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Christmas Light Displays & Holiday Events Around Cincinnati

There are still plenty of events in the Cincinnati area that you can safely experience this holiday season.

Guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit, you can view many Christmas light displays from the warmth of your car or while walking.

Christmas Drive-Thru Experience at Land of Illusion Christmas Glow

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Drive-Thru Christmas Light Displays Around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Information is accurate at the time of posting. Please check each attraction’s website or call before you go.

Enjoy the following holiday light displays from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle. Load up your car and view the beautiful light displays at the following places listed below:

Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island Amusement Park

Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island Amusement Park

6201 Kellogg Ave, Cincinnati, OH  

Come see over 1 million lights synchronized to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music played through your car radio. 

With two and a half miles to drive through, your entire family can see displays and light shows made of over a million lights driven by more than forty thousand computer channels.

When: Open every day (including holidays) at dusk from November 10 to December 31, 2023

Christmas Nights of Lights will be open every night including holidays.

Any cars still in line at closing WILL be permitted to enter and enjoy the show.

Admission:

  • 1-8 person vehicles
    $30
  • 9-15 person vehicles
    $50, Sunday – Thursday $100, Friday – Saturday
  • 16+ person vehicles
    $75, Sunday – Thursday $150, Friday – Saturday

Cash & all major credits are accepted

Tips Before You Go:

To avoid the crowds, visit on a weekday or weekends after 9 P.M. The shortest lines are typically Monday through Thursday.

This event is rain or shine

Light up the Fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds

Light up the Fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds

859-568-4046

5819 Idlewild Rd Burlington, KY

A Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Drive Through Christmas Lights Display, at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

There are over 500,000 individually controlled LED Christmas lights!

Each and every one of the ½ million LED Christmas lights that adorn the 1.5-mile driving path at the Light Up The Fair this year, are individually controlled.

Captivating displays along the way will light the path with something the whole family is bound to enjoy. Articulately choreographed to holiday-themed music, the show is conveniently broadcast live to the comforts of your car radio’s 97.9 FM channel. 

When: Starting November 10 -December 30th, 2023

  • **Open Rain,Snow, or (moon)Shine**
  • Sunday-Thursday: 5:30-9:00pm
  • Friday/Saturday: 5:30-10:00pm
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Years Eve

Admission for Light Up the Fair:

  • $7 per person (1-3 people)
  • $25 carload of 4- 8 people 
  • Active Military and First Responders: Free
  • Veterans free November 11th, 12th, 13th
  • You can order tickets in advance online or pay with cash or credit at the gate
Light Up Middletown
 Image provided by Butler County Visitors Bureau

Light Up Middletown

Tytus and Verity Parkway

500 Tytus Avenue, Middletown, Ohio

The mission of Light Up Middletown is to raise funds to make improvements to Middletown City Parks and to present a first-class holiday event that will draw guests not only from the immediate area but from a wider region.

By working with other local holiday event planners and light displays, Light Up Middletown hopes to make Middletown a hub of holiday activity.

When: Open Every Night from Thanksgiving Through New Year’s Eve

Hours: 6:00 PM – 10: 00 PM – Open in all weather and holidays

*Balloon Glow: December 12, 7pm

Admission: Cash donation – you set the price!

Combination Drive-Thru and Walking Tours Around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

The following holiday light displays offer families a little more flexibility with options to view tour features from the car or get out and walk around:

The Christmas Ranch
Image courtesy of Damayra Ortiz Morales

The Christmas Ranch

(513) 444-9362

3205 S. Waynesville Road, Morrow, OH

This event has BOTH a drive-thru and indoor and outdoor walk-thru experience. There are seven heated buildings in the Village area, connected, for the most part, by gravel walkways. Strollers are welcome.

Many of the displays are viewable from your vehicle as you enter and exit the center village area, or while exploring the outer reaches of The Christmas Ranch by Train and Wagon rides.

When: Friday, Nov. 17 – Thursday, Dec. 23, 2023

Admission:

  • $37 per carload
  • $47 per oversized van (10+ visitors) No buses, RVs, or oversized trucks
  • Free Parking

*Save $5 when you make Reservations online

Tips before you go:

Their busiest times are on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On these days, you may want to consider arriving at 5PM when they open.

Mon-Thurs, the crowds are not as large and your wait times are significantly less.

Check their website for Santa’s Schedule and information on picture packages.

Holiday Fun at Land of Illusion Christmas Glow in Middletown, Ohio

Land of Illusion Christmas Glow

8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, OH 

Christmas Glow is more than just Southwest Ohio’s largest drive-thru with over 3.8 million lights.

Make it a family tradition or an escape from reality. Either way, this Winter Wonderland is like no other!

