There is perhaps no better place to truly get into the holiday spirit than in the Adirondacks. Here, we highlight some of the most impressive holiday-themed offerings, events, and programs in the areas immediately surrounding Lake Placid and Lake George.

1.) Christmas Comes Early

On Saturday, November 25, mark the start of the Christmas season with the annual Lite Up the Village tradition at Shepard Park in Lake George. There’s a beautiful tree-lighting ceremony, caroling, and then the festivities continue with Santa and a holiday concert over at the Lake George Firehouse on Ottawa Street.

2.) A Horse-Helping, Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

Lake Placid Sleigh Rides offers a hard-to-beat value proposition: They rescue horses from unfortunate circumstances, rehabilitate them, and give them new lives, either with a local family or happily working – in this case, it’s starring in sleigh rides. The 35- to 45-minute evening rides travel through the Olympic Village of Lake Placid, as well as network of nearby trails with spectacular views of the ski jumps, the High Peaks, and Sentinel Range of the Adirondack Mountains.

3.) Sightsee with Santa Himself

Starting in late November and running until Christmas, The Train to Christmas Town – inspired by the children’s book of the same name – is a 70-minute journey that rolls through the upper Hudson River region of the Adirondacks aboard festively decorated mid-century-style coach cars. The train departs from the historic depot in Stony Creek, New York (roughly 20 minutes from Lake George), then heads to “Christmas Town” (a.k.a. Saratoga Springs, 30 miles south), where, along the way, guests are served cookies and hot chocolate. Once reaching Christmas Town, Santa boards and personally visits all families during the return trip home.

3.) The Real North Pole

Did you know there’s an actual North Pole, New York? The small hamlet sits in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid’s neighboring town of Wilmington and is home to Santa’s Workshop and Christmas Village, America’s oldest theme park that celebrates Christmas year-round. Attractions include holiday-themed rides, live reindeer, Santa’s Bake Shop, caroling, and of course, Santa himself.

4.) A North Country Christmas

From November 24 to December 3, the weeklong North Country Christmas festival commences in Ticonderoga to celebrate Christmas with eclectic activities like the Fourth of July in December Chicken BBQ, the town’s tree-lighting ceremony, and Santafest, among others.

5.) Skate into History

It isn’t Christmas without at least one outdoor ice-skating session. But you won’t experience any other rink quite like the skating oval in Lake Placid. That’s because, when the Olympics came to Lake Placid in 1932 and 1980, this rink hosted the speed skating competitions. Don’t have skates? They rent them for a small fee.

6.) Find the Perfect Gift

Held December 1 and December 2, the Sparkle Village Arts & Crafts Fair at the Harrietstown Town Hall Auditorium in Saranac Lake is the perfect place to pick up one-of-kind gifts (you won’t find this stuff in Walmart or on Amazon). Between handcrafted jewelry and pottery, plus original paintings and photos by local artists, you’ll walk out with something for those impossible-to-shop-for loved ones.

7.) Holiday Hoopla at Lake Placid Lodge

If you’re staying at Lake Placid Lodge during Christmas week, you’ll find a packed itinerary from December 23 through New Year’s Day that includes gingerbread-house building, cookie decorating, a reading of The Night Before Christmas (on Christmas Eve, of course), a holiday movie night, a snowman-making contest, and much more. 

8.) More Than a Holiday Stroll

Running the weekend of December 8 through 10, the Holiday Village Stroll is a beloved tradition in Lake Placid. The schedule includes an ice-skating party, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk, breakfast with Santa, holiday crafts, a chili and chowder tasting/competition, a gift wrapping and wine tasting session, a matinee showing of The Polar Express, and much more.

10.) Christmas Morning at The Sagamore Resort

Waking up on Christmas morning in luxury resort? Sounds like a good deal. Choose from a two- or three-night stay with the Christmas at The Sagamore package, which includes delicious breakfast buffets, a three-course Christmas day dinner at La Bella Vita, plus movie marathons, campfires and s’mores, and more.

Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge | The Sagamore Resort