Clifton Mill at Christmas

25 BEST Ohio Christmas Lights Displays

With the holidays approaching, you might be thinking about putting up some lights on your house. But why not hit the road to go see a professional holiday light show too? These Ohio Christmas lights displays are the best ones to visit in every region of the state this year.

lights before christmas at the toledo zoo
Lights Before Christmas – Toledo Zoo | photo via @klip_pics

Christmas Lights Displays Near Toledo in Northwest Ohio

North Pole Express | Findlay

The North Pole Express runs every weekend between November and January. The Northwest Ohio Railroad Association sponsors this unique winter wonderland. 

You get to ride a quarter-scale train through a North Pole-themed light display, which features the decorated museum and barn. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be present on several nights!

Lights Before Christmas | Toledo

Lights Before Christmas is one of the Toledo Zoo’s top attractions every winter, making it a holiday destination for the entire family to enjoy.

Between November and December, you get to explore the zoo grounds at night to see a one-of-a-kind holiday lights display with animal themes. The central display is the Big Tree, an 85-foot-tall holiday tree with all the trimmings.

Christmas Cruise Thru | Hicksville

The Christmas Cruise Thru in Hicksville is a 2.5-mile-long trail featuring one-of-a-kind light displays. You can stay in your car while enjoying the lights, or get out and explore the Festival of Trees and Christmas Village.

Also, you’ll find food vendors, live reindeer, carriage rides, and Santa Claus ready to greet the kids.

Lucas County Holiday Light Show | Maumee

The Lucas County Holiday Light Show is a drive-through lights display in Maumee Ohio. Additionally, the 1-mile drive features holiday music from a local radio station, ensuring that you’ll get a musical soundtrack, even from your warm car. The show features a variety of themed displays that change every year.

Buschmann’s Lights | Northwood

Buschmann’s Lights is an annual musical light show featuring a grand total of 16,000 lights and more than 80 animated displays. The show features musical accompaniment, and you will find visitors stopping by every year to watch from the sidewalk or their cars. Donations are welcome and go to local food pantries.

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center | Sandusky

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center is — no surprises here — a haunted house, but you’ll still find its doors open in December. During this time, you get to enjoy a free light show.

Located in Sandusky Ohio, the light show runs nightly through December with showings every half-hour between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. and features tons of beloved cartoon characters.

Related: Winter Things to Do in Northwest Ohio

Deck The Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens - Akron, Ohio - Ohio Holiday Lights
Deck The Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens | photo via @meredith_ohio_girl

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Displays in Cleveland & Beyond

Lights on the Lake | Ashtabula

Holiday lights displays are one thing, but Ashtabula does things a bit differently. This annual event takes place on the shores of Lake Erie in the town’s own Lakeshore Park. You are welcome to walk through the park and enjoy more than 70 light displays with themes of every kind.

Bethlehem Hills Christmas Lights Park | Burton

The annual Bethlehem Hills Christmas Lights Park is a drive-through light show in Burton Ohio. You are welcome to cruise through the 1.5-mile trail, which features more than 3 million lights and 40 unique displays. Tune into the radio as you drive to enjoy the local musical accompaniment.

Deck The Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens | Akron

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens are a popular Akron attraction at any time of the year, but they’re especially worth visiting during the holidays. Every year, you can enjoy a traditional Christmas theme alongside 1 million lights.

Each part of the historic estate has a different theme, such as the popular woodland whimsy room that features stuffed animals in Christmas outfits.

Lenz Family Lights | Carlisle Twp/Grafton

Over 60,000 Christmas lights cover three-and-a-half of the Lenz’s five rural acres in this private display at their NE Ohio home! The centerpiece is a 3-foot by 24-foot sign that reads, “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”

The display can be found on Indian Hollow Road between Parsons Rd and Slife Rd. This NE Ohio Christmas light show is on from 4:45-11 pm nightly until January 1.

Akron Zoo Wild Lights | Akron

Every holiday season, the Akron Zoo transforms into a magical wonderland featuring countless light displays.

If you’re willing to pay for a private tour, you’ll be able to explore the light displays in a private golf cart with a mug of hot chocolate. However, the zoo is also open on specified nights for everyone to explore.

Related: Winter Things to Do in Northeast Ohio

WonderLights Christmas in Ohio - Hartford, Ohio - Ohio Christmas Lights
WonderLights Christmas in Ohio | photo via @courtneytraves

Holiday Light Displays Near Columbus in Central Ohio

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights | Delaware

Since 1999, Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights has been one of the top tourist attractions of the holidays in Central Ohio. Beginning in November, this drive-through Christmas lights display winds through the Alum Creek State Park Campground. On select nights, you may also be able to visit Santa in his workshop!

