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Celebrate the holidays and winter fun with these festive events happening across Northeast Ohio

Light Up Lakewood 2019-109.jpg
Posted at 1:09 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 13:09:26-05

Cleveland is a four-season city — during each season, Northeast Ohioans take full advantage of the traditions each one brings, and winter is no different. From ice skating at outdoor rinks to illuminated light displays and every parade, Santa appearance and snow-filled fun moment in between, no other place does holiday celebrations like we do in Northeast Ohio.

The list below features family-friendly fun to enjoy in the last weeks of 2021. It's by no means comprehensive, so if you feel like your event should be added, scroll to the bottom to see how you can submit your favorite event.

In the meantime, get outside and start celebrating.

Cuyahoga County

Wild Winter Lights at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has transformed into a winter wonderland featuring over 1 million lights, a musical show and ice carvings at its annual Wild Winter Lights event. Visitors can experience the dazzling light displays across holiday-themed areas including Candyland, Enchanted Forest, Conservation Trail and Santa’s Workshop, where anyone can get a picture with Santa Claus.

The event runs through Sunday, Jan. 2. Find more info here.

Wild Winter Lights 2019
Wild Winter Lights at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Winter RiverFest in the Flats

Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf, located along the Cuyahoga River, has transformed into a festive area to celebrate the holiday and winter season. In addition to the ice skating rink, visitors will enjoy festive decor, a beer garden and fire pits, retail shop and an igloo dining experience along the Cuyahoga River in the Flats.

The event runs through Sunday, Jan . 2. Find more info here.

Nela Park at GE Lighting Headquarters

The Nela Park holiday lighting tradition at GE Lighting headquarters in East Cleveland will continue again for the 97th year. Once the display is illuminated on Dec. 3, visitors will be able to walk the park 24/7 until Jan. 3. The display includes nearly 1 million LED lights and it stretches along Noble Road for several blocks.

Find more info here.

A Garden Holiday at the Cleveland Botanical Garden

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. A Garden Holiday will delight the senses and transport visitors into a holiday wonderland filled with the colorful plants and towering trees that bring the most festive time of year to life.

Find more info here.

Tobogganing in the Cleveland Metroparks

Experience the thrills of winter fun with tobogganing at The Chalet in the Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. The twin, 700-feet ice chutes operate with or without snow through early March.

Find more info here.

The tallest and fastest toboggan chutes in Ohio open up for the season this weekend

Cleveland Metroparks tobogganing chutes. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks. 

Light Up Lakewood

One of Lakewood’s most spirited traditions is returning for the 15th annual Light Up Lakewood celebration. The magic of the holiday season comes to life on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m.

Find more info here.

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Light Up Lakewood.

Downtown Cleveland’s Winterfest

Downtown Cleveland's Public Square will transform into a festive holiday destination during the annual Winterfest, which kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Following the main event on Nov. 27, there will be events that will take place all winter long through the month of February from University Circle to Public Square.

Find more info here.

The Magic of Santa's Village at Crocker Park

Step inside Santa's Village where the best of the holiday season comes alive. During the month of December, there will be special events including photos with Santa and an Express Train.

  • Pet Photos with Santa—Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • The Toy Soldier—Every Sunday at 12:30 p.m and 3:30 p.m. from Nov. 28 through Dec. 19.
  • Shop local at the Holiday Market—Set up inside the holiday village
  • Express Train—a festive ride through the streets of Crocker Park.

Find more info here.

Queer The Halls Artisan Market and Holiday Fest

Support small artisan vendors during the holidays at the second annual market and fest. The event will kick off on Dec. 11 and 12 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

Find more info here.

Lake County

Home for the Holidays at the Lake County History Center

The saying goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” and that couldn’t be more true. So if you want to go somewhere that’s outside your home but still feels like home, go to the Lake County History Center, where Christmas trees and holiday-themed displays take over the center. You might even find some decorating inspiration.

The exhibit will run from Dec. 2 through Dec. 22.

The Lake County History Center is also hosting Breakfast or Lunch with Santa throughout December.

Find more info here.

Lorain County

Mail a Letter to Santa

Kids of all ages are invited to write a letter to Santa in the North Pole and drop if off at mailboxes set up at Lakeview Park in Lorain, French Creek Nature Center in Sheffield and Miller Nature Preserve in Avon. Participants are asked to include an email address in order to receive a return letter. Letters can be dropped off from Nov. 26 through Dec. 17.

Find more info here.

Summit County

Cuyahoga Falls—2021 Tree Lighting Ceremony

Gather in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls on Saturday, Nov. 27 for the 2021 tree lighting ceremony. The ice rink opens at 12 p.m. followed by ice carving demos, a live reindeer exhibition, crafts, letters to Santa and food trucks beginning at 4 p.m. The lighting of the tree begins at 6 p.m. Find more info here.

WinterBlast at Lock 3

WinterBlast, a family-fun destination for winter fun, returns to Akron’s Lock 3 on Friday, Nov. 26.

Returning this year is the Huntington Ice Skating Rink, considered Ohio’s largest outdoor season ice skating rink, ice bikes, an indoor polar putt-putt, LeBron James Family Foundation Lock 4 Light Show, outdoor igloos and more.

After the main event on Nov. 26, visitors can still enjoy the ice skating rink and other activities at Lock 3.

Find more info here.

People ice skating at night in Vienna, Austria. Winter.
Stock image of people ice skating.

Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Deck the Hall kicks off on Nov. 26 through Dec. 30. The beautiful estate is decorated with over one million lights. The Manor House is inspired by the theme of Lights, Camera, Christmas. Visitors can enjoy the outside decorated gardens with three holiday songs choreographed to the display of lights. There will be 25 decorated trees inside the Manor House. Guests will start the Deck the Hall tour in the Reception Room, which will be transformed into a movie theater lobby.

Dress for the weather and plan on a 60-minute outdoor walking experience.

Find more info here.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Stark County

Nature’s A-Glow at Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

The Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve turn into an enchanted winter wonderland that visitors navigate by the glow of the garden adorned with Christmas lights. Visitors can go to the gardens from Nov. 26 through Dec. 19, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 5 to 9 p.m., and December 26-29, Sunday through Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m.

Find more info here.

Christmas on the Canal

Celebrate the holiday season along the scenic Ohio and Erie Canal and the Tuscarawas River.

The event will be held on Dec. 4 from 1 to 6 p.m. Activities during the day include Santa at the library, a mini Christmas tree competition and ice carvers.

Find out more here.

Don't see your favorite holiday event here? Email Kaylyn.Hlavaty@wews.com for your event to be added to this list.

RELATED: Give a bit of Cleveland this holiday with our 2021 local gift guide

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