Admission to A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland: $18/adult, $16/senior, and $13/children age 3-12. Group discounts are available. The price of admission includes a guided tour of the house and yard and admittance into the museum.
- When: Open 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm except for major holidays
- Where: (Map It) 3159 W. 11th Street, Cleveland, OH 44109. Admission tickets to A Christmas Story House can be purchased at the giftshop (3166 W. 11th Street) located directly across the street from the house.
- Phone: 216-298-4919
- Web: click here
A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio: The house used in the popular holiday classic “A Christmas Story” has been restored to its original 1983 movie appearance. Purchased and renovated by Brian Jones, a true fan of the movie who sells leg lamps for a living, the house takes visitors on a nostalgic journey to the sights and scenes where Ralphie Parker dreams of nothing but receiving a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle for Christmas. In addition to A Christmas Story House, visitors can explore the museum where items from the movie are on display, more than 100 behind-the-scenes photos are featured and movie-related memorabilia can be purchased.
Tickets to Akron Sugar Plum Tour of Holiday Houses cost $35 each.
- When: Usually the first Sunday in December from 1-5pm.
- Location: (Map It) Five exquisitely decorated homes in the Akron area.
- Phone: 330-376-8522
- Web: click here
The Akron Sugar Plum Tour in Akron, Ohio: This seasonal tour of Gracious Holiday Homes in Akron is just around the corner! This year’s tour-goers will again enjoy a day touring five great Akron area homes decked out in holiday finery! The Sugar Plum Tour is an annual fundraising event benefiting the Gay Community Endowment Fund. To learn more about the fund and its mission, please visit the fund’s website.
Admission to Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights in Delaware, Ohio begins at $20/carload on weekdays and $30 on weekends. More for larger vehicles.
- When: Daily in December Mondays through Thursdays 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
- Where: (Map It) Alum Creek State Park at 3311 South Old State Road in Delaware, Ohio
- Phone: 614-412-3499
- Web: click here
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights in Delaware, Ohio located at the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds: See 132 light displays with a total light count of more than one million. After gazing at the lights, come in and warm up with hot cocoa and cookies and spend some time with Santa.
Admission to Castle Noel in Medina is approx. $29.50/person age 13+, and $22.50/child age 12 and younger.
- Open: Year-round. Hours vary per season and days of the week. See the website below for the current schedule.
- Location: (Map It) 260 S. Court St. in Medina, Ohio
- Phone: 330-721-NOEL (6635) or 440-453-5889
- Web: Castle Noel
Miracle in Medina
Castle Noel in Medina, Ohio: Hollywood meets Christmas …in an old church in a quaint town. It is America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction. Mark Klaus (It’s all in the name) and his wife, Dana, have created a wonderland. It features authentic props from Hollywood Christmas movies, including Elf, Grinch, Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday classics. It even has Eddy’s infamous RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Other delights are unique structures like Santa’s Squeeze simulating the feeling of going down a chimney. There’s even a two-story slide coming down Santa Clause Mountain which is a replica of the slide from the movie, A Christmas Story. There is also Toy Land which allows people to relive childhood by revisiting favorite toys from the Christmas past. And there’s $2 million worth of stunning Christmas displays from New York City stores. All this and much more wait for your Xmas celebration any time of year.
Admission to Christmas Candlelighting at Roscoe Village is free.
Christmas Candlelighting at Roscoe Village: Historic Roscoe Village cheers on the holiday season with its Christmas Candlelighting Ceremony. Share in the tradition of lighting the Christmas tree and participate in lighting your own candle as “Silent Night” is heard throughout the crowd. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy art with Santa, strolling carolers, candlelight tours, complimentary hot-mulled cider and cookies, and many other holiday festivities.
Admission to the Christmas Lights at Clifton Mill is $10 and kids under 6 are free.
- When: Day after Thanksgiving through December
- Location: (Map It) 75 Water Street in Clifton, Ohio
- Phone: 937-767-5501
- Web: click here
The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill
Christmas Lights at Clifton Mill features a winter wonderland with more than 3.6 million Christmas lights! The tranquil setting along the Little Miami River is, with the flip of a switch, transformed into a brilliant, dazzling display of lights, sights, and sounds from every direction to create the Annual Clifton Mill Outdoor Lighting Display. The extraordinary extravaganza runs nightly from 6 to 9:30 p.m. until January 1. The mill is the largest remaining water-powered gristmill in the United States and stands five stories tall. Step into the Millrace Restaurant to rest a bit, have a steaming cup of delicious hot chocolate, and snack.
