Though New York becomes its own magical holiday wonderland throughout November and December, it’s fun to travel to some smaller towns and pretend you’ve hopped on Santa’s sleigh and taken a visit to the North Pole.
Here are 10 options for adorable Christmas Towns near NYC that we found — yes, the exact places you can just imagine a cheesy Hallmark movie taking place!
Did you know the country’s most Christmassy city is only an hour and a half from NYC? Home of the first-ever Christmas tree in the United States in 1747, now this perfectly-named eastern PA city has fully embraced its holiday history, becoming a popular destination every single year. Read more about “Christmas City USA” here.
Distance from NYC: 1 hr 45 min by car
2. Rhineback, NY
This historic town in upstate New York is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit! Their annual Sinterklaas Festival — a Dutch tradition that features children’s workshops, dance, theatre and music all over the village of Rhinebeck, plus a giant puppet parade at night — is coming up on December 2.
Distance from NYC: 1 hr 45 min by train (Metro-North), 2 hr 20 min by car
3. New Hope, PA
This little town right near the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border is an artistic haven with tons of galleries, markets and more (there’s even a giant Arts & Crafts festival each September!). For the holiday season the true must-visit is Peddler’s Village within the city, offering 65 specialty shops and boutiques, and 1 million Christmas Lights lighting the way through the village.
There’s even special events happening too like Gingerbread Competition & Displays, Nighttime Stories with the Grinch, Singing Santa, plus more. See full calendar here.
Distance from NYC: 1 hr 35 min by car
4. Cape May, NJ
Though this beach town is known more for its summer haunts, it’s quite quaint during the holiday season! There are holiday-themed trolley rides, tree lightings, and an outdoor shopping village and concert series at their Congress Hall in the center of town. See details on their website here.
Distance from NYC: 2 hr 45 minutes by driving
5. Kingston, NY
This Catskills town that is also accessible via Metro-North is perfect for a holiday getaway from the big city. They host a Snowflake Festival every year (each Friday in December starting Dec 1), and have tons of Christmassy events like the Polar Express train ride to the “North Pole,” a holiday makers market featuring 60+ artists, and more! Plus the village itself looks adorable.
Distance from NYC: 2 hr 15 min by car, 2 hr 45 min by train
6. Bernville, PA
The main feature of this rural Pennsylvania town is the completely and utterly magical Koziar’s Christmas Village. What began as a tradition in 1948 now spans three generations of the same family, and welcomes thousands of visitors from all over. Tucked into a valley is a brilliant and bright Christmas town covered in over 1 million lights, adorning buildings, gift barns, and landscapes. Find more exact hours and more about how to visit on their website here.
Distance from NYC: 2 and half hours driving
7. Beacon, NY
This artsy town located right under Beacon Mountain is great for a quick day getaway from the city (and you can get there without a car). It’s so charming around Christmas time as you see the mountain tops from town, with wreaths and lights adorning the quaint lamp posts. There are also tons of shops for last-minute gifts, and lots of events from breakfast with Santa, holiday craft fairs, and holiday gallery shows. See all events here.
Distance from NYC: 1 hour 30 minutes driving, about 2 hours via train on Metro North
8. Corning, NY
Though a bit far from NYC, it would still make a nice weekend getaway (and hey, you could split up the driving by stopping at another one of the cities on the way — making a holiday road trip!). It was actually named one of the top Christmas towns in the entire country by Country Living magazine, for its various events like the Parade of Lights, the “Sparkle” festival, and the completely illuminated Gaffer District complete with a massive Christmas tree decked out with hand-blown glass ornaments. The town itself described it as “shak[ing] a snow globe and marvel[ing] at the magical scene within of snow swirling around a winter wonderland” as what it feels like to stroll through the Gaffer District.
Distance from NYC: 4 hours driving
9. Burlington, VT
From holiday lights sparkling on the Church Street Marketplace to the snowcaps of the Adirondack Mountains, Burlington is a great holiday destination to check out this year. There is tons to do, including the small businesses along Church Street in downtown, holiday markets offering Vermont artisanal foods and one-of-a-kind goods, and of course major ski resorts (Stowe, Jay Peak, Sugarbush, Mad River Glen, and Smuggler’s Notch).
Distance from NYC: 5 hours driving
10. Sleepy Hallow, NY
Just north of NYC in Hudson Valley is Sleepy Hallow! While many think of it as a Halloween town…it’s just as magical in during the holiday season! There’s tons of things to do, including the sing-a-long Dickens’s Christmas Carol and touring historic sites like Philipsburg Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, and Union Church of Pocantico Hills. Or opt for their pop-up events like tea parties, hot cocoa bars, cake pop decorating, plus more! See all events this season here.
Distance from NYC: 1.5 hours driving