Events

The Most Festive Things to Do in Cleveland This Holiday Season

Published On 11/17/2017 Published On 11/17/2017
November
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
November
Friday
Nov 17
Since its founding in 2013, the Cleveland Flea has come to epitomize the city’s Rust Belt chic aesthetic. For the three remaining Holiday Flea events, the Flea moves from its usual AsiaTown location into the Ohio City building formerly occupied by Unique Thrift. Grab a quirky local-flavor gift for friends or just enjoy the local food and booze.
Cost: Bring cash or card for food, drinks, and gifts.
Saturday
Nov 18
Imagine a Halloween haunted house that’s been hijacked by Christmas elves and you might get something like Kringle’s Inventionasium in Tower City, which features a nationally acclaimed Santa (suck it, New York) and a build-your-own-toy laboratory.
Cost: $18-48 per ticket, so you can decide how much you really like your niece or nephew.
Saturday
Nov 18
Everyone’s favorite Christmas-adjacent board game gets blown up several sizes at the Candyland Has Gone Wild exhibit at Penitentiary Glen. Afterward, you can lean into the Cleveland winter by venturing out into the beautiful glen (snowshoe rental is available).
Cost: Free admission.
Friday
Nov 24
Every year, the Cleveland Botanical Garden creates both an indoor and outdoor wonderland with its Glow winter display. Visit the garden for a two-story tree, gingerbread houses, and a Polar Express-like train ride through the seasonal exhibits.
Cost: $16 for adults, free for Botanical Garden members.
Friday
Nov 24
Larchmere is a scenic, not-too-developed neighborhood on the Cleveland-Shaker border. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride down the street or just walk along for its boutique shops and criminally underrated restaurants.
Cost: Free to get in, but bring cash for the carriages.
Friday
Nov 24
Acclaimed Tremont bar The Spotted Owl will be getting a Christmas-y decor overhaul for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it joins the national Miracle pop-up bar network. Cocktails promise to be Christmas-themed but high-octane, and a portion of the night's proceeds will go to Action Against Hunger.
Cost: Most drinks will be in the $8-$13 range, and you’ll have to try at least a couple, right? For Christmas?
Saturday
Nov 25
Now in its 29th year, Great Lakes Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is a tradition we’re not even close to sick of. We’d put it right up there with A Muppet Christmas Carol.
Cost: Tickets are $28-$75, or $26 with a student ID.
Saturday
Nov 25
Join the good folks at #rake (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere) for Hashtaglunchbag Cleveland Thanksgiving Edition. Participants make and bag lunches for Clevelanders in need to a high-energy soundtrack inside a converted warehouse.
Cost: $10 for entry.
Saturday
Nov 25
Celebrate the beauty of the recently renovated Public Square with Winterfest 2017. Food trucks, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and ice skating all lead up to the ceremonial tree lighting.
Cost: Bring cash for food and rides.
December
The Christmas Story House
The Christmas Story House | Juli Scalzi/Shutterstock
December
Friday
Dec 1

