Around Ohio

15 Can't Miss Holiday Experiences in Ohio

Collect enough magical memories to last until spring!

December 18, 2018

By

Jade Marzolf

on

Jan 22, 2019

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The holiday season (or the fifth season as some especially electrified holiday enthusiasts like to call it) is one you must take advantage of. It’s a time for reconnecting with friends and family members and making memories together.  

If you’re hosting the special people in your life from out of town or going to visit them in Ohio, we’ve got 15 of the state’s best seasonal offerings everyone (even cranky Aunt Marge) is guaranteed to enjoy.

Consult HER Realtors for the best selection of homes in Ohio > 

1. Deck the Hall - Akron

snowy Stan Hywet Hall Gardens decorated with christmas lights
‍Source: Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Location

714 North Portage Path

Akron OH, 44303

Admission

Ticket prices range from $14-$22 for adults and $6-$9 for youths

Dates

November 23-25, 29-30

December 1-2, 6-9, 13-23, 26-30

Open 5:00pm-8:00pm

Details

Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall Gardens is a tradition in Akron that involves over 800,000 Christmas lights and the exquisite historic Manor House. The property is dressed up for the holidays and can’t wait to show off for you! Come to meet Santa, a brilliant light show, and music. Parking is free and remember to wear walking shoes!

2. A Christmas Story - Cleveland

the christmas story house and museum
Source: A Christmas Story House

Location

3159 West 11th StreetCleveland, OH 44109

Admission

Adults - 12 and over: $10.00Children - 6 and under: $0.00Children - 7 - 12: $6.00Seniors: $8.00

Dates

Open year round 10am-5pm; Sundays 12pm-5pm

Details

Get ready to experience a Christmas movie classic in a whole other level by living it. At the Christmas Story House and Museum, step into Ralphie’s childhood home by signing up for a tour. The house is open year round to the public and filled with original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film -- we’re talking Randy’s famously overstuffed snowsuit, toys from Higbee’s window, and the family car. Plus, take home the ultimate souvenir -- a Major Award Leg Lamp -- from the gift shop!

3. Nutcracker Village - Steubenville

large christmas tree with fireworks and lit bridge in the background
Source: Historic Fort Steuben

Location

120 S. 3rd StreetSteubenville, OH 43952

Admission

FREE!

Dates

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Thanksgiving to January

Fridays and Saturdays, 3pm - 8pm

Sundays 1pm - 6pm

Details

For 4 weekends following Thanksgiving, over 150 life-size nutcrackers come to live in Fort Steuben Park. They depict local, literary, popular, and historical characters like Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes, and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The nutcrackers proudly stand guard in their village, but they won’t mind if you steal a picture with them. You should also check out the musical production Steubenville puts on based off the different characters -- “Wooden Heart Follies.”

4. Toboggan Chutes & Chalet - Strongsville

a toboggan chute in a forest
Source: Northeast Ohio Family Fun

Location

16200 Valley ParkwayStrongsville, OH 44136

Admission

Adult (all-day ticket): $12.00Child 11 and Younger (all-day ticket): $10.00One-Ride Ticket: $6.00

Dates

Open the day after Thanksgiving through the first weekend in March, weather permitting

Sunday: 12:00pm - 05:00pmThursday: 6:00pm - 10:00pmFriday: 6:00pm - 10:30pmSaturday: 12:00pm - 10:30pm

Details

A must-do winter activity is feeling the thrill of tobogganing at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation. The twin, 700 foot ice chutes operate with or without snow. What are you waiting for?! Challenge your friends to a race or grab your family and take a wintery slide down the chute. There’s a 4 person limit per toboggan.

5. Sleigh Rides through Spiegel Grove - Fremont

people riding on a horse carriage through the snow
Source: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Location

Spiegel GroveFremont, OH 43420

Admission

Ages 2 and younger: $0.00Ages 3 and older: $3.00

Dates

Around Christmas

1:00pm-4:00pm

Details

Allow a pair of trusty clydesdales to take you on a jaunty carriage ride through President Rutherford Hayes’ old estate. Or, just enjoy the wintery grounds of Hayes’ home from the walking paths. The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums offers enchanting rides on a first-come, first-served basis, with no reservations taken. Check their website for dates!

6. The Toledo Museum of Art - Toledo

people looking at a rainbow display at the toledo museum of art
Source: Colossal

Location

2445 Monroe St.Toledo, OH 43620

Admission

FREE!

Dates

Sunday: 12:00pm - 05:00pmTuesday: 10:00am - 04:00pmWednesday: 10:00am - 04:00pmThursday: 10:00am - 09:00pmFriday: 10:00am - 09:00pmSaturday: 10:00am - 05:00pm

Details

The Toledo Museum of Art ranks as one of the finest in the United States, but around the holidays it is, simply put, fantastic. With a collection of more than 30,000 works from artists such as Egas, Picasso, Pissarro, and Manet, and pieces from all over the world, the galleries are certainly one to visit. You won’t want to miss Fired UP: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists and Glorious Splendor, 30 masterpieces of late Roman art jewelry opening November 18th.

7. Deck the Wreath Wine Trail - Geneva

close-up of wine glass next to pink roses

Location

1 South BroadwayGeneva, OH 44041

Admission

1 couple: $50.001 single: $40.00

Dates

Every Friday and Saturday from Thanksgiving weekend to Christmas

12:00pm - 6:00pm

Details

Do “winter” and “wine” start with the same letter because they’re such a wonderful pair? We think so. Sign up for the best tasting of your life by exploring the Lake Erie Shores and Islands V.I.N.O. Wine Trail. On the tour, you’re given a 20 inch Christmas wreath to kick off your journey. You must drive to each destination. Once there, you’ll receive complimentary wine samples, a light appetizer, and a miniature ornament to decorate your wreath.

