15 CLE Holiday Happenings
Celebrate the Ho-Ho-Holidays Cleveland Style
For New Year’s Eve events, please scroll to the bottom of the article.
While we're not entirely sure we're ready to take on the holiday madness, our gorgeous city is already well on its way to rolling out the festive red carpet for visiting friends and family.
You see, we've mastered the magic, splendor, beauty and all that other mushy stuff you get around the holidays through twinkling light shows, jingling musical performances, festive decor and even on-stage productions of classic holiday films.
But this is Cleveland. And, we do things our own way. Check out these holiday happenings to celebrate the season.
Holiday Lantern Tours at Hale Farm and Village
Travel back in time on the Holiday Lantern Tours through Hale Farm and Village. Just 35 minutes south of Downtown, you'll be able to experience how the holidays were celebrated in the 19th century as you venture through the decorated historic village and indulge in holiday treats. Located at 2686 Oak Hill Rd. in Bath, the events take place Dec. 2-3, 8-9, 15-17 and 19-23 from 5:30–9 p.m.
The Cleveland Flea Holiday Showcase
Multiple choice question: Would you like to (A) spend hours upon hours around town fighting traffic to desperately search for holiday gifts, or (B) spend an afternoon perusing one-of-a-kind gifts made with the skilled craftsmanship of an independent artist in Northeast Ohio? Hmm... unless you're some kind of holiday traffic enthusiast, we think the answer is pretty simple. Thankfully, the Cleveland Flea Holiday Showcase offers multiple days to come down and get everything you need for perfect gifts. This year, the event takes place Dec. 8-10 and 15-17.
Families can join Mr. Kringle and his elite team and help them prepare for the holiday season by making toys, ornaments and other creations in his top secret toy lab. Through the Kringle’s Inventionasium interactive theatrical experience, families can explore various testing rooms like the Puppet Pattern Workshop, Grow Snow Laboratory and Toy Engineering Room. Visitors even get the chance to meet with Mr. Kringle himself and review their holiday wish list. The event takes place in Tower City Center, 230 W Huron Rd., in Downtown Cleveland Dec. 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
The very popular Polar Express events have sold out this year (they go quickly, so start looking for next year's events in October!), but there's still some holiday fun to be had on the tracks.
What would a Cleveland holiday list be without your token Ugly Sweater party? But we like to kick it up a notch. Nov. 24 – Dec. 21, the CVSR hosts Ugly Sweater Holiday Train Rides. Bring out your ugliest holiday sweater for an adult-only adventure traveling through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and splurge on holiday drinks at the cash bar.
Tremont Holiday BrewHaHa
Tis the season filled with beer and cheer at Tremont’s Holiday BrewHaHa. You won’t want to miss this three-day extravaganza that starts with Lolly the Trolley touring guests all around Tremont to experience the BrewHop and Holiday ArtWalk. Return for day two filled with local eats, shopping and the Santa Shuffle run. The fun continues on Sunday with live music at The Treehouse, and warm up your vocals to sing your favorite holiday karaoke tunes at The Flying Monkey Pub. The event takes place at various locations in Cleveland’s Tremont Neighborhood on Friday, Dec. 8, from 5–11 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, from 1:30–8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 10, 6–9 p.m.
Every year, the Cleveland Botanical Garden transforms into the king of holiday events here in Cleveland. Even when it's not the holidays, the Cleveland Botanical Garden's indoor glasshouses--complete with flowers, plants, wildlife and even dozens of butterflies--is truly a sight to behold. During the holidays, it takes on new life with brilliant Christmas trees, a huge gingerbread competition, holiday music and even a kids' train ride through the garden. It's called GLOW and it's one heck of a family-friendly hotspot Nov. 24-Dec. 31.
Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge
When the weather outside is frightful, locals can head to Great Wolf Lodge for the annual Snowland celebration. Just an hour west of Downtown Cleveland, you will love taking a break from the chilly Ohio weather while surrounded by beautifully decorated trees and a life-sized gingerbread house. You can even dine in an indoor snow shower that melts in the 84-degree water park. Dive right in Nov. 25 – Jan. 1.
Downtown in December Trolley Tours
If you're a holiday lights buff or a fan of the cult classic movie A Christmas Story, the famous red Lolly the Trolley will take you on two separate tours around Cleveland to see it all. Available on various dates throughout December, Lolly is offering the Silver Bells CLE tour as well as the A Christmas Story House tour.
Dinner + Deck The Hall
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, located in the Akron area, is an estate featuring a historic 65-room Tudor Revival manor house, conservatory, lodge and 70 acres of artistically landscaped grounds and formal gardens. So when they put on a holiday event, as you might imagine, the place truly comes alive with the holiday spirit. Running Dec. 1, 8 and 15, Deck the Hall glitters with more than 800,000 sparkling lights and includes the outdoor Ginger Bread Land for kids, elaborately decorated rooms and holiday treats.
Art enthusiasts will love Wintertide, an art-infused holiday experience. The festivities kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, with a showing of A Christmas Story at Capitol Theater. The celebration continues at 1 p.m. when Gordon Square is filled with pop-up music, theater performances, holiday treats and fire pits to warm up around and roast s'mores. Keep on partying until the event ends at 5 p.m.
Holiday Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland
The holiday festiviTEAs continue at Downtown's opulent Ritz-Carlton with their annual Teddy Bear Tea and Holiday Afternoon Tea. With a kid-friendly menu and holiday storytelling from Mrs. Claus, Teddy Bear Tea is perfect to celebrate with children. Later in the day, the Ritz offers Holiday Afternoon Tea with a variety of teas, sandwiches and sweets that guests of all ages will enjoy. Sip it up on Dec. 10, 11 and 17–23. Reservations are required.
Friends of the Maltz Museum Hanukkah Candle Lighting
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage invites children of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the Jewish festival of lights. Just a 25-minute drive from Downtown Cleveland, you'll celebrate with music, playing the dreidel game and learning about the story of Hanukkah. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is located at 2929 Richmond Rd. in Beachwood, and the event takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 5–6 p.m.
A Christmas Story The Musical Live! Watch Party
Ralphie’s holiday dream came true when he unwrapped his official Red Ryder, now it’s time for Clevelanders' dreams to come true when A Christmas Story: LIVE hits the big screen. Tremont's W. 11th street (where A Christmas Story House and Museum is located) will be shut down for the ultimate holiday block party. The party begins with a showing of the classic movie projected on two giant inflatable screens. Afterward, you'll experience the live premiere of the musical right in front of the famous house. There will be plenty of movie treats provided by Rowley Inn, Jack Frost donuts and more. Don't miss the fun on Sunday, Dec. 17, from 1–10 p.m.
Celebrate the season by experiencing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour at Quicken Loans Arena. This iconic rock opera will have two memorable performances that will knock your cozy socks off on Friday, Dec. 29, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Holiday Theater & Musical Productions
We wish you a Cleveland Christmas! Start your holiday off right by watching live performances of the famous A Christmas Story, the Singing Angels 2017 Holiday Spectacular, or listening to the beloved Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concerts. Cleveland has so many incredible holiday theater and musical productions that we needed to create an entirely separate article covering these on-stage Cleveland traditions. Okay, okay. Enough with the #humblebrag. Read more here.
Ring in the New Year
After all the holiday madness, there's one more party to have--and Cleveland's the place to do it. As the clock counts down to a new year, choose from one of the many parties, balloon drops and family friendly events and celebrate in style.