‘TIS THE SEASON TO SEE CLEVELAND
DESTINATION CLEVELAND FEATURES IN-DEPTH GUIDE TO HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS IN CLE
CLEVELAND (Nov. 26, 2014) - The hustle of the holidays sends people running from place to place in search of the greatest gift, a festive dining option or a magical holiday event. Destination Cleveland has made holiday planning easier with its one-stop-shopping guide of all of the holiday happenings going on in Cleveland this season. Visit ThisIsCleveland.com/Holiday for great events, attractions, hotel/event packages and dining hotspots that are sure to help everyone eat, drink and be merry in Cleveland.
NOVEMBER HOLIDAY EVENTS
The Polar Express on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Independence: Nov. 14 - Dec. 21
• The vintage Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad cars take on an alter ego as "The Polar Express" for the season, allowing pajama-clad families to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, a reading of the classic story by magical elves, caroling, a stop at North Pole Village and even a visit from the main man himself.
Holidays at the Higbee at Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 19 - Dec. 31
• This holiday season, the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland will once again be adorned with 52,000 twinkling lights, thousands of ornaments and holiday trees made of playing cards, the sparkling décor from year's past will be on full display. However, this year, the casino will celebrate the classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker both inside and out with two 18-foot nutcrackers that tower over the first floor and stunning window displays complete with animatronic dolls that tell the classic tale. Additionally, on Nov. 28, visitors can relive a piece of Cleveland history and dine at The Silver Grille, the Higbee Department Store's original and iconic restaurant. The Silver Grille will be serving up a fabulous brunch service with a delicious side of nostalgia.
• Horseshoe Casino Cleveland: 855.746.3777
• Silver Grille Reservations: 216.297.4911
Castle Noel, Medina: Open year round, extended holiday hours: Nov. 21 - Dec. 28
• Castle Noel is America's largest indoor Christmas museum attraction featuring exhibits such as Christmas Movieland, complete with props from Christmas movie favorites, including Cousin Eddie's RV from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and the Grinch's sleigh from Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Christmas-themed, animated department store window displays, a classic Christmas Toyland and more.
Wild Days of Winter at Lake Metroparks, Kirtland: Nov. 22 - Jan. 4
• Visitors are invited to sing and play along in the indoor winter playland at Penitentiary Glen Reservation. Visitors can play on a life-size game board, take a turn to roll the dice, move along from space to space and discover the many things that nature gives to us in the winter season. There also are family crafts, scavenger hunts, as well as a classic board game exhibition.
Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, University Circle Neighborhood: Nov. 22 - April 19
• This holiday season, visitors can experience a winter exhibit of prehistoric proportions at Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Offering an exciting collection of ice-age fossils, interactive media and more, visitors can go back into time to when these incredible species roamed the earth and investigate why they became extinct.
Festival of Trees at the Allen Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Nov. 24 - Dec. 21
• Free and open to the general public, Festival of Trees showcases dozens of beautiful, professionally decorated, themed trees, while raising support for Cleveland Play House's artistic and educational programming.
The Cleveland Orchestra Presents The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker at The State Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Nov. 26 - 30
• This holiday must-see returns with Tchaikovsky's score performed by the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra. The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker has been captivating audiences with brilliant dancing, costumes and scenery for 25 years.
Thanksgiving at the Zoo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest, Cleveland: Nov. 27
• The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest hosts Thanksgiving at the Zoo. Featuring free admission, heated shuttle transportation and holiday treats for the animals, this event makes Thanksgiving memorable.
Larchmere Holiday Stroll at Larchmere Boulevard, Cleveland: Nov. 28 - Nov. 30
• The Larchmere Holiday Stroll is more than just a weekend of shopping, it's an annual holiday experience that features festive music, food and twinkling lights. Visitors can shop for locally-made Cleveland goods, art, antiques, book and clothing stores, craft shops and more.
A Christmas Story, presented by the Cleveland Play House at the Allen Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Nov. 28 - Dec. 21
• The famous holiday classic film, A Christmas Story, makes its way from the big screen to the stage. Open all Christmas season long, this play stays true to the movie classic and offers a night of holiday fun the whole family is sure to love.
