If you are looking for some of the best towns to visit in Alabama during the holiday season, look no further. Alabama offers some of the most magical, festive towns that will get any Grinch in the family into the holiday spirit this Christmas. Outlined below are seven of our top festive Alabama towns filled with entertainment, events, and dazzling light displays that will help you and your family celebrate this special time of year!
The 7 Most Incredible Christmas Towns In Alabama
The town of Huntsville offers great weekend celebrations all throughout December. Some of the can’t-miss events to add to your list include: the Tinsel Trail, the Galaxy of Lights, and Skating in the Park. Filled with sparkly lights, wreaths, and Christmas trees, Huntsville offers some of the greatest sights of the holiday season.
Best Christmas Tree Decorations: The Tinsel Trail
If you are looking for a forest of twinkling lights decorated on live Christmas trees, the Tinsel Trail is the perfect family-friendly event for you. The Tinsel Trail is located at Big Spring International Park and runs from November 24 to December 31. Not only does this Christmas lights festival have some of the most festive decorations in the state of Alabama, but the Tinsel Trail also provides free events all throughout the holiday season. Some of the most notable include the tree lighting, decorate-a-tree, festive music, an art festival, and tasty treats. This festival is a celebration of not only the lights that adorn the trees but also the unique decorations and art that locals display throughout the park. The trees’ twinkling lights are lit from dusk to midnight and are sure to bring the holiday magic to kids and adults alike.
Christmas Lights Festival: The Galaxy Of Lights
The Galaxy of Lights, located at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, is another notable celebration of festive light displays. It features twinkling lights and animated displays, perfect for walking or driving through. This winter wonderland in the small town of Huntsville offers several events throughout the holiday season. Whether you want to visit for a solo run or watch while belting a Christmas carol with the children from the comfort of your car, there is sure to be an event for you. The events begin mid-November and finish at the end of December, so be sure to check out the calendar before planning your trip to Huntsville, Alabama.
Winter Wonderland: Skating In The Park
Skating in the Park is located at the Huntsville Museum of Art and runs throughout the holiday season. Ice skating is the perfect family activity that will put anyone in the holiday spirit. Accompanied by hot chocolate and festive decorations, ice skating may be a fun activity to use as a little break from enjoying all the holiday candy and treats.
If you’re looking for a festive Alabama Christmas outing that offers a range of sights and activities for the whole family, Huntsville is one of the best Christmas towns to visit this holiday season.
2. Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores, located on the gulf coast of Baldwin County, may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of Christmas. However, the large beach town features a wide range of Christmas activities perfect for the kids and the whole family. When in Baldwin County, be sure to plan a visit to the Gulf Shores, as the holidays are jam-packed with the best Christmas events for some festive fun!
Best For The Kids: Pictures With Santa
Whether you are looking for a trip down memory lane or are creating new traditions with your kids, Gulf Shores has several opportunities to pay a visit to Santa Claus. Starting November 19, 2023, until Christmas Eve, Santa will be waiting for you and your family to pose for a festive photo right in the heart of town. Additionally, for a more interactive experience, the City of Gulf Shores hosts Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 18, at the Erie H. Meyer Civic Center. The event features a classic American breakfast and children will also have an opportunity to whisper their gift request to Santa and snap a photo with him.
Magnificent Light Display: Bellingrath Gardens
Another Gulf Shores classics to visit is the light display located at the Bellingrath Gardens. During Christmas, the dazzling 65-acre garden estate is transformed into a holiday wonderland sure to leave you mesmerized. Walk through the renowned Bellingrath Gardens for a spectacular lights display that has made the top charts in the country. The display boasts more than 3 million holiday lights and Christmas scenes all throughout the well-known garden in Baldwin County.
Unique Holiday Celebration: Boat Parade
The annual boat parade at Waterway Village is a classic Gulf Coast tradition that boasts mesmerizing night lights and vibrant displays. In true Gulf Coast style, the Lighted Boat Parade is a unique celebration of festive spirit, while staying true to the coastal town’s character. Enjoy live music while jaw-dropping light displays dazzle the December night. If you are looking for something different from the traditional Christmas tree lights while visiting Alabama, this unique parade is one you will not want to miss.
While the Gulf Shores is typically known for its coastal offerings, during Christmas, this Alabama town features a unique celebration of the holiday season. Enjoy Christmas lights, music, and much more in Gulf Shores fashion, truly unique to Alabama.
Calera is a lesser-known small city located in southern Alabama. It offers a unique Christmas experience you won’t want to miss on your visit. The Alabama town is known for its train rides that bring the magic alive for the whole family.
