CLEVELAND — When the holidays arrive in Cleveland, it’s obvious. From the massive public tree lightning display at Public Square to window displays and garland decorating almost every streetlight, it’s difficult to ignore that Cleveland does holidays right. But what is decked out inside of our city's architectural gems that define as much of Cleveland’s past as it does its present, isn't so obvious. Escape the cold and step inside these 10 places for a festive retreat without leaving your holiday cheer at the door.
You can’t compete with architecture and history, which is why Cleveland is the place to be this holiday season. Grab your friends and family, and definitely your camera, for these photo-worthy holiday hot spots.
The Rockefeller Park and Greenhouse
Escape the jarring Cleveland cold and step into the tranquility and warmth that radiates inside the Rockefeller Greenhouse. When the city is covered in a blanket of snow, you’re guaranteed a showing of warmer times with a colorful lush garden lined with brick walking paths. For the holidays a poinsettia display will run from Dec. 6 through Jan. 3. Not only will you see an explosion of holiday cheer, but you’ll get some good photo opportunities with this.
The Allen Theatre
Underneath the painted Reinberger Rotunda at Allen Theatre in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square District, the space comes alive during the Festival of Trees —the CPH’s biggest fundraiser that features trees decorated by the area’s most talented artists and designers. Each tree is unique with a theme. Inside visitors can find a tree honoring Cleveland's department store past with The Higbee Tree and one celebrating our place in rock 'n' roll history.
The Hyatt Regency at the Cleveland Arcade
No matter the time of the year, The Arcade will dazzle anyone’s expectations, especially a visitor, of what Cleveland has to offer. From the hanging garland adorning the railings to a massive Christmas tree under the domed glass ceiling, The Cleveland Arcade has never looked better and neither will your pictures that you will be obliged to show off on Instagram.
The Cleveland Museum of Art Atrium
Brighten your holidays with the glow of 20 illuminated stained-glass lamps at the free Tiffany in Bloom exhibit. Just outside the door of the exhibition, visitors can take a seat in the Ames Family Atrium where the museum is decorated with Christmas trees and garland. While you’re there, check out their permanent art collection.
Walk into the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer at Severance Hall, and you won’t feel like you’re anywhere else in Cleveland. Decorated in the Egyptian Revival Style, the Grand Foyer was called a “gigantic jewel box” by journalists covering the opening in 1931. Severance Hall provides a perfect backdrop for holiday photos, with garland hanging above the doorways as Christmas trees occupy the space between the jasper marble columns on the terrazzo floor.
For years, Tower City has been a place to see life-size nutcrackers and elves. Home to the Toy Solider Show going on its 30th year, Christmastime at Tower City will bring back nostalgic memories among adults and the excitement of Christmas among children of all ages. A massive Christmas tree overlooks the fountain on the main level. Whatever level of Tower City you find yourself on, the views alone guarantee a perfect photo.
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It's beginning to look a lot like 🎄!!! Another fav holiday lights location of mine. (Although I was disappointed they no longer have the hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling.) As a kid, I remember taking the Rapid downtown to go see Tower City and the Square all lit up. Hoping someone revives this amazing Cleveland icon to it's former glory and soon. #clebysap #clevelandyouregorgeous #cleveLANDthatilove #thisiscle #clevelandphotographer #clevelandgal #ilovethiscity❤️ #towercityatchristmas
The Cleveland Public Library
The Main Library and the Louis Stokes Wing will transform into a winter wonderland. From gift wrapping to classic movies, the library has something for everyone this holiday season. The library is hosting its third annual Jolly Storytime Trolley at five branch locations: West Park, South, Hough, Memorial Nottingham and Union. Families will learn about the adventures in "The Polar Express" and revel in the holiday spirit through song while sipping on hot chocolate.
The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
Reflecting Cleveland's rich history through its architecture of vaulted ceilings and high arched windows, The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel takes guests through a walk back in time with a lobby that comes to life during the holidays. Whether you're a guest or just pop in to check out it, the space is sure to make a relaxing retreat from the cold.
Back again this season, Jack Casino is trying to rekindle treasured feelings of nostalgia and delight with whimsical and holiday decor from the past. The casino sits in the Higbee Company building. The festival displays include a holiday football tailgate by the Cleveland Browns, a life-sized snowman and an ode to a Higbee holiday shopper by the Western Reserve Historical Society. While these displays won't let you escape the cold, there significance by honoring Cleveland's rich history is worth a stop and a photo on your holiday list. After gawking at the window displays, step inside the casino where a lobby is decked out in holiday decor.
Lake Effects Holiday Pop-up bar
Whether you're visiting from out of town or coming to forget your sorrows and the stress of the holiday, this pop-up screams is a great place to get into the Christmas spirit. Take a picture in front of the "Home for the Holidays set up" or take a seat on one of the picnic tables and have some fun with family and friends.