Held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, Downtown Cleveland's annual WinterLand (formerly Winterfest) is everything you want out of a holiday season kickoff: twinkling lights, festive holiday trees, hot cocoa and caroling. Since this is Cleveland, we also throw in some live music and a massive fireworks display happening at 6:00 pm.
Oh, and did we mention we’re extending this hopped-up holiday party for the entire season? That’s just how we do it in The Land.
Home Base for the Holidays
WinterLand marks the official beginning of the holiday season in Cleveland, so, as you might expect, the event culminates in the lighting of the city's own Christmas tree. But there's plenty to do before that happens, just after sundown. Recently moved from Playhouse Square to the more central (and renovated) Public Square, it's a scene out of a traditional European Christmas market: ice skating, a Christmas village, activities for kids and live music. After dark, once the tree is lit, stay for the fireworks show and a visit from Santa Claus himself. And what's a market without food and drinks, right? Some of the best food trucks in The Land are always on hand to give visitors a taste of the best that Cleveland has to offer.
A Citywide Celebration
Downtown Cleveland Alliance, which puts on WinterLand, also partners with other entities who roll out the holiday carpet, as well. Tower City Center will usually open a pop-up holiday retail shop, in addition to hosting holiday-themed performances typically aimed at children. Meanwhile, Playhouse Square gets in on the act by opening the Allen Theatre for the annual Festival of Trees. The Cleveland Bazaar, an indie craft favorite, opens a holiday-themed pop-up shop at the 5th Street Arcades and at Tower City.
Don't forget the after-party! Whether it's enjoying cookies and hot chocolate after the tree is lit, or heading to the nearby Warehouse District for some adult beverages, Cleveland makes sure there's a whole sleighful of ways to unwind after the cold and eventful day.
Settle Down for a Pre-Winter Nap
The minute you set foot in The Land, there’s so much to do it might be hard to figure out where to start. Whether you’re making a pilgrimage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, enjoying a culinary revelation from one of our world-class dining establishments, catching a Browns Game at FirstEnergy stadium or starting the holiday season off right with lights and all sorts of wintry shenanigans, it’s all accessible from Downtown Cleveland.
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