"The Santaland Diaries" at the Outcalt Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Nov. 28 - Dec. 21
• Based on the story by David Sedaris and produced by Cleveland Public Theatre, The Santaland Diaries is sure to bring a smile to any Grinch's face. The show is a hilarious recount of the trials and tribulations told by a Crumpet, now in his mid-fifties, about the time he was an out-of-work actor and forced to work as a Macy's Christmas Elf in 1989. The show is side-splitting fun for those looking for an escape from the typical holiday cheer.
Holiday Events at Tower City Center, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 28 - Dec. 23 (Various dates)
• This holiday season, Tower City presents a range of holiday events including The Toy Soldier and Fairy Godmother Holiday Show, the Holiday Express Train Ride, Bruce the Talking Spruce and the Mr. Kringle & Company Inventionasium.
Winter Waterland, featuring SCUBA Claus at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 28 - Dec. 28
• The Greater Cleveland Aquarium will be transformed into an underwater winter wonderland, featuring larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, holiday crafts, live music and caroling. Guests of Greater Cleveland Aquarium's Winter Waterland can also meet SCUBA Claus as he dives into the Shark SeaTube exhibit.
Christmas Dancing Light Show at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, Sandusky: Nov. 28 - Dec. 31
• After Halloween, the spirits are put to rest at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center and the facility becomes a 3D North Pole adventure. Visitors can take a once-in-a-lifetime "Snow Ride" in the XD 4D Motion Theater and then stick around for the Christmas Light Show. Choreographed to seven songs over FM radio, visitors watch a 25-minute light show synchronized with more than 75,000 lights from the warmth of their own vehicle.
Deck the Hall: Gingerbread Land at Stan Hywet: Nov. 28 - Jan. 3
• The elaborate 65-room Manor House at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens hosts its annual holiday celebration, Deck the Hall. This year's theme is "Christmas Around the World." Rooms will be decorated with inspiration from countries around the world. Other festivities include live music and "Dazzle", a 10-minute, dramatic computerized lights program that plays three times each hour in the Great Garden. Additionally, new to this year, the Playgarden has been transformed into a Gingerbread Land where visitors can meet the gingerbread family, see a 17-foot gingerbread house, giant peppermint candy canes and a 20-foot glittering candy tree.
Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, University Circle Neighborhood: Nov. 28 - Jan. 4
• Visitors can head to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to see the spectacular holiday event, Glow. There, they can enjoy the twinkling lights and live Christmas music while riding the Garden Express train, view 15 outdoor lighting displays, designed and built by employees from GE Lighting and students from MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland and view the Holden Arboretum's Nutcracker collection.
Toboggan Chute Opening Day at the Cleveland Metroparks Chalet: 16200 Valley Parkway, Strongsville: Nov. 28 - March 8
• This winter, visitors can experience the thrill of tobogganing at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. The two 1,000-foot-long refrigerated ice chutes operate with or without snow, weather permitting, and are frozen fun for everyone all season.
Wade Oval Winter, University Circle Neighborhood: Nov. 28 - Mar. 8
• As one of Cleveland's only outdoor ice-skating rinks, The Rink at Wade Oval is open from Thanksgiving weekend through March 8. The perfect complement to the multiple holiday events in University Circle, families can ice skate in beautiful Wave Oval Park in University and use their wristbands as discounts to some museums, gardens and galleries. On Wednesdays throughout December, The Rink at Wade Oval features outdoor concerts, movie nights and Skate with Santa.
Bowl with Santa at The Corner Alley, East 4th Street, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 29
• During Winterfest, kids have the chance to Bowl with Santa himself at the Corner Alley in Downtown Cleveland. Kids can also enjoy a children's holiday activity area and face painting while parents enjoy special pricing on lane rentals and food.
Winterfest at PlayhouseSquare, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 29
• Huntington Bank and Downtown Cleveland Alliance present Winterfest at a new location, PlayhouseSquare district, Downtown Cleveland. Featuring free entertainment and activities all day long down Euclid Ave., this holiday extravaganza can't be missed. Activities include free tours of Downtown on horse-drawn carriages, food trucks, The Holiday Pop-Up Shop, the Cleveland Bazaar at the 5th Street Arcades, a holiday lighting ceremony and a majestic fireworks display.