Tipp City’s Christmas in the Village Home Tour costs $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour.
- When: Usually the first Saturday in December from 12 – 5pm.
- Location: (Map It) Downtown Tipp City, Ohio
- Web: click here
Welcome to The Tippecanoe Christmas in the Village Home Tour. Nestled in Southwest Ohio, Tipp City is a jewel of a town in rural Miami County. At the Holidays they throw their doors wide open and encourage guests to visit their historic downtown and tour the fancifully decorated homes on the Christmas in the Village Home Tour. The tour is held on the first Saturday of each December.
Whether you are a couple looking for design ideas or a group of pals kicking off to the Season, you are welcome to come to explore. Each home will reveal the charm and traditions of the homeowners’ own Holiday displays, as well as stunning tabletops designed by members of DSID, the Dayton region’s professional design organization. Entertainers will stroll the streets, keeping toes tapping as you visit homes at your own pace. All profits benefit local charities. Buy tickets online through the link above.
Admission to Christmas in Zoar Village is approx. $10/person (12 and younger are free).
- When: December 2023 dates to be confirmed, from 10am – 6pm and 12pm – 4pm, respectively (Tree lighting ceremony Saturday at 6pm)
- Location: (Map It) 198 Main St. Zoar, OH 44697
- Phone: 330-874-3011, Toll Free 1-800-262-6195
- Web: https://historiczoarvillage.com/
Christmas in Zoar Village showcases an old-fashioned Christmas with naturally decorated historic house museums and visits from the traditional German Belsnickle and Krist Kind. Snacks and meals are available throughout the village, from craftspersons making delicious treats to church groups offering full meals or the local restaurant providing a buffet.
American Folk and Craft Artists fill the historic schoolhouse, the number one house offering unique Christmas gifts and décor. The historic blacksmith and tinsmith shops feature local artisans producing wares the old-fashioned way. The dairy and kitchen operate much as they did 200 years ago and offer a sample of the foods they made in Zoar. The meeting house is filled with music all day from local high school, amateur, and professional music groups.
The main attraction at the event is the tree lighting in the garden. This event starts at the meeting house with a candlelight service, continues with a procession to the garden, and culminates with tree lighting.
Admission to the Christmas of Yesteryear is free.
- When: December 2, 2023, from 11am – 4pm
- Where: (Map It) The Ross Center at 201 North Main Street in Sidney, Ohio
- Phone: 937-498-1653
- Web: click here
Children will decorate gingerbread houses, make ornaments, and enjoy popcorn and chestnuts roasted over an open fire. Also on hand will be wood carving demonstrations, a toy train display, and more! Santa will be on hand for photos.
Admission to Christmas Ranch: $22 – 33 per vehicle.
- Open: Begins after Thanksgiving through January 1st. Operating Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Holidays, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 3205 South Waynesville Road in Morrow, Ohio
- Phone: 513-697-2640
- Web: www.thechristmasranch.com
The Christmas Ranch: With over 350,000 lights synchronized to music using state-of-the-art technology, The Christmas Ranch’s “The Gift of Lights” display is a spectacular experience. The Christmas Ranch sprawls over five acres and includes a scenic drive-thru route that leads you to a magical Christmas Village. Meander through the twinkling town and stop in the barn for some hot chocolate before heading out to watch the Jingle Bell Show. Take a stroll through a forest of giant animated Christmas trees that twirl with 15,000 synchronized lights, or dance along with dozens of Santa’s and Snowmen that bop and spin to the sounds of Bing Crosby, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and traditional holiday tunes. A portion of the entrance fee to “The Gift of Lights” will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati.
Ohio Christmas Train Displays – Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
EnterTRAINment Junction, location of the world’s largest indoor train display, offers a separate, FREE, holiday train display throughout December just inside its doors.
The seasonal celebration creates a holiday glow families will never forget with, among other things, lights and decorations, holiday music, some free Christmas train layouts, a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol and a memorable journey to the North Pole to see Santa and his workshop. The best part – it’s all inside!…so no cold or miserable winter weather for families to endure. It’s all part of the total entertainment experience awaiting children, teens, parents and grandparents at the ONLY train-themed entertainment center on the planet, with 80,000 square feet of holiday fun all under one roof, although the main train display requires admission.
