Plan a magical holiday adventure and take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season in and around Toledo!
The holiday season is here, along with the anticipation of gathering once again with family and friends visiting from out of town. After enjoying a home-cooked meal while reconnecting, it’s time to get some fresh air and explore the numerous holiday events in the Toledo area. From luminous holiday light displays and Christmas tree lightings, to horse-drawn sleigh rides and historic homes decked out for the holidays, there’s plenty of festivities everyone is sure to love!
Lights Before Christmas
The annual Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, voted Best Zoo Lights two years in a row by USA Today Readers, is ready to dazzle visitors beginning Friday, Nov. 18 through Dec. 31. The Toledo Zoo is once again in the running for the 2022 USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Contest among 20 other amazing zoos from across the country. Love the Lights Before Christmas as much as we do? Make sure to click here to vote daily for the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium.
It’s not just the amazing lights that attract thousands of visitors to the zoo each year. There are tons of family activities too! Check out the list of Rides and Activities happening during the 2022 Lights Before Christmas:
Ice Slide / $3
Fly down on personal or inner tubes built for two!
Carousel / $3
Indoor African Animal Carousel
Ice Carving Demo / free with admission
Thursdays in Dec. at 6 p.m. in Main Plaza
Holly Jolly Express / $3
Holiday train ride through Africa!
Fri., Sat., Sun. only, weather permitting
Swanton Model Train Railroad Club / free with admission
Starting 5 p.m. daily in the Café
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Can’t get enough of the rides? Purchase a Bundle that can be used toward any of the above rides or activities. Buy a 4-Pass or 7-Pass Bundle to use throughout December 31, or purchase the Wild Pass for unlimited rides on date of purchase.
Lights Before Christmas run Nov. 18 through Dec. 31, Monday through Thursday from 3-8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 3-9 p.m. The Zoo remains open for one additional hour after gates close to allow guests to complete their visit. The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Fri, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Gardens.
Hensville Lights are Back!
Join in on the fun and help kick off the holiday season while witnessing the lighting of the 45-foot tree at Hensville Park on Friday, November 18. Toledo’s Light Up the City family-friendly celebration will begin at 5 p.m. with music and festive drinks for purchase at Fleetwood’s Tap Room.
The lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. You can then continue your fun at the Huntington Center as the Toledo Walleye take on Wheeling at 7:15 p.m. More Light up the City festivities will also be held around the corner in Promenade Park from 4:30 to 9 p.m. as ProMedica and 13abc celebrate the Hope for the Holidays. Pro Tip: Grab a DORA cup to go from any participating restaurant or bar location throughout Hensville and stroll to check out the lights.
Hensville Lights will continue to shine on from Saturday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 1 and are presented by Lexus of Toledo and IBEW Local 245.
Holidays in the Manor House
Ring in the holidays at one of northwest Ohio’s most festive celebrations. The 47th annual Holidays at the Manor House returns Dec. 1-16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. A bonus? Admission is free!
Each year, generous volunteers from the community transform over 30 areas of the 30,000-square-foot Manor House into a holiday wonderland. Tour the house and see why more than 40,000 people make Holidays at the Manor House part of their holiday tradition.
In addition to experiencing Toledo’s iconic Georgian Colonial Manor House all decked out, families can enjoy more holiday fun on the estate grounds with the following festivities planned:
- Visit Metroparks Hall on the same dates from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to see the model train exhibit by the Swanton Area Railroad and Model Club. Reservations will not be required to see the trains, however a limited number of people will be allowed inside the building at one time.
- Make a s'more Dec. 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11, noon to 8 p.m., sponsored by The Andersons.
- Holidays on a Carriage takes place Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations open Nov. 1.
- Also, enjoy a walk along the lighted trails on the grounds surrounding the Manor House.
The Manor House is accessible by wheelchair on the three floors decorated for Holidays. The elevator is 35 x 40 inches and does not accommodate most scooters. Thanks to a donation from The Ability Center of Toledo, there is one standard 18-inch wheelchair available to borrow on a first come, first served basis.
Pro Tips: 1) Bring a pair of mittens, a hat and/or scarf and place them on the mitten tree located in the lower level of the Manor House; 2) Please note that strollers are not permitted inside the house.
More Holiday Fun in Northwest Ohio!
With more free time around the holidays, and with guests visiting from out of town, a short trip just outside Toledo is a fabulous idea! Here’s a few suggestions to discover new traditions while enjoying a change of scenery.