They also have:

  • Christmas Village – Pictures with Santa & other holiday characters
  • Petting Zoo – Experience our live camel and more furry friends
  • Tree of Illumination – The perfect family photo by our 35′ Christmas Tree
  • Ride Rudolph! – Test your saddle skills with a wild, bucking mechanical reindeer
  • Rides for Tots – ALL-NEW carousel and train ride for kiddos.
  • Build Your Own Holiday Bear – Create your own stuffed friend in our gift shop
  • Singing Penguins – That’s right! Enjoy LIVE Christmas songs performed by penguins!
  • Polar Roar! – The area’s largest polar bear (plus tons of fun photo ops)
  • Shark Cove – Be on the lookout for our giant glowing Shark
  • Christmas Treats – Holiday-themed treats like hot cocoa by our fire pit, funnel cakes, fudge, cider, & adult drinks
  • Cassano’s pizza location inside the park

When: November 22nd – December 30th, 2023 from 6pm to 10pm

Closed: Thanksgiving, November 27th-29th, 2023, and on Christmas Day.

Drive-thru only December 26th- 30th

Admission:

  • $12 One ticket is valid for one person to enter both the drive-thru light display and the Winter Wonderland (When open on select nights) NOTE: kids 3 & under are free.

Walking Tours to See Christmas Light Displays Around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

These holiday light displays offer the perfect opportunity for visitors of all ages to burn off some energy:

Kings Island WinterFest in Cincinnati 1 1 e1574807127206

WinterFest at Kings Island Amusement Park

6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, OH

Imagine an old-fashioned winter…rosey-cheeked skaters gliding under twinkling lights, the magic of dazzling holiday events and carolers in traditional costumes, shops filled with ornaments, trinkets, and toys, the aroma of freshly-baked treats and the spirit of everyone’s favorite season captured in an atmosphere of warmth and nostalgia – a place where memories of holidays past are present; a place where memories of Christmas activities are waiting to be made.

There’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy at this Christmas event, including:

  • Ice skating on the Royal Fountain
  • Seeing the Eiffel Tower transformed into a magical 314-foot-tall Christmas tree
  • Live entertainment and shows
  • Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus
  • Rides (like Mystic Timbers and the bumper cars as well as snow tubing in the Action Ice Zone near Drop Tower)
  • Delicious holiday treats
  • Carriage rides
  • Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town
  • Millions of lights and holiday characters spread merriment, including Jack Frost, Candy Cane, and the Sugar Plum Fairy

When: Select Nights November 24th-December 31st, 2023

Admission:

  • Season Passholders: free
  • Daily tickets: from $29
  • Military tickets: $24
  • Group tickets: from $24

Here are some tips for visiting Kings Islands’ WinterFest and also a Kids’ Guide to WinterFest (that includes a printable bucket list of fun activities).

Purchase Discounted Kings Island Winterfest Tickets Here
sloth lantern at Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

(513) 281-4700

3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH

  • 3 million LED lights throughout the Zoo
  • Families will enjoy searching for Fiona fairy statues in Fiona’s Fairyland
  • Guests will feel like they’re blanketed by stars in the immersive “Northern Lights” light experience.
  • 27 larger than life Animal Lanterns located throughout the Zoo
  • Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake
  • Meet one of the Royal Sisters in Frozen Wonderland
  • Ride the North Polar Express Train Ride daily starting at 2:30pm
  • Roast Smores at the Smore’s Stations
  • Enjoy freshly roasted nuts and other holiday treats
  • See animals inside multiple indoor heated buildings
  • Play the Scavenger Hunt

When: Nov. 17, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024

  • The zoo will be closed all day on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
  • December 23rd is the last night to visit Santa. (Santa visits start at @4pm)

Hours: 1:00pm – 9:00pm

  • Festival of Lights activities begin at 4pm
  • North Polar Express train ride begins at 2:30pm

Admission: Festival of Lights admission is included with your zoo admission at no additional charge.

For the best value, visit the Zoo early and stay for the lights!

  • Children ages 2-12 $5 -$17
  • Adults ages 13-61 $8-$23
  • Seniors ages 62+ $5-$17
  • Children 3 and under are free
  • Parking $10

Check out tips for visiting the Festival of Lights for additional suggestions before you go.

Find the lowest price on admission tickets to the Festival of Lights here.

Purchase Discounted Tickets for Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo Here
Winter Nights River Lights on the Purple People Bridge Newport Kentucky

Winter Nights River Lights on the Purple People Bridge

425 York St, Newport, KY

Enjoy a socially-distanced family activity with a beautifully lit walk across the Purple People Bridge and along the river at the Levee.

Be sure to complete your visit by stopping at the Wish Tree to make someone’s holiday wish come true!

