(credit: downtowncleveland.com)

Winterfest 2012
Public Square
Cleveland, OH
(216) 325-0993

Date: Nov. 24 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: free

You know Christmas is around the corner when it’s time for Winterfest. This annual holiday lighting ceremony takes place in Public Square, and offers a full day of activities for the entire family. Each year, thousands come to Public Square to kick off the holiday season, and the day ends with fireworks and a visit from Santa himself. This year there will be a little something extra to the lighting of the Christmas tree. Bikers will pedal to power batteries to light the Public Square Christmas Tree for 100 minutes. In addition to all of the activity on Public Square, there will also be events happening in and around the square throughout the day.


Parking is available at Tower City Center. Click here for directions to the parking locations. There are also parking lots and garages throughout downtown. Use the Downtown Navigator to explore options. Type Public Square as the location and select “parking” under the red category. This will provide lots and garages near Public Square.

Ohio State vs Michigan

12 p.m.

The biggest rivalry in all of college football, watch the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan Wolverines. A big screen will be set up in the middle of Public Square for all to watch. Start Winterfest off right, cheering on the Buckeyes.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride though the streets of downtown Cleveland. Free carriage rides begin at Superior and East Roadway, on Public Square near Old Stone Church.

Food Trucks

2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Some of Cleveland’s favorite food trucks will be out on Ontario Avenue between Superior and Euclid Avenue, just waiting to feed you mouthwatering grub. These extraordinary food trucks offer a wide array of deliciousness to please any palate.

Related: Best Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene in Cleveland

Holiday Pop-Up Shop

2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be open during Winterfest offering gifts created by Cleveland Handmade, which is a collective of local artists and craftspeople. Pick up some unique items, including clothing, scarves, jewelry and glassworks. The Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be located in the elbow on South Roadway, near the Renaissance Hotel.

Radio Disney

2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Radio Disney will be on location playing all of the best music, hosting games and giving away prizes. A new stage show is planned, featuring Next Big Thing star Jack Skuller, who will perform a free concert. Radio Disney will be at the southwest quadrant of Public Square.

Fab Lab

2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Short for Fabrication Laboratory, the Fab Lab is where kids can go for activities including creating their own ornament. Fab Lab is located in the elbow on South Roadway, near Tower City entrances.

Holiday Movie

3 p.m.

After the Ohio State football game, stay and watch a classic holiday movie on the big screen with the whole family to make it a night to remember.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony and Fireworks Display

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Kick off the holidays with the holiday lighting ceremony, hosted by Mayor Frank Jackson and WEWS Channel 5 TV personalities. Fireworks will take place immediately following the lighting ceremony.

After Party

7 p.m.

End the full day of fun with the Winterfest after party. Santa will make an appearance, so don’t forget your camera. Enjoy free cookies, hot chocolate and photos with Santa.

Huntington Winter and Wine Ale Fest
The lobby at 200 Public Square
Cleveland, OH

Time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $50

This is a ticketed event for adults ages 21 and older. It will showcase more than 20 breweries and wineries solely from Ohio, paired with food provided by Cleveland-area restaurateurs. A silent auction will take place throughout the evening, in which guests may bid on goods from participating wineries and breweries.

Related: Best Bars For An Older Crowd In Cleveland

Chillin’ With Kringle
Hard Rock Cafe
230 W. Huron Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 830-7625

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: free

Santa will be at the Hard Rock, ready to take pictures with kids and adults the afternoon of Winterfest. Children may also stop in for punk-rock hairstyling and temporary tattoos to put a little spin on typical holiday celebrations.

Arcade Winterfest
The Arcade
401 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH
(216) 696-1408

Time: 3 p.m. to 5p.m.
Price: free

Take pictures with Santa on his vintage sleigh, and enjoy free hot cocoa and face painting. Christmas Carolers will stroll around singing some of your favorite holiday classics. You may also design and make your own snowflake to take home as a holiday decoration.

Reindeer Petting Zoo
Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave., NE
Cleveland, OH
(216) 623-2800

Time: 2 p.m.
Price: free

Take the kids to see a real, live reindeer. You won’t want to miss what the Cleveland Public Library has planned for Winterfest. Reindeer will be on site for kids to meet and pet as families enjoy light refreshments.

Amanda Keeler is a freelance writer and Social Media Director, living in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She has a B.A. from The Ohio State University in Public Relations. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.