The 15 Best Christmas Light Displays in Cincinnati
By CityBeat Staff
The holiday season has arrived and Cincinnati has plenty of fun winter events in which to take part, including light displays you can enjoy from the warmth of your own car or even bundle up and walk through.
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Zapf's Christmas Display in North College Hill
2032 Galbraith Road, North College Hill Every Christmas, a slice of suburban North College Hill becomes awash in a glorious twinkling, festive glow. Zapfs Christmas Display has been lighting up the neighborhood since 1970, originally created by Bill "Santa Z" Zapf. After Bill died in 2008, his son who has the same name kept the tradition alive. Roll up to 2032 Galbraith Road and youll be greeted by an an array of illuminated figures: reindeer, cheery snowmen, suited-up Santas and candy canes. Twinkling lights pepper trees and line the houses borders; even an iteration of A Christmas Storys infamous leg lamp glows in a window.
Photo via Facebook.com/ZapfsChristmasDisplay
Take a drive up to Morrow to visit the Christmas Ranch, a winter wonderland that features one million lights synchronized to music. Drive along an animated, illuminated route or park the car to visit the Christmas village with seven shops, a bakery and café, train and wagon rides and a toy factory.
A portion of proceeds benefits St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, the Little Miami Food Pantry, Neediest Kids of All and Shriners Hospital for children.
Through Dec. 23. $20 per carload. 3205 S. Waynesville Road, Morrow. Photo via Facebook/TheChristmasRanch
Zapf's Christmas Display in North College Hill
Every Christmas, a slice of suburban North College Hill becomes awash in a glorious twinkling, festive glow. Zapfs Christmas Display has been lighting up the neighborhood since 1970, originally created by Bill "Santa Z" Zapf. After Bill died in 2008, his son who has the same name kept the tradition alive. Roll up to 2032 Galbraith Road and youll be greeted by an an array of illuminated figures: reindeer, cheery snowmen, suited-up Santas and candy canes. Twinkling lights pepper trees and line the houses borders; even an iteration of A Christmas Storys infamous leg lamp glows in a window. 2032 Galbraith Road, North College Hill Photo via Facebook.com/ZapfsChristmasDisplay
The Festival of Lights is back for its 37th year of wintery amazement. Voted the No. 1 zoo light show in the country by readers of USA Today, 3 million LED lights (thats 284 miles of lights) transform the zoo into a dazzling display of color and festive cheer. New this year is an immersive Northern Lights experience and Fionas Fairyland, where five fairy hippopotamuses will be hidden for visitors to find. Ride the Toyland Express train past the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, snack at the two Smores-n-More stations, meet the royal sisters at the Frozen Wonderland, catch a Madcap black light puppet show and snap a pic with Santa, who will start taking visitors an hour before the festival begins. Whatever you do, make sure to do it with a cup of hot cocoa (spiked or not) in hand.
Through Jan. 4. Free with zoo admission. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Prepare to be amazed by the dazzling lights of Clifton Mill 4 million of them. The mill, trees, riverbank and more will all be illuminated from bottom-to-top in colorful lights.
Nov. 29-Dec. 30. $10. Clifton Mill, 75 Water St., Yellow Springs. Photo via Wright-Patterson AFB CGOC/Facebook
Check out an interesting reenactment of the birth of Christ at the Creation Museums holiday nativity. In addition to watching the arrival of baby Jesus, get a 360-degree view of the Garden of Lights multicolored display as you take a zip line through the park. Family dining is available, with hot chocolate and wandering costumed bible characters.
5-8:30 p.m. nightly Nov. 29-Dec. 30. Free. The Creation Museum, 2800 Bullittsburg Church Road, Petersburg. Photo via creationmuseum.org
This haunted Halloween attraction transforms for the season for the second year in a row. Instead of ghosts and ghouls, find Southwest Ohios largest Christmas lights drive-thru event. See three million lights strung across a mile-and-a-half, then visit the Christmas Village Santa Workshop to see the man in red. A 45-foot Christmas tree lights the way to gas fire pits. Save $2 when you bring canned goods for the Hope House Mission of Middletown.
Through Dec. 30. Tickets start at $18 per vehicle. Land of Illusion, 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown. Photo via Facebook.com/LandofIllusion
WinterFest is back! Kings Islands nostalgic winter wonderland returns this year, complete with festive food and drinks, special holiday shows and ice skating underneath a Christmas tree-bedecked Eiffel Tower. There will be an artisan village selling holiday crafts, booze-infused hot beverages, ice carvers, carriage rides and even blue hot chocolate.
Through Jan. 1. Tickets start at $27.99. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. Photo: Megan Waddel
For more than 25 years, this annual event has transformed into a staple Cincy holiday tradition. Kick back in your car and take a joy ride through a mile-long stretch of Sharon Woods. Dial the radio to Warm 98.5 the lights are synchronized to the music. New this year are pixel light displays and more lighted trees. After or before, take the kiddos to the wonder-filled Santaland, open through Dec. 23 (just in time for him to get his sleigh in gear.) A portion of proceeds goes to A Childs Hope International, to help feed children around the globe.
6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Through Dec. 31. $15 per vehicle. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville. Photo via
Located at the Boone County Fairgrounds, this Northern Kentucky drive-through light display spans two miles long with over a half a million dazzling lights and is synchronized to music.
5:30-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Jan. 4. $6 per person, children 3 and under are free. 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington. Photo via Facebook/LightUpTheFair