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Sparkling Holiday Lights: Leavenworth, Wash.

December 24, 2011 by staff 

Sparkling Holiday Lights: Leavenworth, Wash., As we rapidly approach the holidays, memories of viewing outdoor light displays come to mind. How many of us remember packing into a car with hot cocoa and driving around town to view Christmas lights? We do! The holidays have the power to uplift our spirits taking us away from harsh realities and into a seasonal wonderland. To help get you into the holiday spirit, we are taking a (virtual) tour across America with HGTV. Take a look at ten towns that have put their holiday cheer on display. Which one is your favorite?

10 Holiday Light Displays Across America

New York, New York: While the entire city becomes an incredible winter wonderland, the spectacular department store window displays alone are worth a holiday trip to the Big Apple. A few of the most popular are Saks Fifth Avenue’s storybook-inspired spectacles, Barney’s hip installations and Lord and Taylor’s classic scenes

Nashville, Tennessee: Preparation for the holiday season begins in July at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel, when employees begin stringing more than two million lights throughout the 50-acre property. The resort’s three massive atriums are adorned with hundreds of poinsettias, cascading lights and larger-than-life Christmas scenes.

Branson, Missouri: Nestled in the Ozark Mountains about 250 miles from St. Louis, this Missouri town explodes with Christmas cheer during its six-week Branson Area Festival of Lights. While the entire town is illuminated, one of the brightest places to be is Silver Dollar City, a theme park within Branson that embraces 1880s Ozark culture.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Spread over 4.2 million square feet with more than 520 stores, the Mall of America is the country’s largest shopping center. And every holiday season, it houses some of the biggest decorations you’ll ever see. The mall is decked out with two dozen wreaths measuring 10 feet in diameter, 20 enormous bulbs weighing in at 450 pounds each, and two 40-foot trees that take four days to decorate.

Leavenworth, Washington: More than 21 miles of lights bathe this Bavarian-themed town each holiday season, creating a scene straight out of a vintage postcard. During the town’s Christmas Lighting Ceremony, trees and storefronts are lit one by one as the crowd sings “Silent Night” and other holiday tunes.

San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio’s famous River Walk is beautiful year round, but during the holidays it shines with a canopy of twinkling lights. Almost 125,000 lights cover every branch and bridge, and nearly 150 trees are illuminated along the riverbanks.

Baltimore, Maryland: Since 1947, residents of 34th Street in Baltimore’s Hampden community have come together to create a Christmas wonderland that’s quirky, creative and over the top. Decorations range from traditional — lights, nativity scenes and inflatable snowmen — to one-of-a-kind, like a Christmas tree made of hubcaps and ornaments made of Old Bay spice mix.

Las Vegas, Nevada: This always-glitzy city takes it up a notch during the holiday season. One must-see spot is the city’s posh Bellagio resort and casino. The hotel’s 13,000-square-foot conservatory and botanical gardens aretransformed into a Christmas wonderland with 30 to 40 evergreen trees, about 10,000 poinsettias, animated penguins and reindeer crafted out of pecans.

Chicago, Illinois: The Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony brings people of all ages to Daley Plaza in Chicago’s downtown “Loop.” Musical performances lead up to the main event: the illumination of a 50-foot tree decorated with thousands of multicolored lights and hundreds of ornaments.

Washington, D.C.: The lighting of a National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., has been a tradition since 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot Balsam fir donated by the President of Middlebury College inVermont. Today, thousands gather to watch the tree lighting ceremony in President’s Park, just south of the White House.

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