The holiday season is in full swing! Families and friends will soon be knocking on your door excited to spend quality time with the most important people in their lives. So how will you create those awesome new memories? What is there to do in Ohio? Lucky for you, December in Ohio is filled with amazing events and festivals that will keep everyone in the holiday spirit!
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Dickens Victorian Village – Cambridge, Now – Jan. 2
Travel back to life in 1850s England with this unique walking tour, featuring more than 180 life-size figures depicting scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol throughout the city’s historic streets. Each day includes the Courthouse Holiday Lights Show, during which the 1881-era building is bathed in thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music. During your visit, enjoy a sweet candy cane cookie or gingerbread treat from Cambridge landmark, Kennedy’s Bakery.
A Whimsical Wonderland Holiday Show – Cincinnati, Nov. 12 – Jan. 8
Krohn Conservatory, known for its stunning indoor and outdoor gardens, has a whimsical twist to this year’s holiday event, featuring poinsettias in unexpected colors – such as royal blue, lively orange and deep purple. While you’re there, take the family to an enchanting performance of A Christmas Carol at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park or stop by for a warm meal, a pint of beer and panoramic views of Cincinnati in The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant.
Winter at the Wilds – New Concord, Now – March 31
Experience the thrill of this one-of-a-kind safari with behind the scenes views of giraffes, rhinos and more! The Wilds is a conservation center that is home to rare and endangered species that roam and mingle together as temperatures allow. During winter, tours in a heated vehicle take you up close and personal with animals out on the range or in their winter homes. Turn your safari into a weekend getaway with unique lodging right on the property or cozy, luxury log cabins within a short driving distance. A Wilds package also makes an amazing gift for someone special in your life!
Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival – Columbus, Nov. 25 – Jan. 2
Take in the brilliant colors and incredible artisan craftsmanship as you walk through this magical display at the Ohio Expo Center’s Ohio Department of Natural Resources Park. The entire family will be mesmerized to see how exquisite silk lanterns are created and as artists perform traditional Chinese dances and songs. If your family and friends are craving a new holiday experience, the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is just the ticket!
Christmas Dinners at Spiegel Grove – Fremont, Dec. 1-3
Enjoy a holiday meal in the home of former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes. Create a holiday tradition for your family with a six-course Victorian feast and carriage rides throughout the grounds.
Polar Express Train Excursion – Dennison, Dec. 2 – 11
Put on your pajamas and hop aboard a magical train that takes you to the North Pole. Listen as storytellers read to you from the award-winning story The Polar Express! Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and cookies as you sing Christmas Carols and play games with the elves. Look outside your window at the North Pole and wave to the elves getting ready for Christmas this year. Tell Santa what you want for Christmas when he hops on-board.
Christmas in Zoar – Zoar, Dec. 3-4
Experience all the joy and cheer the season has to offer with a visit to historic Zoar Village! Enjoy musical entertainment, a juried craft show, historical demonstrations, a Saturday church service and tree lighting ceremony, and much more! In addition, visit Santa and take a wagon ride through town!
Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade – Lebanon, Dec. 3
The highlights of the event are the 1pm afternoon carriage parade and the 7pm candlelit evening parade which will have over 100 decorated carriages pulled by minis, Clydesdales, Percherons and many more! Between parade times visit over 80 antique and specialty shops or browse the Christmas Festival on Mulberry Street with food and craft vendors.
Holiday Hop in the Short North Arts District – Columbus, Dec. 3
Celebrate the Holidays on the first Saturday of December at Holiday Hop along with thousands of visitors who converge on the High Street in the Short North Arts District.
Village Lights by Schmidt’s – Columbus, Dec. 4
Visitors from across Central Ohio kick off the holiday on the historic streets of German Village and discover a world of lights and holiday magic! Our 10,000 guests follow luminaries from shops to businesses and restaurants open late with holiday treats, discounts and special offers. Festive surprises are at every corner including carolers, live holiday music and a horse-drawn carriage.
Holiday Wine and Food Pairing at Gervasi Vineyard – Canton, Dec. 7
Kick off your holidays with a tantalizing mix of exquisite wines paired with mouthwatering culinary creations at one of Ohio’s most picturesque wineries. Spend a romantic evening sampling wine or make a weekend of exploring the Vineyard’s lush landscape with a rejuvenating spa treatment or by relaxing fireside in Gervasi’s Villas suites. While you’re in town, don’t miss the Pro Football Hall of Fame just 10 minutes away! In addition to the Hall of Fame, you can find gifts for all the football fans in your life.
Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns – Holmes County, Dec. 10-11
Don’t miss this two-day, self-guided tour of 12 quaint properties in Amish Country – ranging from the Guggisberg Swiss Inn in Charm, with its onsite winery, to The Barn Inn in Millersburg, known for its gourmet breakfast – with cookies and recipes at each stop. While you’re in Amish Country, explore the area’s shops filled with locally handcrafted quilts, furniture and antiques to find a gift for everyone on your list.
Christmas in Ash Cave – Logan, Dec. 10
Step away from the hectic holiday season and come bundled for the weather while enjoying a lighted stroll back to Ash Cave. Once you arrive at the cave, warm with refreshments by an open fire. Listen to or join with our carolers, have the kids visit with an old fashioned Santa or help to decorate our Christmas tree for wildlife.
Decemburr Dash 5K – Columbus, Dec. 17
Bundle up and rebel against the treadmill to brave the paths of Genoa Park for this fun and casual run/walk by the river. Head to the North Market for comfort food like Hot Chicken Takeover or just enjoy perusing the market’s unique merchants, sure to help you discover the perfect last-minute holiday gift or addition to you holiday meal.
Lighting of the Serpent – Peebles, Dec. 21-22
The Winter Solstice is celebrated at Serpent Mound during Lighting of the Serpent. At dusk more than 900 candles surrounding the serpent effigy are lit by volunteers resulting in a luminous candle lit outline of the great Serpent Mound.
Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides at Spiegel Grove – Dec. 26-31, Fremont
Gather your loved ones for a cozy sleigh ride fit for a president through the grounds of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ home, Spiegel Grove. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nation’s first Presidential Library during its centennial year. You will also want to be sure to take a turn engineering the multi-tiered, Victorian model train exhibit through its intricate holiday scenes.
Downtown Marion New Year’s Eve Pop-n-Drop – Marion, Dec. 31
Celebrate the New Year with your family with hot chocolate and count down with the crowd as a lighted ball — fondly referred to as a popcorn ball — drops at the stroke of midnight and fireworks light up the sky.