The 10 Most Festive Cities in 2021

Woman Christmas shopping
Alliance /

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on LawnStarter.

Sleigh bells are ringing, snow is glistening, and Mariah Carey is serenading shoppers at every Target and Macy’s — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But which of the 200 biggest U.S. cities most resemble a scene out of a Hallmark movie?

LawnStarter made a list of 2021’s Most Festive Cities and checked it twice to find out which among them will fill you with holiday cheer.

We looked for cities packed with holiday events, Euro-style Christmas markets, delicious goodies, and other fun things to do and see.

Of course, no winter wonderland is complete without snow, so we also measured the average snowfall in each city to find the most Instagram-worthy backdrops.

Following are the most festive cities for 2021.

1. New York, NY

New York City coastline
IM_photo /

Overall score: 85.98

Frolicking rank: 24

Merrymaking rank: 1

Entertaining rank: 1

Eating rank: 1

Shopping rank: 1

2. Chicago, IL

Chicago with clouds
Sean Pavone /

Overall score: 42.9

Frolicking rank: 13

Merrymaking rank: 4

Entertaining rank: 26

Eating rank: 2

Shopping rank: 9

3. Boston, MA

mandritoiu /

Overall score: 38.35

Frolicking rank: 7

Merrymaking rank: 6

Entertaining rank: 68

Eating rank: 9

Shopping rank: 5

4. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sean Pavone /

Overall score: 36.76

Frolicking rank: 30

Merrymaking rank: 2

Entertaining rank: 63

Eating rank: 4

Shopping rank: 41

5. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California
IM_photo /

Overall score: 35.84

Frolicking rank: 60

Merrymaking rank: 3

Entertaining rank: 41

Eating rank: 6

Shopping rank: 10

6. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles
ESB Professional /

Overall score: 35.81

Frolicking rank: 80

Merrymaking rank: 13

Entertaining rank: 5

Eating rank: 3

Shopping rank: 30

7. Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City, New Jersey
f11photo /

Overall score: 35.79

Frolicking rank: 19

Merrymaking rank: 8

Entertaining rank: 11

Eating rank: 48

Shopping rank: 54

8. Newark, NJ

Newark, New Jersey
mandritoiu /

Overall score: 33.93

Frolicking rank: 22

Merrymaking rank: 7

Entertaining rank: 13

Eating rank: 109

Shopping rank: 124

9. Denver, CO

Denver skyline
Andrew Zarivny /

Overall score: 30.74

Frolicking rank: 23

Merrymaking rank: 39

Entertaining rank: 29

Eating rank: 17

Shopping rank: 4

10. Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.
f11photo /

Overall score: 29.66

Frolicking rank: 27

Merrymaking rank: 5

Entertaining rank: 54

Eating rank: 14

Shopping rank: 64


Data entry on a laptop
baranq /

We ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities from most (No. 1) to least festive (No. 200) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

  • Frolicking
  • Average Snowfall in Inches (November-December)
  • Walk Score
  • Holiday Events and Festivals
  • Attractions
  • Music Venues
  • Skating Rinks
  • Holiday Decoration Shops
  • Holiday Decorating Services
  • Christmas Tree Sellers
  • Party Supply Stores
  • Bakeries
  • Candy Stores
  • Holiday Markets
  • Shopping Centers and Department Stores
  • Gift Shops
  • Holiday Card Stores

Sources: Christmas Market Guides, Eventbrite, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Walk Score, and Yelp.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.