Columbus, OH

Take Your Family to These Christmas Light Events in Ohio this Holiday Season

Liz Fe Lifestyle


The holiday season is officially starting in Columbus as the lights at Columbus Commons were turned on Friday night. The display has more than 400,000 LED lights of all kinds of different colors to give you that festive feeling. The experience is free, with free hot chocolate and carousel rides between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday nights in December. There are also musicians that roam around the area and give it extra holiday cheer. The lights will be on every night from dusk until 11 p.m. through January 2.

This isn’t the only fun light display in Ohio. Clifton Mill in Clifton has holiday lights every night from December until January 1. The historic Clifton Mill is located at 75 Water St., and it was granted one of USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards for 2020. The display features over 4 million lights that illuminate the mill, the gorge, riverbanks, trees, and bridges. You can also look into Santa’s workshop and see a live Santa at work who checks his list every 15 minutes and goes up the chimney. Admission is $10 per person for everyone over the age of 4.

The Christmas Ranch in Morrow is another place to visit. This area features a million dancing Christmas lights with holiday music, Christmas shops, pictures with Santa, wagon rides, and food and drinks. It’s open from November 19 until December 23, located at 3205 S Waynesville Rd. Their website says that admission is $20 per carload and $30 for over 10 visitors. They’re also closed on Thanksgiving day.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights light up the zoo with tons of festive holiday lights. They’re open from November 19 to January 2 from 5 p.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. depending on the day. They’re closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas day. The experience features a light display, festive music, marshmallow roasting, different rides, and more. They even have a reindeer encounter. Tickets range from $12-16 depending on age.

The North Pole Express is a holiday event in Findlay. You can hop on board a quarter scale train and ride through a winter wonderland of sparkling lights and fun holiday decorations. There are toy trains running inside of the museum and train barn, decorated trees, and Santa and Mrs. Claus on select nights. The event starts on November 26 and is located at 12505 County Road 99. They’re open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and admission is $4.

Lights Before Christmas takes place at the Toledo Zoo. It runs from November 19 to December 31, and is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event has over one million lights displaying 200+ illuminated animal images spread out around the zoo. There will be a tree lighting ceremony on November 19, and you can meet with Santa every day inside of their gift shop. Admission is $23 for adults and $20 for children and seniors.

Light up Middletown takes place in Middletown. They’re open every night from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve between the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is a cash donation that you get to decide the price of. The event is a drive-thru light display, regarded as one of the best drive-thru light shows in Ohio. They’re located at 500 Tytus Ave.

Woodland Lights in Dayton is a half-mile of lights, displays, and festival activities in Countryside Park. They’re open from November 19 through December 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. but are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. You can take a ride on their express train, take pictures with Santa, and attend special events like Pets Night. Admission is $8 per person.

The PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati zoo is open from November 19 through January 9 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This year will be their 39th showing of the lights, with over 4 million LED lights to see lighting up the zoo. You can also find 5 Fiona fairies in Fairyland, see a blacklight puppet show, marvel at the lights on Swan Lake, and snack on smores. Prices vary from $10-24 depending on age, and parking is $10.

The Cleveland Playhouse Square Christmas Light Display lights up seasonal attractions in Cleveland. You can see the famous house from A Christmas Story on your tour, and you also get to see tons of colorful lights on your drive. The lights spread out around 2 miles. The lights are free to see if you’re in the area, but you can pay for a tour from Company Car and Limousine that will take you to all of the must-see sites.

Holiday in Lights in Sharonville is a holiday tradition for many. This is another lights display that you get to stay in your car to view. There are over 1 million lights and 250 light displays, all built along over a mile of wooded roadway. You can also buy special effects glasses for $2 to enhance your experience. Vehicle tickets are $17, but you can purchase walking tickets for $7. They’re located at 11450 Lebanon Rd., Route 42.

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky is open every evening in December from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. The light show is free, and they have plenty of other family-friendly activities if you’re interested. They’re located at 3319 Milan Rd.

Light shows are a fun thing for the whole family to see during the holiday season, and Ohio has plenty of them to visit. Try to take some time to go experience some of these events, and if you have young children, you can take them to do the extras like meeting Santa and roasting smores. This is a great way to get yourself in the holiday spirit. Ohio likely won’t have lots of bad snowstorms in December, so try to make your way to these lights shows before the weather gets bad.

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