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10 Best Things to Do in Cleveland in December

Looking for the best things to do in Cleveland in December? We’ve got you covered!

The month of December is full-on holiday mode in Cleveland. You can get into the holiday spirit all month long with activities like Christmas light displays and holiday walking tours, or beat the cold and check out some indoor activities like museums or a show at Playhouse Square. (Find our full holiday guide here.)

Cleveland is a great place to be for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with festivities happening all month long.

These are some of the best things to do in and around Cleveland during the month of December.

Amanda at Festival of Trees
Festival of Trees at Playhouse Square

Weather in Cleveland in December

You’ll want to bundle up, because December is a cold month in Cleveland. Temperatures this month range from an average high of 39° F to an average low of 26° F.

It’s not uncommon to experience a white Christmas season in Cleveland, with several days of light snowfall typical throughout the month.

Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland in December

What are the best things to do in Cleveland during the month of December?

Here are some of the best December activities in Cleveland! You can also check our Cleveland Events Calendar for more suggestions on things to do.

1. Get into the holiday spirit

When: All month long

Where: All around Cleveland

Cleveland Arcade at Christmas
Christmas at the Cleveland Arcade

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas in Cleveland. Some of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit include:

  • Take a holiday walking tour with Tours of Cleveland
  • Go ice skating at the festive Public Square rink
  • Visit the house from A Christmas Story which is located in Cleveland
  • Go to one of Cleveland’s holiday-themed pop-up bars
  • Listen to holiday music performed by the Cleveland Orchestra
  • Take the kids to breakfast or brunch with Santa

READ MORE: Cleveland Holiday Guide

2. Enjoy holiday light displays

When: The month of December

Where: Various locations around Cleveland

Wild Winter Lights 2022
Wild Winter Lights at the Cleveland Zoo

There are many great places to see Christmas lights in Cleveland.

Some of the best local Christmas lights displays include Wild Winter Lights at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the lights around Public Square in downtown Cleveland, and various drive-thru light displays.

Read our full guide to the best holiday light displays here.

3. Poinsettia sale at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

When: December 2-3, 2022

Where: 750 E 88th St, Cleveland, OH 44108

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
Christmas display at the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Shop for fresh poinsettias at the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse poinsettia sale that happens every December. There’s nothing like a bouquet of these fresh red flowers to add a festive touch to your home for the holidays.

This is also a great time to visit the Greenhouse, as they deck it out with festive plant displays for the holidays. And the best part? It’s always free to visit!

4. Celebrate Krampusnacht

When: Traditionally celebrated on December 5th

Where: Several locations around Cleveland

Amanda with Krampus and St. Nikolas
Meeting Krampus in Hudson

Krampusnacht is an offbeat holiday tradition that is celebrated in Germany, Austria, and several other European countries. Krampus, a devilish horned beast, is said to come out every year on December 5th to terrorize children who have made the naughty list. (Consider him the opposite of Santa Claus.)

These days, Krampusnacht is celebrated with parties and parades, with a rowdy atmosphere that feels more like Halloween than Christmas.

There are several Krampusnacht events happening around Cleveland this year:

5. Visit a museum during Holiday CircleFest

Amanda at Cleveland Botanical Garden at Christmas
Cleveland Botanical Garden holiday show

When: December 4, 2022

Where: 10820 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106

Enjoy a day of holiday fun at the 28th Annual Holiday CircleFest in Cleveland. This event features ice skating, food trucks, ice sculptures, a holiday market, and more at Wade Oval. It runs from noon-7 p.m. on December 4th.

University Circle’s museums, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and Cleveland History Center will also be open to guests and offer holiday exhibits, activities, performances and shopping.

This is always such a fun holiday kick-off event each year!

(And speaking of local holiday kick-off events, you can also check out Light Up Lakewood on December 3rd, and Snow Day in Gordon Square on December 10th.)

6. Little Italy Art Walk

When: December 2-4, 2022

Where: 12010 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106-1922

The Little Italy Art Walk is a weekend-long event in December that takes place in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. Shop for unique art gifts, try Little Italy’s delicious restaurants, and admire new murals about the history of this neighborhood.

The Art Walk is officially running 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 2, noon-9 p.m. on Dec. 3, and noon-5 p.m. n Dec. 4.

7. Ride the toboggan chutes

Cleveland toboggan chutes

When: All of December

Where: 16200 Valley Parkway Strongsville, OH 44136

The Cleveland Metroparks Toboggan Chutes are a great outdoor activity for December. The toboggan chutes at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation open at the end of November, and the twin 700-foot-long chutes can run with or without snow!

The toboggan chutes are normally open Friday-Sunday during the winter, but have extended hours in December and are open Dec. 18-23 and 26-31 from noon to 5 p.m.

Advance reservations are required, and you can book your timed tickets here. (Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for kids, and get you as many rides as you want.)

8. Go on a sleigh ride

When: All month long

Where: 15161 Main Market Rd (Rt 422)

Go on a sleigh ride or carriage ride at Ma & Pa’s, a cozy log cabin gift shop located just outside Cleveland in Geauga County.

In December, they start offering horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides. Rides last about 20 minutes, and afterwards you’re treated to Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and maple coffee back at Ma and Pa’s cabin.

Sleigh rides are offered on weekends (and some weekdays around the holidays) when there’s enough snow. If there’s no snow, they offer carriage/surrey rides. Reservations are required, and you can make them by calling 440-548-5521.

9. Night out at Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square Christmas bulb
Playhouse Square in December

When: All month long

Where: Playhouse Square

Catch a show at one of Playhouse Square’s theaters this month. The hit Broadway show Hamilton will be running most nights in December. You can also catch festive performances of A Christmas Carol or be enchanted by Cleveland Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

December is also the month where you can enjoy the Festival of Trees, which is a free holiday exhibit in the lobby of the Allen Theatre. The festival runs December 3-22, 2022, and is open (and FREE) to the public Tuesday-Friday from 5-9:30 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from noon-9:30 p.m.

10. Ring in the New Year in style

When: December 31, 2022

Where: All around Cleveland

To finish out the month, ring in the New Year at one of Cleveland’s many NYE celebrations. There are many ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Cleveland including:

What are you most excited to do in Cleveland in December?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Stephanie

    I’d be interested in places you can go and get family photos for the holidays but with your dog

    1. Amanda

      That’s a fun question! I don’t know of any spots off the top of my head, but your best bet would be to check with local humane societies/shelters, and local malls that have Santas. (I know Beachwood Place does pet nights, though I’m not sure of dates.)

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