Magic Train Ride: North Pole Express
One of the most unique experiences that Christmas in Alabama offers is the North Pole Express train ride, located at the Dixie Railroad Museum. Be sure to book your tickets early, as this magical train ride is one you and your kids will not want to miss. Once boarding the train, you and your family embark on a journey to the North Pole. During the ride, you can sing along to your favorite Christmas carols, admire the Christmas lights outside the windows, and listen to fun Christmas stories. Once arriving at the winter wonderland of the North Pole, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and elves will board the train and take pictures with every child. On the return from the snow-filled destination, you will be served chocolate beverages and holiday treats that will warm any heart.
While Calera is one of the smaller towns in Alabama, the magical train ride is a must-stop to give your child the best Christmas experience.
While not exactly a quaint town — as it is one of the largest cities in Alabama — Birmingham offers a distinctive Christmas experience that we just couldn’t leave out. If you are looking for something different from the classic tree lighting and Christmas festivities, be sure to bookmark the town of Birmingham for your next holiday adventure.
Unique Animal-Lover Experience: Glow Wild
Glow Wild is a one-of-a-kind event hosted by the Birmingham Zoo. While the Birmingham Zoo features a petting zoo and a large array of animals during the day, this nighttime event is a unique Alabama holiday offering. The show displays mesmerizing acrobatic performances and marvelous plant and wildlife lanterns each night. The larger-than-life displays soar up to 30 feet high and light up the night. If the kids lose interest, Glow Wild also offers several rides that are great for them, or to bring out the inner child in the adults. Make sure to check the calendar, as the show runs for select days between November 17, 2023, and January 15, 2024.
Hallmark Christmas Films: Alabama Theatre
Alabama Theatre, located near the Birmingham Zoo, hosts a holiday film series throughout the month of December. Watch your favorite Christmas film in the historic venue to amp up the holiday spirit. Tickets are affordably priced at around $10 each and admission is free for children under 2 years old. Rest your feet after a day at the zoo and sing along to holiday tunes that play just before the movie begins. The Alabama Theatre is decked out with holiday decorations for Christmas and is a must-visit for movie lovers.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing way to wind down with a good ol’ classic Christmas film or watch a jaw-dropping light display, Birmingham is a great destination in Alabama for Christmas festivities suitable for all ages and interests.
Home of Auburn University, the town of Auburn promotes a wide array of Christmas happenings. From snow and Christmas markets to holiday runs and festive decorations, Auburn is one of the most incredible Christmas towns in Alabama if you truly want to experience it all.
Shopping Local: Auburn Holiday Fair
Nothing screams “festive fun” more than an Alabama holiday market. The fair features kids’ crafts, tree decorating, live music, train rides, local goods, and festive foods. Located at Downtown Merchants, this festival offers shoppers extended hours with limited-time specials for those looking to do some Christmas shopping. This free event checks the list for all family members, sure to bring some Christmas spirit to all.
For those looking for more of an Alabama city experience, the bustling University town of Auburn will bring your Christmas energy to life. Especially for those looking for a magical Alabama White Christmas, the artificial snowfall will bring a smile to you this holiday season.
Home to the Montgomery Zoo, you will want to see Montgomery, Alabama, during the holiday season. A great place for families, the wide range of festivals and activities is sure to bring cheer to all ages.
Winter Wonderland: Alabama Christmas Lights Festival
The annual Christmas Lights Festival is hosted by the Montgomery Zoo and is held during the month of December. The zoo is decorated with thousands of colored lights and lavish Christmas decorations. Take a trip for this annual event to boost holiday morale with Christmas carolers and festive treats. Here you can also visit Santa and purchase some last-minute gifts for those animal lovers in the family. The gift shop purchases allow consumers to participate in the Zoo Animal Angel Tree, which helps conservation efforts at the Montgomery Zoo and around the world. Enjoy a festive activity while also giving back this holiday season.
The town of Gadsden is most known for its beautiful mountain scenery, historical sites, and running waters. However, this quaint town offers a unique Christmas experience that you will not want to miss when visiting Alabama.
Waterfall Christmas: Christmas At The Falls
The Christmas at the Falls festival is located at Noccalula Falls Park and takes place from November 23, 2023, to December 31, 2023. Walk through the park’s trails to enjoy the lit trees and dazzling displays of festive cheer. The falls themselves are already something to marvel at, but during the Christmas season, Noccalula Falls Park is decked out with millions of lights. You and your family can enjoy either from the paved trails or the Express Train. If sightseeing is not for you, the festival also offers an array of activities including a petting zoo and cookie decorating. Enjoy some festive treats and candy while enjoying the Christmas scenes that the park has to offer.
Planning Your Trip
If you are planning a trip to Alabama this Christmas season, these towns are ones you won’t want to miss. Make sure to check events calendars to help you decide which activities and festivals you can attend during your stay. Alabama offers affordable accommodations and is a great destination to visit this Christmas. From dazzling Christmas displays to festive runs and festivals, Alabama has some of the most unique and classic holiday offerings to spread some cheer this season.