Imagine a charming snow-covered town decked with perfectly trimmed evergreens, Christmas carolers, and homemade hot cocoa. Sounds straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie, right? Well…Happy Travelers, put down the remote and look no further than these movie-esque Pennsylvania wonderlands.
The Christmas tree shines bright in Lincoln Square and wreaths hang on every lamppost. Gettysburg businesses along the square join in the holiday fun with Christmas lights, festive decorations, and shiny wrapped presents donning their windowsills and doorways. Quaint, whimsical seasonal events such as A Gettysburg Christmas Festival and the Christmas Tastes and Traditions Food Tour keep spirits high all season long.
Enjoy a stroll through downtown Canonsburg to experience the town’s Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration. Surround yourself with sparkling white lights and festive holiday window displays and shop for the perfect Christmas gift at the Christmas Market. Visit their Facebook page to stay updated on their schedule of events every weekend.
3. Jim Thorpe
Nestled in the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge, Jim Thorpe offers visitors a unique and family-friendly way to revel in the snow-covered Pocono Mountains. At Christmastime, the historic Victorian architecture, cheerful music, and brisk mountain air burst with holiday spirit. Their 41st annual Olde Time Christmas Weekends will feature horse-drawn carriage rides, special community holiday events, live entertainment throughout the town, and, of course, Santa Claus!
4. New Hope
Embark on a winter adventure as you explore the beautifully decorated 18th-century-style buildings and winding brick walkways of Peddler’s Village. December is a seasonal celebration with holiday shopping, festive light displays, the Holly Jolly Weekend, and Gingerbread Competition and Display! Wander to Shady Brook Farm to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and cook up s’mores at a toasty bonfire. Better yet, experience the season’s magic staying warm and cozy in your own car as 3 million lights illuminate their farmland with their Holiday Light Show. Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with Santa himself—and don’t forget to snap a pic with him while you’re there—or take a stroll through the Candy Cane Lane filled with musical dancing lights.
Stroll along the charming streets of Historic Bethlehem trimmed in twinkling lights and brimming with holiday cheer. Wander through the beautiful downtown or ride in style on festively decorated and serene horse-drawn carriages. The festive atmosphere full of lights, sights, and sounds of the Christmas City is truly a scene straight from a Hallmark classic. Not to mention, Christkindlmarkt nearby has been recognized as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by both Travel + Leisure and Martha Stewart Magazine.
Bundle up, climb aboard a heated, antique trolley, and travel down snow-covered tracks through holiday light displays at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. Santa will greet you with a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” and visit every child on board during this extra special, one-day holiday event. The festive vessel invokes movie-quality holiday spirit with a roving fiddle player on board. Complete the trip with hot chocolate and cookies around the bonfire. Ring in the holiday season in retro style with a train and trolley ride during Christmas in Coal Country at the East Broad Top Railroad! The train departs from the historic Orbisonia Station and travels north, where you will encounter Santa along the way and he will give every child a special gift.
Indiana, the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, also happens to be the hometown of Jimmy Stewart, star of the beloved holiday classic, “It's A Wonderful Life.” Enjoy this Christmas classic with showings daily during the holiday season at The Jimmy Stewart Museum. Then, venture into downtown Indiana transformed into a modern-day Bedford Falls complete with twinkling lights and a 32-foot live Christmas tree in the center of town. Spend your holiday weekends from Nov. 19–Dec. 18 with Santa roasting marshmallows and admiring vintage light displays and beautiful storefront windows. To kick off the festivities on Nov. 19, partake in holiday crafts for kids, sip Christmas tea with George Bailey, and tour the Victorian Silas M. Clark House adorned with stunning holiday decorations.
8. Kennett Square
Embrace the holiday spirit among illuminated trees, glowing orbs, and a shimmering tunnel of lights at Longwood Gardens. ‘Tis the season to marvel at the grounds’ botanical masterpieces and bold blooms, gaze at gilded garlands and luminescent displays, and explore tremendously lit treehouses. You won’t want to miss their Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows featuring 750 jets in changing patterns, starting daily at 10:15 a.m. then every 15 minutes starting at noon.