There is so much to see and do at the Christmas At EnterTRAINment Junction. First, visitors enter EnterTRAINment Junction’s beautiful 1930s-era Main Street cityscape, all decked out in a warm ambiance of holiday lights, Christmas trees, wreaths, gift packages, colorful bunting and more. Carolers will perform periodically. Main Street also has a sidewalk café, gift shop and several party rooms for special events.
Just off Main Street is the FREE Holiday Trains display in the Expo Center. Here visitors will find three unique train layouts, including a Lionel train display originally exhibited at the popular Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. There is also a G-scale (large-scale) train display featuring the ever-popular Dept. 56 buildings and villages. Plus, a third train display (also G-scale) is set against a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop and was created by members of the Greater Cincinnati Garden Railway Society.
Also off Main Street is the brand new Junction Hobbies just in time for great holiday shopping! Trains, Thomas and toys greet visitors to this large (5,000 square feet) retail store offering thousands of top- of-the-line products and supplies from the biggest names in the hobby industry. Shoppers will find, among other things, G-scale and HO scale trains and accessories along with the Midwest’s largest selection of doll houses and miniatures, a huge selection of the ever-popular Thomas The Train merchandise, PLAYMOBIL products and much more.
Main Street, the Expo Center Holiday Trains and the new Junction Hobbies store are all FREE to the public.
Don’t miss the Christmas Journey.
Christmas Journey is actually two holiday “journeys” or “walk- through” experiences for families sharing the good times of Christmas past.
A Christmas Carol transports visitors to the time of Charles Dickens where they become part of his classic holiday story in this interactive journey, featuring period holiday music, theatrical lighting and decor of the season. Authentic period costumes, memorable characters, and beautiful decorations all greet visitors as they experience the enduring tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim in a way not seen before.
Visitors are immersed into the heart of Victorian England as they enter Scrooge’s musty manor house. Here they are met by period- costumed guides who act as storytellers on an adventure through Dickens’ tale. The guides play multi-parts in this updated version of the story, and at times even get the guests involved in the action.
Along the journey, which takes 8-10 minutes, visitors experience London of the early 1800s, with alleyways, wrought iron fencing and flickering gas lights. During the journey guests are visited by Jacob Marley, as well as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future (presented in a unique, fun and unexpected fashion), as they wind their way through Scrooge’s counting house, Bob Cratchit’s home, and a cemetery with weeping willows.
Then, it’s off to Journey To The North Pole as visitors become wrapped in an amazing winter wonderland as they embark on a memorable family voyage through snowy landscapes and frosted ice caves on the way to the North Pole and Santa’s Village. Along the way they encounter a vortex of snow and an Evergreen forest with animated animals. Finally, visitors arrive at an imaginative North Pole village with a post office, a sleigh house, a reindeer barn and an elves’ workshop where Santa’s helpers are busy making toys. At last visitors discover Santa’s House, all trimmed in holiday colors and lights. Inside they meet Mrs. Claus, who has been baking all day and offers children a fresh cookie. Then, down the hall and into a study, there he is – jolly ol’ Santa himself, who is awaiting children to listen to what they want for Christmas.
The award-winning EnterTRAINment Junction is home to the world’s largest indoor model train display (25,000 square feet, 90 trains, two miles of track), a giant kids’ interactive play area, the American Railroading Museum, an expo center and seasonal walk- throughs decorated for the holidays.
EnterTRAINment Junction is located at 7379 Squire Court in West Chester, Ohio off I-75 at the Tylersville Rd. exit (#22). For more information, call (513) 898-8000, or (877) 898-4656 or visit www.entertrainmentjunction.com for hours and costs.
The Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio
Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio, provides a trip back in time to experience old-world England. Visitors are invited to stroll amidst over 89 scenes of 180 lifelike figures representing classic scenes from Victorian society. This innovative public art exhibition can be enjoyed by families, couples, and groups alike – an experience that will engage the senses as you explore the charming streetscape, striking historic architecture, and eclectic shops and eateries.