WildLights | Columbus

Every year starting in November, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium features WildLights, a one-of-a-kind holiday light display on zoo grounds.

The display includes more than 3 million lights and includes animations and special effects galore, as well as train rides and tree lighting. They cover the whole zoo, so come prepared for a hike.

WonderLights Christmas in Ohio | Hartford

WonderLights Christmas in Ohio claims to be the largest drive-through Christmas light display in the state. This show, which occurs on the Hartford County Fairgrounds, features more than 1 million LED lights. As you drive, you’ll get to enjoy a synchronized light show set to your favorite Christmas tunes.

Conservatory Aglow | Columbus

The Franklin Park Conservatory is a popular tourist attraction in Columbus at every time of year, but during the holidays, it’s in a league of its own.

During the annual Conservatory Aglow event, Franklin Park turns into a series of themed light displays. Past years have included themes such as Candyland with life-size gingerbread people.

Related: Winter Things to Do in Central Ohio

Clifton Mill at Christmas, Clifton - Places to Visit in Winter
Clifton Mill at Christmas | photo via @g_p_hall

Southwest Ohio Christmas Light Displays Near Cincinnati

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill | Clifton

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill might be one of the most famous Ohio Christmas lights shows. The display features more than 4 million lights, decorating Clifton Gorge and the surrounding countryside and mill. It includes a 100-foot waterfall of lights, a music show, a miniature village, and Santa’s workshop.

The Christmas Ranch | Morrow

The Christmas Ranch is a full light-themed village that opens every holiday season for visitors to explore! The attractions include visits with Santa and outdoor train rides through a magical winter wonderland. You’ll also be able to shop for baked goods and holiday decor in the ranch shops.

PNC Festival of Lights | Cincinnati

The PNC Festival of Lights takes place each year at the Cincinnati Zoo. When the sun sets, the zoo transforms into a winter wonderland of lights. More than 4 million lights illuminate attractions such as a nighttime puppet show, train rides, live performances, and visits with Santa.

Land of Illusion Christmas Drive Thru | Middletown

The Land of Illusion Christmas Drive Thru is one of the biggest and best holiday light shows in Southwest Ohio. This 2-mile trail features more than 2 million lights with many light shows set to musical accompaniment.

The drive-thru display ends with a Christmas village and Santa’s workshop along with fire pits for staying warm.

Woodland Lights | Dayton

Woodland Lights is a holiday light show that kicks off every year around Thanksgiving and runs through December. Visitors can stroll the half-mile trail or board the miniature train to view the stunning light displays. Santa and other characters are ready for visits in the historic log cabin.

Related: Winter Things to Do in Southwest Ohio

Guernsey County Courthouse Lights Display - Cambridge, Ohio
Guernsey County Courthouse Lights Display

Appalachian Holiday Lights in Southeast Ohio

Guernsey County Courthouse Lights Display | Cambridge

The Guernsey County Courthouse lights display is one of the main attractions of Cambridge’s famous Dickens Victorian Village.

Every night, the front of the historic courthouse features an animated light show set to holiday tunes with more than 30,000 lights. The show includes 36 animations, many of which feature classic cartoon characters.

Dogwood Pass | Beaver

Dogwood Pass is a living replica of an Old West town located in Beaver Ohio. During the holidays, the entire town turns into a festive display. It includes beloved Christmas characters, themed light displays, music, and special shows. You can even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town.

The Christmas Cave | Milford

The Christmas Cave in Milford is one of the most unique places to enjoy Ohio Christmas lights. The show is held in an actual cavern, which you can tour at any time of the year. During the holidays, though, the cavern transforms into a stunning holiday lights display like no other.

Holiday Trail of Lights | McArthur

The Holiday Trail of Lights can be found at Lake Hope State Park every December. The simple light display follows the walking trail, letting you enjoy a festive walk whenever you please. It is free and open to the public and features unique displays against the beautiful natural scenery of the park.

North Pole Nelsonville — Nelsonville

North Pole Nelsonville takes place every year in the town’s public square. This one-night event kicks off all the holiday celebrations in Nelsonville, featuring a Christmas parade, caroling, and ceremonial fountain lighting. There is also the chance to visit Santa and explore the light displays.

Related: Winter Things to Do in Southeast Ohio

The Christmas Ranch, Morrow - Places to Visit in Winter
The Christmas Ranch | photo via @melaniegwynn_smith

See All the Christmas Lights Displays in Ohio

Grab a travel mug of hot cocoa, pile in the car, and enjoy touring these spectacular displays of Ohio Christmas lights this holiday season. It’s the perfect family tradition to celebrate the season!

If you’re looking for more to do, there are tons more winter activities in Ohio as well.

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