There’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than with extravagant houses made of a sweet seasonal treat.
Step aside, fruit cake, because gingerbread may be the best holiday treat. Whether it’s a dressed up as a cookie or transformed into an elaborate version of the Downton Abbey homestead, gingerbread is both versatile and delicious.
Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century—since then, cookie architects across the world have run with the tradition, making them bigger, better, and taller. The current record holder for the largest gingerbread house ever was built in Texas in 2013 and used nearly a ton of butter.
In the U.S., the gingerbread tradition continues with seasonal displays popping up across the country, transforming hotel lobbies and botanical gardens into planned communities of gingerbread homes. When you’re not roasting chestnuts on an open fire or letting Jack Frost nip at your nose, spend your holidays in the enchanting world of gingerbread villages.
Ahead, 10 places to see some of the best gingerbread houses in the country this holiday season.