20 Holiday(ish) Events and Activities to Put on Your Calendar This Winter 

’Tis the season to do something


Your Facebook page is probably inundated with event reminders and invitations, and your family has probably already booked you for a Christmas play or concert or something. That doesn't mean you couldn't use a few more events in your life, especially in late December and early January when you finally have some free time. We gathered a few of our seasonal favorites that you might have missed.

It's a Wonderful Life/Nutcracker Ballet at Cleveland Cinemas

Sure, the cable channels will be beaming out holiday movies en masse this December and we love them all. But movies are an experience best enjoyed at the theater, and there's something about making a Christmas classic an event — to really focus, to watch with others. Cleveland Cinemas is bringing back It's a Wonderful Life on Sunday, Dec. 20 and a special presentation of Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker on Dec. 20 and 23. Info and tickets at clevelandcinemas.com.

Jingle Bell Bar Crawl

Holidays? Are we right? The family and the blah blah blah and you need to drink and you've read this sentence before. Anyway, the nuts and bolts: From 8 p.m. til 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, you can roll your way into Christmas Eve the right way with the Jingle Bell Rock bar crawl through the Warehouse District. For $15, you get a Santa hat, drink specials, a mug and more. For tickets and info, visit jbellrockcrawl.eventbrite.com.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The lasers, the pyrotechnics, the prog-rock classics and more — TSO's annual tour is somehow bigger and badder this year than ever before and they stop by Cleveland and Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 30th for two shows at 4 and 8 p.m.

Polar Express

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is something you should have ridden by now, but if you've been putting it off, the holiday season is the right time to buy a ticket. Through a few days before Christmas proper, the train is decked out in Christmas splendor with plenty of Santa action and charms for the little ones.

Ice Skating

Relive the glory days of your ice skating youth, take the family or hold the hand of your date, strap on the skates and do your best Olympics audition: The rink at Wade Oval is all purpose and the perfect outdoor activity that takes just a modicum of actual athleticism and coordination. Two bucks to skate, $3 for skate rentals, and the rink is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 6 with additional days between Christmas and New Year's.

Castle Noel

The Christmas Movie Museum down in Medina is a little known gem in Northeast Ohio, and it spreads Christmas cheer year 'round. But the holidays are a natural time to head down south to bask in the treasures from your favorite holiday classics that have made their way to Medina County including gems from Elf and Fred Claus and more. It's not just a museum, by the way. There are also exhibits and decorations and everything to put you in the holiday spirit. Visit castlenoel.com for more info, hours and prices.

A Very Last Call Christmas

Long-running comedy group Last Call Cleveland posts up at Playhouse Square for two more shows this year — Dec. 18 and 19 at Kennedy's Theatre — to serve holiday-themed sketches, songs and videos to audiences. Tickets run $15 (or $18 on the day of the show). These guys have won "Best Local Act" from our humble magazine a few times over the years, so they must be kind of funny.

The Polar Express at OmniMax

Guests are encouraged to wear pajamas and enjoy the holiday spirit during this special presentation at 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 19, which includes refreshments and a hot cocoa bar. The folks at the Great Lakes Science Center say this may sell out, so do order tickets ahead of time ($16, or $12 for members, at 216-621-2400). The film will screen again at noon on Dec. 24, though that showing does not include the hot cocoa and pajama elements.

"Deck the Hall" at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Each year, the Stan Hywet estate is "illuminated inside and out with over 800,000 lights, and the historic Manor House is decorated and inspired by the theme of 'Home for the Holidays.'" New this year: The organizers have arranged an animated holiday window in the courtyard that depicts 1920s-era downtown Akron at dusk during the holidays. The event is open from 5 to 8 p.m. on select evenings through Jan. 2. Check out stanhywet.org for the official calendar.


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