Ohio is filled with lots of things to do, especially around the holidays. Although you could visit a town for just a day, why not take a weekend to immerse yourself in the festive fun? Most of these destinations offer shopping, fabulous food, and activities only available around during the holiday season. From light shows to handmade markets, here are our seven favorite Christmas getaways in Ohio.
If you love the story of Scrooge (ok, A Christmas Carol if we’re getting technical) and all things Charles Dickens, you must head to Cambridge. The Dickens Victorian Village features a walking tour that showcases what life was like in England in the 1850s. Cambridge also has the Guernsey County Light Show, which lasts an hour and features holiday lights set to Christmas music. Downtown Cambridge also boasts a lovely main street community that features shopping, restaurants, and events throughout the holiday season.
Of course, the urban area of Cincinnati is bursting with things to do at Christmastime. To see live entertainment, go shopping, eat holiday treats, and see festive lights, head to Lumaze, which has so much holiday cheer all under one roof. The PNC Festival of Lights is an annual event at the Cincinnati Zoo that features lights and more. You can also head to Fountain Square to go ice skating or drive bumper cars on the ice. Cincinnati is one of the most romantic Christmas getaways in Ohio!
Cleveland is another city that doesn’t disappoint when finding Christmas getaways in Ohio. Winter Riverfest is an event filled with fabulous things to do. You can go ice skating, see Santa, shop, enjoy lights, see an igloo village, or lounge in a beer garden complete with firepits. Another option is to head to A Garden Holiday at the Cleveland Botanical Garden to enjoy live holiday decor and beautifully decorated gingerbread houses. P.S. Cleveland also has a zoo/lights combo, definitely, one of the best places to visit in Ohio for Christmas — who knew Ohio had so many zoos?
Just like Cincinnati and Cleveland, Columbus has a fabulous zoo getting in on the festivities. Head to the Columbus Zoo to see the animals and then enjoy Wildlights after dark, a family favorite in Central Ohio. Butch Bando’s Holiday Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds is a fabulous light show where you can drive through 3 miles filled with twinkling bulbs. Also, be sure to stop by the library. However, you should check out the Huntington Holiday Train and not the books while you’re at the Main Library in Columbus.
It’s hard to believe that the Polar Express movie came out in 2004! However, that fact leaves several generations fond of the film, whether folks watched it as a child or saw it with their kids or grandchildren. Relive that feeling by heading to Lebanon to ride LM&M Railroad’s North Pole Express, which has excursions the whole season through. Although the train is one of the main attractions, Lebanon also has a historic downtown area with fabulous places to eat and shop. Visiting the site truly is one of the most memorable Christmas getaways in Ohio.
Those that love a small-town feel for the holidays will significantly enjoy a bit of R&R in Medina. Main Street Medina is a historic area with shops, restaurants, and lodging. You can stay, shop, and eat without having to move your vehicle. Just be sure to bundle up! Castle Noel — a haven for movie buffs — features holiday cheer all year round, although Christmas is the best time to visit. The castle has memorabilia from holiday movies, such as Elf, The Grinch, Jingle All the Way, and more. Not only is the building filled with film treasures, but it also holds holiday window displays from major department stores in New York City. Castle Noel indeed houses a one-of-a-kind collection of modern-day artifacts.
Nutcrackers are often associated with Christmas (and hardly ever used to crack nuts, right?), and you can visit life-sized nutcrackers at an exhibit in Steubenville. Not only is the event free, but The Steubenville Nutcracker Village also features the most extensive collection of human-sized nutcrackers in the world. Another favorite event in Steubenville is Christmas at the Fort, which has a holiday market, performances, food, and so much more throughout the holiday season. Many folks head to the town simply for this event, so hurry to Steubenville to see what this one of our romantic Christmas getaways in Ohio is all about.
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