Uncover Cleveland's Hidden Plant Treasures

Uncover Cleveland's Hidden Plant Treasures

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
Not many Clevelanders know about the Rockefeller Greenhouse, which makes for a quiet, warm spot in the winter; this December, it will be filled with bright red poinsettias. The flowers are for sale December 1-2, but the display will last through January 5.
Cost: Poinsettias are $5, but admission to the greenhouse is free.
Friday
Dec 1
Founded in 1915 and debuting many of Langston Hughes’ plays, Cleveland’s Karamu House is the oldest African-American theater in America. A Holiday Jazz Revue at Karamu will feature jazz standards and holiday classics from icons like Ella Fitzgerald and Irving Berlin.
Cost: $37, or $15 with student ID.
Saturday
Dec 2
Get an early start on holiday drinking as an enormous gathering of Santas -- sexy or otherwise -- descends on the Flats East Bank for the CLE SantaCon Bar Crawl. Time to bring out your best St. Nick gear.
Cost: The bar crawl is free, but the drinks are not.
Saturday
Dec 2
Beloved nerd bar Sidequest hosts a Hogwarts-style End of Term Feast -- complete with all-out magic decor and real-life owls -- to raise money for the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. Tickets get you a six-course meal catered by Clark Pope of the esteemed Pope’s Kitchen.
Cost: $125 (or four galleons and 17 sickles) covers all food and drink.
Monday
Dec 4
Now in its 10th year, Cleveland Playhouse’s staged production of A Christmas Story excellently translates the classic movie’s cinematic charms. We want it on record that Mike Polk would make an excellent grown-up Ralphie.
Cost: Tickets range from $25 to $90.
Saturday
Dec 2
Joining the multitude of Cleveland-area winter revelry events is the Holiday Circlefest at University Circle, which for this year is expanding to two whole days. In addition to the obligatory open-air shopping, ice skating, and carriage rides, admission Sunday will be free to the area’s esteemed museums.
Cost: Ice skating is $2, and skate rentals are $3. Bring cash for food and rides.
Wednesday
Dec 6
The Cleveland Public Theatre steps out from its Gordon Square home to present The Santaland Diaries, a one-man stage adaptation of Sedaris’ well-loved, raunchy account of his time as a Macy’s Christmas elf. Leave the young elves at home for this one.
Cost: Tickets are $32.50.
Wednesday
Dec 6
Many an East Sider has fond memories of field trips to Lake Farm Park. Bring on the nostalgia with the family-friendly Country Lights event, featuring a wagon ride through the farm park’s light display and a charmingly old-school toy workshop.
Cost: $15 per person.
Wednesday
Dec 6
Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet gets remixed in 'The Hip Hop Nutcracker,' which transplants the action to 1980s Brooklyn.
Cost: Tickets range from $10 to $59.
Friday
Dec 8
General Electric’s Nela Park campus has been drawing visitors to East Cleveland since 1924 for its Christmas lights displays. Now, for the first time since the '50s, GE will open the gates so visitors can see the entirety of the 92-acre campus.
Cost: Free to enter (or drive by).
Saturday
Dec 9
Described by some as punk polka, the Chardon Polka Band makes music you can rock out to even if you don’t know who Frank Yankovic is. This day-drinking brunch on the West Bank comes complete with photo opps with Santa and Krampus, a sort of evil version of St. Nick.
Cost: $10 for admission, but food ($14-$19) and drinks ($9-$12) are not included.
Saturday
Dec 9
Get a head start on your New Year's resolution to run one time a year with the Santas in the Tremont one-mile walk and run. Reward yourself for your hard work with Great Lakes beer, Tito’s vodka, and the highest concentration of great restaurants Cleveland has to offer.
Cost: $25 gets you an event shirt, a Santa hat, and a post-race beer.
Saturday
Dec 9
Here's what to expect from Wintertide, a holiday celebration in Cleveland’s premiere arts district: pop-up music, theatre performances, a fire pit with s’mores, and of course, a morning screening of A Christmas Story (for $1!) at the beloved Capitol Theatre.
Cost: Free admission, but bring money for food, drink, and one of many theatrical productions -- like "The Loush Sisters Get Hard for the Holidays," a Die Hard-themed cabaret -- after dark.
Saturday
Dec 9
We still doing the ugly sweater thing? OK, cool. Join the Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl in western Lakewood featuring LED bracelets and drink specials. At least it will distract us from having to watch the Browns the next day.
Cost: Tickets are $15-$40.50, depending on how seriously you take your ugly sweater bar crawls.
