Holiday Traditions

Light Displays

Country Lights at LakeFarmpark

Take a wagon ride through a beautifully-lit winter wonderland. Wagons may be pulled by horses or a tractor. Make a toy in Santa’s Workshop.

  • Wagon rides roll rain or snow. Wagons are not heated, so dress appropriately.
  • Enjoy special performances and demonstrations featuring farm animals in the Arena.
  • Discover a miniature train display in the classroom.
  • Visit Santa in the Theater. Purchase professional photographs or take your own photos.
  • Explore the Farmpark Gift Shop.
  • Snacks and beverages are available.
  • Pony rides in the Arena

This event sells out very quickly every year. The best way to make sure you can get tickets is to become a LakeFarmpark member, as tickets are available to members first.

Lake Metro Farm Park Country Lights

Nela Park

Cleveland Holiday Lights at Nela Park highlights the true magic of the holiday season. This popular annual holiday lighting display features thousands of lights, including a replica of the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC. The facility illuminates the campus along Noble Road for visitors to enjoy from early December until New Year’s Day.

In addition, Nela Park also makes and donates the lights and ornaments for the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC, a function it has performed since 1922.

Nela Park Address:
General Electric Lighting and Electrical Institute
Nela Park
1975 Noble Rd.
East Cleveland, OH 44112

Lighting of the Greens- Chagrin Falls

The Chagrin Valley Jaycees will host the annual Lighting of the Greens ceremony the day after Thanksgiving to officially begin the holiday season by lighting the Christmas tree in the center of town.

Winterfest Tree Lighting at Public Square

WinterFest is the annual holiday celebration in Cleveland’s Public Square. Held the weekend after Thanksgiving each year, the evening of music, dance, and hot chocolate culminates in the lighting of the unique holiday light displays in each quadrant of the square and the Christmas tree in front of Tower City. Over 50,000 people attend the event each year. The light display is kept up until after New Year’s Day. The event is FREE and is usually televised.

Tea Times

Gingerbread Tea at Chagrin Valley Little Theater

Children will delight in this lighthearted romp with Mrs. Claus, Frosty, Mousie the mouse puppet, Santa’s elves, Rudolph and other characters. As ever, Old Man Winter will show up to cause havoc with his antics until he is caught and taught a lesson. Children are invited on stage to help sing Christmas songs, and Santa Claus himself will arrive near the end of the show for photo opportunities with Santa and their favorite characters.

Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz Carlton, Downtown Cleveland

Designed for the young and young at heart, our Teddy Bear Tea is a perfect setting for an enchanted holiday afternoon. Children and their favorite teddy will enjoy a delicious tea menu specially created for our pint-sized guests, while accompanying adults savor traditional afternoon tea beverages, sandwiches and pastries. Activities allow children to create their own bags of candy, enjoy holiday story-telling courtesy of Mrs. Clause, take a photograph with Teddy and receive a teddy bear gift at the end of tea. For reservations, call (216) 902-5255.

Unique Holiday Events

December Days at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Festive family fun abounds at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo during December Days. Enjoy special seasonal activities including holiday crafts, live music, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Wolf Lodge, cookie decorating and more! You can visit with the animals in Northern Trek including bears, tigers and reindeer and take the complimentary heated shuttle to the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building. Then take a break in The RainForest and check out the orangutans, otters and sloths.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden

  • Hop aboard the Garden Express for a magical train ride
  • Take a family photo in front of our two-story tree bedecked with live poinsettias.
  • Visit a lively town square filled with musicians and carolers.
  • Decorate your very own gingerbread house with our full array of sweet treats.
  • Let the kids pick out gifts for everyone at the charmingly kid-sized Treetop Shop.
  • Grown-ups can do their shopping at The Garden Store.
  • Leave your own wish on the Wishing Tree.
  • Delight at the creative trees decorated by Affiliate Garden Clubs.
  • Marvel at the amazingly whimsical gingerbread houses.
  • Take the family skating on real ice at the Rink at Wade Oval.

Glow at the Garden

The Polar Express

It’s a magical moment, especially for young children anticipating Christmas and all the special things it brings. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to the North Pole. During the trip, listen to elves read the story about a young boy’s trip to the North Pole that renews his belief in the Christmas spirit, sing carols, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, and meet Santa. Trains depart from the Rockside (Independence) and Northside (Akron) stations. These trips sell out fast, so check the website or call early if you want to get aboard. 1-800-468-4070.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
7900 Old Rockside Road, Independence
27 Ridge St., Akron

Tower City Holiday Events

Enrich your holiday with tradition and join Tower City’s own Toy Soldier and Fairy Godmother in a celebration of holiday magic! Music, dancing and storytelling will delight with special appearances from Rudolph, Frosty, Raggedy Ann & Andy, the Princess and Martel, ride the Holiday Express Train, Explore Santa’s Toy shop and have a private meeting with the big man himself!

The Twelve Days of Winter

Play along on the indoor winter wonderland at Penitentiary Glen Reservation. Get in the action of The Twelve Days of Winter on a life-sized game board guided by the familiar holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Discover through interactive play the many things that nature gives to us in winter as you take a turn, pop the dice, and move along from space to space.

Reminisce with your family and friends about your favorite childhood board games through an exhibit of classic games from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. In addition, a craft, activity pages and scavenger hunts are fun for the whole family. Relax in Snowshoe Lodge with a hot beverage and enjoy holiday shopping at The Nature Store.

Twelve Days of Winter

Know of any other great Holiday events not listed here? Let us know!  We’ll add them to the list.