North Carolina's 'Christmas Town USA' Is Pure Holiday Magic & It's Totally Free To Visit

It’s back this 2022 & it’s more perfect than a small town in a Hallmark Christmas movie.

A couple at Christmas Town USA. Right: A decorated house in McAdenville, NC.

A couple at Christmas Town USA. Right: A decorated house in McAdenville, NC.

If you ever wanted to step through the screen and wander into those magical small towns you see in the Hallmark holiday movies, then this place has to be on your bucket list.

Christmas Town USA, also known as McAdenville, NC is a real-life storybook-come-true place three hours from Raleigh.

Narcity spoke with Steve Rankin from the Christmas Town Committee to find out more about this enchanting place!

What is Christmas Town USA?

On December 1, the lights get turned on and nearly every household in the small town of fewer than 1,000 residents gets illuminated in magic.

It first started back in 1956 and grew and grew. Now, people come from all over to drive or walk through the town and see the lights each year.

“We just want people to come and enjoy, there’s nothing like it anywhere,” said Rankin. "It’s a sight to see."

"I’ve lived here all my life, [...] my mom and dad were both raised here and it’s home," he said. "I take a lot of pride in our Christmas lights here."

Is McAdenville doing Christmas lights this year?

Yes! Holiday-colored lights with shine every night from 5:30 p.m to 10 p.m. from December 1 to 26.

The biggest dose of the magic of this place comes from seeing all of the houses lit up and that will be happening this year.

"It’s a sight to see, it’s just a small community giving back to the public that wants to come and see our lights as many times as you want," said Rankin.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on December 1 at the DuPont Plaza of the Pharr Family YMCA at 5 p.m.

How much does it cost?

"What sets our little town apart from everyone else is that we do not charge anything," said Rankin.

"You can come walk through or ride through as much as you want and not pay a penny — even the parking is free."

Locals use their own decor and foot their own electricity bills to bring the town to life during the holidays, "just to see the joy of the people coming through at Christmastime," he said.

"Christmastime is a time to give and we certainly give in McAdenville," he said.

Important details about Christmas Town USA

Price: Free

When: December 1 to December 26; 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Address: McAdenville, NC

Why You Need To Go: Check out a Christmas town from the movies — in real life!

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

This article has been updated since it was originally published on October 21, 2020.

Laurie Bergeron
Associate Director, Content Development