Holiday Travel Ideas

Staff Report

COLUMBUS, Ohio – From November through New Year’s, friends, family and visitors will stop to spend time in Ohio and celebrate the holidays together. Located within approximately 600 miles of about 60 percent of the U.S. population, Ohio is an easy destination for a lot of people to visit. From October to December last year, Ohio received approximately 20 million trips from people visiting friends and family.

“We know those visits to friends and family are happening this time of year because Ohioans are inviting people, so we wanted to make it easy for them to find uniquely Ohio events and places where they can catch up and enjoy time together,” said Mary Cusick, TourismOhio Director. The result was Holidays in Ohio including the web page.

Holidays in Ohio provides ideas for foodies to savor, culture buffs to be inspired, families to laugh, nature lovers to be rejuvenated by quiet beauty, shoppers to find one-of-a-kind gifts and New Year’s Eve revelers to start out the year with new hope and memories. “There is nothing like reuniting with family and catching up with dear friends during the holidays – those emotions are exactly what the Ohio. Find It Here. brand is all about,” Cusick said.

How about sharing a visit back to your childhood through holiday movies at A Christmas Story House and Castle Noel or taking a serene horse-drawn carriage ride? Interested in places to meet up for the latest seasonal ales or the biggest and best light displays? Whether you’re seeking twinkling lights, delectable holiday treats, cool shopping, or the excitement and renewal that New Year’s Eve brings, you will Find It Here at

The following events and experiences are a sampling of those that await Ohioans and visitors this holiday season. Follow @DiscoverOhio on Twitter or like Discover Ohio on Facebook for instant inspiration, and be sure to share your experiences using #HolidaysinOhio.


Village Lights in German Village, Dec. 4 (Columbus)

Follow the soft light of luminaries lining Historic German Village’s brick streets guiding visitors to shops that stay open late and offer special holiday treats. Other perks that make this annual event worth a stop: carolers, live holiday music and a horse-drawn carriage.

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Nov. 18 to Jan. 1, (Columbus)

Explore the massive grounds, which transform into a colorful winter wonderland complete with millions of LED lights, animated musical lights shows and visits from Santa himself. Don’t miss the animals inside or in their outside habitats. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

New Year’s Eve Popcorn Pop-n-Drop, Dec. 31 (Marion)

Marion pays homage to its popcorn growing heritage with the annual New Year’s Eve Popcorn Pop-n-Drop, featuring a countdown that ends with dropping a huge, illuminated popcorn ball from the sky at midnight. The free event also includes a fireworks display and other family fun, including hot chocolate and – of course – lots of popcorn.


Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns, Dec. 10-11 (Amish Country – various spots)

What could be better than touring Amish Country’s beautiful inns while satisfying your holiday sweet tooth? Don’t miss this two-day, self-guided tour of 12 quaint properties – ranging from the Guggisberg Swiss Inn in Charm to The Barn Inn in Millersburg – with cookie samples and recipes at each stop. Single- and two-day tickets available online.

A Christmas Story House, (Cleveland)

Movie buffs will love touring the totally refurbished home from the “you’ll-shoot-your-eye-out” classic, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an attraction and museum. Climb under the sink like little brother Randy, or decode a secret message in the upstairs bathroom like Ralphie. Don’t forget to purchase a souvenir leg lamp before you leave! Open daily year round except major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days.

Cleveland Metroparks Toboggan Chutes, Nov. 25 to March 5 (Strongsville)

If traditional sledding isn’t enough for your group, try out the tallest and fastest toboggan chutes in Ohio. The 700-foot-long chutes propel riders at speeds up to 50 miles per hour! Opt for all-day tickets, or even season passes if you plan to return multiple times this season. Single-ride tickets are available.


Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides at Spiegel Grove, Dec. 26-31 (Fremont)

Visitors can enjoy a cozy sleigh ride through the grounds of Rutherford B. Hayes’ home, Spiegel Grove, just as the former president did. At the connected Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum, don’t miss the interactive Hayes Train Special model train exhibit that runs through an intricate holiday scene. Sleigh ride tickets are just $3; Hayes Train Special tickets are included in general admission to the site.

The Candy Cane Christmas Shoppe, (Archbold)

If you’re looking for a unique gift or holiday décor, you’ve come to the right place. This shoppers’ paradise boasts themed rooms including Bethlehem Corner and The Grand Christmas Room – sure to invoke holiday cheer and inspire your shopping list. Don’t leave without a stop to the Tea Room for homemade fudge samples. Open daily, year round.

