmarket, for example, starts mid-November and ends Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, the newer Savannah Christmas Market in Georgia offers a unique Southern twist on the Salzburg Christmas Market in Austria. Grab an authentic bratwurst, savor some mulled wine, and be transported to another continent.

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