Cleveland is a Holiday Wonderland

Suit up your winter gear, grab some hot chocolate and prepare to have some fun with these winter adventures filled with bright lights and crisp entertainment. Cleveland’s a holiday wonderland that has something for the young and the young at heart. Whether you are a local or a visitor, create new memories with our colorful assortment of  event offerings.

Burning River Brass Performs at Severance Hall: Dec. 15

  • As part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s 2011 Holiday Festival, Burning River Brass, the acclaimed 12-member Cleveland brass ensemble founded in 1996, will perform a concert of Christmas music at Severance Hall on Thursday, December 15, at 8 p.m. Burning River Brass made its Severance Hall debut in June 2003 and has performed as part of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Holiday Festival annually since December of that year.
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Neil Zaza’s “One Silent Night”: Dec. 17

  • Neil Zaza is world renowned for his holiday mash-ups featuring traditional melodies intertwined with classic rock standards. This season, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his show “One Silent Night,” Zaza is bringing his audience together in a high-tech way. Along with the performance at PlayhouseSquare, fans can participate and communicate by sharing messages and holiday pictures throughout the show. As an added holiday bonus all attendees will get a free EP with Holiday classics and previously unreleased tracks.
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Christmas on the Farm: Dec. 17-18, 23

  • The entire family can spend an evening with Rudolph’s long-lost cousins feeding the elk herd at Bonnie Brae’s Farm in Wellington, about 50 miles southwest of Cleveland. A farm wagon, decked out in jingle bells, takes visitors out to the fields where the elk herd roam. Then, families can visit the barn with a decorated Christmas tree to receive a free hand made ornament.  The spicy scented gingerbread village entertains guests who are munching free cookies and sipping hot chocolate.  Reservations are suggested for this event.
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The Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Quicken Loans Arena: Dec. 30

  • The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s distinct twist on holiday classics are right at home here in the city of rock and roll. The powerful musical group puts a magical edge on Christmas tunes that are both unique and easily identifiable.
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“The Santaland Diaries” at the 14th Street Theater: Now-Dec. 17

  • Based on the story by David Sedaris and produced by Cleveland Public Theatre, this show 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.
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Ohio City Christmas Festival: Saturdays, Now-Dec. 18

  • The Market District transforms into a German Weihnachtsmärkt, or Christmas Market, for a delightful holiday shopping festival. Market Avenue, which houses the ever-popular Great Lakes Brewing Company, closes down to traffic and is filled with vendors in tents selling chocolates, spices, nuts, ornaments and other Christmas items. Other highlights of the event include horse and carriage rides, Christmas tree sales and visits from Santa Claus himself.
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“Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant: Home for the Hollandaise” by Cleveland Public Theater: Now-Dec. 18

  • “Conni’s Avande Garde Restaurant” is a quirky theatrical event that mixes fine food, wine and ensemble theatre together with cabaret, improv comedy and a five-course meal. This year’s show tells the story of an aging actress and her career-ending decision to have a child. Follow her on a miraculous journey that includes a visit from the Soup Angel, a radical re-interpretation of the Nutcracker Suite and even instructions on the art of bussing tables from general manager Sue James. In an odd and unforgettable evening, this show is the perfect cure for any bah-humbugs.
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Winter Show at the Cleveland Botanical Garden: Now-Dec. 21

  • The Cleveland Botanical Garden with its giant glasshouses, exotic plants and 11 acres of gardens, can be a pretty magical place all-year round. But, add gingerbread houses, a great big tree, nostalgic department store window-like displays, traditional holiday trains and festive decorations and visitors experience something even more special during the annual Wintershow events.
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Country Lights at Lake Metroparks: Now-Dec. 23

  • Families can snuggle together on a horse-drawn wagon ride in the country and enjoy the wondrous twinkle of approximately a quarter of a million festive holiday light displays at Lake Metroparks Farmpark, an agricultural “amusement park” for kids of all ages. Located 25 miles east of Cleveland, Country Lights is a winter wonderland perfect for the whole family with so much more than lights, such as model train displays, “Santa’s Workshop” and the “Well Bred Shed” featuring multiple horse presentations. Due to the popularity, the event usually sells out quickly; tickets go on sale Nov. 15.
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Great Lakes Theater presents “A Christmas Carol”: Now-Dec. 23

  • The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without an authentic presentation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Visitors can celebrate the season by heading to the stunning Hanna Theater in PlayhouseSquare to enjoy “A Christmas Carol”, a true holiday tradition.
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Holiday Lantern Tours at Hale Farm and Village: Weekends, Now-Dec. 23

  • Stroll through the 19th century village by the light of a lantern and experience the holiday season years’ part, where it is Christmas Eve in 1861 and are welcomed into the village homes by Civil War era residents whose holiday traditions are as diverse as their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
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Cleveland Orchestra Concerts: Now-Dec. 18, 20-23

