InCleveland, Lifestyle, Travel

The Ultimate Ohio Weekend Itinerary For Your Best Christmas Yet!

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Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to partner with Ohio. Find It Here. to bring you guys a weekend of Christmas cheer and holiday inspiration! My husband, Alex, and I stopped at two of the Ohio. Find It Here. Holiday Lights Trail destinations to explore and experience the beauty and wonder of Christmas decor.

We also did some local shopping and feasting, of course! I’ve written up our full itinerary here in hopes that it can help you get into the Christmas spirit and maybe motivate you to go do a few fun holiday activities with your friends and family this season! So here it is…

Day 1: Brunch, Shopping, and the Holiday Lights Trail

On the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday, we decided to take a step back from all the madness and allure of the holiday sales. Instead we opted for a quiet morning at home together before a busy, festive day! 

Our first stop was Brunch at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink inside the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights. We really enjoyed our entrees and the beermosa that Alex got was especially tasty and unique!

After brunching, we walked around the shops in Van Aken and there are so many cute places! A few favorites are Stump Plants, Luster, and Room Service. We also love the Van Aken Market Hall which has lots of amazing food choices. We want to go back and try them all, especially Scorpacciata Pasta Co. and Brassica

During the Holiday season, The Cleveland Flea is doing a pop-up shop called #MadeInTheMDWST which features a wide variety of local artists, makers, and entrepreneurs all in one easy to shop destination. The shop is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm (8 pm on Fridays) through December 24th. I love shopping local and we got some great gifts from local businesses!

They also have special mini markets popping up on the weekends so check their website for more details! I highly recommend checking it out as you will always find unique and thoughtful gifts while supporting local businesses!

Once we were done with our shopping, we needed a little pick me up and ordered some coffee from Rising Star Coffee Roasters. Oat Milk Cappuccino for me and a mocha for Alex! The caffeine gave us the second wind we needed for the best part of our day!

We headed on our way to the main event of the day…Stan Hywet Deck The Hall in Akron! This Tudor Revival home and National Historic Landmark was built between 1912 and 1915. It is open to the public for tours and events year-round, but it is especially magical at Christmas-time! 

The theme this year for Stan Hywet Deck The Hall is “A Classic Comic Hero Christmas” and boasts amazing light and tree displays indoors and outdoors! You can buy tickets on select nights from now until December 30th and tour the 19 manor rooms that are decked out in holiday decorations.

Be sure to come at the start of the event if you have kiddos too because Santa will be there every night at 5:30 to do a special tree lighting ceremony! He is available directly after the tree lighting for photos too! 

One of my favorite parts of Deck The Hall was the Corbin Conservatory. It is a beautiful greenhouse full of festive poinsettias and it even has a show-stopping, red poinsettia Christmas tree which is the perfect spot to take a family photo! You can buy poinsettias, Christmas cacti and more inside the greenhouse to take home as a souvenir from your visit or give as a gift too!

Overall, I was totally blown away by the decorations and attention to detail on every tree and light display! It is definitely a must-see in my book and it happens to be a stop on the Holiday Lights Trail on Ohio that is put on by Ohio. Find It Here

Day 2: Winterfest 2019 + Holiday Lights Trail

On Day two of our epic Christmas weekend, we decided to attend Winterfest 2019 in Downtown Cleveland’s Public Square! Winterfest is the best way to kick off the holiday season because it is the ultimate Christmas festival with free activities for families and adults. At 6:30 the tree lighting festivities began with a live show and Santa even showed up on stage to sing us some carols and start off the fireworks show! 

Let me tell you, Cleveland knows how to do Christmas! Between the lights, fireworks, free ice skating, and the Toy Soldier show inside Tower City, you can see why Public Square is another stop on the Holiday Lights Trail! There are some great photo spots all over the square too so be sure to get a nice snap of the whole family together! 

There were plenty of food trucks around, so we ended up warming up with some coffee after the show. Some of the crowd had cleared out after we had our drinks, so we walked around enjoying all of the twinkling lights hand in hand. It was the perfect end to the day! 

Day 3: A Trip to Playhouse Square

The last evening of our holiday weekend of fun took us to Playhouse Square in Downtown Cleveland. We love the movie White Christmas so we were excited to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical! It had been far too long since either of us had been to the theatre so we had a really nice time. We really enjoyed the musical and seeing the lovely Christmas decorations inside Playhouse Square. I definitely want to make seeing a Christmas play a new tradition for us!

There is still time to see a show yourself too! Next up on the schedule are A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, and The Nutcracker (to name a few). 

May I also suggest wearing your Christmas outfits and stopping by the Lake Effects Pop-up bar before your show? This Christmas bar is open now through December 31st. (Hours are 4 pm-12 am Tuesday through Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday & Saturday, and 10 am-8 pm on Sundays). It is about a 5-minute walk from Playhouse Square to the bar which is popping up inside The Schofield Building.



Ohio. Find It Here. Holiday Lights Trail

There are 30 stops all over Ohio on the 2019 Holiday Lights Trail! So download the map here and go exploring! I hope this post has inspired you to get out there and enjoy the Christmas Magic that Ohio has to offer. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, lovelies!

*Thank you to Ohio. Find It Here. for sponsoring this post!


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8 Comments

  • Jen

    Yay, Christmas in Cleveland! Love the idea of breaking the holiday fun into a weekend itinerary. Really need to get back to Van Aken now that more shops are open and hit up a weekend flea. Going to Playhouse Square this weekend for A Christmas Carol, so excited!

    December 4, 2019 at 9:59 am Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Christmas in Cleveland is so festive! And the flea was really great, you will love it! Have fun at A Christmas Carol, I am sure it will be amazing. 🙂

      December 4, 2019 at 10:30 am Reply
  • Julia Kowalczyk

    Love this! Sounds like the perfect holiday weekend 🙂

    December 4, 2019 at 10:28 am Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Thank you, Julia! It was a great way to start the holiday season! 🙂

      December 4, 2019 at 10:30 am Reply
  • Shibani

    Oh this is such a fun way to do an all-holiday weekend!!! What did you think about White Christmas?

    December 4, 2019 at 11:53 am Reply
  • Melissa

    I love all of this!! What a great way to spend a weekend getting in the holiday spirit in CLE.

    December 4, 2019 at 8:08 pm Reply
  • typicallytwitterpated

    We love Christmas in the CLE. This is such an amazing staycation- I’ve never been to Van Aken and now we have to go! Happy Holidays.

    December 4, 2019 at 10:33 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Thanks! Hope you were able to make it over to Van Aken!

      June 13, 2020 at 9:38 pm Reply

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