Celebrating 75 years of season's greetings, Koziar's Christmas Village has embodied the holiday spirit for generations. The extraordinary seasonal attraction is filled with delightful displays, a train, a kissing bridge, and a million twinkling lights adorning buildings, gift barns, and the surrounding landscapes.
You just might feel like you’re starring in your own holiday Hallmark film with a visiting Juniata Valley Winery & Wilson House Bed and Breakfast Nestled among towering trees, meandering country roads, a vineyard, and spectacular mountain views, this charming late 19th-century B&B is the perfect backdrop for a romantic holiday getaway. Cozy up by the fire with a selection of their award-winning dry and sweet wines.
11. Conneaut Lake
Lighting up the lake is a community tradition in this beautiful locale. Locals refer to the celebration as “The Christmas Project,” where 450 Trees of Light bedeck Conneaut Lake to spread holiday joy throughout the season starting with Light Up Night on Thanksgiving Day. Hop aboard Barbara J Cruise to take in the sights from the water. Tours are available every weekend between Nov. 25–Dec. 11.
Experience one of the most beautiful light displays in the area from the comfort of your own car, van, or bus at Lakemont Park’s 26th annual Holiday Lights on the Lake. Be dazzled as more than a million twinkling lights illuminate 50+ acres of land. Afterwards, visit the Alto Model Train Display where train enthusiasts and newcomers alike enjoy the many scenes and trains operating. Be sure to pay a visit to Santa’s Village and you may just bump into Kris Kringle himself!
Find that special sparkle of the holiday season in Johnstown‘s downtown. The 36-foot tall Animated Christmas Tree in Central Park evokes feelings of seasonal cheer as colors change to the tune of all your favorite carols. After soaking in the grandeur of the tree, take a close look at the miniature village lining its base, which is home to more than 30 houses decorated by local businesses. The holiday season officially kicks off downtown on Nov. 18 with The Christmas Stroll and Light Up Night event.
Christmas in Hanover returns in a grand way with a grand parade and bike decorating contest ushering in the holiday season on Nov. 25, followed by a tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 26. While spending the holidays in Hanover, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Santa’s Cabin, walk the streets of the downtown admiring the homes participating in the annual house decorating contest, and shop holiday specials to cross those hard-to-shop-for in-laws of your list.
All Hallmark heroines get their start in the “big city” and Steel City is the perfect backdrop for the holiday season straight out of the movies. Watch PPG Place transform into UPMC Rink, a spectacular outdoor ice-skating space that welcomes guests of all ages during the winter season. From Nov. 18–Feb. 26, lace up your skates and glide onto the impressive rink that boasts more square footage than the one at Rockefeller Center. Afterwards, discover other holiday happenings in downtown Pittsburgh including the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where you’ll be greeted by a variety of topiary creatures from Nov. 18–Jan. 8.
There’s no sweeter place to spend the holidays than Hershey when the town built on chocolate transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors can drive through two miles of Hershey Sweet Lights, ride coasters, and meet Santa plus all nine of his reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. A variety of holiday-themed shows will have you singing along to festive tunes, while indulgent spa treatments at the Spa At The Hotel Hershey will provide you with a moment of much-needed relaxation amid the hustle and bustle of the season. Of course, no Hallmark movie would be complete without a kiss, so don’t miss your opportunity to ride into the night sky at the 330-foot Kissing Tower.
Nestled in a valley surrounded by snow topped hills, Bradford is the quintessential Hallmark-inspired holiday getaway. In the town’s National Historic District, eclectic architecture from the 1800s and 1900s lines both sides of Main Street, and a decorative gazebo serves as the midpoint for seasonal horse-drawn carriage rides. A full slate of events and activities is practically guaranteed to fill you with the holiday spirit!
For more holiday ideas in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Never miss an update by signing up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.