Winter Wine & Ale Fest at 200 Public Square, Downtown Cleveland: Nov. 29
• Following the Winterfest holiday lighting ceremony on PlayhouseSquare, visitors should head to the Huntington Bank building at 200 Public Square for the annual Winter Wine & Ale Fest. Featuring local craft beers and wine from regional wineries, the festival is the perfect ending to a Winterfest evening.
Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky: Nov. 29 - Dec. 25
• Visitors can celebrate the magic of winter at Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky. From snow showers and twinkling lights in the Grand Lobby to gingerbread houses and interactive activities, Snowland has something for everyone to enjoy.
Downtown in December Trolley Tours: Nov. 29 - Dec. 27
• Visitors can board a free, red, Lolly the Trolley running along Euclid Ave. any Saturday in December and get a guided tour through all of the incredible Downtown development. Trolley stops include PlayhouseSquare, the Cleveland Visitors Center and the Horseshoe Casino.
Cleveland Pops Annual Holiday Concert at the Connor Palace Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Nov. 30
• The Cleveland Pops Orchestra's Annual Holiday Concert is a stellar showing of holiday cheer and beautiful performances. Deemed a Cleveland holiday tradition, visitors of all ages will enjoy the orchestral performances of their favorite Christmas songs.
DECEMBER HOLIDAY EVENTS
Ma & Pa's Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, Burton: Dec. 1 - mid March
• There's nothing more seasonal than dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh. Visitors can create a lasting winter memory cuddled under a blanket and riding through the snow in an authentic sleigh or buggy in the town of Burton at Ma & Pa's Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, approximately 40 miles southeast of Cleveland. Afterwards, they can warm up by the fire with fresh coffee and cookies made by Burton's own Mrs. Claus, better known as "Ma."
Irving Berlin's White Christmas at State Theatre, PlayhouseSquare: Dec. 2 - 14
• Irving Berlin's White Christmas tells the story of two friends putting on a show in a magical Vermont Inn and finding love in the process. Full of music, laughter and love, this show is sure to please crowds of any age.
Ohio City Holiday Hop, Ohio City: Dec. 4
• On Dec. 4, visitors can get their holiday shopping finished ahead of time at the Ohio City Merchants Holiday Hop on December 4th from 4pm-9pm. Lolly the Trolley will circulate to different shops and restaurants throughout the neighborhood.
Lolly the Trolley Holiday Tours: Dec. 5 - 27 (Various times)
• From one of the best-known tour companies in the area, Lolly the Trolley, comes multiple holiday-themed tours including A Christmas Story Tour where riders can gain behind-the-scenes access to the classic film with stops at movie locations filmed around Cleveland. Riders can also take the Silver Bells Plus Tour with stops around the city showcasing PlayhouseSquare's lights and various historic neighborhoods.
A Christmas Story Run at A Christmas Story House, Tremont Neighborhood: Dec. 6
• The A Christmas Story Run honors the beloved film A Christmas Story. Runners and fans of the film can run either a 5K or 10K race from A Christmas Story House to Public Square and back. They are encouraged to wear a leg lamp or bunny suit costume to complete the A Christmas Story theme.
Quail Hollow Resort's Gingerbread House Decorating and Breakfast with Santa, Painesville: Dec. 6, 7, 13
• Quail Hollow Resort is offering breakfast with the big man himself, Santa Claus, on Dec. 6. Additionally, visitors can attend Quail Hollow Resort's magically delicious Gingerbread House Decorating Parties on Dec. 7 and 13.
Holiday Lantern Tours at Hale Farm and Village, Bath: Dec. 6 - 14 (various dates)
• Guests can stroll through the 19th century village by the light of a lantern and experience the holiday season of years past at Holiday Lantern Tours at Hale Farm and Village. Visitors embark on an evening stroll through time back to Christmas Eve 1861 and are welcomed into the village homes by Civil War era residents whose holiday traditions are as diverse as their backgrounds.
Northcoast Men's Chorus Presents: Baby It's Cold Outside at Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare:
Dec. 6 - 7
• The Northcoast Men's Chorus presents their annual holiday concert titled Baby It's Cold Outside at the Hanna Theatre in PlayhouseSquare. Visitors who attend can hear classic seasonal songs as well as new and unexpected holiday tunes that make for a fun and festive evening.