8. New Year’s Eve Night Hike - Oregon

snowy town and bridge

Location

1400 State Park RoadOregon, OH 43616

Admission

FREE!

Dates

Sunday December 31st

Details

Why not try a unique way of welcoming in the new year instead of attending yet another typical party to watch the ball drop? On New Year’s Eve, meet at the Maumee Bay State Park nature center around 7pm with your favorite people. You’re going to take a guided hike on the boardwalk under the twinkling night sky to ring in the new year! There’s also the option to participate in a 2 mile hike on New Year’s Day. Dress appropriately for the weather! All ages welcome.

9. Dickens Victorian Village - Cambridge

pilgrim mannequins holding a prop turkey
Source: Dickens Victorian Village

Location

647 Wheeling Ave.Cambridge, OH 43725

Admission

FREE!

Dates

November 1st - New Years Eve

10am - 6pm Mon-Sat        12pm - 5pm Sun

Details

What the dickens? The transformation of historic downtown Cambridge into a charming, Victorian village for the holiday season is almost unreal. You feel as though you’ve stepped back straight back in time to 1850s England as you’re exploring the streetscape and admiring the architecture, eclectic shops, and eateries. There are 94 scenes depicting life-sized, handmade mannequins participating in classic Victorian life. Look around! Some are located in shop windows, others are on the street, and you can find even more in second-floor windows.

10. WinterFest - Kings Island

four christmas carolers
Source: Kings Island

Location

6300 Kings Island Drive

Kings Island, OH 45034

Admission

Daily tickets are around $39.99

https://www.visitkingsisland.com/tickets-passes/daily-tickets 

Dates

Returning November 23rd

Details

Kings Island - an amusement and water park - apparently loves the Christmas season so much, they re-open their gates November 23rd to celebrate. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with festive rides, ice skating, holiday shows, carolers, twinkling lights, custom Christmas creations, and so much more. These people really understand how to launch you into the spirit of Christmas!

11. Dickens Dinners - Columbus

family of christmas carolers
Source: Ohio Magazine

Location

800 E. 17th Ave.Columbus, OH 43211

Admission

Advance registration required

Member: $55.00Non-member: $65.00

Dates

Friday, December 7th - Saturday, December 15th

Details

Not to be confused with #9 on our list - Dickens Victorian Village - Dickens Dinners is a festival that takes place in December at Ohio Village, inspired by Charles Dickens. Dine in Dickens’ world and listen to carols performed by the Ohio Village singers. Spend the rest of the evening strolling throughout the village until 9pm. This event is super popular and usually sells out. Tickets go on sale in October!

12. A Storybook Christmas - Zanesville

lit building and trees at night
Source: Ohioexplored.com

Location

205 N. Fifth St.Zanesville, OH 43701

Admission

FREE!

Dates

The end of November - the first week of January

Visit website for times: http://www.visitzanesville.com/ 

Details

Zanesville is the perfect example of a community coming together during the holidays. Local shops and businesses each chose their favorite storybook and decorated with that theme in mind. You’ll have to drive or walk down the street to fully appreciate their portrayal of the timeless tales. Don’t be shy! Walk inside and stop for a visit.

13. PNC Festival of Lights - Cincinnati

people walking under lit archway at night
Source: Battlebornhydroponics.com

Location

3400 Vine Street

Cincinnati, OH 45220

Admission

Ticket prices vary depending on age and should be purchased in advance.

Dates

November 17th – January 1st

Sunday – Thursday – 5p – 9p        Friday & Saturday – 5p – 10p

Details

The PNC Festival of Lights has been a family tradition for over 30 years. They’re the largest light display in Cincinnati, voted #1 Zoo lights in the country by U.S.A. Today, and offer many festive activities to make your holiday evening wild. Meet reindeer and other animals, watch a puppet show, take a train ride, and warm up with a snack at one of the S’more-n-More stands. It’s recommended to arrive before 4pm or after 8pm to avoid traffic.

14. Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns - Holmes County

cookies decorated as faces with winter caps
Source: Ohio.org

Location

Holmes County, OH

Admission

$45 a ticket

Dates

December 8th & 9th

Details

What’s Christmas without the Christmas cookies? Tickets go on sale for this 2 day event on August 1st, and they’re swiped up fast because come on… COOKIES! This year’s theme is “Christmas of Yesteryear.” The tour, hosted by the Amish Country Lodging Council, helps lead you (self-guided) through a number of hospitable inns, each one offering beautiful decor, holiday music, recipes to take to your own kitchen, and of course, a special treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.

15. Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival - Columbus

lit chinese dragon decoration

Location

717 E 17th AveColumbus, OH 43211

Admission

Highest: $15.00Lowest: $10.00

Dates

November 17th - January 7th

5:00pm - 10:00pm

Details

Purchase a ticket for a fulfilling cultural experience at the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival, presented by Tianyu Arts and Culture Inc. The night comes to life with colorful, illuminated lanterns, all crafted by Chinese artisans. The festival also features performances, handicrafts, food, and beverages, including a variety of assorted Chinese fare. Attend a calligraphy demonstration, a jar balancing act, admire the lights, and learn to appreciate something new.

Make this holiday season the best and brightest you’ll ever remember! Attend one of these events and you’re bound to have an amazing time with your friends or family. Let us know in the comments which experience looks most interesting to you!

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