Have you sipped spiked eggnog lately? How many twinkling lights have crossed your path? ‘Tis the season for holiday shows and festivities. And what better place to catch them than Northeast Ohio? From viewing The Nutcracker and the city’s many light shows, to rocking out at Rocksino Northfield Park and walking through gingerbread gardens, you’re bound to get into the holiday spirit when you follow this spirited hit-list of holiday and Christmas events in Cleveland.
Here’s our guide to having the ultimate experience with Cleveland Christmas shows and holiday events:
Experience A Christmas Story: The Musical
November 23 – December 23
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” Those word live in infamy and hilarity. Based on the 1983 Cleveland-filmed classic, A Christmas Story has become a holiday classic, with American families making it holiday tradition to watch it at least once during the year’s most festive season. Raphie Parker’s only wish for christmas: the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. Will he get it? You know the story! The stage adaption, conducted by Joseph Robinette, features funny and witty tunes that appeal to any and every family in Northeast Ohio.
The original Broadway production debuted in 2012 and was nominated for three Tony Awards. A Christmas Story comes to Playhouse Square for a memorable run, beginning on November 23rd.
Attribute: Cleveland Theater
Visit Glow at Cleveland Botanical Garden
November 28 – January 4
Each year, The Cleveland Botanical Garden, located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, transforms into a epic, winter wonderland-sized proportions. In its third year, the instant holiday hit now features an outdoor walking tour of the gardens, which features holiday art and design created by area high school students.
The interior gardens will again be decorated with intricately designed gingerbread homes, lights, Christmas trees, and other classic pieces of holiday decor. There’s even an annual gingerbread house contest. And the Garden shop boasts a bounty of special holiday gifts.
Drink Beer and Learn About Hanukkah
This November, follow up Thanksgiving festivities with a trip the new Bookhouse Brewery in Ohio City for Hanukkah Beer Tasting and Latkes, where a master brewer will lead a tasting, complete with latkes (potato pancakes).
Following the tasting, visitors will have the chance to learn more about Hanukkah and its many great traditions. The event is just $10 per person.
See Brian Wilson Play Christmas Tunes at Rocksino
This holiday season, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys will be joining bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin for a special series of performances in select cities across the country. Wilson and company will be playing their entire Christmas Album at Hard Rock Rocksino, rocking through all of their time-tested Christmas-themed hits. The album was originally released back in 1964 to widespread acclaim, with many songs becoming holiday classics for generations. Wilson will also play a few numbers from his solo album, including What I Really Want for Christmas.
Get your tickets to Brian Wilson Presents: The Christmas Album Live! In Its Entirety
Attribute: Hard Rock Live
Catch a Light Viewing in Cleveland
Early December – January 1
Everywhere you go, there seems to be a lightshow. But none are greater than those seen on Cleveland’s Public Square and Nela Park. WinterFest, the annual celebration in the city’s famed Public Square, is held the weekend after Thanksgiving every year. It features dancing, musical performance, and lots of hot chocolate. The event culminates in the lighting of of the Christmas tree in front of Tower City, as well as displays in each area of the square. 50,000 people attend this televised event. The lights stay on through New Year’s Day.
If you wish to avoid the crowds, check out the lighting display at the GE Lighting Center in East Cleveland’s Nela Park. It’s been an ongoing tradition since 1925. You can see the stunning, elaborate display from along Noble road beginning in early December.
Attend a Performance of The Nutcracker
December 13 – 16
Returning to Cleveland for its annual holiday run, The Cleveland Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a must-see holiday event. The ballet follows the story of a young German girl with dreams of a Nutcracker prince, who battles a mouse king with not 1, but 7 heads. Hosted at Hanna Theatre, the annual ballet comes for only 7 shows this December. The two-act ballet is based on the original story of E.T.A Hoffman, with music by the great Tchaikovsky. The run time is two hours, with a 20-minute intermission.
No matter how you plan on getting in the holiday spirit, whether it be through one of the many holiday and Christmas events in Cleveland or by simply sipping some hot cocoa by the fire, Cleveland is the perfect spot. Locals and visitors are sure to experience a winter wonderland filled with holiday events, shows, and experiences!