Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights | Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds, Delaware
Operated by the Bando family, this magic drive features 3 miles of LED lights, 160 displays, and a stunning 250-foot RGB (red, green, and blue) wall. Mrs. Claus will be on hand to collect — and deliver! — letters to Santa through Dec. 23.
Christmas at Kingwood | Kingwood Center Gardens, Mansfield
A picture-perfect landscape and 1920s French Provincial mansion provide a beautiful backdrop for the longest-standing tradition at the former estate of industrialist Charles Kelley King. Follow the trail of lights through nearly 200 multicolored trees, stop at the walk-in tree for a one-of-a-kind photo op, and marvel at the home-for-the-holidays-themed decorations in Kingwood Hall.
Christmas Nights of Lights | Coney Island, Cincinnati
Thanks to Christmas Nights of Lights, Coney Island water park makes a big splash in winter as well as summer. The drive-through show includes 2.5 miles of twinkling tunnels and radiant displays that range from shiny snowflakes to dancing candy canes.
Courthouse Light Show and Dickens Victorian Village | Cambridge
One of Ohio’s most imaginative holiday celebrations takes place in downtown Cambridge, where community volunteers re-create scenes — complete with life-sized mannequins wearing period attire — from A Christmas Carol. Christmas with Scrooge and Tiny Tim alone would be worth driving to Cambridge, but every night, there’s a bonus at the town’s handsome courthouse: an eye-popping, foot-tapping spectacular featuring thousands of flashing and flickering lights synchronized to the sounds of holiday music.
Deck the Hall | Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, Akron
When Goodyear Tire and Rubber co-founder F.A. Seiberling and his wife, Gertrude, built their home in the early 1900s, they did it on a grandiose scale. Fittingly enough, Deck the Hall is a grand event with more than a million lights illuminating the estate, a choreographed lights-and-music show in the great garden, and a festive gingerbread land in the playgarden. Tour the sprawling Manor House to feast your eyes on fabulously decorated Christmas trees and fanciful interpretations of beloved Christmas movies.
Gallipolis in Lights | Gallipolis City Park, Gallipolis
Gallipolis may be the only place in Ohio where you’ll see fleurs-de-lis instead of stars atop Christmas trees. Why? The town was founded by French immigrants, and Gallipolis in Lights is staged in a park that was the site of their settlement. At Christmastime, the park seems like something from a Hallmark movie, with glittering garlands adorning its classic bandstand, holiday music echoing through the wintry air, and ornate balls covered with colorful lights hanging from the trees.
800-765-6482 or 740-446-6882; visitgallia.com/gallipolis-in-lights
Journey Borealis | Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton
Boasting more than a million LED lights, Journey Borealis is a multifaceted excursion that culminates in a look at Santa’s Workshop with working elves. Along the way, you’ll encounter Jerusalem (where blue and white lights pay tribute to Hannukah), Germany’s Candy Cane Forest (festive trees wrapped with red and white yarn), The Grinch’s Greenland (featuring an 80-foot light tunnel), and Bethlehem (to honor the birth of Jesus).
Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill | Clifton
Combine the natural beauty of the Little Miami River with 4.4 million red and white lights draping a historical grist mill, a covered bridge, and the riverbanks, and what do you get? One dazzling and exclusively Ohio extravaganza. Adding to the enchantment are hourly lights-and-music shows and a singular Santa’s workshop where the jolly old elf not only makes toys but also goes up the chimney to load his sleigh.
Lights Before Christmas | Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, Toledo
Perhaps Ohio’s most amazing Christmas tree is the zoo’s Norway spruce, a nationally known, 85-foot-tall behemoth that takes more than 3 miles of lights to decorate. The lighting of the “Big Tree” commences a truly electrifying event that includes dancing lights in the Main Plaza and 200 gleaming animal images. Take a cool ride on the ice slide or Holly Jolly Express Train, then warm up in the Yuletide Food and Spirits tent.
Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights | Harrison Smith Park, Upper Sandusky
From Santa’s stable to Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, more than 85 unique and animated displays transform a municipal park into a light-filled wonderland where community volunteers sweeten the experience by handing out candy canes. Walk or drive through the 33-acre park, and on select nights, you can schedule a horse-drawn carriage ride.
WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio | Hartford Fairgrounds, Hartford
Turn off your headlights and turn on your radio to enjoy over a million LED lights synchronized to traditional and contemporary Christmas songs. With its floating snowflakes, shooting stars, and candy forest, the 2-mile driving tour is so popular that tickets must be purchased in advance.
Yuletide Village, Seasons of Lights | Renaissance Park, Waynesville
Get your photo taken with the medieval-style park’s Woodland Santa, or Krampus, a fearsome figure from European folklore who punishes naughty children. Stroll past the shimmering lights of Fairy Land and Gum Drop Alley, treat yourself to hot cider and gingerbread, and shop for artisan gifts and stocking stuffers in the marketplace.