2020 Guide to Cincinnati and NYK Holiday Light Displays


While many holiday events have been canceled this year, most of the Cincinnati and NYK holiday light displays are still happening! Find one (or two) to enjoy with your family this holiday season. 


1. PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (11/21 – 1/3) 

“Things may look a little different this year, but The Cincinnati Zoo will still be shining bright as we’re once again transformed into a ‘Wild Wonderland’ for the 38th annual PNC Festival of Lights!

In addition to admiring the beauty of 4 million LED lights, visitors can ride the North Polar Express train ride, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands. Santa will be available for socially-distanced visits starting at 4 p.m. through December 23.”

On those dates, the Zoo will be open from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Reservations are required, but there is no additional charge to see the lights; it is included in your zoo admission. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website

2. Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island (11/6 – 1/9)

“Experience this amazing light show synchronized to both traditional and rocking holiday music through your car radio. Visitors of all ages will be awed by the larger-than-life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and fantastic tunnels of lights! In the warmth of your own car, you can sing along to the sounds of the season synchronized to each holiday display. Christmas Nights of Lights welcomes carloads of families and friends to enjoy this Christmas tradition.

With two and a half miles to drive through, your family can see displays and light shows made of over a million lights driven by more than forty thousand computer channels.”

The show begins at dusk and runs through 10 p.m., and will even be open on holidays. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $7 per person. For more information, visit Coney’s website

3. Light Up the Fair at Boone County Fairgrounds (11/13 – 1/2)

“There are 500,000 individually controlled LED Christmas lights! Each and every one of the ½ million LED Christmas lights that adorn the 1.5-mile driving path at the Light Up The Fair this year, are individually controlled. Captivating displays along the way will light the path with something the whole family is bound to enjoy. Articulately choreographed to the holiday-themed music, the show is conveniently broadcast live to the comforts of your car radio’s 97.9 FM channel.” 

The event is open 5:30-9 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday, and 5:30-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The event is also open on holidays. Admission is $6 per person, and tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the Fairground’s website

4. Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods (11/21 – 11/2)

“Our charming light show is built over a mile of wooded roadway, the only drive-thru light show through the woods of a beautiful Hamilton County park! The holiday-themed displays showcase everything from Santa Claus and his elves, to every animal on the ark. There’s no need to bundle up to enjoy Holiday in Lights; simply warm up the car, round up your friends, family, or a special date, and head to Sharon Woods. It’s that easy.”

The event is open 6-9 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday, and 5:30-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for driving through the light display are $15 per vehicle. 

Walk the Lights is open on 12/2 and 12/30. Walking tickets are $5 per person. Drive the lights will not be open on those dates.

For more information, and to buy your tickets ahead of time, visit the Sharon Woods website

5. Journey Borealis at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum (11/20 – 1/3)

“Pyramid Hill is a 300+ acre sculpture park with 60+ monumental outdoor sculptures displayed in a landscape of rolling hills, meadows, lakes, and hiking trails.

Our unique, 2.5-mile drive-thru experience is unlike any other show in the Cincinnati / Hamilton area and is consistently ranked in the media as one of the top holiday attractions in the region.”

The event is open 6-9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday ($20 per vehicle) and 6-10 p.m. on Friday-Sunday ($25 per vehicle).

For more information, visit Pyramid Hill’s website.

6. The Christmas Ranch (11/20 – 12/23)

“A whimsical place with 1 million dancing Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music. You can make this Christmas season special with the lights, shops, bonfires and train and wagon rides!”

Admission is $15 per carload. For more information, and to buy tickets ahead of time, visit The Christmas Ranch’s website

7. ChristmasTime at Ark Encounter (11/27 – 12/30)

“Enjoy the spectacular Christmas video sharing the hope of Christmas! And the state-of-the-art, 70-by-22-foot LED screen inside the Answers Center really makes the video colors and animation pop.

You’ll also enjoy a life-size ark and gardens illuminated in rainbow-colored lights, Ararat Ridge Zoo, festive food and drinks, traditional Christmas carols, a massive fair trade market and gift shop for Christmas shopping, and so much more.”

The event begins at 5 pm nightly. For more information visit the Ark Encounter’s website

8. ChristmasTown at Creation Museum (11/27 – 12/30)

“Stroll through the museum’s botanical gardens amid the breathtaking display of thousands of multi-colored lights. Each year, we add new designs and more color throughout the garden trails, so your experience is never the same! Enjoy a live nativity, petting zoo, skating on our Glice® (synthetic ice) rink, festive treats and shopping, and so much more!”

The event begins at 5 p.m. nightly. For more information, visit the Creation Museum’s website

9. Light Up Middletown (Thanksgiving thru New Year’s)

“Enter through the tunnel of lights to enjoy a sparkling fantasyland. Light up Middletown is a driving tour through a 100-acre park. Several themed displays include a floating Sea Serpent in the reflecting lake, Santa’s Workshop, American Flag, Penguin Village, Deer Leaping Over the Roadway, Helicopter, Whales and much more – all with thousands of twinkling LED animated lights.”

The event is open 6-10 p.m. nightly. Tickets are cash donations, you set the price. For more information visit their website

10. Winter Wonder Lights at Fountain Square (11/28 – 1/2)

“An 8-minute light show that dances across Fountain Square’s rink and plaza once an hour from 5 p.m.- rink closed every Thursday through Saturday, from Nov. 28- Dec. 18 and daily from Dec 19 to Jan. 2. The best way to enjoy the Winter Wonder Lights is during your 1-hour rink reservation.”

For more information, visit Fountain Square’s website

11. Light in the Forest at Cincinnati Nature Center (12/3 – 1/3).

“This December, experience Cincinnati Nature Center in a whole new light – Light in the Forest! Nature Center trails will sparkle with gentle lights reflecting a theme of peace, tranquility, and inspiration featuring the forest as a canvas for an artistic display of light. The softly illuminated trees and paths will include three installations by OBLSK, a participant in Cincinnati’s popular BLINK event. Throughout the walking tour, you will enjoy music, bonfires, holiday shopping, and the historic Krippendorf Lodge and Abner Hollow Cabin adorned in period decorations!”

The event is open 5-9 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. Preregistration is required. Ticket prices are $10 member adult; $5 member child; $12 nonmember adult; and $7 nonmember child. For more information visit, the Cincinnati Nature Center’s website

12. Bright Light Nights at Liberty Center (11/27 – 1/1)

“Liberty Center is keeping tradition alive with our nightly tree lighting shows this holiday season! Count down with us every evening at 5 p.m. as our 51-foot tree illuminates The Park. Stick around to catch one of three unique tree lighting shows every 20 minutes until 9 p.m.”

This event is free to attend. For more information, visit the Liberty Center website

13. Land of Illusion’s Christmas Glow Drive-Thru Winter Wonderland (11/25 – 12/30)

“Celebrate the season at The Christmas Glow, over 3.8 million lights at the 2-mile long Christmas Around the World drive-thru experience, visit Santa at the Christmas Village Santa Workshop or just take in the majestic lights of the 45-foot Christmas Tree as you and yours warm by the gas fire pits.”

This event runs 6-10 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $7 per person, and can be purchased ahead of time on their website

14. The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill (11/27 – 12/30)

“Our light display, featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, is one of the country’s finest with over 4 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges. There is even a 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland that includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum, a Toy Collection, and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.

Every night until the night before Christmas Eve, you can peek into Santa’s Workshop to see a live Santa at work and then, every 15 minutes or so, watch him check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh.”

This event runs 6-9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $10 per person, for everyone 4-years-old and above. For more information, visit their website


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