Whether you’re seeking a quick trip to get into the holiday spirit or entertaining visitors this holiday season, read on for your getaway inspiration. From distinctive overnights and millions of lights to train rides, wine and candlelit walks outside, you can find it here in Ohio!
Get into the holiday spirit with Storybook Christmas, during which more than 100 local businesses and attractions in Zanesville, New Concord and Dresden decorate according to their favorite holiday storybooks from December 4 through New Year’s Day. Maps are available in the Zanesville Welcome Center or at www.visitzanesville.com. While perusing the downtown, be sure to “Take a Selfie with the Elfie” each Friday in December for a chance to win prizes, and stop by the daily courthouse lightshow. If you’re up for a drive, head down Ohio 60 South to McConnelsville to see “The School of Fish,” the first giant outdoor metal sculpture along the Ohio Art Corridor. For an unforgettable wildlife experience, head to nearby Cumberland for a Winter at The Wilds Tour, and then stay overnight in The Lodge or Cabins at Straker Lake. A little further east, literary fans will love Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge. Stroll or drive along more than 90 Victorian-era scenes scattered along the historic downtown’s main roadway. Cap off the trip with holiday treats at 1920s-era Kennedy’s Bakery (how about a treat for now and doughnuts for in the morning) and the stunning Guernsey County Courthouse Light Show.
Start your northeastern Ohio getaway at the Nutcracker Village & Advent Market in Steubenville for pictures of you and yours with the world’s largest collection of life-sized nutcrackers (150 and growing)! Cross some of that holiday shopping off your list at the open-air market where local artisans set up shop in miniature Swiss-style chalets. Continue the holiday cheer northwest in Canton at Gervasi Vineyards where they offer exclusive wine pairing events (with small bites) each Saturday, and overnight at the luxe, Tuscan-inspired suites at The Villas. Winter fun for the whole family is nearby at the Pro Football Hall of Fame – including Free Kids Friday on Black Friday.
If your holiday travels take you to northwest Ohio, you won’t want to miss Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center’s Hayes Train Special in Fremont, where model trains run throughout intricate Victorian holiday scenes. Sleigh rides through Spiegel Grove, Hayes’ beloved estate, are a must-do if you’re onsite the week after Christmas. Continue the old-fashioned yule tide vibe with Holidays in the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve in Toledo, where this 30,000-square-foot historical home is transformed into a winter wonderland. Overnight at the city’s newest property, Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel, which boasts amazing skyline and river views. Don’t leave the Glass City without seeing Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, known for its more than one million twinkling lights and 200 illuminated animal images. For the ultimate in sparkle, swing by the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, an all glass building for one of — if not — the most exquisite displays of glass anywhere.
Blend urban and rural in this central Ohio holiday getaway, starting with two big city traditions in Columbus: State Auto’s Christmas Corner, a beloved life-sized Nativity display; and Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, featuring indoor and outdoor light installations, horticulture displays, and more. Head just 30 minutes east to quaint Granville for the second half of the trip, where you can explore the New England-style village during their Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour on Dec. 7. Stay overnight (or at least grab a memorable farm-to-table meal) at the Granville Inn or Buxton Inn – both iconic spots located right along Granville’s bustling Broadway. Complete your getaway by cutting your own tree at nearby Timbuk Farms, where you can also indulge in hot chocolate by the Timbuk Lodge fireplace and meet the jolly guy in red himself.
Kick off Thanksgiving weekend with the Thanksgiving Buffet at Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, and stick around for the Choose & Cut Christmas Trees the next day. The 28-room Mills Park Hotel, just steps from the tiny downtown, is a good spot to overnight. For your evening entertainment, don’t miss the nearby Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill which have dazzled visitors for 31 years with more than 3 million lights (including a must-see, 100-foot waterfall of lights), Santa Claus Museum, and more. Don’t leave without purchasing some freshly made pancake mix or flour for your holiday baking! Travel just west to Dayton to experience the city’s holiday tradition, A Carillon Christmas at Carillon Historical Park, a one-of-a-kind experience that includes: carolers, train rides, a puppet show, wagon rides, Candy Cane Slopes, museum store shopping, Carillon Brewing Company and more.