While the big cities are sure to be lit up and decked out for the holidays, Ohio’s lesser-known Christmas towns also have noteworthy celebrations that may just become your new annual holiday traditions. There is something about a charming small-town celebration that is sure to bring out your Christmas spirit. While big city events can be dazzling, we find that quaint Christmas town festivities make for cozy and memorable holiday experiences. If you are looking for something different this year, take a look through our top picks for some of the best Christmas towns in Ohio that will have you “ho, ho, ho-ing” this holiday season.
The Best Christmas Towns In Ohio To Leave You Feeling Holly And Jolly This Holiday Season
Middletown is a small Ohio village known for its quiet and safe communities with a unique Midwestern flair. During the holiday season, locals turn up the charm and the town is filled with Christmas spirit.
Very Merry Middletown
Middletown is known to be one of the most magical Christmas towns and they host a series of festive events held through the months of November and December for what’s called Very Merry Middletown. Just as the name suggests, these holiday festivities will have you feeling merry and bright this holiday season.
Holiday Whopla Ice Skating Rink
Fashioned after the beloved Dr. Seuss Christmas story of the Grinch and the Whos, the Holiday Whopla features a collection of whimsically themed events perfect for the whole family. From November 8 to January 15, show off your figure eights in the outdoor ice skating rink right in the center of downtown. The rink also features themed days where visitors can skate with Santa or rent out inflatable igloos for even more fun.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
The horse-drawn carriage rides are just one of many Middletown charms. A celebration of Middletown’s rich history and culture, the horse-drawn carriages offer visitors a tour of the historic town’s downtown area, reminiscent of a Dickens Victorian village. Catch a ride and embrace the holiday spirit of the quaint little town on Saturdays in December.
Christmas Glow At Land Of Illusion
A great way to light up a dark and chilly winter night is at one of Middletown’s many magical light displays. The light display allows families and friends to enjoy legendary lights from the comfort of their own car. Another one of the town’s holiday favorites is Light Up Middletown, happening from November 24 to December 31. The site is adorned with millions of twinkling lights, as well as a hot air balloon glow and a penguin village on select nights. This fan-favorite is not only about its legendary lights and holiday cheer, but it’s also an embodiment of the spirit of giving. The donations collected from the event are put back into the town’s improvement projects.
Pyramid Hill Lights
Located around 30 minutes away in Hamilton, this mesmerizing light installation is worth the short drive. From November 17 to December 31, the sparkling lights display at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park brings Christmas cheer with holiday music and modern twists of holiday spirit created by local artists.
Lebanon is a small-town suburb of Cincinnati known for its rich history and strong heritage. During the holiday season, Lebanon makes for a charming Ohio village to celebrate the festive months.
The Golden Lamb
The Golden Lamb is a full experience that has served as an iconic gathering spot for locals, visitors, and more well-known names since 1803. The full-service restaurant and inn honors its deep legacy and is known for its welcoming hospitality and true Midwestern experience. In addition to a memorable food and drink experience, the Golden Lamb also offers a unique overnight stay experience. A fun fact is that guests have the opportunity to stay and explore the same rooms and halls that icons like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens once roamed in the stagecoach-inspired inn. Decked out in all the Christmas accouterments and located right by the town’s most famed festivities, the Golden Lamb puts Lebanon on the map as one of the most magical Christmas towns.
Occurring on December 21, the winter solstice event will be held at Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve, just a short 15-minute drive from Lebanon. This free event is one to bookmark for scenic view lovers. Visitors can celebrate the start of winter and the holiday season with amazing scenic views.
North Pole Express
This magical train ride experience is great for the whole family. The North Pole Express travels down the tracks of the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad for an hour-and-15-minute festive experience. From November 17 to December 23, plan a visit to hear a Christmas story with special events for the kids including a Christmas souvenir and a holiday treat.
Marietta, located in Washington County, is home to quaint historic architecture that makes it one of the most magical Christmas towns in Ohio. A great example of the charming personality of this Christmas town is the name of its Christmas festivities: Merry-etta.
Victorian Christmas Tours
Check out the Victoria Christmas Tours, located at the castle, for an inside look at how a family in old-world England would celebrate the holiday season. Join a guided tour on select days in December to see the installations and displays documenting how Christmas was celebrated in the 1880s. The home, decorated with lights and traditional ornaments, brings you back in time to a Dickens Victorian village Christmas.
Merry-Etta Tour Of Lights
The Merry-etta Tour of Lights is a great way to celebrate the local installations and Christmas decorations set up by its residents. It is a month-long event that features a friendly competition between local neighborhoods in the area. Along with the residents’ display of holiday spirit, the businesses, Muskingum Park, and the Armory are all decked out in the most lavish Christmas decorations that spread the Christmas cheer to all. The Armory features the town’s 22-foot decorated tree that is sure to turn heads. When admiring the displays of the Mary-etta Tour of Lights, be sure not to miss the Holiday Tree Walk. It features rows of decorated trees that are sponsored by the town’s local community organizations.
Coshocton is another one of Ohio’s most charming towns, known for its welcoming atmosphere and celebration of its rich history. Coshocton is one of the most well-known magical Christmas towns with all the different festivities that it hosts.
This annual Christmas village tradition is held at the Historic Roscoe Village. Guests can visit Santa, enjoy hot-mulled cider, listen to Christmas carolers, and more. The historic Roscoe Village celebration kicks off the holiday cheer with a Christmas candle-lighting ceremony at the main stage on December 2. This annual favorite is followed by a lit lantern tour that takes place on December 2 and 9, after the Christmas candle-lighting ceremony. The tour allows visitors to learn more about the town’s history exhibits and the range of holiday traditions that were once celebrated by its residents.
Legendary Lights Display
Head to the Coshocton County Fairgrounds for one of the most legendary light display events in all of the charming Christmas towns of Ohio. Admission to the light display is donated to local community organizations, which is a true embodiment of the Christmas spirit of giving.
Other Noteworthy Christmas Town Celebrations
Castle Noel, located in Medina, is an indoor Christmas experience created by the world-famous Mark Klaus. The inside of Castle Noel is comparable to the magical Christmas towns you would see in other parts of the world. It is also home to an astounding vintage toy collection that brings all the joy of a Christmas toyland experience.
Every night until Christmas Eve, the Historic Clifton Mill offers one of the most dazzling light displays during the holiday season. The Clifton Mill, gorge, and riverbanks are covered with over 4 million lights that have put Clifton as one of the must-visit Christmas towns in Ohio.
Visit the Polar Express that departs from Akron Station for a complete North Pole adventure, inspired by the iconic Christmas story. The 90-minute journey is offered from November 8 to December 21 and features an immersive experience that is much more than just a train ride.