Early Holiday Events in Northeast Ohio

Early Holiday Events in Northeast Ohio

If your family is in the mood for some early festive fun, you’re in luck. Plenty of early holiday happenings are taking place throughout November and into early December in the greater Cleveland/Akron area.

*We recommend checking with the venue or organization before attending any of the following events for any “know-before-you-go” info, such as special hours, activities and health and safety precautions due to COVID-19.


Through December 22

Light it Up! A New Holiday Musical. This world premiere, one-of-a-kind musical event features original pop, rock, gospel, and jazz holiday tunes and new arrangements of Christmas favorites. Light It Up! is a celebration of family, friends, community, and each person’s ability to make every day brighter. Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, clevelandplayhouse.com

Through December 19

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors vibrantly comes to life in this delightful musical parable. Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, 330-836-2626, weathervaneplayhouse.com


Through January 2

Wild Winter Lights presented by NOPEC. Featuring over one million lights across holiday-themed areas at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, including a dynamic musical light show. Drive-through and walk-through nights available. The walk-through event features dazzling walk-through displays, carousel rides, costumed characters, model train displays, and more. 5:30 p.m. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, 216-635-3391, FutureForWildlife.org/lights

Winter RiverFest. Winter RiverFest presented by Troy-Bilt will transform Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf for the holiday season. New this year: enjoy an authentic ice-skating rink and appearances by Santa (Fridays-Sundays). Experience festive decor, a beer garden and firepits, retail shop and igloo village along the Cuyahoga River in The Flats. clevelandmetroparks.com/WinterRiverFest

November 24 through January 2 

Magic of Lights. This family-friendly drive-through of holiday lights is for young and old alike. Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 19201 E. Bagley Rd., Middleburg Hts., magicoflights.com, cuyfair.com

December 3 Through January 2

Elf the Musical. Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious big-elf-living-in-a-small world comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity in a holiday bedazzled New York City. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-2540, beckcenter.org

November 26-27

Santa Visits Lehman’s! Bring the little ones to meet Santa at Lehman’s, and visit the toy barn so your kids can make their Christmas list full of unplugged fun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Lehman’s, 4779 Kidron Rd., Dalton, lehmans.com

November 26-28

Holiday Lights Cruise-Thru. This drive-through family-friendly event will feature classic lighted features such as Santa’s Castle and the Carousel. New this year will be even more lights and new features such as the lighted train and the twinkling Christmas tree. 5:30-9 p.m. Carlisle Reservation: Equestrian Center — Equestrian Center, 13630 Diagonal Rd., LaGrange, metroparks.cc

November 26-December 19

Holiday Nights. Discover dazzling festive displays and awaken your senses as you wander through the enchanted gardens. Explore lots of hands-on activities perfect for all ages as you learn about the wonders of winter nature. 5-9 p.m. Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 11929 Beech St. NE, Alliance, beechcreekgardens.org

November 26-December 30

Deck the Hall 2021: Lights, Camera, Christmas! Come see the estate illuminated inside and out with over one million lights with the Manor House interiors decorated to reflect the theme of “Lights, Camera, Christmas!” 11/26-28, 12/2-5, 12/9-23, and 12/26-30. 5-8 p.m. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-863-5533, stanhywet.org 

Wild Lights. Come enjoy the wildest lighting display this holiday season. Nearly the entire zoo is decorated, and several animals will be out. Visit with Santa Claus, take a photo at Candy Cane Way, stop by Panda Treats, and more. 11/26-28, 12/3-5, 12/10-12, 12/17-23, and 12/26-30. 5-9 p.m. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330-375-2550, akronzoo.org

November 27-28, December 4-5

Ballet Theatre of Ohio presents “The Nutcracker.” This classic is a treasured holiday tradition for families of all ages. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., 330-253-2488, akroncivic.com

November 30- December 22

Country Lights Drive-Thru. Experience new and familiar lighting displays throughout the Farmpark as you enjoy the festivities from the warmth of your own vehicles. 6-8:30 p.m. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Rd., Kirtland, 440-256-2122, lakemetroparks.com

December 1

Gingerbread Party & Puppet Show. Enjoy this holiday puppet show: The Gingerbread Boy! You will decorate gingerbread treats and get a little messy making your own wrapping paper. 11-11:45 a.m. West River Library, 1194 W. River Rd. N., Elyria, 440-324-2270, elyrialibrary.org

December 2

Christmas Lighting of the Square. Come see the lighting of the Square. Along with colorful lights, there will be live music and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. 6:30-8 p.m. Chardon Square, chardonsquareassociation.org

December 3-5

The Nutcracker. After one year in hiatus, the holiday favorite ballet “The Nutcracker” returns to Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace. With only five performances, this magical production of the Cleveland Ballet promises to enchant and inspire all audiences. 12/3 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.; 12/4 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and 12/5 at 1 p.m. Connor Palace at Playhouse Square, 1615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-4444, playhousesquare.org

December 4

Community Holiday Party & Tree Lighting. There will be a parade around town, and the lights will be lit when the parade makes it back to the community center. All are welcome. Held at the Community and Recreation Center. broadview-heights.org

December 5

Hudson Holiday Walk. Join the Merchants of Hudson as we welcome shoppers and diners with activities for the entire family. Enjoy live windows, an appearance by Santa, children’s games and activities, a hot cocoa warm-up station and more. Noon-5 p.m. firstandmainhudson.com

Family Fun: Chanukah Lights! Letters! Tradition! Join together for Chanukah candle lighting, sing songs, and write gratitude letters to a special someone with Cleveland’s Jacob Kramer, director of Love Our Elders. Share family holiday objects or traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation — L’dor v’dor. Online program. 1:30 p.m. Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, maltzmuseum.org

December 12-20

Light Up Lakewood: Virtual. LakewoodAlive has creatively reimagined the most joyous of Lakewood traditions. This year, we will be virtually connecting the community to safely bring the spirit of this beloved event to life. 4-8 p.m. 14701 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, lakewoodalive.com

1 Comment

  1. I guess I know what we will be doing this holiday season. Great list!

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