The Dickens scenes are stationed along Wheeling Avenue at each antique lamppost and bench between 6th and 11th Streets. Wheeling Avenue is also the historic National Road/Route 40 and features an outstanding streetscape of original buildings from the 1800s.
The vignettes are comprised of life-sized and hand-made mannequins wearing real vintage clothing. The faces for each character are individually sculpted and painted by local artists. The displays include engaging depictions of classic Dickens-era scenes and figures such as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, the town crier, groups of carolers, a bucket brigade, lamplighters, school children, street peddlers, and Father Christmas, all posed in active scenes that appear frozen in time.
Admission to the Kirtland Nativity Exhibit is free.
- When: December Mondays-Saturdays 9:00 am-9:00 pm. Sundays 11:30 am- 9:00 pm (Closed Christmas Day).
- Location: (Map It) Historic Kirtland Village at 7800 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland, Ohio
- Phone: 440-256-9805
- Web: click here
The Historic Kirtland Nativity exhibit in Kirtland, Ohio features 620 loaned nativity crèches, thousands of lights, and sacred Christmas music. Among hundreds of nativities loaned by area, residents are representations from about 30 countries depicting how cultures around the globe celebrate Christmas. For instance, the exhibit features a Croatian nativity originally created by a refugee in an Australian camp at the end of World War II. A miniature nativity exhibit features examples of primitive art and very detailed paintings and carvings.
The exhibit is a past American Bus Association “Top 100 Events in North America” selection. The collection occupies the entire Visitor’s Center of the restored Western Reserve era village and a one-room schoolhouse next door. Of special interest to families and young children is The Children’s Room, where younger visitors can enjoy child-friendly nativities, dress up in costume and join a child-size nativity scene for a photo opportunity and an “I spy” seek and find activity.
Admission to Journey Borealis Holiday Lights at Pyramid Hill: Monday – Thursday from 6pm – 9pm ($25/vehicle), and Friday – Sunday from 6pm -10pm ($25/vehicle).
- Open: Late November to early January Monday – Thursday from 6pm – 9pm, and Friday – Sunday from 6pm -10pm.
- Location: (Map It) 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd. in Hamilton, Ohio
- Phone: 513-868-1234
- Web: https://www.pyramidhill.org/
Journey Borealis Holiday Lights at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is a drive-through experience like no other. Winding through the outdoor sculpture park’s wooded hills is a sea of light displays that’ll wow everyone in the car at every turn. The 60 pieces of monumental outdoor sculpture are illuminated by many lights. This unique, 2.5-mile experience is one of the top holiday attractions in Southwest Ohio.
Admission to Kringle’s Inventionasium® Experience starts at $34+/person. Group rates are available. Reservations Required.
- When: The week before Thanksgiving – Christmas Eve
- Where: (Map It) Tower City Center at 230 W. Huron Rd in Cleveland, Ohio
- Phone: 1-855-MRKRINGLE (675-7464)
- Web: click here
Kringle’s Inventionasium® Experience in downtown Cleveland: Discover how holiday memories are made with an immersive adventure through Mr. Kringle’s top-secret laboratory! Become an elf-in-training and help Kringle’s elite team as they prepare for the holiday season. Learn about the engineering design process as you invent your very own toy to show Mr. Kringle. This STEM accredited experience will spark the imaginations of children and adults alike! Guests are encouraged to wear pajamas or festive outfits for the most memorable experience.
Kringle’s Inventionasium® Experience entertains diverse families from all over the world and boasts one of the “Best Santas in the U.S.” according to TIME.com.
Accolades: “This was the best Santa experience ever. Looking at the sparkle in my kids’ eyes (especially my six-year-old son) as they listened intently to the characters made my husband lean over and say in my ear “totally worth it.”
“The best day of my life” that’s what my six-year-old daughter called it. The experience for her was awesome. Everyone was very cheerful and kid-friendly.”
“It just gets better every year!! We traveled from Chicago again this year and weren’t disappointed! The Characters are outstanding and make the whole experience truly memorable and believable. We had an eight-year-old with us this year who was on the brink of not believing anymore, but after going through the Inventionasium, he spent the remainder of our trip making wishes and trying to invent new toys for Mr. Kringle.”
Admission to Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival is free.
- When: December 2, 2023 (always the first Saturday in December). The Christmas Festival is from 10am-8pm and the Horse-Drawn Carriage Parades are held at 1pm and 7pm (candlelit).
