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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:

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 all over the Greater Cleveland area.

Read our full guide to the best holiday light displays here (there are a ton of options!).

3. Poinsettia sale at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

When: December 1-2, 2023

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!

The sale runs December 1-2 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with each plant costing $5. The greenhouse is otherwise open all month for visits (daily from 10 .m.-4 p.m.), where you can enjoy the holiday displays.

4. Little Italy Art Walk

When: December 1-3, 2023

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. 1, noon-9 p.m. on Dec. 2, and noon-5 p.m. on Dec. 3.

5. 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:

6. Take part in Unsilent Night

When: December 8, 2023 at 7 p.m.

Where: Starts at Lincoln Park Gazebo in Tremont

Join in on a one-of-a-kind “live” performance of “Unsilent Night,” a piece of music composed by Akron-native Phil Kline. The piece was originally written to be played through boomboxes, but today it’s performed through smartphones, bluetooth speakers, and other devices.

The event consists of a 45-minute walk through the Tremont neighborhood. If you want to participate, meet at the Lincoln Park Gazebo in Tremont at 6:30 p.m. on December 8, where you’ll be assigned one of 4 tracks to play through your phone or speaker (music available to stream/download at or through the Unsilent Night app on iOS & Android).

The community performance walk begins at 7 p.m.!

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. 21-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 2 from noon to 5 p.m.

Advance reservations are required, and you can book your timed tickets here. (Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for kids, and get you as many rides as you want.)

8. Attend a menorah lighting

When: Various dates

Where: Various locations

Christmas is not the only holiday being celebrated this month! You can also help kick off Chanukah celebrations around Greater Cleveland. A few public menorah lighting ceremonies include:

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.

And this year Karamu House’s Black Nativity is being performed at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

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 1-23, 2023, and is open (and FREE) to the public Tuesday-Friday from 6-10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from noon-10 p.m.

10. Ring in the New Year in style

When: December 31, 2023

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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