It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and Ohio knows it. All across the state there are light displays, activities and events you can attend to embrace the holiday season. The following are just 15 festive cities and towns in Ohio that are simply magical this time of year.
Ohio's capital wholeheartedly embraces the Christmas season. The area's popular outdoor shopping mall, Easton Town Center, is decked out in Christmas lights and decor for the season. The shopping center also features Santa visits, ice skating and carolers. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights is also a popular destination for families during the holiday season. From Nov. 30 - Jan. 3, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a magical winter wonderland.
2. The Christmas Ranch (Morrow)
This popular family fun attraction features a million dancing Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music, Christmas shops, pictures with Santa, wagon and train rides and hot food and drinks. It is open from Nov. 27 - Dec. 31 and is located at 3205 S Waynesville Rd., Morrow, OH 45152.
3. Castle Noel (Medina)
Medina is home to "America's Largest Indoor Christmas Entertainment Attraction," which is open year-round and features hour-long tours of all things Christmas. Admission is $16 per person.
Tour the iconic "A Christmas Story" House museum for $10 at 3159 W 11th St., Cleveland, OH 44109. For even more family fun, check out the festive blooms and Christmas activities at the Cleveland Botanical Garden during their holiday show Glow, which runs from Nov. 27 - Jan. 3.
5. Peninsula and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
During the holiday season the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad features the Santa Claus Express and the Polar Express. Be on the lookout for reindeer in the scenic valley while you sip hot chocolate and eat Christmas cookies. (Passengers are even encouraged to wear their pajamas.) For information about availability, reservations and rates, call 800-468-4070.
The Cincinnati Museum Center features several holiday events and exhibits throughout the month of December, such as the Duke Energy annual Holiday Train Display (pictured.) The PNC festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden runs from Nov. 21 - Jan. 3.
7. Alum Creek Fantasy of Lights (Delaware)
This drive-thru holiday light show also features pictures with Santa, free hot chocolate and cookies and gift shops. Admission is $20 per car. The Alum Creek Fantasy of Lights is located at 2911 S Old State Rd., Delaware, OH 43015.
8. Light Up Middletown
Light Up Middletown is open through New Year's Eve and features a drive-thru light display. Admission is by donation. It is located at 500 Tytus Ave., Middletown, OH 45042.
9. Dickens Victorian Village (Cambridge)
Take a trip back in time and explore the historic downtown of Cambridge. Until early January, the town is transformed into old world England, featuring more than 80 scenes of 180 lifelike figures representing typical scenes from Victorian society and Dickens' novels.
10. Collison's Festival of Lights (Lancaster)
The Collison's Festival of Lights in Lancaster draws families from the surrounding areas to experience the unique drive-thru holiday lights display. Admission is by donation. The show runs until Jan. 1 on week nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It is located at 5601 Westfall Rd. SW, Lancaster, OH 43130.
11. The North Pole Express (Findlay)
Board a quarter-scale train and ride through holiday lights and decorations at this family fun destination, which also features a railroad gift shop, a decorated museum and pictures with Santa.
The Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival takes place in downtown Lebanon on December 5. (The Christmas Festival is from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and the Horse-Drawn Carriage Parades are held at 1p.m. and 7 p.m.) This free event also features gift and food vendors stationed along E Mulberry St, Christmas carolers, musical entertainment and train rides to the North Pole via the North Pole Express to visit Santa.
13. Woodland Lights (Dayton)
This half-mile wonderland of lights, displays and festival activities in Countryside Park is a popular holiday family fun attraction. It is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly until December 31. Admission is $8 per person. (Children 2 and under are free.)
14. Historic Kirtland Nativity Exhibit
Featuring 100,000 Christmas lights and more than 500 nativity scenes from around the world, this destination is a unique holiday experience for families. Admission is free and the exhibit is open until January 3rd from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon. - Sat. and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m on Sundays.
Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo is fun for the whole family. The zoo features more than a million lights, making it a magical winter wonderland until January 3.
Where do you go in Ohio to celebrate the Christmas season? Share your photos and experiences with us in the comments below!