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20 Holiday(ish) Events and Activities to Put on Your Calendar This Winter

’Tis the season to do something



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A Christmas Carol at the Ohio Theatre

For those of a certain age, and for anyone who took sixth-grade English, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is something of a holiday staple. Onstage, the annual rite of passage arrives in Playhouse Square each December. Take the kids. Take your grandparents. Revel in the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The show runs through Dec. 23.

Tours of Hale Farm

Take a step back to the 19th century, when things were just a wee bit different around Northeast Ohio. At Hale Farm, the annual holiday lantern tours showcase the lifestyles and decor of a long-lost age. Tours depart every 20 minutes beginning at 5:40 p.m. on Dec. 18 to 23, but check for all the details. Tickets cost $20 for non-members, $15 for members, $12 for children.

Black Nativity at Karamu House

Langston Hughes' classic Black Nativity returns to Cleveland right as its 100th anniversary approaches. (Hughes happens to be a Karamu House alum, by the way.) It's a veritable holiday classic — one that revels joyfully in an event that changed the course of human history. Tickets are $37 (and $32 for seniors, $15 for youth). The show runs through Dec. 27.

A Soulful Christmas with Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites

It ain't the holidays without a little bit of soul, something upbeat and groovy to contrast against the steady outpouring of Christmas radio classics. Wesley Bright and his band will take care of you. On Dec. 23, they hold down the Beachland Ballroom stage with the Monday Sound. Tickets are $13 in advance. $15 on the day of the show. Bring your dancing shoes.

Cleveland Play House Festival of Trees

The Cleveland Play House'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. The show is on now, and it lasts through the end of the year.

First Night Akron

For those who live, work and play closer to our pals in Summit County, First Night Akron is a long-running New Year's Eve tradition that brings together the worlds of art, music and dance —- not to mention a fine year-end fireworks show. This event is alcohol-free and terrific for families of all ages. The fun takes place at various locations around downtown Akron; check out for more information.


[UPDATE: CLE Rocks NYE has been officially canceled this year. The announcement was made after this week's paper went to the press.]

Nela Park Lighting Display

If you're in the mood to see a really extraordinary holiday lighting display, Nela Park has got you covered. The whole shebang is up now — go check it out! — and it'll stay lit until the new year. This isn't an "event," per se, but it is an experience, and it's always nice to remember the historical legacy of East Cleveland's biggest employer. Check it out at 2147 Noble Rd. through the new year.

Grog Shop Free Weekend

In a beloved annual tradition, the fine folks at the Grog Shop open their doors for a weekend of free shows to kick off each new year. This time around, the shows include Signals Midwest, Two Hand Fools, Heart and Lung (Jan. 1); New Planet Trampoline, Shale Satans, Bummed Out, Joyframe (Jan. 2); Oldboy, Aku Aku, and Mitchell Lewis (Jan. 3). Tip your bartenders well.

United We Brunch

Hey, we've gotta take a moment to share our own wintertime event, right? United We Brunch debuted last year at the Fifth Street Arcade, and we're bringing it back again — this year at the Galleria at Erieview on Jan. 30 — to cure the monthlong new year hangover you'll inevitably be nursing. $35 gets you unlimited brunch tastings from restaurants across town, and five drink tickets. Mimosas! Bloody Marys! Buy tix at

Brite Winter

A cornerstone of Cleveland's culture and entertainment in these wintry months, Brite Winter dishes up some of our city's coolest bands and artists for a day of revelry. The fest returns to its roots on the west bank of the Flats this year on Feb. 20 — around McCarthy's and the Harbor Inn, mostly. "It's going to be a gritty, fun, weird place, and that's what Brite thrives on," executive director Brian Horsburgh tells Scene. Find details at

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