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Cleveland Holiday Activities


Lights, poinsettias, holiday trees, and "A Christmas Carol" -- all are Cleveland Christmas traditions. Check out the top Northeast Ohio holiday events. (updated for 2013)

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Stan Hywet Hall at Christmas
(courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens)

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland. For 2013, the theme is "Heaven and Nature Sing." There'll be music, trees, lights, and floral decorations in the 21 decorated rooms. Outside, the gardens will be strung with thousands of glittering lights. The museum shop will be open for holiday shopping and the cafe will serve hot chocolate, cookies, and other holiday treats.

The event dates are November 23-25 and 29-30 and December 1-2, 6-9, 13-23, and 26-30 from 5pm to 8pm.

WinterFest - Tree Lighting at Public Square

(Ohio Department of Tourism)

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.

"A Christmas Carol" by the Great Lakes Theater Festival

(courtesy of the GLTF)

Seeing "The Christmas Carol" at the Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square is a Cleveland Tradition. For 2013, the Great Lakes Theater Festival production of the classic Dickens story will run from November 29 to December 22. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Playhouse Square box office at 216 241-6000.

WinterShow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden Gingerbread House Competition
(Courtesy of the Cleveland Botanical Garden)

For the 2013 holiday season, the Cleveland Botanical Garden will again transform itself into a winter fantasyland. Features included large gingerbread houses with window vignettes, designed by the Garden's affiliate garden clubs, and the Garden's exhibition area was filled with gingerbread house contest entries, lights, trees, and other holiday accents. Of course, the wonderful Garden shop was loaded with special holiday gift items.

View pictures from previous year's' shows.

Holiday Display at the Rockefeller Greenhouse

Cleveland Greenhouse at Christmas
(© 2006 S. Mitchell)

Each holiday season the Cleveland Greenhouse, just north of University Circle, transformed itself into a holiday wonderland with hundreds of red, white, and pink Poinsettias and other Christmas flowering plants. The show runs from early December until New Year's Day. Hours are 10am to 4pm daily and admission is free.

Lighting Display at Nela Park

Nela Park holiday lights display, Cleveland Ohio
(© Cetta Sole Hartman/used with permission)

The lighting display at the GE Lighting Center in Nela Park in East Cleveland has been a holiday tradition since 1925. The elaborate display lines GE's property along Noble Road from early December through New Year's Day. NELA Park, 1975 Noble Rd., East Cleveland.

Christmas at Hale Farm

The holiday season at Hale Farm, in Bath, harkens back to the 19th century with Lantern Tours of the historic site, all decked in traditional fashion for the holidays. The dates for 2013 are December 7, 13-15, and 18-23.

The Black Nativity at Karamu House

An annual Cleveland tradition, the Black Nativity, written by hometown literary master Langston Hughes, is a retelling of the Gospel according to St. Luke, set to the music and dance of the Black church. For tickets and information, call 216 795-7077.

Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concerts

Severance Hall - Cleveland Ohio
(© R Mastroianni/courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra)

The Cleveland Orchestra and Orchestra Chorus present a series of holiday concerts each year, featuring all of the old, favorite carols. For 2013, the concerts will be December 13-15 and 18-22 at Severance Hall. Ticket prices vary.

Country Lights at Lake Farmpark

For the holiday season, Lake Farmpark becomes a winter wonderland with horsedrawn wagon rides through the festive landscape, a Santa's workshop for kids, a grove of decorated trees in the visitors' center, and frequent visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. 2013 dates are November 30-December 1 and December 3-23. Admission is $5 - $7 and tickets go on sale November 1 to Lake County residents and November 12 to out-of-county residents. Call 880 366-FARM for more information.

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