9 Reader’s Digest ‘Best Xmas Towns’ Worthy Of An Albany Daytrip
With so many Christmas activities around the Capital Region, you could easily spend the whole holiday season here. But Upstate is in a such a prime area between the northeast and New England that you should plan a holiday daytrip (holidaytrip?) or you'll be missing out on some of the country's top spots.
Reader's Digest released its 2022 list of America's Best Christmas Towns, and luckily for us, you can get to nine of them in under four hours! Fill up the tank, get your Christmas playlist ready, and get ready for your best Christmas season ever.
Seneca Falls, New York (2hr. 50min.)
Reader’s Digest named Seneca Falls the best Christmas town for old movie buffs. The town earned the honor by being the inspiration behind Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. The city shares many of the landmarks as the 1946 film’s setting of Bedford Falls, including a very similar main street and a bridge identical to the one where George Bailey meets his guardian angel, Clarence.
Old movie buffs will love to visit Seneca Falls for the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum and the yearly festival inspired by the Christmas classic. This year’s attendees will get a special treat – Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in the film, will be in attendance to meet fans and sign autographs.
New York City (3hrs.)
New York City made Reader’s Digest’s list for ‘Best Big-City Christmas.’ Reader’s Digest cited Bryant Park’s winter village, ice skating in Central Park, and the Rockefeller Center tree that came from Queensbury this year.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (3hr. 30min.)
Want an idyllic New England holiday? Portsmouth takes top honors for 'Best Quintessential New England Christmas' with snow, covered bridges, and a charming market square. If you want to spend the night, bundle up and take a Candlelight Stroll by the historic waterfront.
Stockbridge, Massachusetts (45min.)
Just a few miles from Upstate NY is another Reader’s Digest holiday must-visit for ‘A Norman Rockwell Christmas,’ Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Just across the state line is where the famed Americana artist lived and is the setting for his 1967 painting “Main Street At Christmas.”
Mystic, Connecticut (2hr. 45min.)
A beautiful coastal town, Reader's Digest says Mystic is 'Best For Boat Lovers.' Some of the Christmas must-sees by the sea are the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade and Santas on paddleboards. Speaking of the big guy, when he arrives in Mystic, it's not by sleigh - he comes into town on a tugboat!
Ogunquit, Maine (3hr. 45min.)
Have you ever seen a Christmas tree made out of lobster traps? You can in Ogunquit. That's why this town is Reader's Digest's 'Best for New England Beach Lovers.' Their yearly Christmas by the Sea festival blends classic clapboard charm with caroling and chowder.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (3hr. 10min.)
It makes sense that a town named Bethlehem would call itself "Christmas City." Reader's Digest says this is America's best Christmas town for the top Christkindlmarkt, a German Christmas Market. You won't have to worry about where you'll get your presents - the market has crafts and handmade gifts from local and German artisans.
Woodstock, VT (2hr. 30min.)
You might think you have to travel south of the Mason-Dixon for 'A Classic Country Christmas,' but Reader's Digest says its only a short drive away. The can't-miss events in Woodstock are the Wassail Weekend and Christmas at the Farm at the local rural history museum.
Newport, Rhode Island (3hr.)
Call a babysitter: Reader's Digest says Newport is the Christmas town 'Best for a Romantic Couples Getaway.' You and your significant other can tour stunning 1800s mansions decorated for the season, with each home offering their own unique spin on Christmas. Some have dazzling lights, one has a formal Holiday Dinner Dance, and one mansion even has a room by room walkthrough The Nutcracker - complete with dancers!
(Estimated travel times are measured from Albany using Google Maps)