- Location: (Map It) Downtown Lebanon, Ohio
- Phone: 513-932-1100
- Web: www.lebanonchamber.org/
Known as the Lebanon Horse Parade, the Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival in Lebanon, Ohio is hosted by The Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce. The Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival is always held on the first Saturday in December. There will be two horse-drawn carriage parades: a daylight parade at 1 pm and the traditional candlelight parade at 7 pm. Festivities continue to grow and are sure to include: gift and food vendors stationed along E. Mulberry Street, Christmas carolers, traveling bell choir, storytelling, Paso Fino Horse Demonstrations, musical entertainment, train ride to the North Pole on the North Pole Express visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, street characters, and extended business hours for our 80-plus antique and specialty stores. This is a free family event!
Admission to the Lights Before Christmas is $26/adult and $23/child and seniors.
- When: Late November thru December, from 3-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
- Location: (Map It) at the Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio
- Phone: 419-385-4040
- Web: www.toledozoo.org/lights
Toledo Zoo’s Lights Before Christmas annual celebration has become “THE” holiday tradition in Toledo and northwest Ohio. The “Big Tree” is an 85-foot spruce decorated with more than 35,000 energy-saving LED bulbs illuminating the night sky.
Lights Before Christmas display features over one million lights and more than 200 illuminated animal images. Other traditions continuing at Lights this year include the Ice Slide with Winter Village, ice carvings, live animal encounters, and, of course, Santa. New this year is the Talking Tree that leads a short holiday sing-along and more cold weather animals than ever before. It would not be Lights without the Zoo’s famous hot chocolate, homemade fudge, and baked goods.
Admission to Light Up Middletown: Free for Balloon Glow and a cash donation for the drive-through light display.
- When: Usually begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through December. The Balloon Glow is usually the first Tuesday in December from 6-8pm.
- Location: (Map It) Smith Park, 500 Tytus Avenue – Art Central District in downtown Middletown, Ohio
- Phone: 513-422-3030
- Web: lightupmiddletown.org/
Light Up Middletown in Middletown, Ohio: About a dozen hot air balloons will illuminate the winter night sky at the same time Light Up Middletown kicks off for the holiday season. Light Up Middletown is a drive-through fantasy light display. Enter via Christmas Tree Lane, through a 40-foot tunnel of lights, around the reflecting pool with floating swans, under the leaping deer, and visit the penguin village and butterfly forest. Special events throughout the season include the Hot Air Balloon Glow and weekend visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus in the historic Lock Tender’s House Museum inside the park. The display expands each year to include new and unusual animated groups. Proceeds from the donations go to improve Middletown Parks.
The fee for Ma & Pa’s Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides in Northeast Ohio: Family rates start at $25/adult and $12-15/child. Couples’ rate ranges from $75-85.
- When: Annually from December 1 through the end of February
- Where: (Map It) Main Market Road, (State Route 422), Troy Township, Ohio
- Phone: 440-548-5521
- Web: click here
Ma & Pa’s Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides in Northeast Ohio: How does “Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh” sound? The excursion begins at Ma and Pa’s 1820 log cabin, where you will find various rustic items such as chainsaw carved bears, log furniture, hunting, fishing, and everything for the rustic home. Then, out into the woods, one of their draft horses will pull one of two old-fashioned sleighs, wandering out into an open field where, during the evening rides, the horses often stop so that guests can gaze up into the star-filled sky. When the trip has ended, visitors are welcomed back to the cabin for hot chocolate or maple coffee and cookies baked by Ma herself!
Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics
Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics is housed in a beautiful chapel built in 1892, the collection, with over 1000 relics on display, is the second-largest collection of its type in the United States (after St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh). In addition to the permanent displays, the Maria Stein Heritage Museum features exhibits that change annually. A few examples of these expositions include early homes of the region, lace making, presentations by local artists and craftspeople, and a quilt collection. Such exhibitions make each visit to the Maria Stein Heritage Museum a new and exciting experience.
Ohio Christmas Trains and Holiday Train Rides:
Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Santa Trains in Nelsonville, Ohio: For tickets and information, call 855-323-3768 or 740-753-9531. As the train departs, Santa begins his journey through the train of heated coaches and visits with each child, hearing their special requests before the Big Day. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy treat after Santa’s visit. Trains operate each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and a couple of evening departures. The ride lasts approximately two hours. Reserve ahead of time.
