10 Magical Christmas Towns in Ohio to Visit in 2023

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Ohio is a beautiful midwestern state that makes for an excellent family vacation spot, especially when dressed up for Christmas. Whether you’re looking for quaint and quiet farmland or a busy city vibe, Ohio has it. When it comes to the holidays, there are some incredible Christmas towns in Ohio that offer fun holiday events, festivities, and decor. 

Whether you live in Ohio and are looking for local holiday festivities or you are searching for a great Christmas getaway destination, we are confident that we have the perfect Christmas town for your family. 

These are 10 of the best Christmas towns in Ohio:

1. Cambridge – Southeastern Ohio

A visit to Cambridge will have you feeling like you have stepped into Historic England. 

The quaint town is beautiful at any time of the year, but during the holiday season, they go all out. Cambridge turns into a beautiful Winter Wonderland with both historical sites to see and holiday festivities.

Stroll through the streets of Cambridge, full of beautiful Victorian architecture, lit up and one of the best Christmas towns in Ohio.
Christmas in Cambridge, Ohio

As you walk through downtown Cambridge, you will become fully immersed in the Victorian Era. Take a walk down Wheeling Avenue to see 96 scenes from Charles Dickens’ literature. Each scene has a plaque at the base that will help you learn what the scene represents. 

Travel through the Dickens Victorian Village during the holidays to see beautiful light displays, holiday cheer, and Christmas-themed events. You won’t want to miss the Guernsey County Courthouse Light, a light show projected on the Courthouse that has been synchronized to a fun holiday soundtrack.

Other popular activities include carriage rides, a chocolate walk, and the Christmas Candlelight Walk.

2. Cincinnati – Southwestern Ohio

If you’re looking for something a bit more fast-paced, Cincinnati is one of the busiest cities in Ohio. Across Cincinnati, you can find a number of fun holiday activities, including classic Christmas shows, amusement parks, light shows, and more! 

Be sure to check out the Christkindlmarkt, an authentic German Christmas market. It’s the region’s oldest of its kind. Do some shopping, take a ride on an ice slide, or reserve an igloo for a couple of hours.

Some other can’t-miss Christmas activities in Cincinnati include the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, one of the top-rated zoos in the world, Winterfest at Kings Island Amusement Park, ice skating on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, and Coney Island’s Nights of Lights drive-thru light show. 

3. Cleveland – Northeast Ohio

Cleveland is another larger city in Ohio, the second most populous city in the state. The holidays in Cleveland bring plenty of fun activities, festivals, and events. You’ll also find some really cool Christmas movie history in Cleveland!

WinterLand CLE is an ongoing winter festival located on Public Square in downtown Cleveland. You can enjoy live entertainment, ice skating, holiday lights, food, and drinks. Even roast some marshmallows and make smores over the fire pits, right in the heart of the city!

Cleveland's Public Square is lit up with plenty of lights on trees including red, blue, pink and green displays.
Christmas in Cleveland’s Public Square

Other popular activities include the Wild Winter Lights drive-thru at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Festival of Trees by Cleveland Playhouse in the Allen Theatre Lobby, or even a live holiday classic show such as A Christmas Carol or the Nutcracker.

Cleveland is also home to a house seen in one of the most famous Christmas movies of all time… A Christmas Story! Not only can you see the famous home from the street, but also you can enter the house and take a tour.

If you really want the full experience, plan to spend the night! You’ll have full access to the house after closing, and you can sleep in Ralphie and Randy’s twin beds.

4. ToledoNorthwest Ohio 

If you are in northwestern Ohio and looking for a great Christmas destination, Toledo is a great place to check out.

Whether you’re looking for a beautiful light display or classic horse-drawn carriage rides, there are plenty of fun Christmas festivities in Toledo for the whole family to enjoy!

Popular activities include the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, Holiday in the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark, or a visit to Sauder Village for the holiday festivities and seasonal light displays. 

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a delicious home-cooked style meal, be sure to check out the Barn Restaurant at the Sauder Village for classic comfort foods. It’s about 50 minutes west of town.

5. Medina – Northeastern Ohio

Medina is a smaller town in northeast Ohio, just about 30 miles south of Cleveland.

If you want that small-town Christmas feel, Medina is an excellent choice. The holidays in Medina will have you feeling like you’ve stepped right into a Hallmark movie!

It’s a cute, small town that offers a lot of love and holiday spirit during the Christmas season. 

Popular holiday events and activities in the area include a visit to Castle Noel where you will get a full Christmas experience with fun games, holiday displays, and memorabilia. You can also enjoy Christmas treats and hot chocolate. Castle Noel is open year-round, but it’s especially popular during the holiday season.