Holiday CircleFest at University Circle Neighborhood, Cleveland: Dec. 7
• Cleveland's cultural mecca, University Circle, is transformed into a winter wonderland on Dec. 7. At CircleFest, visitors can see the many museums and cultural institutions all day long, for free. Outside, visitors can experience free horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-carving demonstrations, the Rink at Wade Oval, live music, Santa and his sleigh, complete with live reindeer, the citywide gingerbread house competition, shopping and more. The evening concludes with the gorgeous and dramatic Winter Lights Lantern Procession put on by the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The Cleveland Museum of Art's Holiday Lantern Festival: Dec. 7
• The Cleveland Museum of Art brightens up the holiday season with a festival inspired by centuries-old, cross-cultural traditions of ceremonial lighting displays at its Holiday Lantern Festival. The free annual festival includes an array of workshops for making lanterns and a stunning display through the Environment of Lights led by guest lantern artists, illuminated dancers and giant puppets.
Teddy Bear Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland: Dec. 7 - 21, (Weekends only)
• This holiday season, the young and young-at-heart can enjoy Teddy Bear Tea Time at the Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland. Children can enjoy holiday stories courtesy of Mrs. Claus, receive a teddy bear gift and enjoy tea time in a holiday setting.
Celebrations: Holiday Traditions in CLE at Western Reserve Historical Society, University Circle: Dec. 9 - 13, 20 - 21
• Visitors are invited to create a new holiday tradition with the entire family at Celebrations: Holiday Traditions. Featuring Higbee's Department Store holiday window displays, rides on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel and holiday crafts, there is something for all ages at this exhibit, including Mr. Jingeling himself on Nov. 20 - 21.
Holly Jolly Christmas Lights Trolley: Dec. 9, Dec. 20
• Visitors can meet at Jukebox for a buffet of sausage, sauerkraut and pierogi then depart on the BYOB (bring your own beer) trolley tour of some of Cleveland's best known holiday locals including the A Christmas Story House and Museum, PlayhouseSquare, Tremont, Little Italy and University Circle.
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013 at PlayhouseSquare: Dec. 12
• Jazz fans can join sensational saxophonist extraordinaire, Dave Koz, along with his friends singer/songwriter guitarist Jonathan Butler, five-time Grammy-winning singer, Christopher Cross, and sensual smooth jazz vocalist and songwriter, Maysa, for his 2014 Christmas Tour at PlayhouseSquare.
PNC Holiday Musical Rainbows: Christmas Brass Quintet at Severance Hall, University Circle Neighborhood: Dec. 12 - 3
• The Christmas Brass Quintet performs short solo selections and kid-friendly tunes, while introducing their instruments and celebrating the music of the season.
BrewHaHa in Tremont: Dec. 12 - 14
• The historic Tremont neighborhood's main holiday event of the holiday season is full of Christmas cheer in the form of delicious beer. On Friday, Dec. 12, experience the Tremont Brewhop and Tremont Artwalk as Lolly the Trolley drives attendees from location to location. Then, on Saturday, Dec. 13, runners can join Santa Claus in the Santa Shuffle and dress up as the jolly Christmas figurehead to complete a mile run through the neighborhood. Food and beverage specials are available afterwards at the nearby restaurants. Finally, on Sunday, Dec. 14, the festivities conclude with a holiday concert from the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra at the historic Zion United Church of Christ.
Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concerts: Dec. 12 - 21
• Holiday travelers can hear The Cleveland Orchestra and Choruses perform holiday favorites in the festive splendor of the opulent Severance Hall, with a special visit from Santa. The 2014 Christmas Concert performances include all types of holiday music - from classical to jazz. A Cleveland holiday tradition presented by one of the world's renowned orchestras.
o Dec. 14, 20, 21: The Cleveland Orchestra: Robert Porco, conductor, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus with guest choruses, Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, matinees
o Dec. 13, 18: University of Akron Chorus
o Dec. 18, 19, 20: Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus
o Dec. 12, 13: Wooster Chorus
Holidays in Gordon Square at Gordon Square Arts District + 78th Street Studios, Detroit Shoreway:
• Gordon Square Arts District plays host to this free and family-friendly holiday extravaganza. Visitors can see the Cleveland Bazaar Craft Fair inside the 78th Street Studios, the Winter Market inside the Gordon Square Arcade, ice sculpting, horse-drawn carriage rides, Mr. Jingeling and Capitol Theater will be showing screenings of the Christmas movie classic, A Christmas Story.
