While twinkle lights, tinsel and catchy tunes can be found coast to coast during the month of December, some U.S. cities take celebrating the holidays to a level beyond even what Whoville could imagine. If you’re looking to start a new tradition, or just change up your scenery for the holidays this year, “yule” want to check out this list of towns steeped in holiday festivities and tradition.

Midwest charm

A popular backdrop for many Christmas movies (hello, Home Alone and A Christmas Story), the Midwest has many towns that kick the Christmas spirit up a notch. The Ozark Mountain Christmas in Branson, Mo., literally shines during the month of December. The city transforms seemingly overnight as the historic downtown shopping center turns into a magnificent light display. The Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas’ Festival features 5 million holiday lights and more than 1,000 decorated Christmas trees. Top that, Clark Griswold!

Chicago is another city known for decking the halls over the holidays. Between the bustling shops on Michigan Ave., Christkindlmarkt at Daly Plaza and ice skating in the shadows of The Bean at Millennium Park, the Windy City is renowned for its seasonal festivities. Macy’s on Chicago’s State Street also has carried on the Marshall Field’s tradition of decorated windows. Plan to stay at Macy’s for lunch, too. The Walnut Room, the first-ever restaurant in a department store – and the longest continuously running restaurant in the country – features the world-famous 45-foot Great Tree from late November to early January. Check out this holiday guide to help plan your Chicago travel in December.

East Coast scenery

History comes to life during the holidays along the East Coast. The oldest neighborhood in Washington, D.C., comes to life during Georgetown Glow, the region’s only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. While you’re enjoying the light displays, stop into any of the more than 450 stores, restaurants and galleries to complete your holiday shopping list.

Travel down the coast to take in one of the most beautiful sights during the holidays – the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. The mansion is decorated for the annual celebration with 55 decorated trees, 1,000 poinsettias, miles of garland and lights and live music. The city also is known for its arts and culture, so you’ll have no trouble finding one-of-a-kind presents for every gift exchange.

Northwest comfort

If the West Coast is more your style, check out Leavenworth, Wash., a small mountain town about two-and-a-half hours east of Seattle. Well known for its Christmas cheer, the Bavarian-themed town puts on an incredible display from Thanksgiving through February with 21 miles of lights, concerts and a Cristkindlmarkt. While you’re there, you won’t want to miss the Nutcracker Museum with its more than 5,000 nutcrackers on display from more than 40 different countries.

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