The Wish Tree is located on the Newport side of the bridge approach.

There is no admission fee to walk across the bridge.

Park at Newport on the Levee Parking Garage

1 Levee Way, Newport, KY

Parking Garage Rates (Monday – Sunday):

  • 0-1 hour stay – Free
  • 1-5 hour stay – $5
  • 5-24 hour stay – $10
  • Lost ticket – $25
christmas lights at the Creation Museum

Christmastown at the Creation Museum 

(888) 582-4253

2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg, KY

ChristmasTown at the Creation Museum is becoming a Christmas tradition for families in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Stroll through the museum’s botanical gardens amid the breathtaking display of thousands of multi-colored lights.

Each year, they add new designs and more color throughout the garden trails, so your experience is never the same!

Enjoy a live nativity, a petting zoo, skating on a Glice® (synthetic ice) rink, festive treats and shopping, and so much more! 

When: November 24-25, 2023

Open Tuesdays – Saturdays November 28 – December 30, 2023.

*Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Hours: 5 PM–8:30 PM on Select Days

Admission: Free

  • Parking $10 per vehicle
  • *Additional fee to tour the Creation Museum, Glice ice skating, and THE CHRISTMAS STAR PLANETARIUM SHOW
ChristmasTime at the Ark

Christmastime at the Ark Encounter

 (855) 284-3275

1 Ark Encounter Dr, Williamstown, KY

You’ll also enjoy a life-size ark and gardens illuminated in rainbow-colored lights, Ararat Ridge Zoo, festive food and drinks, traditional Christmas carols, a massive fair trade market and gift shop for Christmas shopping, and so much more.

Bring the family for an unforgettable evening of festive lights, gift shopping, and more at the life-size Noah’s Ark.

When: November 24-25, 2023

Open Tuesdays – Saturdays November 28 – December 30, 2023.

*Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Hours: 5 PM–8:30 PM on Select Days

Admission: FREE

Parking: $10 per vehicle

*Additional fee to tour the Ark Encounter, the virtual reality experience, and Christmas meal.

Holly Jolly Hamilton
 Image provided by Butler County Visitors Bureau

Holly Jolly Hamilton

Hamilton, Ohio

When: Various events available throughout the season

Scuba Santa Newport Aquarium

Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland at Newport Aquarium

1-800-406-3474 

1 Levee Way, Newport, KY

Celebrate a Cincinnati holiday tradition with Scuba Santa at Newport Aquarium.

See Scuba Santa swim underwater with a tank full of sharks and tell him what you want for Christmas! Meet cheerful elves straight from the North Pole and enjoy a Water Wonderland full of colorful holiday lights and festive music.

When: November 24- December 24, 2023

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. – 5, 6, or 7pm – check the calendar before you go

Admission:

To help you ensure a more enjoyable visit, Newport Aquarium uses Timed Entry for Annual Passholders and General Admission Guests.

Pick your entry time and print your tickets at home or present your ticket on your mobile phone.

Purchase Discounted Tickets for Newport Aquarium Here
Christmas Lights at Clifton Mill in Ohio

The Legendary Christmas Lights of Historic Clifton Mill

For 32 years Clifton Mill has celebrated the Christmas season in a special way.

Their light display, featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, is one of the country’s finest with over 4 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees, and bridges.

There is even a 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland that includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum, a Toy Collection, and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.

Every night until the night before Christmas Eve you can peek into Santa’s Workshop to see a live Santa at work and then, every 15 minutes or so, watch him check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh.

When: November 24, 2023 through December 30, 2023

On Christmas Eve and Christmas, they close for the evening at 8 pm, and on New Year’s Eve, they are closed.

Hours: 6pm to 9pm -Gates open at 5pm

*The lights go off 30 minutes after gates close at 9pm

Admission:

Admission is $15 per person for everyone age 4 and older.

Children 3 and under get in Free!

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

Where to Find the Houses With the Best Christmas Lights Displays in Cincinnati

If you prefer to drive around and look at over-the-top Christmas lights, Cincy X-mas lights has you covered.

The Cincy X-mas Lights Facebook page and Instagram @cincyXmaslights are the best places to stay up to date on all of the “over the top” Christmas light displays at residents’ homes in the Tri-state area.

Christmas lights 1837 Northern Spy Drive Hebron Kentucky

You can also check out these Christmas Light Routes in Northern Kentucky.

Use the tips for viewing holiday lights before you go.

Christmas Lights at 5179 Christopher Drive in Independence,KY

Which Holiday Adventure Around Cincinnati Do You Want to Try Next?

Holiday Adventures Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Holiday events, Christmas lights, holiday travel and gift ideas around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

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