Walleye Madness, Dec. 31 (Port Clinton)

Forget Times Square’s glittering ball drop. Head to the tiny lakeside town of Port Clinton, where the locals drop a 20-foot-long, 600-pound walleye from the sky at the stroke of midnight! Known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” the town celebrates with all things fishy – from walleye chowder and walleye cinnamon chips, to walleye popcorn and even walleye wine.


Dickens Victorian Village, Nov. 1 to Jan. 2 (Cambridge)

Travel back to life in 1850s England with this unique walking tour, featuring more than 180 life-size figures depicting scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol throughout the city’s historic streets. Don’t miss the Courthouse Holiday Lights Show, during which the 1881-era building is bathed in thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music.

Christmas in Ash Cave, Dec. 10 (Logan)

Enjoy a chilly night hike in one of Hocking Hills’ most stunning caves! Activities include unguided lantern walks on the paved trail to Ash Cave; sitting around the campfire; sampling hot chocolate and cookies; listening to live carolers; and visiting with Santa. Strollers and wheelchairs can be taken to the edge of the cave, so it’s the perfect outing for the whole family.

New Year’s Eve Train & Fireworks, Dec. 31, (Nelsonville)

Close the book on 2016 with a unique, two-hour train ride through the hills of southeastern Ohio, including the best seat in the house for a fireworks display welcoming 2017. Choose from packages that include “pizza & pop” (perfect for those with little ones) or the separately housed “wine & cheese.” Tickets range from $20-$35 depending on package.


Christkindlmarkt, Nov. 18-20 (Cincinnati)

Check out the oldest and most authentic German Christmas Market in the region, which boasts German music, a children’s lantern parade, caroling, carriage rides and more. Don’t miss the traditional German food (including the popular dill pickle soup), and imported German gifts such as steins and cuckoo clocks for those hard-to-please people on your gift list.

A Whimsical Wonderland Holiday Show, Nov. 12 to Jan. 8 (Cincinnati)

Krohn Conservatory, known for its stunning indoor and outdoor gardens, has a whimsical twist to this year’s holiday event, featuring poinsettias in unexpected colors – such as royal blue, lively orange and deep purple. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children (under 4 are free).

Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill, Nov. 25 to Dec. 31 (Clifton)

If holiday lights are on your list this season, Clifton Mill is a must stop. Each hour the site goes completely dark before 3.5 million twinkling lights illuminate the historic mill and covered bridge, while holiday music slowly builds into booming song. Also, check out the onsite Santa Claus Museum, which houses more than 3,000 St. Nick artifacts dating back to 1850. Tickets are $10; under 6 are free.

About TourismOhio

TourismOhio, operating within the state of Ohio’s Development Services Agency, works to ensure Ohio is positioned as a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. The branding Ohio. Find It Here. supports Ohio’s $42 billion tourism industry. For more, visit

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Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

Save the Date – Thursday, December 1, 2016

(Columbus, OH) – It’s that time of the year again to grab your entire family, friends and bring some holiday cheer to celebrate the Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting. This year’s celebration will take place Thursday, December 1, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This free family-friendly event is open to the public! Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting PSA:

The festival marks the beginning of the holiday season on Capitol Square and throughout all of central Ohio. The indoor ceremony will take place in the Statehouse Atrium and consist of a short program, welcoming Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by the lighting of our historically decorated holiday tree. The festivities will then continue with refreshments, arts and crafts activities, games and special performances by local choirs. There will also be a free photo station available to capture your families’ moment with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Refreshments are courtesy of Milo’s Catering, City Barbeque, Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, SPAGIO Catering, the Berwick, L.A. Catering, Metro Cuisine Catering, Two Caterers, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council and Starbucks on Capitol Square.

Come and join us for this magical night at the Ohio Statehouse to start off your holiday season! Convenient and affordable parking is available during the event in the Ohio Statehouse underground parking garage. Parking rates are available at

Holiday press images are available at:

To view this press release and others, visit

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Calendar Listing:

The Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 1, 2016

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Ohio Statehouse; 1 Capitol Square; downtown Columbus


Join us at the Ohio Statehouse for our family friendly Capitol Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting. This indoor event is free and open to the public with affordable parking available. Come and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, watch the magnificent lighting of our holiday tree, enjoy some refreshments, participate in festive arts and crafts activities, and listen to the sweet sounds of local choirs.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by TourismOhio and the Ohio Statehouse.

Information for this story was provided by TourismOhio and the Ohio Statehouse.