The Dennison Railroad Museum‘s Polar Express in Dennison, Ohio:
For availability, reservations, and rates, call 740-922-6776.
This newly restored railroad station encourages parents to take their family on a journey of a lifetime. Just like The Polar Express book and movie, passengers are seen riding the rails in their pajamas sipping hot chocolate and snacking on cookies. As the storyline unfolds, so do the events aboard this train. Once at the North Pole, Santa hops aboard to meet the children and hand out presents.
LM&M Railroad‘s North Pole Express in Lebanon, Ohio:
For availability, reservations, and rates, call 513-933-8022
Take a ride on a vintage train to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Children will receive a small gift from Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and entertainment by Santa’s elves. Bring kids, grandparents, or a friend but don’t forget your camera because this event is filled with fun.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Santa Claus Express and Polar Express in Penninsula, Ohio: For availability, reservations, and rates, call 800-468-4070. The trip is full of fun as kids try to spot reindeer in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley while they wait for Santa to stop by and visit. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers the Polar Express as well. However, getting tickets for this wonderful trip is very difficult, even when planning months in advance. It is done through a mail-in lottery. Tickets are sometimes found through area newspapers as well. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cookies and hot-coco are served.
North Pole Express in Findlay, Ohio: For availability, reservations, and rates, call 419-423-2995. Ride a quarter-scale train past dazzling holiday lights and decorations. Watch HO & Lionel train layouts. Museum beautifully decorated inside. Railroad gift shop. NOTE: Free admission and a train ride for active duty service members and their immediate family upon presentation of a valid D.O.D. Identification.
Admission to the Ohio Statehouse Holiday Celebration is free.
- When: Month of December
- Location: (Map It) Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus
- Phone: 800/OHIO-123
Ohio Statehouse Holiday Celebration: The Ohio Statehouse kicks off the season with a free Holiday Festival and Open House. All are welcome at this annual family-friendly event. The celebration continues all month with free tours of the historic building decorated in Victorian style, every day except state holidays. School choirs and musicians fill the space with beautiful music during the month of December. Please visit OhioStatehouse.org for more details.
Welcome to PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo admission varies.
- When: Late November – January 1 (closed Christmas eve and day)
- Location: (Map It) Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
- Phone: 513-475-6124 or 1-800-94-HIPPO
- Web: Click here
PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Cincinnati, Ohio was previously voted the #1 zoo lights in the country by USA Today. Established over 20 years ago, Festival of Lights has become the region’s largest and most anticipated holiday event. The 2.5 million lights sparkle in the background of special holiday entertainment, carolers, children’s activities, reindeer, train rides, and seasonal fare that have made this event one of the Tri-state’s most cherished family traditions.
Admission to the Steubenville Nutcracker Village is Free.
- When: Late November through early January from dawn to dusk.
- Where: (Map It) 120 South 3rd Street in Steubenville, Ohio
- Phone: 866-301-1787
- Web: click here
Steubenville Nutcracker Village & Advent Market features over 100 life-size, uniquely designed, and hand-painted Nutcrackers that will stand under twinkling arches in Fort Steuben Park for the holiday season. Ranging from traditional characters such as Scrooge, St. Nicholas, and the prince from the Nutcracker Ballet to depictions of Dr. Who, a Mad Scientist, and representatives of various schools, businesses, and organizations, the figures bring delight and wonderful photo opportunities for friends and families. An Advent Market featuring handmade and locally crafted wares, gifts, entertainment, and food is open on the four consecutive weekends after Thanksgiving. In addition, those weekends will offer hayrides, trips around town on the Holly Trolley, and an original musical comedy based on the Steubenville Nutcrackers and the music from Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite. The Christmas Wonderland inside the Visitor Center welcomes young and old to reminisce, write letters to Santa and browse the gift shop.
Admission to Waynesville Christmas in the Village is free.
- When: December 1 – 3, 2023 (Always the first weekend in December)
- Location: (Map It) Waynesville, Ohio
- Phone: 513-897-8855
Waynesville Christmas in the Village: This seasonal event is billed as a traditional Dickens holiday complete with Victorian street strollers, horse-drawn carriages, carolers, and live nativity scenes. Don’t miss the evening luminary display as 1,300 luminaries light up Main Street. The festivities also include Dickens characters, community Christmas tree, and Tuba Christmas.
