When the temperature falls and Thanksgiving is over, your thoughts will naturally turn toward the holidays. If you are looking to get into the spirit of things in Ohio, there are countless activities to be found across the state. To start, here are the top Christmas towns in Ohio that you need to see this holiday season.
The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill is one of the biggest and best Christmas destinations in the Buckeye State. Every year, this historic mill turns into a one-of-a-kind holiday light display. More than 4 million lights decorate the natural surroundings, from the gorge to the trees, riverbanks, and more.
You’ll even get to see a waterfall of twinkling lights. The stunning displays include Santa’s Workshop, a Christmas museum, and a toy collection. It’s no wonder these attractions have been named on USA Today’s Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards list.
Cleveland goes all out for the holidays every year, but it has earned a unique reputation as a Christmas town thanks to its A Christmas Story House & Museum.
This house is a full replica of the set of the 1983 film “A Christmas Story.” It features important pieces from the movie set, as well as exact recreations of the Parkers’ home.
Today, you can learn all about the movie and even stay overnight in one of the rooms! Though you can tour the museum at any time of the year, the holidays are a special time to visit.
Grand Rapids Ohio
Grand Rapids (Ohio, not Michigan) lies on the banks of the Maumee River. Every year near late November, the historic downtown transforms into an outdoor festival that is all about the holidays.
During this time, you’ll be able to explore the local shops and cafes — with a special twist. With decorations galore, strolling musicians, ice sculptures, and many more attractions, this weekend in Grand Rapids is worth the trip. Keep your eye out for Santa to tell him your wish list.
Findlay knows how to make a full transformation for the holidays. Every December, the town hangs up decorations of every kind for a long-term holiday extravaganza. The biggest draw, by far, is the North Pole Express, which is offered every weekend through December.
The kid-friendly train takes you on a ride through town, including the magical North Pole, elves’ forest, and Santa’s workshop. Kids will enjoy spying elves hiding in the trees and meeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus on select dates.
Cambridge is home to the famous Dickens Victorian Village. This historical recreation features an entire 19th-century village, so you can experience the holidays as it would have been in Victorian England.
During November and December, the village features more than 92 scenes with 180 figures depicting historical and literary scenes. These figures are hand crafted by local artists and wear real vintage clothing.
You can finish your tour of the village with a viewing of the courthouse light show, which features more than 30,000 lights set to holiday music.
Morrow is home to the famous Christmas Ranch. Every year, this family-owned attraction transforms into a holiday extravaganza. The ranch features an entire Christmas town covered in thousands of lights.
You are welcome to explore the exhibits, enjoy music, and even meet with Santa in his workshop. There are also outdoor train rides, a cafe, and a bakery, so you can enjoy a snack while meandering through the exhibits. It’s not hard to see why this stunning place is visited by thousands of people every year.
Christmas in Kirtland features a one-of-a-kind attraction every year — a display of hundreds of stunning nativities from all over the world. Most of these are borrowed from local collectors and highlight depictions in every material and from countries far and wide.
Some of the nativities are historical, while others are breathtaking pieces of art — including nativity sets that are carved inside a walnut shell, inside a geode, and that are larger than life. The collection includes selections from roughly 70 countries, from the Netherlands to China, Rwanda, Germany, Thailand, and many more.
Steubenville is a small university town in Eastern Ohio, nestled alongside the Ohio River. Every year, the city transforms into a Nutcracker Village, complete with one of the largest displays of life-size nutcrackers anywhere in the country.
The attraction has grown to 185 custom nutcrackers, many of which are sponsored by local businesses, schools, and more. You can view the nutcrackers daily throughout the historic downtown. You’ll spot them in themes of all kinds, from traditional to literary, historic, local figures of importance, religious, and folk heroes.
Medina is home to the largest indoor Christmas entertainment center — and it’s not just open during the holidays. You can actually visit Castle Noel at any time of the year. Unsurprisingly, though, it is most popular when the temperature starts to drop and Christmas carolers come on the radio.
Castle Noel features countless interesting displays, such as props from famous holiday movies, recreations of vintage toy shop windows from Sak’s Fifth Avenue, a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree, and a giant indoor slide.
Every year as the holidays approach, Coshocton’s historic Roscoe Village becomes an outdoor holiday celebration. Every street is decorated and filled with strolling carolers.
You are welcome to enjoy some hot cocoa or mulled cider and roasted chestnuts as you explore. There are daily live musical entertainment, a candle-lighting ceremony, and visits with Santa.
Throughout the day, you can also participate in traditional Christmas crafts, such as candle-dipping and making Christmas cards. It’s a historic holiday celebration taking place in a historic village — the perfect spot.
Lebanon is home to the annual Horse Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival. This celebration has been going on for decades and is a beloved community event. The festival kicks off with a huge Christmas parade with horse-drawn carriages, floats, and other exciting characters.
Other features of the festival include pictures with Santa, live musical entertainment, games and family activities, and plenty of delicious food. At the end of the day is another parade to send everyone off in a festive mood.
Every year in Waynesville, you will find the town transformed into a winter wonderland. That means the entire downtown is decorated in traditional Christmas decor, lending a feeling of holiday nostalgia.
During Christmas in the Village event, there is always entertainment going on in the downtown area — from Santa arriving on a firetruck to carolers, light shows, live music, and strolling characters. Feel free to climb aboard a carriage to enjoy a ride through the town. Or, simply stroll the shops and enjoy the atmosphere.
Gallipolis is a small town in Southeast Ohio that is full of Christmas cheer. Every year from late November to early January, you will find Gallipolis in Lights, an annual holiday celebration in the park. During this time, the city park is filled with thousands of lights in displays of all kinds.
The monthlong event kicks off with a ceremonial park lighting, along with a live performance (including live reindeer!) and free refreshments. The park is free and open to the public, so you can explore until your heart’s content. You may even spot Santa Claus.
Historic Zoar Village is one of the oldest and most fascinating sites in Ohio. This 19th-century village has been meticulously preserved and still has approximately 40 of its original structures. Some of these are still in use, making Zoar one of the oldest still-inhabited towns in Ohio.
The town holds festivals throughout the year, including an annual Christmas celebration. During this time, you are welcome to explore the shops and other buildings decorated for the historic holiday celebration. There is also plenty of food and Christmas cheer!
Celebrate the Holidays at the Best Christmas Towns in Ohio
Whether you are in Southern Ohio or on the shores of Lake Erie, there are countless holiday-themed attractions to be found. Lovers of Christmas will be right at home at one of these stunning Christmas towns in Ohio. When the holidays roll around, it’s time to hit the road and pay these attractions a visit.
On top of that, you can find tons of other holiday and winter things to do in Ohio. For instance, there are many more Christmas lights displays and winter festivals in Ohio. Plus, many other towns make great places to visit in Ohio in winter.