01 of 09
Celebrating the Holiday Season in Akron
Christmas in Akron is full of lights, snow, and special events. Read about the best of these, including the Holiday Festival at Lock 3 Park, the "Nutcracker," and the annual First Night Akron celebration.
If you're planning your Christmas vacation with a visit to this thriving art community, be sure to check out the full list of events on the Downtown Akron Calendar and read on to learn more so you don't miss any of these exciting opportunities to celebrate the holiday season with your loved ones.
02 of 09
First Night Akron
Celebrating the end of 2017, First Night Akron is a family-friendly, non-alcoholic New Year's Eve Party held in a variety of venues throughout downtown Akron. This celebration features more than 70 artists of all genres—musicians, performance artists, dancers, and more— for a low price of admission. Parking is free and a complimentary shuttle is available to take revelers from one fun spot to another.
Explore the Children's Museum, catch a New Years' firework show, or explore one of Akron's many art galleries on this exciting end-of-year celebration, which starts December 31 at 6 p.m. and lasts until a few hours after midnight on New Years' Day.
03 of 09
Deck the Halls at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland. For 2017, the theme is "Postcards From the Past" and the event runs on select evenings November 24 through 26, Nov. 30, and December 1 to 3, 7 to 10, 14 to 23, and 26-30.
Featuring over 1 million lights, there'll be music, trees, and floral decorations in the 21 decorated rooms of Stan Hywet Hall. Outside, the gardens will be strung with thousands of glittering lights choreographed to three unique suites of music. The museum shop will be open for holiday shopping and the cafe will serve hot chocolate, cookies, and other holiday treats.
04 of 09
Lock 3 Holiday Fest
This month-long celebration begins in November and features an ice-skating rink, a traditional German outdoor Christkindl Market, a holiday lighting festival, and lots of holiday activities throughout December at Akron's Lock 3 Park.
The park is also one of the concert venues of First Night Akron, so you no matter what month of the holiday season you plan to visit Akron, chances are you'll find a great show or event at this city park. Check out the park's website for an up-to-date list of events.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
A Ballet Performance of "The Nutcracker"
The Ballet Theatre of Ohio presents the Nutcracker at Akron Civic Center on November 25-26 and December 2-3. Matinee performances are presented each day at 2:00 p.m. with evening performances on the Saturdays at 7 p.m.
Running December 8 through 24, Ballet Met in Columbus will present the holiday classic ballet "The Nutcracker" at the Ohio Theatre. Set to Tchaikovsky's well-loved music, the Columbus Symphony leads the talented dance troupe from Ohio's premier dance school through this classic holiday tale.
Remember to reserve your tickets in advance as tickets are likely to sell out or get far more expensive the longer you wait to purchase yours.
06 of 09
Snack with Santa at the Akron Zoo
The Akron Zoo gets festive every December, decking out the park with lights and holiday cheer as well as asking old Saint Nicholas to make an appearance on specific days from 3 to 5 p.m. Dates for 2017 include December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17.
"Snack With Santa," the annual event, lets kids feed the penguins, decorate cookies, sit with Santa, and create a holiday craft but is not included in your price of admission to the zoo. However, if you purchase your pass to Snack With Santa, you also get access to the nightly "Wild Lights" display of Christmas decor after sunset in the zoo.
07 of 09
Christmas at Hale Farm
The holiday season at Hale Farm, in Bath, harkens back to the 19th century with Lantern Tours of the historic site, all decked in traditional fashion for the holidays. Dates for the 2017 season include December 2, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, and 19 through 23, and all tours depart every 20 minutes starting at 5:40 p.m.
This tour takes about an hour and a half to complete, and temperatures can get quite chilly later in the evening, so be sure to dress appropriately for stomping through the snow as well as entering each of the villages' establishments. Also, make sure to book a reservation in advance as there are no "door sales" for this special tour.
08 of 09
Christmas Tree Adventure on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
If you're a resident or nearby visitor of the Akron area, take the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad to Heritage Farms to pick out the next Christmas tree for your home—the railroad will even load it onto the train for you!
While in Peninsula, enjoy browsing the many art galleries or have lunch at one of the area's fun restaurants. The train leaves the last weekend in November. Visit their website for more information and for reservations.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Watch the Akron Welcome Santa Parade
Help welcome Santa and his helpers into Akron on November 25 (2017) at the annual Santa parade. Watch the floats, bands, and the "Jolly Old Elf" himself. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and marches down Main Street in downtown Akron.
Admission is free and there are a ton of great shops, food vendors, and artist markets available around the parade, so you and your family can make a full day of celebrating the holiday cheer with the rest of Akron's residents as they welcome Santa and the Christmas season into their town.