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra presents Jingle Bell Jazz Goes (Pea) Nuts at the Hanna Theatre: Dec. 13 - 14
• Like that funky sweater only worn once a year, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra's performance of holiday tunes is fresh and simply fun. For more than 25 years, CJO has worked to bring big band jazz to a city with deep musical roots, and they accomplish this with toe-tapping performances suited for audiences of all ages at PlayhouseSquare's Hanna Theatre. This year features music from Charlie Brown's Christmas - something the whole family is sure to love.
Joy - An Irish Christmas at the Connor Palace, PlayhouseSquare: Dec. 13 - 14
• Joy - An Irish Christmas invites visitors to celebrate the birth of Christ with traditional carols, modern hymns and Irish folk music.
The Polar Express at the Great Lakes Science Center: Dec. 13, Dec. 20
• Families can relax in their PJ's and enjoy the holiday film The Polar Express at the Great Lakes Science Center throughout the holiday season. Before the show, kids can enjoy festive snacks and experiments.
PNC Holiday Musical Rainbows "On the Road" Music of Chanukah at The Temple-Tifereth Israel, Beachwood: Dec. 14
• The Cleveland Orchestra musicians and guests perform short solo selections and kid-friendly tunes, while introducing their instruments and celebrating the music of the Chanukah season.
Santa Hustle: 5K at Castaway Bay, Sandusky: Dec. 14
• Thousands of Santas can run through the streets of Sandusky at the Second Annual Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk at Castaway Bay. Every participant receives a free Santa hat, beard and customized Santa shirt to wear during the race. After the run, all can enjoy holiday decorations, seasonal music and an after-party.
Holiday Program of Music, Lights and Festivities: Dec. 14, 21
• While visiting a cemetery during the holiday season may be one of the last things on the list, unique events at Cleveland's stunning Lake View Cemetery makes the idea much more alluring. Visitors can enjoy holiday music, storytelling and festivities at the cemetery's architecturally stunning Wade Memorial Chapel.
Manheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis: Dec. 19
• The spirit of Christmas comes alive with this dazzling display of multimedia art, featuring the Christmas music of Manheim Steamroller.
Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk at The West Woods Nature Center, Geauga Parks District: Dec. 21
• Guests are invited to bring some light into the longest night of the year at the Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk. While outdoors, they can explore the roots of modern holiday celebrations while walking the Geauga Parks reservation. Hot beverages and traditional holiday music from the Pilgrim Brass Choir can be enjoyed inside the nature center.
Chinese Food & A Movie at The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage: Dec. 25
• Visitors can come to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage for an afternoon of films, fun and food. The museum will be showing the films The Prince of Egypt and When Comedy Went to School. Visitors can enjoy these stellar films while dining on a kosher Chinese buffet.
December Days at the Zoo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest, Cleveland:
Dec. 26 - 30
• The December Days at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest features special seasonal activities including holiday crafts, live music, cookie decorating, heated shuttles that take visitors around the zoo and more.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Quicken Loans Arena, Downtown Cleveland: Dec. 26
• Quicken Loans Arena hosts the nationally-acclaimed rock opera Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Dec. 26.
A Christmas Story House and Museum: Open year round, daily
• Leg lamp entrepreneur, Brian Jones, bought the house in the local Tremont neighborhood where "Black Bart" and other scenes from A Christmas Story took place and restored it to its big screen look with original props and images for public viewing. Visitors should be sure to head across the street to the gift shop to purchase major award leg lamps, official Red Ryder bb-guns, secret society decoder pins, Lifebuoy Soap and other gifts.
Destination Cleveland (formerly known as Positively Cleveland) is Cleveland's Convention and Visitors Bureau. This private non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes more than 16 million visitors annually. For more information, visit ThisisCleveland.com.
Jennifer Kramer, Destination Cleveland