Check out some of the best walking and drive through holiday light displays offered all across Ohio here!
Whether they’re driving or walking exhibits, holiday light displays have been a family-friendly tradition perfect for getting people into the holiday spirit. Traveling through the light displays gives that cheery, whimsical feeling that goes hand-in-hand with the holiday season.
There are plenty of holiday lights to choose from, but AAA has found some of the best. So gas up the tank and fill up your favorite cocoa mug because these Ohio holiday light displays are ones you won’t want to miss!
Walking Holiday Light Displays
It seems impossible to list holiday light displays in Ohio without mentioning one of the greats. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights is easily one of the most impressive light shows in the state. Every year, the show seems to get better and better, with light displays and activities that go above and beyond for the whole family.
The event runs November 30th through January 3rd from 5 PM to close. Guests can walk throughout the park, filled with 3 million LED lights! In addition to the beautiful displays, guests can see some of the zoo’s most beloved animals, have a visit with Rudolf & Friends and attend one of the animated light shows that take place at the beautiful lake at the zoo’s center.
The Legendary Christmas Lights at the Historic Christmas Mill is a truly magical event that combines holiday beauty with local history. Over 4 million lights make the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees, and bridges shine in a truly magical display.
The winter wonderland also includes a miniature village, Santa Clause museum, and a toy collection. Guests can even get a sneak peek into Santa’s Workshop every night until December 23rd to get a live look at Santa hard at work preparing for his big day. The Legendary Lights are open every night from November 27th through December 30th.
The PNC Festival of Lights is a holiday light display that takes place at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. It was voted #1 Zoo Lights in the Country by USA Today in 2019! The Festival of Lights is a walking light show that features 3 million beautiful LED lights. In addition to seeing the lights and the animals throughout the zoo, visitors can catch a train ride on the North Polar Express or grab a snack at one of the S’mores-n-More stands.
The light display is open November 21st through January 3rd, with six “bonus nights” on January 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17! Hours are 1 PM to 9 PM, and Santa visits starting at 4 PM are available through December 23rd.
Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo is another spectacular walking Christmas light display in Ohio. Over one million lights and over two hundred illuminated animal images light up the zoo. Visitors can also enjoy carriage rides, train rides along the Holiday Railway, and even an ice slide! Guests are sure to want to check out the Aquarium to see a certain jolly someone swimming with his fishy friends. There are plenty of other fun activities and events to enjoy, so make sure you check out the website for full details!
The lights are open nightly from November 20th through December 31st, with a tree lighting ceremony at 6 PM on November 20th.
Stop by the Franklin Park Conservatory from 4 PM to 9 PM, November 14th through January 10th to enjoy the incredible Conservatory Aglow Christmas lights display! The outdoor Conservatory experience will be twinkling, glowing and magical thanks to thousands of lights presented in stunning displays. New this year is a Candyland scene complete with a life-size gingerbread hour and a magical train!
As a AAA member, you can receive a discount for admission on our discounts and rewards page to enjoy the fun at even better pricing!
Drive-Through Holiday Light Displays in Central Ohio
Light Up Middletown has been a Middletown holiday tradition for 21 years. The drive-through holiday light show has a mission to raise funds for improvements to Middletown City Parks. Admission is by cash donation, meaning you set the price, and the money goes towards a great cause! Donations received at the gate have allowed Middletown to plant trees, plan electrical updates, and repave roads in Smith Park.
The holiday light display is open every night from November 26th through December 31st from 6 PM until 10 PM. Visits with Santa take place on Friday and Saturday nights so that the little ones can get in some last-minute Christmas wishes!
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights is an incredible drive-through holiday light display that has been around since 1999. The three-mile show, open November 30th through January 3rd, takes you through the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds.
Guests can stay cozy and social distancing conscious in the comfort of their cars and listen to holiday music as they drive through and admire all of the beautiful displays. When finished, they can head across the street to Cross Creek Campgrounds for a visit at Santa’s House for hot chocolate, a visit to the gift store, or a picture with Mr. Claus himself.
Located at Lakeshore Park, Ashtabula County’s Lights on the Lake is the largest holiday light display on Lake Erie. This drive-through light show features over 70 themed displays set on rolling hills with Lake Erie serving as a beautiful backdrop. The show is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 27th through December 27th.
These are just some of the amazing holiday light displays that Ohio has to offer.
If you know of other displays that you love, we encourage you to share them with us. And as always, AAA wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!