After a fa-la-la-la-long year, the 2020 holiday season is officially here! While celebrations will look a little different due to current COVID-19 safety guidelines, there is no shortage of holiday cheer to help Clevelanders and visitors celebrate the season. There are plenty of fun and new ways to safely celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Here’s a look at some of the holiday happenings coming up in The Land and ways to support local businesses this season. (Note: All in-person outdoor experiences will follow State of Ohio and local requirements as well as CDC guidelines.)
Wild Winter Lights
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Now – Dec 30
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is transforming its grounds into a winter wonderland, complete with more than one million individual lights, hundreds of lighting displays, unique twists on holiday traditions and an all-new dynamic light show featuring a massive 50-foot-tall tree. A drive-through experience is available along with a foot-fueled option.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Thru Jan. 3, 2021
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday: 12 – 8:30 p.m.; Sunday: 12 – 6 p.m.
This year, the botanical garden is embracing the outdoor beauty of the winter holidays…twinkle lights in snow-covered trees and other outdoor elements expanding on traditional favorites of GLOW. Visitors will be able to stroll amid the displays outside in a safe, yet magical way.
Eton Chagrin Boulevard
Now – February 15, 2021
Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.
Eton Chagrin Boulevard is celebrating the holiday season by transforming its award-winning outdoor gardens for the second annual Winter Woodland display featuring artwork created by the students at Monarch Center. Each piece of art is available at the Winter Woodland Auction to help raise funds for the art therapy programs at the Center.
Magic of Lights
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds
Thru Jan. 2, 2021/ 5:30 – 10 p.m.
Magic of Lights™ is a unique and dazzling drive-through holiday lights experience to celebrate the season. Residents can experience Magic of Lights from the safety and comfort of their own vehicle as they wind through the sparkling path. At every turn, the magical route is overflowing with spectacular light displays that bring favorite holiday themes and characters to life.
Holiday Light Shows – Public Square
Thru Jan. 3, 2021/ 4 – 10 p.m.
Locals are invited to stop by Downtown Cleveland’s Public Square, in a socially distant manner, to enjoy animated light and sound shows. The complimentary displays will activate three times per hour between 4 and 10 p.m. each day.
Thru Jan. 4, 2021 – For visitors still wanting a taste of tradition this holiday season, look no further than Nela Park, the world headquarters for GE Lighting. The 96th annual display features more than half a million LED lights. Guests can bring their families and walk around or stay in their cars to take in all of the seasonal sights.
Outdoor Tree-mendous Traditions
Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Winterfest marks the start of the season. With stay-at-home advisories now in place for the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, locals are encouraged to watch the live, broadcast-only tree lighting ceremony on WKYC-TV, starting at 7 p.m. A month-long celebration of socially distant outdoor and virtual experiences will follow.
The Tree at Crocker Park
Residents will not want to miss an iconic west-side holiday tradition! Locals can grab the kids and some cocoa and take a peek at the dazzling lights of the 50-foot tree and other holiday festivities at the center of Crocker Park. While there, visitors can check out shops at the CLE Market or grab food to go from one of the many local restaurants.
JOY at Legacy Village
Stop by Legacy Village to view its new Christmas tree in the shopping center’s main area, as well as giant J-O-Y letters and the Cleveland Floral Wall. While there, check out Legacy Village’s DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) and local shops.
While shopping community-owned businesses is never out of style, it’s especially important this year. American Express research shows that for every $100 spent by residents at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the community, which is 37% more than when dollars are spent at national chains.
Connecting with Local Artisans
For those wanting to give locally produced artisan gifts, the new Maker Town app is an all-in-one, easy-to-use tool. Users can find one-of-a-kind gifts that are sure to bring smiles to their loved ones’ faces.
For Clevelanders who are looking to give the perfect gift to their favorite foodies or beer connoisseurs, residents should check with their preferred Downtown or neighborhood haunts for gift cards. The Cleveland Independents‘ discount gift card sale going on now includes options for more than 25 independently owned restaurants.
Homemade with Pride
The recently formed Cleveland Shops collaborative is offering discount gift cards to perennial Cleveland retail favorites. For those who miss the discounted gift cards, Cleveland Shops gift cards are good at more than 30 area retailers.
The Gift of Music and Membership
The Cleveland Orchestra has a can’t-miss gift idea for all the music lovers in your life. A New Century, the ensemble’s inaugural recording on its own label, was released to great acclaim last June and is now available in a deluxe CD box set and through your favorite online streaming service. For Cleveland experience lovers, museum and attraction memberships are a gift that gives all year long.
Self-Guided “Santa Scavenger Hunt”
Historic Gateway & Warehouse Districts
Thru Dec. 31
For decades, Cleveland’s National City Bank displayed the “Santas of the World” in its historic lobby on Euclid Ave. After being found during the buildout of the Marble Room, these treasured pieces have been recently restored and placed in windows throughout the Historic Gateway & Warehouse Districts in Downtown Cleveland. Residents and visitors can take a self-guided walking tour on a dedicated path to search for and get a closer look at 13 vintage Santas and other holiday-themed dolls from the 1940s.
Thursday & Friday: December 10, 11, 17 & 18, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Saturday: December 12 & 19, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Santa is taking the plunge at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium! Families can sign up to receive a virtual, personalized message from the big man himself and get their time with Santa well before he leaves for the North Pole.
For additional holiday celebrations or to learn more about Destination Cleveland or area attractions and activities, please visit thisiscleveland.com, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our channels on YouTube and Pinterest.
DON’T FORGET: Destination Cleveland’s Concierge Team is also available to help residents and their visiting family and friends explore the region. Contact our team through email at email@example.com, phone at (216) 875-6680 or live chat at thisiscleveland.com.