  • 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 by Santa. The 2011 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.
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Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge: Now-Dec. 25

  • Being able to splash around in an 84-degree indoor water park is pretty enchanting to begin with, but add appearances from Santa Claus, holiday carol sing-alongs, nightly story time and even polar bear races and it truly becomes magical. “Little Elves” can attend North Pole University, explore Santa’s workshop, create at the writing, the wrapping and the toy station and, enjoy the daily snow shows in the Grand Lobby (yes, it will be snowing indoors!).
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Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet: Weekends Now-Dec. 30

  • The elaborate 25-room Manor House at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens hosts its annual holiday celebration, Deck the Hall. This year’s theme “Joys of Christmas Past” celebrates 100 years of Christmas treasures through fashion, music, toys and holiday traditions in each room of the hall. Other festivities include a winter wonderland of 250,000 twinkling holiday lights, a massive Legos play area, a poinsettia tree in Corbin Conservatory, Santa’s Workshop, the Gingerbread Bakeshop and holiday treats in the Carriage House Museum Store and Café. Each evening features a tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30pm.
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Historic Kirtland Temple “Wise Men Still Seek Him Nativity Exhibit”: Now-Dec. 31

  • “Wise Men Still Seek Him” is a seasonal exhibit that features a collection more than 500 individual nativity sets from around the world exploring the way various cultures celebrate the season. In addition to the exhibit, the historic school house features international exhibits and children’s nativity scenes.
  • 440.256.9805,

Winter Lights Lantern Festival and Circlefest: Now-Dec. 31

  • The Cleveland Museum of Art brightens up the holiday season with a festival inspired by centuries-old, cross-cultural traditions of ceremonial lighting displays. 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 during Circlefest on Dec. 4.
  • 216.421.7350,

3D Winter Wonderland and Holiday Light Show at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center: Now-Dec. 31

  • After Halloween, the spirits are put to rest at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center and the facility becomes a 3D North Pole adventure. The Christmas Winter Wonderland exhibit invites families to walk through the complex designed as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Visitors can take a once-in-a-lifetime “Snow Ride” in the XD 4D Motion Theater and 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.
  • 419.626.4467,

Lolly the Trolley Holiday Light Tours: Now-Dec. 31         

  • From one of the best-known tour companies in the area comes a unique holiday light adventure. Riders can learn about the past, present and future of the “All-American City” with a focus on the lighting displays in Public Square and the North Coast Harbor. Most stops include visits to Tower City or the historic Arcade to view the holiday decorations, as well.
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Twelve Days of Winter at Lake Metroparks: Now-Jan. 1, 2012

  • Visitors are invited to sing and play along in the all new indoor winter playland at Penitentiary Glen Reservation. On a life-sized game board guided by the familiar holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” visitors can take a turn to pop the dice, move along from space to space and discover through interactive play the many things that nature gives to us in the winter season. There also are family crafts, activity pages and scavenger hunts, as well as a classic board game exhibition.
  • 440.256.1404,

Snow Days at Progressive Field: Now-Jan. 16, 2012

  • After a successful inaugural season that attracted more than 50,000 attendees to Progressive Field, Snow Days returns in 2011. This unique outdoor event features snow tubing down the Batterhorn, a 10-lane hill stretching more than 200 feet from the Home Run Porch to centerfield. The Frozen Mile, a quarter-mile ice skating rink, will outline most of the outfield. And this year, on Jan. 15, Snow Days will host the “Frozen Diamond Faceoff,” an outdoor hockey match-up between Ohio State University and University of Michigan. It will be the first outdoor college hockey game held in Ohio. To complete the experience, the stadium is decked out with festive winter decorations and features fire pits and warming concessions.
  • 216.420.HITS,

Tobogganing at The Chalet: Now–March 2012

  • This winter, visitors must 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.
  • 440.572.9990,

The Rink at Wade Oval: Now-March 2012

  • Visitors can lace up their ice skates and slide on over to the Rink at Wade Oval, a unique polymer-surfaced ice skating rink located in University Circle. Each year, more than 20,000 visitors come to skate, take-in the wintry Wade Oval Circle and enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate from the concession stand. Visit through Dec. 21 to experience the WinterShow activities at the adjacent Cleveland Botanical Garden.
  • 216.707.5033,

Ma & Pa’s Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides: Now-March 15, 2012

  • 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, 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.”

A Christmas Story House and Museum: All Year (Wednesday-Sunday)

  • Leg lamp entrepreneur Brian Jones bought the house in local neighborhood Tremont 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 movie related gifts.
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– K. Nacion, Tourism Intern

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About PositivelyCleveland

Positively Cleveland is the destination marketing organization that has been promoting business and leisure tourism to Cleveland for more than 75 years.

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