Other popular activities include the Medina Candlelight Walk, a showing of Tomaseen Foley’s ‘A Celtic Christmas’ at the Medina Performing Arts Center, and the Christmas in the Valley annual community event just outside of town!

6. Findlay – Northwestern Ohio

Findlay is known as northwest Ohio’s best Micropolitan Community! The city offers beautiful scenery, incredible history, and great family fun. During the holiday season, downtown Findlay is completely decked out in festive decor and Christmas lights!

There is so much holiday fun to be had including festivals, community events, and fun holiday festivities. 

Some holiday activities that you won’t want to miss include a drive through the magical loop of holiday lights at the Hanneman Funeral Home, taking a ride on the North Pole Express, and visiting the adorable Village of Arlington.

If you want to keep it simple, take a stroll through downtown Findlay to see the beautiful lights and wonderful Christmas window displays throughout the shops on the strip. 

One of the best Christmas towns in Ohio is Waynesville, Ohio, with a small town Christmas feel.

7. Steubenville – Eastern Ohio

Steubenville is a city in eastern Ohio and is known for being “steeped in history and rooted in faith”.

The city is located along the banks of the Ohio River on the eastern border of Ohio and is just under an hour’s drive from the larger city of Pittsburgh, PA (a great Christmas destination in Pennsylvania!), making it a great stop for the holiday season. 

The most popular Christmas activity in Steubenville is strolling through the Nutcracker Village. The exhibit is completely free and open to the public 24 hours a day during the holiday season. It features 200 life-size nutcrackers throughout downtown, making it the world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers!

Other popular events include the Steubenville Sights and Sounds of Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 2nd at noon, and The Children’s Corner, which opens on the weekends for free holiday-themed crafts, games, and more. 

8. Waynesville – Southwestern Ohio

Waynesville is a historic village in Southwest Ohio. In fact, Waynesville was established as a town even before Ohio gained statehood. It is known as the “Antiques Capital of the Midwest.”

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, they go all out in that town! Whether it is fun holiday festivals, delicious foods, or live holiday shows… There are plenty of events in Waynesville to enjoy this Christmas!

Popular holiday events in Waynesville include Christmas In The Village, which features exciting live entertainment, carolers, a gingerbread-making contest, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Other things to be sure to include in your visit are a visit to the Yuletide Village, the Season of Lights event, the Waynesville Candlelight Walk, and Christmas in Historic Springboro. 

9. Lebanon – Southwestern Ohio

Located about halfway between the larger cities of Dayton and Cincinnati, Lebanon is a smaller town in Southwest Ohio that radiates a charming small-town vibe that we all love!

If you’re looking for a Christmas town in Ohio with a slower pace, a visit to Lebanon is the perfect destination for your Christmas season. 

Although a small town, Lebanon does it up big for the holidays! You won’t want to miss out on great holiday events in Lebanon including the Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival.

Also, be sure to take a ride on the North Pole Express at LM&M Railroad or do some unique Christmas shopping at the local market. Every year, the Holly Jolly Vendor Fair at the Warren County Fairgrounds features over 40 local vendors with unique crafts, decor, and gifts. These are our favorite parts of a holiday visit to Lebanon!

10. Columbus – Central Ohio

Let’s not forget the state capital when discussing the best Christmas towns in Ohio!

Columbus definitely gives you a metropolitan feel with excellent holiday events and activities that your whole family will love! Whether visiting stunning light displays, exciting holiday festivals, or a leisurely stroll through downtown Columbus, the city is magical at Christmastime. 

You won’t want to miss out on some of Columbus’s best holiday events such as Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or the 12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt.

Enjoy an original show inspired by the stories of Charles Dickens known as “Dickens of a Christmas” at the Ohio Village. You will need to plan ahead and get advanced tickets if you’d like to enjoy the Dickens classic.

Other popular events nearby include WonderLights Christmas in Ohio in Hartford, OH, located at the Hartford Fairgrounds. You can enjoy beautiful light displays from your car, no matter what the weather conditions are like outside.

You’ll find even more sights and sounds of the holidays on a visit to the Christmas Ranch in Morrow, OH, or Christmas at the Kingwood Center in Mansfield, OH. Obviously, there is no shortage of things to do around Christmastime in Ohio.

Ohio is a beautiful state, home to some of the best holiday events in the entire country. While many people stay inside during the winter months, the beautiful state has plenty of winter activities from Cuyahoga Valley National Park to winter hiking in Hocking Hills.

However, nothing compares to the beautiful transformations during the months of November and December! If you are looking for a great Christmas destination to visit this year, we would highly recommend visiting Ohio.

We hope that our guide has provided you with some Christmas bucket list activities and events to make this holiday season the best one yet.

Which of these Christmas towns in Ohio are you most excited to visit?