Sauder Village Holiday Happenings
Head about one hour west of Toledo to Archbold, Ohio and step back in time at Sauder Village. The living history village offers holiday events for the entire family and adults-only holiday cheer. While visiting, make sure to stop in at the Barn Restaurant for a home-style meal. Located at the entrance of Sauder Village, the Barn Restaurant serves up classic comfort food including Barn chicken, roast beef, real mashed potatoes, delicious sides, salads, and homemade soups. All pies, dinner rolls and breads are baked fresh at the Doughbox Bakery, adjacent to the Barn Restaurant.
1920s Holidays on Main Street
1920s Main Street will be “decking the halls” with holiday lights, 1920s window décor, and a 20-foot Christmas Tree on Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and 10 only. Learn about holiday activities in 1920s stores. Take a train or trolley ride (weather permitting), watch a short holiday film, enjoy carolers singing, and visit the animals in the livery. Enjoy hot beverages and tasty treats for purchase at the Soda Fountain and Santa will ride down Main Street spreading Christmas cheer. Register today to reserve your spot!
Making Spirits Bright on Main Street
Celebrate the holiday season at the adults-only 1920s Christmas event - Making "Spirits" Bright on Main Street on Dec. 2. The Broken Barrel Speakeasy will be open with a variety of spirits and holiday cocktails available for purchase. Enjoy live entertainment in the 1920s theater featuring “A Toosoon Christmas with Mark & Chris,” a group affiliated with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra. Main Street will be decorated with holiday lights, 1920s window decor, and a beautiful Christmas tree. Learn about holiday activities at the hardware store, bank, clothing store, jewelry store and other shops along Main Street and enjoy a trolley ride (weather permitting). Pre-registration is required, don’t miss out on this one of a kind holiday event!
Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides in Spiegel Grove
Ride through the gorgeous grounds of Spiegel Grove during the Horse Drawn Sleigh in Spiegel Grove at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums, just like President Hayes did when he lived here. Located in Fremont, Ohio, it is less than an hour from Toledo and worth the trip alone to experience the grounds, museums and library. Sleigh rides will take place whether or not there is snow on the ground and are offered Dec. 26-31 from 1-4 p.m.
A Presidential Christmas: Hayes Home Holidays
Enjoy an evening tour of the historic Hayes Home and discover the holiday traditions of President Rutherford and First Lady Lucy Hayes during a unique new holiday event at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. Hayes Home Holidays take place Dec. 17-18 and 21-22 from 5-9 p.m. in the Hayes Home and museum.
Costumed greeters will welcome you into the home in the evening, a time of day that is usually off limits. Visitors get a special home tour, access to view the “Hayes Train Special” model train display, hands-on activities for kids and refreshments.
A Presidential Christmas at Spiegel Grove: Opening of the “Hayes Train Special” model train display
Opening on Nov. 25, the Hayes Train Special, an operating model train display, runs through an intricate Victorian holiday scene. Interactive buttons allow visitors to control aspects of the trains’ movements along the winding, multi-tiered layout. Access to the Hayes Train Special is free, although donations are appreciated.
Lights of Spiegel Grove
Get into the holiday spirit by seeing Spiegel Grove light up for Christmas with more festive lights added to the grounds this year during Lights of Spiegel Grove on Thursday, Dec. 8. This event is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Spiegel Grove, the grounds of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums and admission is free. The lights will be a great backdrop to events happening throughout December.
Sip warming hot chocolate and snack on popcorn by the campfire. See the “Hayes Train Special” model train display in the museum, and visit with Kris Kringle, as Santa was called during the Victorian era.
The large Christmas tree in the museum rotunda, as well as the rest of the lights around the Grove, will be turned on at 6:15 p.m. Participants will be able to see the museum tree lighting from the outside of the museum on the side of the building with the columns where the original entrance to the museum is located.
Holiday Fun and area Malls and Open-Air Shopping Experiences
Holiday shopping with the kiddos is much more fun when they get to spend time with Santa! Train rides, story time, tree lightings top off a perfect day to please both mom and the little ones. Check out the holiday happenings at Toledo’s local malls.
Franklin Park Mall
Kids can meet Santa and request the gift of their dreams. Bring in your pet and pose for a photo with Santa and much more!
The Shops at Fallen Timbers
Give back at the holiday blood drive, and join in on the fun family shopping extravaganza at their Christmas Market!
The Town Center at Levis Commons
Enjoy the tree light ceremony on Nov. 19, fire truck train rides, photos with Santa, and storytime with Mrs. Claus. Check out the entire list of holiday event to enjoy this season!
While the newest gadget might wrap up nicely under the tree, consider a new experience and opportunity to make memories this holiday season. A trip to Toledo to enjoy some of these holiday happenings is a gift the whole family can enjoy! Of course, be sure to share your adventures in the Glass City with us by tagging @ToledoCVB using #ThisIsToledo.