Welcome to the holiday wonderland that is Toledo, Ohio! As the festive season approaches, our city comes alive with a vibrant array of light displays, events and holiday experiences, ensuring that there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Written by: Kendahl Plank
Published on: 10/11/2023
Whether you're a local looking to make the most of your hometown's holiday spirit or a visitor eager to experience Toledo's unique seasonal magic, you're in for a treat. From dazzling light displays to delightful winter traditions, this blog is your guide to having a jolly good time during the holidays in Toledo! So bundle up, sip on some hot cocoa, and get ready to embark on a joyful journey through the heartwarming festivities that make Toledo shine during this most wonderful time of the year.
The Lights Before Christmas
Each year the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium shines bright from mid-November through the end of December with their annual lights display, The Lights Before Christmas.
The event features a breathtaking array of over one million lights, intricate and imaginative light displays, turning the zoo's picturesque landscape into a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and shapes. From the towering Big Tree adorned with colorful bulbs to animated light sculptures of animals and holiday characters, every corner of the zoo is adorned with radiant illumination, and it is fun for the whole family to enjoy!
Holidays at The Ribbon
The Ribbon at Glass City Metropark is a 1,000 foot loop trail featuring rolling hills and soft curves for a uniquely Metroparks winter ice skating experience. The Ribbon is connected to a 5,000 square foot skating pond that offers a traditional ice rink experience for beginners and a series of special events and programs. This is the first year that The Ribbon will be open for the Holidays and Metroparks Toledo has a treat in store for visitors!
The Ribbon and Glass City Metropark as a whole is truly a destination. There will be a light display at the ribbon for folks to enjoy while they skate through the park plus food and drinks in Markethall near the skating area where families can warm up by the fire.
There are more details to come, but reservations for a skating slot can be made starting October 16 at MetroparksToledo.com
Holidays at the Manor House
Ring in the holidays at one of northwest Ohio’s most festive celebrations. Each year, 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.
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.
The Manor House is accessible by wheelchair on the 3 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.
Walleye Hockey Season
It wouldn't be winter in Toledo without Walleye Hockey. This adrenaline-fueled spectacle takes center stage at the Huntington Center Arena all winter and many visitors make attending a game part of their holiday tradition! Part of what makes the Walleye experience special is their themed nights and this year for the holidays they are doing Peanuts: A Christmas Celebration | Saturday, December 23, which will include a specialty jersey, giveaway, and much more. Learn more about the Walleye Hockey season here.
Other notable Holiday Displays include:
Promenade Park Lights
Each year ProMedica puts on a popular light display in downtown Toledo right along the riverfront. The tree lighting ceremony is complete with live coverage, entertainment and kids activities to enjoy. Throughout the season, Promenade Park becomes a gathering spot for Holiday vibes and is the perfect spot for a downtown selfie while you are visiting! The display is usually lit from mid-November through the New Year.
Saturday, December 2 through Sunday December 10
Hensville Park and Fleetwoods Taproom will be fully lit covering the whole building with a display of lights along with a big tree lighted tree in Hensville park. Adjacent to the park, in Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens there will be an interactive LED light display in the stadium.
Mid December through the end of the year
Celebrate the holiday season at Toledo Spirits Company's cocktail bar! Each year they transform Bellwether into an annual Christmas Wonderland Pop-Up: Sleigh Bellwether! Enjoy Christmas music, over the top decorations, and holiday cocktails. The Sleigh Bellwether cocktail menu features holiday inspired drinks served in unique glassware with festive garnish.
Friday, December 8 through December 24 at Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter
Children’s Wonderland began as a Northwest Ohio holiday tradition over 50 years ago. For decades, families from all over the Northwest Ohio have been coming to find the holiday spirit at Children’s Wonderland. As always, dozens of classic exhibits will be on display, train rides will be available, and there will be plenty of opportunities to take pictures with Santa.
Main Street Sylvania
Downtown Sylvania is lit up each year with strings of lights and can be enjoyed while exploring Sylvania’s lively downtown district. Wander through art galleries for inspiration and stock up on supplies at the art supply depot. Get the latest fashions at locally owned boutiques and shop for unique home décor. Get a drink at a local establishment to sip as you stroll through the shops in Sylvania’s Downtown Outdoor Recreation Area (DORA).
Christmas Ale Adventure
The Christmas Ale Adventure is a fun promotion on the 419 Ale Trail where visitors who have the mobile passport can get special offers at regional breweries from November 17 through the end of the year. Plus when you check out these regional breweries a special Christmas Ale Adventure sticker awaits you, while supplies last! To learn more about how to participate in the free 419 Ale Trail click here.
It is no secret that a big part of the holiday season is shopping! Visitors to Toledo typically spend time shopping while they are here due to our local retail offering, thriving mall, and unique places to find gifts. So after you’ve made your holiday gift-giving list, get ready for some retail therapy at Toledo’s locally owned businesses! You’ll find a unique array of local boutiques and handcrafted artists to complement your must-have mall items. Check out our Holiday Shopping Trail for inspo!
Looking for more inspo? You might like these other winter and holiday inspired blogs: