12 Ways to Have a Day Straight Out of a Hallmark Christmas Movie in Cleveland
Hallmark Christmas movies get a lot of flack for their formulaic approach to the holiday love story and tropes so leaned on that there have been bingo cards and drinking games made out of them. But they're undeniably escapist and cozy and offer a lot of ideas for holiday cheer you can find right here in Cleveland.
Whether you're coming home for the holidays from an unsatisfying job to help save your family's historic inn or a cynical writer struggling to finish your story and in need of a spark of Christmas magic, there are plenty of ways to romanticize Cleveland in only ways Hallmark could dream up.
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Visit Castle Noel
Castle Noel (260 S. Court St., Medina) is an indoor, year-round Christmas experience, but there’s no better time to visit than around Christmas. If you’re looking for everything Christmas in one place, like props from Christmas films, display windows from department stores, a Blizzard Vortex, Santa’s Chimney Squeeze, indoor snow, a 25 inch animated Christmas tree and much more, this is your place.
Hit up a Christmas Bar
Grab a festive drink at one of the many Christmas bars that pop up around town over the holidays. There’s the Christmas Corner Bar at Around the Corner in Lakewood, the pop-up Christmas Bar in the Flats and Miracle on 4th Street at Society Lounge. You can also do some gambling while at Sleigh in the Jack Casino, grab a Christmas Ale at the Secret Cellar Christmas Bar at Great Lakes Brewery, do some bowling while hitting up Christmas Explosion at Rollhouse in Mentor and visit Tower City to get in the festive spirit at their Holiday Spirit by Nuevo bar.
Ride the RTA Holiday Train
The RTA might not inherently feel like the most festive place on earth but this holiday season, that all changes. Cleveland public transit is offering the RTA’s Holly Jolly Trolly, a holiday train that will pop up at events around town like Bright Lights, the Cleveland Public Library’s Reading Nights plus Snow Day 2022 and Holiday CircleFest at Wade Oval. Santa and Mrs. Clause may be on board.
Visit Playhouse Square’s Festival of Trees
The Cleveland Playhouse's holiday tradition involves more than 70 professionally and beautifully decorated Christmas trees, all put together and sponsored by some of the city's more respected institutions and artists. The show is on now, and it lasts through December 22nd and is free to the public.
Grab a Cozy Hot Drink
Take a look outside, people. It is hot chocolate weather! We suggest cutting out of work early to enjoy one of these cocoa concoctions and combat this cold. And if hot tea or coffee is your thing, it may not be as festive, but it’ll still keep you warm. Some of our favorites include Civilization's Mexican hot chocolate, Blackbird in Lakewood’s hot chocolate made with dark chocolate and Phoenix Coffee’s Choccolacino.
Go For a Winter Hike
As long as you’re appropriately bundled up, there’s really nothing better for enjoying the winter scenes than a winter hike. The Towpath at Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of our favorite spots to enjoy Northeast Ohio’s winter wonderland. Euclid Creek Reservation is another favorite, along with the Holden Arboretum, North Chagrin Resrevation’s duck pond, Miller Nature Sanctuary in Avon and Blue Hen Falls (part of CVNP) in Brecksville.
See the Nutcracker or a Christmas Play
Every Christmas season, the Cleveland Ballet puts on the Nutcracker and it’s totally worth it to head to Playhouse Square to see the show. If you have tickets to the December 18th show, you can also participate in a special Nutcracker Tea Party. You can also enjoy A Christmas Carol at the Ohio Theatre through Christmas Eve, Elf - The Musical at the Beck Center in Lakewood through December 30th and WASSAIL! An Irish-Appalachian Christmas show on December 21st and 22nd at the Allen Theatre.
Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall
Nothing will get you in the Christmas spirit more than a trip out to Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. Each year, the Stan Hywet estate is "illuminated inside and out with one million lights, and the historic Manor House is decorated and inspired by the theme of ‘Deck the Hall - Gracious Gatherings’. The hall contains holiday dresses from Gertrude Seiberling’s musical talents, a woodland Santa in a forest, and thirty trees in 19 spaces in the Manor House. There’s also three choreographed songs that go with the light display, Molly’s shop for all your holiday gifts, freshly baked gingerbread from the Gingerbread Hut and sweets like a hot cookie and cocoa from the Salty Reindeer.
Visit B.A. Sweetie and Decorate a Gingerbread House
B.A. Sweetie is known as the best candy store in the city and maybe the country. This candy warehouse hosts a gingerbread building workshop where you can take the little ones and fill up on all the sweets your heart desires.
Go for a Toboggan Ride
Head to The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville (16200 Valley Parkway) and you’ll find the Metroparks toboggan track. It’s fun, it’s active, and you get to cuddle up with your partner while you sled down the hill. No snow is required, so the toboggans will stay sliding through the first weekend in March. Bundle up and you’ll have the time of your life.