1. Kick off the holiday season at WinterLand

When: Saturday, November 26, 2022

Where: Public Square and downtown Cleveland

The annual kickoff to Christmas event happens each year in downtown Cleveland the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Previously known as Winterfest (which was a one-day event in Public Square and the surrounding downtown area), WinterLand will be an ongoing winter festival throughout the holiday season. The kick-off event on Nov. 26 will include live music, ice skating, food trucks, fire pits, and more. The event culminates in the lighting of the Public Square Christmas tree and fireworks show after dark.

2. See Wild Winter Lights at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

When: The event is running November 15-December 30, 2022. Hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will once again be putting on a family-friendly winter lights display in 2023, which is always a holiday favorite! Wild Winter Lights will feature hundreds of lighting displays across holiday-themed areas including Candyland, Enchanted Forest, Starry Skies, and Santa’s Workshop. There will be several walk-through displays great for photos, along with carousel rides, ice carvers, live music, and more.

3. Kringle’s Inventionasium for kids

Have you visited Kringle’s Inventionasium in Tower City? The Inventionasium is an interactive and theatrical experience where you get to create, invent, and build your own toy inside Mr. Kringle’s secret toy laboratory! Meet Santa’s wild and crazy cast of helpers who guide you through the experience. This is a fun and unique experience that is recommended for anyone over the age of two. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended for the Inventionasium

4. Go to a drive-thru lights show

Speaking of drive-through holiday lights shows, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo isn’t the only option. There are several excellent drive-through lights shows in the Cleveland area.

Other places to see Christmas light displays in the Cleveland area from the comfort of your own car include:

  • Magic of Lights – A drive-through light display featuring the latest LED technology and digital animations at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. It runs daily from 5:30-10 p.m. from November 23, 2022, through January
  • Country Lights – This drive-through at Lake Metroparks Farmpark is another great option. It takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. through December (starting on Nov. 30, 2022). Advanced tickets are required, and tickets are $27.50 per car.
  • Holiday Lights Cruise-Thru: The Lorain County Metroparks’ Carlisle Reservation is hosting its annual twinkling lights and holiday displays from November 25-December 23, 2022, on Wednesday-Saturday nights. This is free, but they are requesting at least one non-perishable food item to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
  • Lights on the Lake – This light display in Ashtabula County claims to be the largest holiday light display on Lake Erie. It has 70 displays across the 54 acres of Lakeshore Park. It runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from 6-9 p.m. from November 25 through December 31, 2023. A donation of $5 per car is suggested.
  • Holiday Lights – Located at the Medina County Fairgrounds, this drive-through holiday light display runs Fridays-Sundays from November 25-December 11, and from December 16-25 in 2022. It costs $10 per car (cash or check only) and is open 6-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6-9 p.m. on Sundays and weeknights.
  • Bethlehem Hills Christmas Light Park: With 40 different light displays to witness along a 1.5-mile path, you’ll be enchanted by the 2 million LED lights on display at the Geauga County Fairgrounds. This drive-through is open nightly from November 25, 2022-January 1, 2023. Tickets are $25 per (regular) carload.

5. Go to Twinkle in the 216 at Cleveland Botanical Gardens

When: November 19-December 31, 2022; hours vary.

Where: Cleveland Botanical Gardens, 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland

The Cleveland Botanical Gardens are a gem in Cleveland as it is, but during the holidays the gardens burst with holiday cheer. Twinkle in the 216 is this year’s holiday event, held inside and out at the gardens that includes decorated trees, gingerbread house displays, photo opportunities, and more.

6. See a Christmas theater production

When: Various dates in November and December

Where: Various locations

Cleveland’s Playhouse Square is the second-largest performing arts center in the US after Lincoln Center in New York City. So, you’d better believe there are some Christmas shows to enjoy!

There is always a mix of annual holiday favorites and other Christmas classics at Playhouse Square. In 2023, check out:


7. Check out the Festival of Trees

When: December 3-22, 2022, from 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and noon-9:30 p.m. on weekends. Closed Mondays.

Where: Allen Theatre Lobby, 1407 Euclid Avenue

The Festival of Trees is an annual tradition at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. Every holiday season, the lobby of the theater is filled with more than 25 Christmas trees sponsored by various local organizations and individuals. Each tree is uniquely (and often elaborately) decorated by local artists and designers.

The highlight is the theater’s Rotunda, which features several trees, including one massive tree at its center. There are also a couple dedicated spots set up for fun holiday photos.

8. Listen to holiday music

When: Saturday, November 26, 2022

Where: Public Square and downtown Cleveland The annual kickoff to Christmas event happens each year in downtown Cleveland the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Cleveland is home to one of the top orchestras in the nation, and the Cleveland Orchestra always delivers at Christmastime with a series of holiday concerts.

This year, the Cleveland Orchestra will be performing its Holiday Concert a dozen times in December. The concert will include the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and cover all the Christmas classics.

How much: Christmas Concert tickets run $49-$119 depending on dates and seats.

Separately, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra is performing its Holiday Spectacular concert at 2 pm on Sunday, November 27 at the Connor Palace Theater at Playhouse Square.


9. Skate at a holiday ice rink

Outdoor Skating Rinks are fun for the holiday season and this one doesn’t disappoint!

Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink in Public Square – The Public Square rink opens this year on November 25, 2022, and will remain open through February 21, 2023 (various open dates; check here). Tickets are $12 per person and include skate rental.

10. Enjoy Christmas decorations at the Arcade

Cleveland knows how to do holiday displays! Here are spots with holiday displays you can see for free: Lights, wreaths, and a Christmas tree at the historic Cleveland Arcade. Historic _________________________

BONUS: Have dinner in an igloo

There are several spots around Cleveland where you can rent out a private igloo for drinks or a meal – and some will be very festive feeling! If you want to rent an igloo on a patio that’s also decked out in holiday cheer, then you want to head to Georgetown & Vosh in Lakewood, which has 5 igloos on its twinkling patio. Igloos can be rented for two hours at a time.

Many local restaurants are installing these igloos again this year, so you have several different options! Read more about heated patios and igloos in Cleveland in this post.