With a little planning and a lot of ambition, you can do your holiday shopping, entertain the kids, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season all in one day at University Circle’s annual holiday extravaganza, CircleFest. Running this year from 1 – 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, the festival is centered around Wade Oval, where a full afternoon of family activities is planned. Indoors, the many fine cultural and educational institutions in the Circle are offering a delightful array of entertainment and shopping opportunities. Here’s an overview. —Frank Kuznik
Starting at 1 p.m., there will be free horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-carving demonstrations, and ice skating on an outdoor rink (skate rentals available for $3). A Winter Village will offer children's activities and shopping booths, and lunch will be available from some of Cleveland's most popular food trucks. At 5:30, the dramatic Winter Lights Lantern Procession floats out of the art museum onto the Oval.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Starting at 1 p.m., all of the exhibitions in the museum will be open for free viewing. The museum gift shop will also be open, as will the nifty new restaurants Provenance and Provenance Café. Beginning at 2, children can join a workshop to make a lantern and then join in the parade. Or you can take a jitterbug lesson at 2, and then relax to performances of holiday music at 3 & 4.
11150 East Blvd., clevelandart.org
From 1 – 5:30 p.m., families can enjoy a Singing Santa, get up close to live reindeer, join in crafts activities, and listen to music performed by students from the Cleveland School of the Arts.
1 Wade Oval Dr., cmnh.org
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Starting at noon, take in the spectacular winter show or hop aboard the Garden Express for a train ride. Throughout the afternoon there will also be musical performances, a chance to build a gingerbread house, and adult and children's gift shopping, including a library book sale. At 2 p.m., look for a butterfly release in the Costa Rica Biome.
11030 East Blvd., cbgarden.org
Thrill the kids and rediscover your inner child at the sensational model train display, starting at 1. Kidzibits, which also runs from 1 – 5 p.m., gives the youngsters a chance to play with old-fashioned wooden trains and make their own holiday ornaments.
10825 East Blvd., wrhs.org
Contemporary Art Cleveland
Art activities for families with children 12 and under start at 1 and run until 4 p.m., interspersed with holiday theater performances by students from the Cleveland School of the Arts. Guided art and architecture tours of MOCA will be given at 12:30 and 3:30. Light food and gift shopping will be available throughout the afternoon.
11400 Euclid Ave., mocacleveland.org
Free admission from 1 – 4:30 p.m., with the usual music and play activities for the kids, plus the popular Terrace Club Cookie Sale.
10730 Euclid Ave., clevelandchildrensmuseum.org
Cleveland Institute of Art
Unique gifts by student artists will be on sale from 12:30 – 6 p.m.
11141 East Blvd., cia.edu
Cleveland Institute of Music
A full afternoon of holiday music for the entire family includes excerpts from The Nutcracker at 1; Peter & the Wolf at 1:45; "Yueling Tubas" at 2:30; Suzuki students playing violins, violas and cellos starting at 3; and Christmas carols at 4. Adults may want to stick around for a fine evening of string quartets starting at 6.
11021 East Blvd., cim.edu
The Music Settlement
Performances by groups ranging from choirs to string ensembles to jazz groups are scheduled from 1 – 5 p.m., with Christmas carol sing-alongs in between. At 3, look for a puppet show and family-friendly craft session in the Early Childhood Building,
11125 Magnolia Dr., thecmss.org
Junior League of Cleveland
Great deals for both adults and children: From 1 – 5:30 p.m., volunteers in the Children's Holiday Shop will help youngsters take care of their holiday shopping lists. All gifts are priced under $5. Meanwhile, mom and dad can check out the silver, crystal, furs, jewelry, vintage clothing and household accessories in the Treasures in the Attic shop.
10819 Magnolia Dr., jlcleveland.org
Church of the Covenant
The Cache Resale Shop will be offering bargains from 11 a. m.– 3 p.m. At 1, 2 & 3 p.m., McGaffin Tower will be open for viewing and a demonstration of the 47-bell Dutch carillon. A Christmas carol sing-along starts at 4, followed by a cookie reception. The ceremonial lighting of the Rose Window takes place at 5.
11205 Euclid Ave., covenantweb.org
United Methodist Church
Hear performances by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra chamber ensembles and chorus at 2:15, 2:45, 3:15, and 4:15.
1919 East 107th St., churchinthecircle.com
Mt. Zion Congregational Church
A craft fair offers holiday shopping from 1 – 5 p.m.
10723 Magnolia Dr., mtzioncleveland.com