Sunday
Dec 10
Beloved Cleveland staple Lolly the Trolley offers two Holiday Lights tours throughout December: one highlighting displays downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods, and the other with a special stop at Tremont’s Christmas Story House & Museum.
Cost: $16 for the lights tour and $24 for the extended Christmas Story version.
Monday
Dec 11
If you too dream of a six-course, meat-centered feast, then Carnivore Christmas is a must-hit event. The event features courses crafted by the Lady Butchers of Saucisson, Cleveland’s most badass butcher shop, and drinks from two of this year’s brightest new bars: Terrestrial, Battery Park’s brewery, and LBM, Lakewood’s viking-themed cocktail bar.
Cost: $70 for all courses and accompanying drinks.
Friday
Dec 15
Every third Friday in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, an old converted warehouse comes to life with local art displays, music, food, and booze. The December Third Fridays will turn 78th Street Studio into a veritable gift bazaar for the curious, artistic, and offbeat.
Cost: Food and drink is $5-$12; art and gift costs vary widely. 
Friday
Dec 15
For one weekend only, the Cleveland Ballet will put on Tchaikovsky's famous The Nutcracker Suite. Trust us: It’s kinda boring as a kid, but cool as hell to see as an adult. Sunday matinee-goers have the chance to meet the cast at tea afterward.
Cost: $25-$45, and $15 extra for the Nutcracker Tea on Sunday.
Sunday
Dec 17
You’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life a dozen times by now, but you’ve never had Arizona State film professor (and Northeast Ohio native) Joe Fortunato provide commentary on the behind-the-scenes story and how to “read” the film like a moviemaker. That will change when Cleveland Cinematheque brings Fortunato in for a special screening for film and holiday lovers alike.
Cost: $12 or $9 for Cinematheque members.
Monday
Dec 18
If there’s two things Clevelanders love about Christmas, it’s quoting Will Ferrell in Elf and drinking Great Lakes Christmas Ale -- and in the tasting room at Great Lakes on this day, they will be able to do both. “You sit on a throne of lies!” *sip* There. Feels good.  
Cost: TBD.
Wednesday
Dec 20
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Think & Drink series is a wonderful pairing of local beer and science. This month’s subject is the winter solstice, and the beer will come from the creative brewmasters at Platform Beer Co.
Cost: $8 for museum/event admission, and $5 for beer tickets.
Saturday
Dec 23
“Raise your beer,” goes the song from The Modern Electric, “it’s Christmas on the northcoast.” The sincere, energetic pop from this local trio will make it feel that way.
Cost: $10 in advance, $13 at the door.
Saturday
Dec 23
Holiday drinking is always more fun with a cause. Join the 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Rock Bar Crawl in raising money for the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland. Your $15 will get you a holiday-themed hat, drink specials at the participating bars, and a case of the holiday fuzzies (or maybe that’s the shot you just took from the ice luge).
Cost: $15 pre-sale, $20 day of.
Saturday
Dec 23
You will never recover the glorious joy of Christmas in your childhood, but thanks to Cleveland's The Ex-Boyfriends, you can experience the soundtrack again. Terrestrial Brewing hosts The Ex-Boyfriends for the Holidays, an unplugged event featuring some Third Eye Blind, No Diggity, and holiday tunes.
Cost: TBD.
Sunday
Dec 31
Lakewood’s favorite bowling alley/bar is ringing in 2018 with a retro sci-fi-themed From Venus to the Valley NYE Dance. Come in your grooviest space gear.
Cost: $12 pre-sale, $15 day of.
Sunday
Dec 31
Cleveland’s favorite grungy sons return home for a retro '90s-themed New Year's Eve show in one of the city’s greatest music venues.
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of show.
Sunday
Dec 31
For Downtown glitz and glamour, The 9 is as ritzy as it gets. The complex will be hosting an appropriately opulent Decades & Diamonds party in its cocktail lounge, The Vault, which is situated inside a still-preserved, centuries-old bank vault.
Cost: $172, and another $600 if you’d like to stay the night at the hotel (which might be cheaper than catching an Uber that night, honestly).
Sunday
Dec 31
If staying up till midnight is getting a little late for you, you might want to consider the Noon Year's Eve Lunch Cruise aboard the Cleveland-famous river cruise ship The Nautica Queen. There will be a DJ, a champagne toast, and a countdown to 12pm. Get your partying done early and catch that Twilight Zone marathon.
Cost: $30.29 for the cruise and food.