Cleveland Christmas and Holiday Activities

Old Stone Church

Eli Pousson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Cleveland, Ohio, is an active city with many things to do, including in the snowy and cold winter. Lights, poinsettias, holiday trees, and theatrical productions all are festive traditions in Northeast Ohio communities. There are plenty of places in the area to celebrate the holidays, so plan something fun for you and your family this year.

Note some events have been altered or canceled for 2020, so check below and event websites for details.

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Tour Stan Hywet Hall in Akron

Stan Hywet Hall
Tim Evanson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, a historic Tudor Revival Manor House with 65 rooms on about 70 acres, transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland. "Deck the Hall: A Very Merry Christmas" tours take place on select dates through December 30, 2020, and include viewing a large Christmas tree, holiday decorations, adorned shop windows, more than a million lights, a Gingerbread Land, and festive food and drinks for sale. Guests can visit Molly's for gift shopping.

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Experience WinterFest at Public Square

Cleveland Winterfest
Erik Drost / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In 2020, WinterFest takes place via broadcast starting November 28 on WKYC Channel 3.

WinterFest is the annual holiday celebration in Cleveland's Public Square. Held the weekend after Thanksgiving each year, the evening of music, dance, and hot chocolate culminates in the lighting of the unique holiday displays in each quadrant of the square and the Christmas tree in front of Tower City. More than 50,000 people attend the event each year. The light display is kept up until after New Year's Day. This free event is usually televised.

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Visit Glow at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden Glow

Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Cleveland Botanical Garden transforms itself into an indoor and outdoor winter fantasyland called Glow through January 3, 2021. Features include large gingerbread houses, window vignettes, lights, gnome homes, a 16-foot (4.9-meter) tall live white fir tree, and other holiday accents. Also, the wonderful Garden Store is loaded with special festive gift items.

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View the Lighting Display at Nela Park

Nela Park holiday lights

GE Lighting

The lighting display at the GE Lighting Center in East Cleveland's Nela Park has been a holiday tradition since 1925. "Merry and Bright" is the 2020 theme, and you can see the colorful display along several blocks of Noble Road through January 4, 2021. Check out over half a million LED lights with a 38-foot (11.6-meter) gingerbread house, along with a replica of the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

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Celebrate Christmas at Hale Farm & Village

Christmas at Hale Farm

Ohio Travel and Tourism

The holiday season at Hale Farm & Village in Bath harkens back to the 20th century with Holiday Lantern Tours of the historic site, all decked in traditional fashion for the holidays. Guests explore the village and decorated historic homes on select December dates leading up to Christmas.

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Watch a Festival Musical by Karamu House

Karamu House

Karamu House

The Karamu House holiday show was moved online, stretching from December 10, 2020, through January 10, 2021.

East Cleveland's popular Black theater Karamu House will present a virtual one hour performance of the festive musical "Joyful, a Karamu Holiday Celebration." The show features current and classic song and dance from around the world reflecting on the holiday season.

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Attend a Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concert

Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

In 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra Christmas concerts were canceled but a free visual album “Home for the Holidays with The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus” is availavle online.

The Cleveland Orchestra presents a series of holiday concerts each year in December, featuring all of the old, favorite carols in approximately one-hour performances at Severance Hall.

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Delight in Country Lights at Farmpark

Santa and his horse-drawn carriage in Paris, France in 2014

Chesnot / Getty Images

Farmpark will have a drive-thru Country Lights event in the evenings through December 22 of 2020.

For the holiday season, Lake Metroparks' Farmpark becomes a winter wonderland with horse-drawn wagon rides through the festive landscape, a Santa's workshop for kids, a grove of decorated trees in the visitors' center, and frequent visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

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Be a Part of University Circle's Circlefest

University Circle
Erik Drost / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The 2020 Holiday CircleFest was transformed into an online event, as part of WKYC’s “Home for the Holidays” program from November 30 through December 7, 2020.

This free University Circle event is held the first Sunday of December each year and features a lantern procession around Wade Oval as well as exhibits, music, food, and activities at many of the area's museums and institutions. Free transportation is offered from place to place.

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Go Holiday Shopping at the Little Italy Holiday Art Walk

Little Italy Holiday Art Walk

Little Italy CLE

Combine holiday shopping with Cleveland culture the first weekend of December each year at the Little Italy Holiday Art Walk. More than 25 galleries open their doors the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of December and many offer cookies, hot chocolate, wine, or other treats. Some of the galleries are only open to the public during the art walks.

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Marvel at a Performance of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker
Gabriel Saldana / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Cleveland Ballet and partners will present adaptations of the traditional ballet around the Northeast Ohio area in 2020. One hour shows of the holiday favorite occur December 6 at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, December 13 at ThornCreek Winery & Gardens, and December 18 and 19 at the Great Lakes Science Center.

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Have Fun at Candy Land Has Gone Wild

Penitentiary Glen

Penitentiary Glen Reservation

Step into the life-size board game Candy Land with this holiday attraction at Penitentiary Glen Reservation at Lake Metroparks usually lasting several days in December. The event features wildlife, holiday trees, music, food, and prizes. Enjoy holiday gift shopping at The Nature Store, and rent snowshoes or ride a train for fun (weather permitting). Admission is free.

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Surround Yourself With Poinsettias

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

The 2020 Poinsettia Sale was canceled and the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse and Botanical Garden is closed temporarily.

Each holiday season the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse and Botanical Garden, just about a mile from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, transforms itself into a holiday wonderland with hundreds of red, white, and pink poinsettias and other Christmas flowering plants at the Friends of Greenhouse Annual Poinsettia Sale. The show runs from early December until New Year's Day.

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See Great Lakes Theater's Production of A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol performance


A "Christmas Carol" was canceled for 2020.

Seeing "A Christmas Carol" at the Mimi Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square is a Cleveland tradition enjoyed by people of all ages. Ebenezer Scrooge is the famous main character in the play by Charles Dickens. Tickets may be purchased online.

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