If you’re looking for a unique way to spend the holidays, the south has plenty to offer those who want to celebrate the season. While you can find light displays, tree lightings and ice skatings in most major cities, these experiences are more unique to their respective locations.
Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina
The famous Asheville hotel hosts a yearly gingerbread house competition that will leave you amazed that the creations are all edible. The national competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn brings the best artists in this obscure field to put their work on display from late November through January every year. Both guests of the hotel and curious visitors can check out the competition.
Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC
As a somber reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedoms, wreaths are hung on every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC every December. Wreaths Across America is an organization that places wreaths in military cemeteries throughout the country.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City, North Carolina
The iconic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has been providing tourists with views of the surrounding mountains for the last 25 years. Every Christmas, they offer The Polar Express Train Ride, which recreates the classic children’s book and movie from Bryson City. Children are given tickets and their own silver bell to take home.
The Pink Pig, Atlanta, Georgia
Few traditions are more iconic or more bizarre in Atlanta than the Pink Pig. It started in the 1950s as a ride at Rich’s, a now-defunct local department store. Now run by Macy’s, “Priscilla the Pink Pig” is set up at Lenox Square Mall from November to January for generations of Atlantans to enjoy. A portion of the proceeds benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Natchitoches Christmas Festival, Natchitoches, Louisiana
The Natchitoches Christmas Festival is known around the country as one of the biggest holiday celebrations. Over 300 light displays are set up on the Cane River. But the event also includes live music, a beauty pageant, a parade, and other festive events.
Holiday Parade of Boats, Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston keeps a relatively warm climate year-round, so it’s no surprise that this port city celebrates in a different way. Every December, boats are decorated with holiday lights and paraded through the waterways between downtown and Mount Pleasant. Prizes are awarded for the best decorations.
Theme Parks, Orlando, Florida
Orlando‘s theme parks go all out during the holidays. The weather is comfortable and both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort have special programming like performances, decorations, and festive foods.