Admission to the Williamsburg Christmas at Jefferson Depot Village is free.
The Old-fashioned Williamsburg Christmas at Jefferson Depot Village: An Old-fashioned Williamsburg Christmas” Celebration. Amidst Williamsburg finery, fragrant wreaths, welcome candles, celebrate the season in the 1800s. at the Historic 19th Century Jefferson Depot Village. Festivities begin at 3:00 pm with sleighbell wagon rides, caroling ’round the old piano and pot-belly stoves, ice sculpture, early kids games, break a pinata, make a Victorian ornament, listen to a Christmas Musical, and talk to jolly ole St. Nick. Take a Candlelight Walk thru the decorated village from 5-6 pm. See the historic buildings aglow, listen to the Musical in the 1848 “Church in the Wildwood”. Step back in time and see the Live Nativity in the 1849 Barn. The butler will welcome you into the 1888 Victorian House for warm woissol and cookies. Enter the gingerbread house contest in the 1872 Depot. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free admittance and free parking sponsored by Jefferson Depot, Inc., a non-profit, charitable, restoration group. There are also free monthly diversified programs at 8 pm on the first Monday of each month from May thru December.
Admission to the Winter Wonderland Parade in Sidney is free.
- When: December 2, 2023, at 6:30 p.m.
- Where: (Map It) 101 South Ohio Avenue in Sidney, Ohio
- Phone: 937-658-6945
- Web: click here
A spectacular evening parade in historic downtown Sidney, complete with the seasonally decorated storefront windows, hot chocolate, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Clause.
Admission to Woodland Lights at Washington Township starts at $15/person.
- When: Festival nights starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 30th (Closed Dec 24 & 25)
- Location: (Map It) Countryside Park at the Washington Township Recreation Center, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd. in Dayton, Ohio
- Phone: 937-433-0130
- Web: click here
Woodland Lights at Washington Township offers a month-long festival of holiday lights, animated displays, and revolving activities and entertainment along a half-mile wooded path winding through a park. Whimsical, illuminated characters and critters prepare for the holidays and a panorama of lights reflects off the Woodland Lights pond. Every night includes costumed characters, amusement rides, live animals, bonfires, festival food and carriage rides.
Visit Santa in a historic cabin complete with a tree in the corner and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Santa’s last night in the park is December 23 so don’t miss your chance to visit in a quiet tranquil location.
Find details about revolving activities and special nights by visiting the website listed above.
After the Festival: The path closes after December 23, then reopens December 26-30 with the full festival experience however Santa is back in the North Pole preparing for next year.
Admission to Storybook Christmas in Zanesville is free.
- When: The month of December
- Location: (Map It) Zanesville, New Concord and Dresden, Ohio (Muskingum County)
- Phone: 800-743-2303
- Web: www.visitzanesville.com
Storybook Christmas in Zanesville is an annual event. Get into the holiday spirit in Zanesville and across Muskingum County where the community has adopted the theme “A Storybook Christmas.” Nearly 100 attractions and businesses in Zanesville, New Concord, and Dresden have chosen their favorite storybooks and decorate with that theme in mind. There is a light and music show at the Muskingum County courthouse each evening starting at 6pm. A Holiday Booklet which includes a list of participating locations is available. Stop at the Welcome Center in downtown Zanesville to pick up a copy or call 800-743-2303 to request one. The booklet is also available on www.visitzanesville.com.
Admission to the New Year’s Eve Walleye Drop in Port Clinton is free.
- When: New Year’s Eve from 3pm – 12:30am
- Location: (Map It) Madison Street in downtown Port Clinton, Ohio
- Phone: 419-635-7470
- Web: click here
The Walleye Drop on New Year’s Eve in Port Clinton, Ohio, makes sense. After all, Port Clinton is known as the “Walleye Capital of the World.” So, every New Year’s eve, a 600-pound, 20-foot, fiberglass walleye named Wylie Jr. drops from the sky to bring in the New Year. There’s also a kid-friendly “Minnow Drop.” Festivities leading up to Midnight feature live music, contests, games, and a very unique experience. Visit www.shoresandislands.com for lodging information.
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